War in Syria 3

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
The picture is from 2014 -- and that is relevant.

The reason is that in 2014 much of what ISIS became was not yet known. The protest has a different context.

... from swallow's link: "For [Knesset member] Marzel, the court’s decision to release the asylum seekers back to Tel Aviv is “more dangerous to Israel than ISIS.

It sure seems like the Israeli Parliamentarians were emphasizing the "danger" of the African refugees by comparing them to something that was already viewed as extremely dangerous, i.e., ISIS.

Of course it was all a racist show, from beginning to end - which is nothing at all in today's Israel - and they're mugging for the cameras, but they were trying to make the strongest case for themselves.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Don't forget your umbrella when you go out, ikosmos. Rain's forecast for St Petersburg this afternoon.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

One thing I will point out here and that is that understanding the complex array of actors and issues around Syria is a difficult task - especially for lots of North Americans who have difficulty finding Syria on a map of the world. And I have some genuine sympathy for those who are honestly confused about things.

However, the simple and short version - which I have defended here - is that there really are only two possible endgames.

Either Syrians get to decide the future of their country, going forward with the current elected and UN-recognized leadership in Assad [whatever happens down the road],

Or the bewildering array of terrorists, "moderates", US-sponsored Kurdish separatists, Turkish-supported Turkmen separatists, the zillion variety of foreign and foreign-funded fighters get to dismember the country and allow Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Da'esh, Turkey, and "Kurdistan" rip off pieces of the country until there's nothing left but another Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

We already know that a million dead Iraqi children "was worth it" according to US official M. Albright, to reach the current choas in Iraq ... 13 years after the US invasion. So we know what side the US regime is on (and its "carefully neutral" Canadian chihuahua), if we didn't go by the endless stream of missives by HRC and her supporters who can't refrain from cheerleading the destruction of Syria.

Take your pick. But don't lie about what side you're on.

These are the realistic choices, just as "Clinton or Trump" is the "realistic" choice in the US "election".  Not that the "humanitarian bombing" liberals would ever admit it.

Sean in Ottawa

ikosmos wrote:

One thing I will point out here and that is that understanding the complex array of actors and issues around Syria is a difficult task - especially for lots of North Americans who have difficulty finding Syria on a map of the world. And I have some genuine sympathy for those who are honestly confused about things.

However, the simple and short version - which I have defended here - is that there really are only two possible endgames.

Either Syrians get to decide the future of their country, going forward with the current elected and UN-recognized leadership in Assad [whatever happens down the road],

Or the bewildering array of terrorists, "moderates", US-sponsored Kurdish separatists, Turkish-supported Turkmen separatists, the zillion variety of foreign and foreign-funded fighters get to dismember the country and allow Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Da'esh, Turkey, and "Kurdistan" rip off pieces of the country until there's nothing left but another Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

We already know that a million dead Iraqi children "was worth it" according to US official M. Albright, to reach the current choas in Iraq ... 13 years after the US invasion. So we know what side the US regime is on (and its "carefully neutral" Canadian chihuahua), if we didn't go by the endless stream of missives by HRC and her supporters who can't refrain from cheerleading the destruction of Syria.

Take your pick. But don't lie about what side you're on.

These are the realistic choices, just as "Clinton or Trump" is the "realistic" choice in the US "election".  Not that the "humanitarian bombing" liberals would ever admit it.

 

I think you should get set for a number of very rude replies. When you go into a conversation and take up a position that the people who do not agree with you are lying, unrealistic and ignorant you will not get a great response. As well when you say there are only two possibilities you are setting yourself up to be mocked as what happens when people try to win arguments by narrowing the possibilities available for consideration. Throw in the mix the comments made by others that you simply ignore as inconvenient, and you get a loss of respect for your positions in this thread.

People who disagree with you are not interested in your sympathy -- that is condescending and arrogant so you can keep that to yourself.

You know nothing about the other people here or what they know and they know nothing about you. That is what a board of this kind is like.

Here, your arguments have to be held up by something other than delusions of superiority.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Joh Pilger, multi-award winning film-maker over decades pretty well outlines the same argument I'm making. He's more polite.

Go ahead and debunk John Pilger. I double dare you.

JohnPilger wrote:
This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force “bringing good” runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their “coalition” proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided “coverage” of Syria.

The city of Aleppo is in the news. Most readers and viewers will be unaware that the majority of the population of Aleppo lives in the government-controlled western part of the city. That they suffer daily artillery bombardment from western-sponsored al-Qaida is not news. On 21 July, French and American bombers attacked a government village in Aleppo province, killing up to 125 civilians. This was reported on page 22 of the Guardian; there were no photographs.

Pilger has much more to say about the barbarous NATO regimes risking WW3, but, as I said, he's way more "polite" than I am.

"The immediate aim is to destroy the government in Damascus, which, according to the most credible poll (YouGov Siraj), the majority of Syrians support, or at least look to for protection, regardless of the barbarism in its shadows. The long-term aim is to deny Russia a key Middle Eastern ally as part of a Nato war of attrition against the Russian Federation that eventually destroys it."

"Journalist, film-maker and author, John Pilger is one of two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an Emmy and a British Academy Award, a BAFTA. Among numerous other awards, he has won a Royal Television Society Best Documentary Award. His epic 1979 Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century."

Knock yourself out. This Pilger guy, he's just chopped liver after all, who happens to agree with some lout (me) with delusions of superiority. It should be way easy to shred his remarks (clearly written from St. Petersberg), debunk his arguments (unlike mine that are just so loutish) and not break a sweat.

(grabs popcorn)

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
(grabs popcorn)

(blushingly hands popcorn to his hero, John Pilger)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Nah, John's not in St P - after all, his bread is already buttered and he's got better things to do than troll Canadian message boards. Hey, just out of interest - is it a promotion when you get to troll Twitter? Is the pay better?

Sean in Ottawa

I know the pithy one-side good the other bad argument is simple to make but there is no simple agreement here no matter where you sit.

I made the argument that there are no innocents and Russia is out for itself not out of generosity for the Syrian people. I chose not to agree that one side is right and a force for good. I am also not alone in this -- coming from the left.

The idea that the root cause of Syria's problems lies in imperialism is something that I agree with -- it is really beyond dispute if you read any history of the place.

You can read this:

Explaining the Syrian civil war -- International Socialist Review

http://isreview.org/issue/96/explaining-syrian-civil-war

 

In his examination of the development of the Baathist regime in Syria through its brief years of unity with Nasser’s Egypt in the United Arab Republic to the emergence of the Assad dictatorship after Hafez al-Assad’s coup in 1970, Erlich puts to rest many myths promulgated by Assad’s propagandists in the apologist left. The Assad regime, he argues, was never socialist, but a state-capitalist dictatorship. It used the rhetoric of Arab socialism, provided welfare services and nationalized industry, but “workers had few rights and certainly no control of the factories. Syria remained a capitalist country under military domination.”

The Assad regime was also not a principled or consistent ally of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Hafez al-Assad maintained peace with Israel on the Golan Heights, a region captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War; supported the Palestinian surrender at Oslo in 1993; and denied citizenship to approximately 500,000 refugees within Syria’s borders. At best Assad sought to control the Palestinian movement; at worst he was willing to sell it out for the advancement of his family dictatorship.

In addition, Erlich shows that far from the Assad regime opposing imperialism as some claim it to have done, it has been more than happy to collaborate with the great powers, first the Soviet Union, and after that empire’s collapse, even the United States. For example, Hafez al-Assad supported Bush Sr.’s Gulf War in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein, one of Syria’s regional competitors. Assad also allowed Syria to be used as a site in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program, which involved the abduction and transfer of people to various countries for imprisonment, interrogation, and torture.

....

Conditions were ripe for revolt against dictatorship and capitalist inequality, as they were throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Inspired by the victorious struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, the Syrian people rose up against Assad. As Erlich notes, “The demonstrations were nonviolent and secular. In the northwestern city of Banyas, protesters tried to attract the generally pro-Assad Alawite religious minority by chanting, ‘Peaceful, peaceful—neither Sunni nor Alawite, we want national unity.’”

Assad responded with superficial reforms. He suspended the 50-year state of emergency and legalized the status of 300,000 Kurds, but the surging movement was not to be bought off. Instead it established local coordinating committees to organize the struggle and begin the process of taking over areas liberated by the movement from regime control.

Frightened of losing control of the country, Assad turned to repression. He ordered his troops to fire on peaceful demonstrations, forcing demonstrators to turn to armed struggle to defend themselves. Erlich argues, “As armed struggle quickly replaced mass demonstrations, political leadership of the uprising also changed. Political Islam came to the fore. The uprising was becoming a civil war.” Assad did his best to cultivate these Islamist sectarian forces in the civil war by releasing scores of Sunni fundamentalists from his jails. As he knew they would, these counterrevolutionaries attacked not only the regime but also the country’s Alawite and Christian minorities. Assad postured as defender of these populations against the Sunni reactionaries.

The sectarianism the United States had unleashed in Iraq and the region then fed into the developing civil war. Sunni states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar sponsored various Islamists like the Islamic Front. The devout bourgeoisie and clerics also funded forces like al Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and the emerging new player ISIS, which had been the al Qaeda formation in Iraq. 

Amidst the civil war, Assad has been able to retain power over a section of the country. The crony capitalist ruling class is loyal to him. His predominantly Alawite military and the national defense forces continue to obey the regime. And he maintains a social base in the Alawite and Christian populations. 

But without support from Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Russia, Assad would have very likely fallen. Iran quickly rallied to support Assad for sectarian and geopolitical reasons. Iran’s leaders aimed to defend their bloc of regional allies that included Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah against their Sunni rivals Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Iran along with Hezbollah has poured money, troops, and materiel into Syria to join Assad’s sectarian counterrevolution.

Russia, which has cultivated a relationship with the Assad family dictatorship since the Cold War, wanted to protect its sole military base in the region as well its significant investments and trade relations with Syria. It also feared that Washington was trying to restore its diminished dominance in the region by manipulating the Arab Spring to replace rulers friendly to Russia with American client regimes. It has therefore blocked American resolutions at the UN and funneled aid and weapons to Assad. 

Assad’s regional Sunni opponents, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, have supported their own Islamist proxies in Syria’s civil war. The US initially backed its own handpicked forces in the Syrian National Congress and the Free Syrian Army with the hope of securing a future client regime in the country. 

But as Sunni fundamentalist forces, especially ISIS, seized much of the country, the United States restricted its support for rebels for fear of any weapons falling into the hands of the Islamists. It even agreed to the deal brokered by Russia for Assad to eliminate his chemical weapon stockpiles to avoid an air war they feared would result in the kind of chaotic disorder that resulted from US air support for the revolt in Libya against dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The lone bright spot in this horrific situation has been the rise of the Kurdish resistance, which has liberated its oil-rich section of northern Syria. Erlich provides an informative overview of the history of Kurds in the region since the fall of the Ottomans. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Assad’s Syria have all oppressed the Kurds, denying them citizenship rights and locking them in terrible poverty. 

The Kurds initially did not rally to the Syrian revolution because they did not recognize Syria’s national rights. Their representatives walked out of the Syrian National Congress to protest its definition of the country as an Arab republic. Led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the sister group of Turkey’s Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), they established their own autonomous area called Rojava. In contrast to some romanticized portrayals, Erlich offers a critical history of the PKK and PYD, and their rule in Rojava. He shows how the PKK actually collaborated with the Assad regime for a time, using Syria as a base from which to launch its guerilla war in Turkey. Assad eventually sold the PKK out, driving it from the country and thereby enabling the United States and Turkey to eventually capture and imprison its leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

Afterward, as Erlich writes, “The PKK sought accommodation with the Turkish government and moved to the Right politically . . . calling for Kurdish autonomy, not independence.” Since the PKK and PYD are built around a cult of personality, Öcalan’s orders are followed to the letter. “The PYD,” Erlich adds,

has developed a reputation for sectarianism, putting its own interests ahead of the broader Kurdish movement. The Kurdish National Council, the umbrella Kurdish opposition group, “has accused the PYD of attacking Kurdish demonstrators [and] kidnapping members of other Kurdish opposition parties,” according to a report by the Carnegie Middle East Center. The PYD has also been accused of assassinating leaders of other Kurdish parties.

Nevertheless, Erlich writes, “the PYD and its armed militias presented a disciplined, secular force in a region beset with religious extremism and chaos. The Party gained popular support in Northern Syria as the best among bad alternatives.” 

Inside Syria is essential reading to understand the counterrevolutionary forces that transformed Syria’s revolution into a sectarian civil war. Erlich is clear that imperialism and all of the existing states are part of the problem and that none can offer any viable solution to the crisis. For that reason, he declares, “I oppose all outside interference in Syria, whether from the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or any other country.”

So there are people who agree with me as well that there are no innocents including Asad and the Russians AND saying this is not support for the US and other Western actions there or imperialism.

Your binary presentation made with a good deal of insult is but one possible opinion. To say that we do not agree with you does not place us in agreement with the US or ISIS as you have claimed. Having a less than glowing opinion of Asad  does not make us pro US involvement, ignorant or anything else that you insinuate.

And of course Pilger is respectable but he also does not actually try to make a case that all those who disagree with him share a common point of view. So really he is not sharing your opinion here in the way you present it.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Nice mis-representation of my position, Sean_in_Ottawa. My claim was that there are two possible endgames. Either the current regime survives, and Syria remains a unitary state, or it is dismembered and we have another Libya.

All you've done is to wave your arms and claim, "No one is a Saint here." How very adult of you. But your remarks are rather worthless. This isn't a moral argument, choosing, with bourgeois leisure of course, which alternative (of possibly many) is best, like choosing which brand of cola goes best with our Bacardi rum. If you can't rise to the level of realistic analysis, then maybe you better stay out of the political kitchen.

Of course the Russians have interests. They've spelled them out. Syria is very close to the Caucausus, Grozny, Georgia, Beslan, etc., where they have plenty of experience with terrorism. After a failed state is created in Syria, Iran is next, and then that region of Russia. Pilger spells it out, in fact, which you would have noticed if you paid more attention when you read his article. (If you did.)

The Russians also have economic interests. They wish to sell gas an oil to Europe and other markets. The US is trying to exclude the Russians from such markets, isolate them from Europe, and drive their country into the ground.

It's a war. There are two sides, with complicated allies on both sides [I will admit]. But it's understandable. Pick a side.

Translating such conflicts into simple moral arguments, while laudable as some sort of idealistic goal, is the mark of infantile political understanding. You're never going to find your way in such complicated conflicts.  Sorry for the insult, but you seem like you are out of your depth.

Sean in Ottawa

I started out saying that nobody was a saint when it was clear you were trying to make out that one side was in it for the people when that is not the case. When I said this you challenged me so we did indeed have that discussion even if you want to retreat from it now.

I do just fine on realistic analysis and your comments which have been insulting and shrill through this entire discussion have been what has diminished yours. You clearly want to double down here by telling me my comments are without value and I should get out of the kitchen. I won’t respond by telling you to shut up which is precisely what your comment means.

You seem to be oblivious to the fact that your insulting comments and sweeping judgments have done more harm to your position here than anything anyone else has said.

My comments have not been without value because, kicking and screaming all the way, they have finally got you to admit what you were refusing to earlier -- that the Russians here have their own set of interests other than helping the good people of Syria and that the governments of Syria and Russia are not innocent parties. Thanks for this. Too bad it took an exchange of thousands of words over several days to get you there.

Then you go on to suggest that I did not read Pilger's article even though I pointed out what I agreed about it. I read it and it really is not the part of your point of view that I took issue with. You claim that I misrepresented you and then end right back at the contention that there are just two sides. This saying I have an inability to produce realistic analysis, am infantile and out of my depth. With the Syrian war there were always more than two sides. Your inability to either grasp (or admit) this brings your claims that others cannot provide worthwhile analysis from irritation and extreme rudeness to absolute farce.

You might discover that the worthwhile points you make (and I am not so presumptuous as you to suggest that a person here has nothing of value to say) would be better served by you refraining from going over the deep end in absolutes and insults. What you might, if you ever indulged in self-reflection, discover is that the one most truly insulted by the garbage you spray out is yourself and your point of view.

Sean in Ottawa

ikosmos wrote:

Nice mis-representation of my position, Sean_in_Ottawa. My claim was that there are two possible endgames. Either the current regime survives, and Syria remains a unitary state, or it is dismembered and we have another Libya.

All you've done is to wave your arms and claim, "No one is a Saint here." How very adult of you. But your remarks are rather worthless. This isn't a moral argument, choosing, with bourgeois leisure of course, which alternative (of possibly many) is best, like choosing which brand of cola goes best with our Bacardi rum. If you can't rise to the level of realistic analysis, then maybe you better stay out of the political kitchen.

Of course the Russians have interests. They've spelled them out. Syria is very close to the Caucausus, Grozny, Georgia, Beslan, etc., where they have plenty of experience with terrorism. After a failed state is created in Syria, Iran is next, and then that region of Russia. Pilger spells it out, in fact, which you would have noticed if you paid more attention when you read his article. (If you did.)

The Russians also have economic interests. They wish to sell gas an oil to Europe and other markets. The US is trying to exclude the Russians from such markets, isolate them from Europe, and drive their country into the ground.

It's a war. There are two sides, with complicated allies on both sides [I will admit]. But it's understandable. Pick a side.

Translating such conflicts into simple moral arguments, while laudable as some sort of idealistic goal, is the mark of infantile political understanding. You're never going to find your way in such complicated conflicts.  Sorry for the insult, but you seem like you are out of your depth.

By the way -- calling people here infantile, out of their depth, incapable of realistic analysis will not win you allies even among those who might actually agree with some of what you have to say. Really it makes you look like rather an [fill in the blank yourself]

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mercouris summary:

Quote:
This crisis in north eastern Syria is a case study in the violence and chaos that flows from the contradictions of US policy in Syria.

The US officially brands Jabhat Al-Nusra a terrorist organisation but denies that the YPG is one.  Turkey – the US’s primary ally in this region – denies Jabhat Al-Nusra is a terrorist organisation but insists the YPG is one.

The US is prepared to defend the YPG if it is attacked by the Syrian military.  However it will not defend the YPG if it is attacked by the Turkish military.  On the contrary it will act to facilitate the Turkish military’s attack – as it is in fact doing.

The US backed the YPG when it attacked Manbij, which lies west of the Euphrates.  However it now insists that the YPG must withdraw back to the eastern side of the Euphrates – which means it must evacuate Manbij – or forfeit US support.

The US appears to have incited the YPG to attack the Syrian military in Al-Hasakah so that it could consolidate its control of the territories in which it operates and form an independent zone there.  Following protests from Turkey it now says the YPG cannot have an independent zone there under its control.

It is impossible to see any coherent strategy here.  Rather it looks as if CIA and military officials on the ground in Syria have been going their own way, encouraging the YPG to expand as fast as it can, heedless of the larger consequences. 

The political leadership in Washington, when it finally woke up to what was happening, then had to take disproportionate steps to bring the situation back under control. 

In the process two US “allies” – the Turkish military and the YPG – have practically come to blows with each other, and Turkey has suddenly discovered a commonality of interest with the Assad government in Damascus to block the setting up of an autonomous YPG controlled Kurdish region in north east Syria, probably sending the deputy head of its military intelligence service to Damascus to coordinate policy there.

It is this very lack of coherence in US policy which however is what is so dangerous about this whole situation. 

The US has pursued a policy in north eastern Syria that led it to give a warning of military action a few days ago.  However it is now clear that this policy was never properly thought through. 

To say that this is an irresponsible and reckless way of going about things in a conflict situation where the Russians are also involved is a gigantic understatement.  Yet there is no public debate or discussion about it either in Washington or in Western capitals.

If US policy is being made on the hoof in Syria in such a careless and irresponsible way then the danger of something going catastrophically wrong is hugely magnified.  Yet it is clear that that is precisely the situation we are looking at, and be it noted that this is before the hawkish Hillary Clinton has become US President.  It is impossible to look at this situation without being seriously worried.

a very long article ...

Turkey, the Kurds and the US debacle in North East Syria

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Andrew Korybko, who has done a great deal of work on the "information war" and such topics (at a global level; his work is really thorough), has a rich piece outlining the complexities around Turkey's latest "incursion" into Syria.

Turkey crosses into Syria: unipolar conspiracy or multipolar coordination?

Contrast this with the view that the Turkish attack on Syrian soil is a betrayal of their recent rapproachment with Russia.

Turkey’s illegal invasion of Syria proves Erdogan is no friend of Russia

... and from Alexander Mercouris ...

Quote:
The key point to understand about the Turkish incursion is that no part of it involves areas of Syria and under the Syrian government’s actual control.  All this area is controlled either by the YPG or by ISIS. 

Nor is this area critical to the Syrian government’s survival.  That depends on the Syrian government retaining its hold on Damascus and Aleppo, the central towns of Hama and Homs, the key region of Latakia, and ultimately by recapturing the town and province of Idlib.  If the Syrian government achieves all this, then it will have secured its existence, which is the objective the Russians set themselves when they intervened in Syria last year. 

In the meantime the Russians no doubt calculate – as do the Syrians – that the north east of Syria can be left to look after itself, and that what the Turks get up to there – far away from the key battlefields in Damascus and Aleppo provinces and in Idlib province – in the end in military and strategic terms simply does not matter.  Whilst that may sound ruthless, it is the sort of ruthless calculation that sometimes has to be made in war.

Supplemental from Mercouris in another article: "If the Syrian government is able to recapture eastern Aleppo and ultimately Idlib, and if it also manages to relieve the desert city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria (currently besieged by ISIS) then it will have won the war."

Mercouris argues, rather well, that the Russians have been attempting to reconcile the Kurds and the Syrian regime while the US has been trying to the get the former to go to war with the latter.

Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman wrote:

“As far as the situation in Syria’s Hasakeh is concerned, we are extremely worried over the sharp armed escalation in that city in the northwest of Syria between government troops and Kurdish militias.  Russia has been taking proactive steps along different channels with the aim of preventing fratricidal clashes. We are urging the parties to display restraint.  We are urging the parties to display restraint, wisdom and political conscience and responsibility and to develop the awareness all patriots have only one common enemy – terrorists.  It is obvious that terrorism is a common threat to all Syrians, who share one goal, that of saving Syria, in which all of its citizens irrespective of their ethnicity or religion should feel comfortable.”

 

The Americans, the UK, and all the rest of the NATO chihuahuas, like Canada, have never and will never talk in such terms. They speak with a "forked tongue" in which mock fighting against terrorists is linked with overthrow of the government; any and every ethnic or religious difference is magnified to rip the country apart at a time when it is under attack by foreign-sponsored fighters. They can bob and weave but their aim is clear - to destroy Syria, whatever the consequences.

Alexander Mercouris: End of the Russian Turkish rapproachment?

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

And another. Mercouris is working overtime here.

World War could begin in north-east Syria

I provide the link to this article due to the presence of a fascinating sidebar in it. Mercouris makes reference to a US approach to regime change called "third force strategies" and actually goes back to the ignomonious failure of US policy in Viet Nam ...

Quote:
Having committed itself simultaneously to the overthrow of the Syrian government and the defeat of ISIS, and having also branded the other major player in the Syrian war – Al-Qaeda’s local franchise Jabhat Al-Nusra – a terrorist organisation, the US is short of effective allies on the ground in Syria.

Accordingly it has embraced the Kurds, who do possess an effective militia, but whose interests are ultimately focused on securing autonomy for their own region rather than gaining power in Damascus.

This is very much in the style of US “third force” strategies, pursued by the US in various conflicts during and since the Cold War, which the US still from time to time ventures into despite their almost invariable record of failure.

... which led me to look up the link, which led me to look up the book by Graham Greene (The Quiet American), which led me to look at, not one but, two film versions of the novel, which led me to decide that I need to see the 2002 version with Michael Caine ....

So now I have a movie to watch. And maybe I better read Greene's novel after all.

The Quiet American

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Roger Annis has a piece about the recent Turkish attack in Syria.

There is a good survey of recent events here. However, the differences among the Kurdish groupings is not made clear. This is important, IMHO, because some of them are simply US proxies, some are allies of the Syrian gov in the fight against the terrorists, etc.

 

Rev Pesky

Pertinent to this conversation:

Israeli think tank: Don't destroy ISIS

Quote:
According to a think tank that does contract work for NATO and the Israeli government (BESA -  Rev Pesky), the West should not destroy ISIS, the fascist Islamist extremist group that is committing genocide and ethnically cleansing minority groups in Syria and Iraq.

Why? The so-called Islamic State “can be a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia, argues the think tank’s director.

“The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose,” wrote Efraim Inbar in “The Destruction of Islamic State Is a Strategic Mistake,” a paper published on Aug. 2.

...In his paper, Inbar suggested that it would be a good idea to prolong the war in Syria, which has destroyed the country, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing more than half the population.

As for the argument that defeating ISIS would make the Middle East more stable, Inbar maintained: “Stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests.”

“Instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change,” he added.

...Several days after Inbar’s paper was published, David M. Weinberg, director of public affairs at the BESA Center, wrote a similarly-themed op-ed titled “Should ISIS be wiped out?” in Israel Hayom, a free and widely read right-wing newspaper funded by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson that strongly favors the agenda of Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

...The strategy Inbar and Weinberg have proposed, that of indirectly allowing a fascist Islamist group to continue fighting Western enemies, is not necessarily a new one in American and Israeli foreign policy circles. It is reminiscent of the U.S. Cold War policy of supporting far-right Islamist extremists in order to fight communists and left-wing nationalists.

...As far back as 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower insisted to the CIA that, in order to fight leftist movements in the Middle East, “We should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect.”

No surprises here to anyone who's been paying attention, although it is odd to see it expressed so blatantly.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:
Pertinent to this conversation:

Israeli think tank: Don't destroy ISIS

No surprises here to anyone who's been paying attention, although it is odd to see it expressed so blatantly.

Yeah, agreed. I read the occassional reference to free medical treatment for one faction of foreign fighters/terrorists or another going into Israel and then back out again. Maybe through the Golan Heights, what have you.

Israel played a role in the foundation of a number of Muslim fundamentalist organizations. It was the strategy for many years by the US and its Israeli "attack dog"; undermine secular organizations by supporting fundys.

Were the religious organizations to be "too" successful, I suspect the tactic would switch to supporting secular orgs and attacking the religous ones.

Rev Pesky

ikosmos wrote:
..Israel played a role in the foundation of a number of Muslim fundamentalist organizations. It was the strategy for many years by the US and its Israeli "attack dog"; undermine secular organizations by supporting fundys.

Were the religious organizations to be "too" successful, I suspect the tactic would switch to supporting secular orgs and attacking the religous ones.

How much more successful could they be? They've destroyed a number countries and show no signs of slowing down.

In a sense they could never be 'too successful' because they have no plan for running a country in peacetime. They destroy only, then move on to the next target. There is no plan for rebuildiing infrastructure or governing for the long term. The perfect weapon for 'bombing them back to the stone age', without dropping a bomb.

The setting up of these so-called Islamic groups must rank as one of the most cynical crimes in the history of humanity. One can only hope that some day there will be justice. It seems as if it's a long way off, but one never knows.  

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Endless wealth, generated by rapacious looting, allows for endless and murderous criminality. Who knows when it will end?

Pepe Escobar writes about the Empire of Chaos.

Welcome to the Empire of Chaos - a good summary of Escobar's writing by ...

Escobar: (Kindle) Empire of Chaos

The Empire of Chaos Strikes Back (in Brasil)

The solution?

Quote:
The real danger for an aspiring global empire is to find a planet that has suddenly begun to move in tandem out from under its shadow and moving on without them in relative peace and prosperity. To prevent this from happening we have seen a concerted effort focused on disrupting and destroying this emerging multi-polar world.

If the US Empire goes into a more serious crisis, its client regimes, including Israel, will feel the crisis as well.

iyraste1313

The Free Syrian Army and other Turkish-backed militant groups, supported by Turkish ground and air forces, have been advancing southwest of Jarabulus. The fifth day of the Turkish Operation Euphrates Shield resulted capturing the villages of Amarina, Ayn al-Bayda, Dabis, Balaban, Suraysat, Jub al-Kussa, Maghayer, and Qiratah by the Turkey-led forces.

Most of them were seized from the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). By August 29, the Turkey-led forces have crossed the Sajur River and have been developing their advance further. According to leaders of militant groups involved in the operation, the Turkish-led forces are going to seize Al Bab and Manbij and link Jarablus and Al Rai. Meanwhile, the United States has temporarily halted all arms supplies to the SDF.......

...the Syrian Kurds in trouble! Attempts to limit Kurdish autonomy to Barzani´s mafia operations in Iraq!

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

That's somewhat unclear. Please, clarify.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Counterpunch and the Socialist Worker try to sell regime change and armed intervention as the new "anti-imperialism".

Selling imperialist propaganda in an anti-imperialist wrapper

Some comments ...

"It is the old Tony Cliff [i.e., Trotskyist] slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism…” behind which the IS tendency has cowered since the war in Korea."

"Smith sounds like another Christopher Hitchens. Anyone who deals in sophistry and lies is a fraud, whether they consider themselves Left or Right or whatever."

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture
swallow swallow's picture

Another important perspective (the one attacked above):

Quote:
The Syrian Revolution has tested the left internationally by posing a blunt question: Which side are you on? Do you support the popular struggle against dictatorship and for democracy? Or are you with Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, his imperial backer Russia, his regional ally Iran and Iran’s proxies like Hezbollah from Lebanon? ...

A genuine internationalist left must stand with Syria’s popular resistance to Assad, which began as a nonviolent uprising against the dictatorship–and against intervention by American and Russian imperialism, as well as by the region’s main powers.

***

How Could opponents of U.S. imperialism end up supporting a dictator–one who has been known to collaborate with the U.S. intorturing “war-on-terror” prisoners in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/26/anti-imperialism-and-the-syrian-r... and the Syrian revolution[/url]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The West, including Canada, has no business getting involved in other people's countries. The people of Syria are the only people who should decide. They know better than anyone in the West how much of the "democratic" opposition was actually just foreign backed terrorists. Indeed the Assad government has been terrible against Islamic terrorists treating them nearly as bad as the Americans treat their Islamic prisoners.

If Iran armed and supported a Canadian "democratic" opposition that took to the streets with guns to bring about their preferred electoral and legal systems should we back Islamic terrorists when they send suicide bombers into our cities as the Western backed forces of democracy have done in Syria?

Any left wing Westerners who doesn't understand that RtoP means the Right to Plunder are part of the problem. 

iyraste1313

clarification?

from Globalresearch.....The American alliance with the YPG has always been a paradox. The U.S. backed the Kurdish fighters because it saw them as an effective fighting force against ISIS, in fact spectacularly the most effective force. However, the Kurdish controlled cantons of Rojava have been the site of a spectacular radical social experiment in both democratic self-organization and women’s equality as well as ethnic inclusion, absolutely not the kind of thing the U.S. wants to support. So this was always a marriage of convenience, very time limited.

The U.S. says it will stop helping the YPG unless they accede to Turkey’s demand and retreat east of the Euphrates, but the more that Turkey directly engages the YPG-SDF forces, the more the U.S. will back off support for the YPG.

Erdogan had for two years demanded the creation of a ‘buffer zone’ along the Turksh border in which Syrian refugees from the fighting could be placed. This was always a euphemism for ‘destroy Rojava’ and drive out the Kurds. Now Turkey is trying to put this into action.

The situation is now extremely dangerous. After the failed coup, Turkish president Erdogan feels he is in an unchallengeable situation. The destruction and massacre of hundreds of thousands in Syria is a grim warning. The West will do little or nothing to prevent a massacre of the Kurdish people and Rojava being overrun if Erdogan unleashes the full weight of his military might against them. The need for solidarity with the Kurdish people has never been greater.......

....can we stand apart and watch this fascinating social experiment be crushed?

This brings to mind the Spanish Civil War! If the forces of fascism and genocide choose to crush a people, must we stand aside?

Canada is engaged no doubt, in support of the Iraqi Kurdistan (surely people haven´t forgotten our attempted arms lift to Barzani?)...the territory shipping oil through Turkey to Israel!! From ISIS!!

iyraste1313

from Asharq Al Aswat

(apologies, my servers here are censored from copying this detail)

But an Iranian spokesman has warned Turkey to withdraw from its control of the city of Jarablus, taken from the Syrian Kurdish forces of the YPG...

my comment......escalation in the works?

iyraste1313

from Jean Perier NEO

Turkish Invasion of Syria, what´s at stake?

.......Iranian confrontation? renewed civil war inside Turkey?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:
clarification?

from Globalresearch.....The American alliance with the YPG has always been a paradox. 

There is a long history of US foreign policy, going back to Viet Nam, in which they sponsored a "third force" in an effort to bring about regime change or the results they wanted. Graham Greene even wrote a novel exposing this US policy; see The Quiet American.

US support of the Kurds very much follows in this pattern.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Crimes against Humanity:

Seventy-two Daesh-ISIS Mass Graves Containing Up to 15,000 Discovered in Iraq and Syria. Who are the State Sponsors of ISIS? Who is Training, Who is Financing Them?

Who? The US government, other NATO member states, and their regional allies: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, etc.

Quote:
As Islamic State retreats the true scale of its atrocities is becoming apparent. Associated Press collated existing documents and testimonies to produce the fullest picture yet – but activists say that thousands more victims buried in shallow mass graves are yet to be discovered.

The agency says it has pinpointed the exact location of 72 Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) mass graves – 17 of those in Syria, the rest in Iraq – which contain anything from at least 5,200 to over 15,000 victims.

Blame Putin! Blame Syria! That's what we're going to hear from the barbarous NATO regimes and their lickspittle MSM. Or nothing at all, because Syrians aren't, in the Western view, "important" people.

NorthReport
iyraste1313

Southfront, today...

The Syrian Defense Ministry has issued a formal warning to the Turkish Armed Forces regarding breaches of Syrian airspace and a lack of communication with Damascus. Syria says that any Turkish aircraft that enters Syrian airspace without prior approval will become a target of the air defense forces........

...and they mean what they say! Given their just recent downing of that Israeli jet, showing their capacity...

...but of course nothing to worry about...our authorities would never permit this escalation to get out of hand...just trust and have faith!

Rev Pesky

NorthReport wrote:
">http://m.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Columnists/2016-09-10/article-4635545/G...

I had to hunt around a bit to find this article, so here is a link that should take one directly to it:

Gwynne Dyer: Is ISIS really losing?

iyraste1313

A shameful and cowardly act by the US Air Force, a day of national disgrace

[Editor’s note: Syrian officials including the Minister of Justice, Najem Hamad Al-Ahmad, told VT that US planes launched from Iraq, including A10 and F16s, attacked Syrian Army positions near the Der Ezzor airport, killing 80 and wounding up to 100.

Russian Ministry of Defense officials have confirmed the story, a massive violation of the cease fire.  The attack was followed up by an ISIS ground offensive showing clear signs of coordination and a strong likelihood that US Army Special Forces are on the ground coordinating air cover with ISIS deep inside Syria. ...Gordon Duff

...original source FNA Tehran

iyraste1313

Rockets on Golan, Pentagon flouts Obama, no truce
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis September 17, 2016, 9:29 PM (IDT)

The Pentagon and US army are not following the orders of their Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama in the execution of the military cooperation accord in Syria concluded by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 12.
Five days after the truce they agreed would go into effect Monday, fighting was still raging Saturday, Sept. 17.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:
A shameful and cowardly act by the US Air Force, a day of national disgrace

[Editor’s note: Syrian officials including the Minister of Justice, Najem Hamad Al-Ahmad, told VT that US planes launched from Iraq, including A10 and F16s, attacked Syrian Army positions near the Der Ezzor airport, killing 80 and wounding up to 100.

Russian Ministry of Defense officials have confirmed the story, a massive violation of the cease fire.  The attack was followed up by an ISIS ground offensive showing clear signs of coordination and a strong likelihood that US Army Special Forces are on the ground coordinating air cover with ISIS deep inside Syria. ...

 

More here ...

https://www.rt.com/news/359686-un-security-urgent-meeting/

 

The ISIS Air Force has USA written on its wings.

 

What a barbarous regime and, therefore, a natural ally of ISIS and other terrorists.

iyraste1313

Does this mean that Russia no longer trusts the USA? First because there is no assurance that their military will follow the decisions of their President, even if the Government is sincere, which now in under suspicion?

Which means what? That the Syria Iran Russia China alliance will now go full throttle to eliminate ISIS and their allies? No more agreements with the so called US Alliance......

And when the USA Alliance determines that  Syria and allies are threatening their private mercenary groups, which is inevitable!
Who will back down in this game of chicken? Can´t people see the threat to all of us in the case when this confrontation of nuclear powers occcurs?

Pretty scary stuff!

iyraste1313

Russia's UN Ambassador Argues Bombing of Syrian Army Killing 80 Was Intentional

News 03:38 18.09.2016(updated 03:53 18.09.2016) Get short URL 262036263 The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations found the timing of what the United States called an accidental and unintentional airstrike to be suspicious only minutes after the US representative to the international body effectively blamed Russia and the Assad regime calling the emergency meeting a "stunt." Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations questioned the United States sudden interest in the fight against Daesh in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor where Syrian forces loyal to the Assad regime have been the vanguard of the fighting force against Daesh saying that it was suspicious that the Americans would suddenly try to "help" the Syrian Army as they claimed they were targeted Daesh in the region. "It is highly suspicious that the United States chose to conduct this particular air strike at this time," Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. He also questioned America's willingness to actively engage the fight against terror rather than focusing on attempting regime change in Syria saying that US forces did "nothing when ISIS advanced on Palmyra." A major diplomatic row looks to be developing between the United States and Russia only five days after a breakthrough ceasefire deal that had called for the two nations to coordinate airstrikes — in large part to prevent incidents like Saturday's horrific bombing attack against Syrian forces — and came with a demand by the White House for the so-called moderate rebels to disband for the al-Nusra Front with whom they have been embedded with in recent weeks.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/news/20160918/1045422697/russia-churkin-coalition-airstrike-syria.html

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Yeah, I think you could make a very good argument that this was an entirely predictable barbarism by the US regime. The so-called ceasefires, to date, have simply been opportunities for the US-Israeli-Gulf State-Turkish sponsored terrorists to "reload".

I'd like to see the Russians "reload" on the American heads. What a despicable regime! Just imagine how much worse it will be with neo-con "queen of chaos" Clinton, or the loose cannon of Donald Trump, in the Oval Office, instead of "liberal" B. Obama!

They literally don't care if they start World War III. But, no doubt, here on babble and elsewhere, it's "Russia's fault".

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:

...original source FNA Tehran

Ok...

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

...original source FNA Tehran

Ok...

So what, you don't think this happened?

iyraste1313

Churkin said, "If what Ambassador Power has done today is any indication of their possible reaction then we are in serious trouble."

...from UPI

in reference to Power´s claims that the emergency security council call was a cheap trick......

....what is now clear is that the ceasefire is collapsing, Russia will not trust the USA Alliance again, meaning full out efforts to eliminate the terrorist mercenary groups including some of ¨our allies¨...which inevitably will lead to direct confrontations between the major nuclear powers...

so is this the threat we are willing to live under, or worse deny its existence in spite of the evidence?

...just living in lala land with our heads in the sand? Is this what rabble activists suggest? 

iyraste1313

Commenting on the actual US strikes which killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded around 100 others near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, on the front line of the struggle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Machon hinted that Washington’s decision to attack Syrian forces was likely premeditated.

“I find it slightly unbelievable that the Americans could hit this target thinking this was ISIS when in fact ISIS is laying siege to the city. And the Syrian forces for years now have been known to be holed up in that city. So it seems just strange that the Americans are just saying it was a bit of a mistake,” Machon told RT.....

...the point is of course that Russia now has enough evidence to demonstrate US´s duplicity. This now is their belief! Which means a game changer re their strategy....

 

iyraste1313

from Alalam...

Also on Sunday, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman blasted Washington over the recent airstrikes near Deir Ezzor, and said such moves serves the interests of the ISIS terror group.

“If previously we had suspicions that Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) is protected this way, now, after Saturday airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending the ISIL,” Maria Zakharova said.

“We demand a full and detailed explanation from Washington. That explanation must be given at the UN Security Council,” she added.

Russia has demanded full and detailed explanation from Washington over the incident in Deir Ezzor, in which 62 Syrian troops were killed and over 100 injured.

 

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

...original source FNA Tehran

Ok...

So what, you don't think this happened?

Oh it happened all right and in my opinion it wasn't an accident.  Not that I can prove it but everyone here seems to have forgoten about the Russians bombing a US SF run training base in Syria a few weeks ago. I'm willing to bet more than just Syrian soldiers were killed in that air strike.

That's all I have to say abut this.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

At least one commentator has noted that the Syrian Arab Army has said that, with the barbarous NATO atrocity (killing 82 soldiers and wounding 100), the ceasefire is dead.

Quote:
Syria military declares ceasefire over [15:30 GMT]

Syria’s military command has declared the US-Russian brokered ceasefire over, blaming the country’s rebel groups for undermining the agreement. In a statement Monday, the Syrian military said that “armed terrorist groups” repeatedly violated the ceasefire which came into effect last week. It said the armed groups also took advantage of the truce to mobilize and arm themselves while attacking government-held areas. The statement said the rebels wasted a “real chance” to stop the bloodshed. Activists and rebel groups also accuse the government of violating the ceasefire. The UN said the Syrian government has obstructed the delivery of aid, a key component of the deal. (AP)

Assad's reply to the US/NATO attack on Syria ...

Quote:
Assad calls raid that hit Syria army ‘flagrant American aggression’ [14:45 GMT]

President Bashar Assad on Monday described the deadly US-led coalition raid on his forces in eastern Syria at the weekend as “flagrant American aggression”. Speaking to Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Assad accused world powers of supporting “terrorist organizations” in Syria like the Islamic State jihadist group. “Every time the Syrian state makes tangible progress either on the ground or towards national reconciliation, anti-Syrian states increase their support of terrorist organizations,” Assad said in comments published by state news agency SANA. “The latest example of this is the flagrant American aggression on one of the Syrian army’s positions in Deir Ezzor to the benefit of Daesh” on Saturday, he added, using the Arabic acronym for IS. (AFP)

Way to go, USA. Truly, an evil Empire. The United States of Daesh.

 

Doug Woodard

Making sense of the Middle East:

http://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-midea...

I've been wondering for years about where a potential gas pipeline from the Persian Gulf to Europe fitted into the whole mess; it's such a natural, especially if there could be joint supply from Iran and Qatar. Most interesting. As I understand it, the world ranking of natural gas reserve holders runs:

1. Russia

2. Iran

3. Qatar

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Yeah, the political economy of oil and gas is critical. Anyone who ignores this issue really isn't serious or is seriously trying to evade this key explanatory component/causal element of conflict in this part of South West Asia (aka the Middle East).

Qatar, Turkey and Israel [and their masters in Washington] had plans to exclude Iran and Russia from a pipeline. The Russians and Iranians, while economic rivals to no small degree, have a common interest in more stable markets and a means of connecting their supply with European markets. China also figures in this, no doubt, with its giant appetite for basic resources in their massive economy. OBOR or "One Belt One Road" is their plan.

So, one the one hand you have plans for a Sunni fundamentalist Caliphate in Syria, a failed state with a few rump fiefdoms, and therefore a route through which Qatari and Gulf State commodities can flow, or a rival version which allows Iranian and Russian commodities to flow.

It's the oil and gas. This simple analysis goes a long way towards explaining the endless determination of the US, and its regional satellites and "allies", to carry out regime change in Syria, isolate Iran and Russia, and pet their client dictatorship regimes into a happy, purring state of mind.

Based on solid political economy, one can better understand contradictory elements: a US-Iran deal that seems to indicate a thaw in relations while showing, in rather short order, the exact opposite; a US-Russia brokered ceasefire in Syria that ends with the "accidental" NATO slaughter of dozens of Syrian Army regulars; and so on.

It's a fair question to ask - why take sides at all? Why not a pox on all their houses? Well, the truth is that some countries support stability, and some do not. The hegemon, which is the USA, quite literally is happy with plan "B" of general chaos if plan "A" doesn't pan out. This flows from an inexorably declining Empire and well-publicized US doctrine, never repudiated, of the "invaluable country" which cannot allow any regional rival to develop.

Quite simply, all those who oppose the Empire die. And one has to admit a certain degree of success in this barbarous doctrine.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Air Force of Daesh includes the following countries:

Quote:
The US air strikes on the Syrian army, killing 62 soldiers, injuring over 100, and helping ISIS fighters advance to take over a key airport in Deir Ezzor, was not a solo mission. It was a “coalition” effort.

A coalition effort to provide air support to ISIS. The countries that are fighting along side ISIS, with the goal to remove Assad are:

  1. Denmark
  2. Australia
  3. The United Kingdom

The UK is one of three countries that has now admitted it provided air support to ISIS fighters in Syria

......................................................................................................................................

Will Canada be the next NATO regime to join the terrorist club?

 

 

iyraste1313

Quite simply, all those who oppose the Empire die. And one has to admit a certain degree of success in this barbarous doctrine.....

...I´ve read 5 trillion and counting on their recent mid east wars...their degree of success is very short term...the country is bankrupt, and their main profitable industry left, war!is what has fueled these wars....soon, and when their finacial empire collapses...the wars will come home......and Trump will oversee the totalitarian state in response...

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