We managing to shoot ourselves in the foot at every turn in Syria. Turkey and their FSA puppets in the north have launched an offensive not against Daesh but against the YPG and the SDF (Allies of the US against Daesh). The YPG and the SDF have basically been abandoned and betrayed by the United States and will eventually run to the welcoming arms of Assad and the Russians. Several villages around Marea in northern Syria have been bombed and attacked by the Turkish Air Force and by the FSA.
The United States was either out foxed by President Erdogan of Turkey or, as many have said privately and Russia publicly, that the United States no longer has any control over Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This leaves the entire Syrian conflict in the hands of Russia to do what ever it wants. Russia can now point to US inconsistent policy in one day fighting Daesh and on another allowing Turkey to bomb the YPG which Washington has called the only effective force against Daesh. If anyone was still considering the FSA as legitimate then this campaign makes it clear that they are nothing more than mercenaries for Ankara, Doha and Riyadh.
At the end, Russia will now be viewed as the more reliable ally on the ground. The US has flipped flopped so many times that its word means nothing to the Syrians, the Kurds and even the Iraqis. In all my years, I have never seen a complete collapse of US foreign policy on this scale since the Iraq invasion. At least in Iraq, the Neocons made the decision and then manufactured the evidence to get support. It was an American decision and no one or no fact was going to change the decision. In Syria, America is no longer making any decisions and we look like amateurs that have been fooled not once, not twice but multiple times by even our own so called Allies. It seems that the old guard at the State Department, CIA, and the Pentagon have all retired and left the reigns to a bunch of incompetent morons that would have a hard time of even point out Aleppo on a map.
PS Secretary Clinton, Mosul is not on the Syrian border far from it.
Donald Trump pushed all of Hillary Clinton’s buttons at the Alfred Smith charity dinner in New York. You have to agree that between him and the Wikileaks emails the status quo is feeling a little nervous. The Republican and Democratic party are both taking a beating from within and independent candidates are starting to look more an more attractive.
Mosul is an important city of 1.8 million in predominantly Sunni area of Iraq. The question is what will all the major players in the battle to retake it from Daesh do after it is retake from Daesh? The kurds, Turks, Iraqi government, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Shia militias, Sunnis, Russia and the United States all have different agendas. The question of the city’s future is also the question of Iraq’s future. Will the parties come together to find compromise for peace or is it just another reason for continuous war and animosity between rival interests? Let’s look at the interests of the major players and his they differ.
The Sunnis want control of the city and have it be the capital of either a independent state or autonomous province of Iraq. The Sunnis since the fall of Saddam have been sidelined by Iranian backed parties and militias. They feel that their power has been eroded and their control of the country taken away. This explains why Mosul was quickly taken over by Daesh with the cooperation of local tribes which either fought with or stayed on the sidelines and watch the Iraqi Army flee the city. To this group we must add former Baath party members and former Saddam Hussein army loyalist to the batch of Daesh collaborators. Will they continue their support for subversive actions against the Iraqi central government or try to reconcile? I believe that they will do the later only because they are in a weaken position and cannot by themselves take the city let alone the province of Anbar back without a disastrous consequences to the Sunnis population living there. Their hope lies with the pressure the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia taking an active role to negotiate favorable terms for a autonomous province. The Iraqi Kurds will also favor this in my mind to lessen the reach of the central government and stay in good terms with Turkey and the United States.
Iran would like to increase the control and influence of the Iraqi government further north but they also have good relations with the Iraqi Kurds and would be amiable to a weak Anbar province with some autonomy but still firmly under the control of Bagdad. Their main interest would be to pacify the province, marginalize the Sunnis without causing another rebelion. Another step would be to use the Shia militias and potentially the Iraqi in an offensive on the Syria-Iraqi border against Daesh. They could push on to Deir Ezzooz in the hopes of relieving the surrounded Syrian Army there. This will make the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar uneasy and difficult for them to support such a push that will aid Assad and potentially drive thousands of Daesh foreign fighters home to Europe. Tens of thousands of militias and Iraqi Army troops crossing the border could potentially free up the Syrian Army to concentrate on other groups especially in province of Aleppo the which could mean the defeat of the opposition and any chance of regime change.
The Saudis and I would have to add the Gulf States would like to see Daesh survive and live to fight another day. This would be their first choice. They would like to maintain a level of conflict in Iraq in order to tie up Iranian Shia militias and the Queds Force in Anbar. This make them split resources between Iraq and Syria and limit their effectiveness. If Daesh is pushed out of Iraq they would do everything possible to stop the Iraqi Army from pursuing them into Syria via diplomatic pressure and Security Council resolutions. But Russian veto will make this vertually impossible. Their only recourse will be to try to either spur another rebellion or more overtly arm and finance Daesh. The first will be more difficult without direct US support and the later more likely.
The United States will try to bring everyone at the table but will have a hard time getting all the different parties together. Another issue is can the US even find or create a unified Iraqi Sunni leadership to sit at the table? The Kurds and the Shia will most likely find faults or deligilimatize anyone the U.S. will sit in front of them.The U.S. will find an ally in Turkey and Saudi Arabia but their interests are not aligned with ours. This will be an uphill battle to get anything resembling a truely autonomous Anbar province whereby the Sunnis don’t feel betrayed. The US will also try to block any attempt by Shia militias and the Iraqi Army to push to the border. Damascus would certainly give a public and under international law a legal invitation to Bagdad to cross the border to chase Daesh. This will be an embarrassment to Washington and very difficult to publicly denounce since it would be in the name of defeating Daesh a public policy of the United States for years now.
Russia only cares about Russia. It does not see Iran’s rising influence in the region as a threat and actually welcomes it in order to undermine US hegemony in the area, weaken Saudi Arabia, contain Islamists in Afghanistan and the Middle East and last of all but very importantly make sure that natural gas never flows from the Gulf all the way to Europe.Russia would welcome central government control over Mosul and any push into Syria by the Iraqis. Recently the Russians have made overtures to Ankara as well as to the Kurds both in Syria and Iraq. Any move by Turkey to placate the Kurds will surely be made with grand statements of supports for Kurdish rights. The Russians are the ones with the least to lose but will be winners no matter the outcome in Mosul and because of this will support and undermine all parties simultaneously.
For Turkey the issue is how best to maintain Sunni control of Anbar, weaken Iran and Assad, keep the Iraqi Kurds in check, and not seem to be aiding Daesh. This would be literally a catch 22. If they support the Sunnis too much the Kurds will feel betrayed for not gaining anything. This will make their policy of not aiding their brothers in Syria more difficult for their populace to continue to accept.The Iranian government will be more confrontational with Turkey and could push for move involvement in Syria. If they abandon the Sunnis then an Iranian backed government wins more control and the Kurds will seize the opportunity for expantion. Their best bet would be to let all win but not too much. A weaken Sunni minority with some autonomy, an Iarqi central government mostly back in control of Anbar and some territorial consentions to the Kurds. A tough pill to swallow to say the least and even harder to balance.
Another party to this great game as some have called is Israel. They have been able to mostly stay out of the limelight but have been engaged quietly in the the Middle East chaos. The Mossad and the IDF has been covertly acting in the conflict from giving medical support to rebels on the Golen Heights, to occasionally bombing Syrian targets and assassinating Hezbollah fighters, and supplying weapons and intelligence to various groups fighting Assad. Based on speeches of several current and former military and intelligence officers, they would like nothing more then to have the war continue in Syria and in Iraq to bleed and occupy Iran and Hezbollah. For them the war is not about Daesh or even Assad but the fear of growing Iranian influence on their door step. They will try to continue the destabilization of both countries in order to check Iran even if it means Daesh surviving.
The battle for Mosul has started and will last months if Daesh puts up a fight. Some are trying to avert the bloodshed but not for the reasons you believe. The Saudis have been hard at work trying to broker a deal to move thousands of Daesh fighters out of Mosul and into to Syria to fight Assad. This according to some has already been agreed upon and that up to 9,000 Daesh terrorists have or will be given safe passage out.
The Saudis and the Qataris would like to see these terrorist live to fight another day and especially against Assad. This is another one of those times when you can say that not only does history repeats itself but stupidity too. Short term thinking just like in Afghanistan in the 80’s will lead to more terrorism and more attacks around the world. In the 80’s the Saudis and the US government supplies arms and recruited tens of thousands of Jihadist to fight communism in Afghanistan. This idea was probably perceived as being brilliant and no one around the table raised their hand to ask what happens after? Where will they go after? Will they turn against us? Well they did and Al-Qaeda was born and you know the rest of that story.
Now we have John Kerry and the Saudis trying their best to help a sworn enemy of both and loyal affiliate of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra (refuse to use new brand name) to be saved from Russian and Syrian airstrikes. The excuse is that the remaining surviving moderate (BS) opposition are fighting, sleeping and eating with Al-Nusra and cannot be easily separated. After more than 6 months of trying to so called separate the moderates from the extremists it is clear that either this a ploy to shield and legitimize Al-Nusra or the US and Saudis have no real control over the rebels. You pick but either one is bad. Either way the Russian should just go ahead and bomb the hell of them.
Yes, yes in Aleppo we hear about atrocities, but the Russian’s are striking legitimate terrorists. No one refutes the facts that Al-Nusra is a terrorist group and that their fighters are in Aleppo. On the flip side no one talks of the daily shelling of government controlled areas or that 3x more people live in those areas versus rebel controlled. No one talks about maybe the people living in rebel Aleppo might actually be nothing more than hostages at this point. If a bunch of terrorists are in a house, you bomb the house. Collateral damage will occur and no one denies that but let us be honest, we coined that term for a reason. No one in the West questioned the heavy bombing of Lebanon by the IDF in 2006. Heavy civilian loses occurred and everyone blamed Hezbollah for firing rockets near or in civilian areas. Or how about the thousands of civilians killed in Yemen by bad intelligence provided by the CIA and the Pentagon and bombed by poorly trained Saudi pilots. No uproar there.
The US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and the UK once again believe that they can control these groups and have them do their bidding in Syria (Weaken Iran/Hezbollah, remove Assad is just tool to that end). They believe that in the worse case scenario they can keep this war going and hope it never ends (which it will later rather than sooner) because they know that when it will end the thousands of trained heavily armed professional Jihadists will go somewhere else. You can guess where. This time a war in Chechnya, the Balkans, and in Algeria will not occupy them like it did in the 90’s. That is the only reason we didn’t have a 911 in 90’s and only had a World Trade bombing and the embassy bombing in Dar El Salaam.
I hope that in Mosul no deal will be given and that all parties will actually work with each other after taking the city. The Kurds, Sunni militias, Shia Militias, Turks, Americans and the Iraqi government all have different agendas and makes keeping the peace there very difficult at best and that is whole other story.
PS no general here but I would have taken all the towns on the Iraqi-Syrian border first cutting off supply, and communication lines. You can’t win a war if they can just cross back over the border (example: Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Colombia, Kashmir).
Democrats are cheering the Republican party imploding but they will soon weep since this carefully crafted and money driven political system only works if you have a facade of a 2 party system. The entire political system is imploding with the revelations of Wikileaks emails and having a guy like Trump actually.
Story after story, leak after leak are showing a direct link between the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and the media. All three colluded to undermine the Sanders campaign. Now of course Sanders has been a good soldier and has fallen in line and will disregard all these stories and facts but what about his supporters? Do you think the millennials are going to vote again after the Sanders fiasco? Not only have they been disillusioned by the way the system has worked to destroy their beliefs but their own man has betrayed them at the end for God knows what perks. Maybe a cushy job after retirement? A new lake house? We will ever know but will fuel the conspiracy stories and either way these millennials sander supporters are no longer democrats.
On the Republican side we already had a split between the establishment and the partially Koch brother controlled and funded tea party. Then Trump happened. A guy that came basically came out of nowhere, with no political carrier, no big donors, and not in line with the establishment or the Koch brothers. What happened? The tea party, the evangelicals, the middle of the country and the poor and uneducated (70% of the country) jumped ship and ran to Trump. By the way this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Hillary Clinton running for president. If she had not run, Trump would have had no chance and the current situation averted. The result a civil war according to the media but I rather call it a revolution since the masses rose up against the few at the top. If and when Trump loses who do you think the base (the masses) are going to blame? Trump? Nope they will blame the Republican party and will believe even more that the system is rigged and their vote in undermined by the elites and the establishment. The election is historical but not for the same reasons the pundits are saying.
History will not be kind to Hillary Clinton or Trump. They will be blamed for the destruction of the political system. So what will the big donors and the people that pull the strings going to do? Well if your money and influence is being threatened then you pull it from the establish parties (Dems/Republicans) and use it to high jack the growing discontented. The next decade is going to be very interesting and sadly dangerous. As other countries question are influence around the world and with political chaos at home, I fear that we will react with nationalism and more idiotic adventures overseas to stem the bleeding. Politicians are politicians no matter the century no matter the civilization and that is why history repeats itself.
Watch this vide where CNN reporter coaches so called independent voters what to say before asking them the question. LOL maybe CNN should call FOX and ask them how they do it.
This is one is from RT, yes the big bad Russians, but hey they do much better reporting than CNN most of the time and when they talk about Putin at least the name of the channel tells you which way they lean so you are not shocked. In this video a CNN focus group member is ticked off because they re-taped until the group voted the way they wanted them to.
PS the establishment long term politicians left and right, the media, corporations all want you to vote Hillary. Should be obvious to you by now. So be a good sheep and follow.
The United States, Russia, Israel, France and the United Kingdom are all flying around the same airspace dropping bombs and firing missiles at each other’s proxies but oh no someone said “grab them by the p****”. Drop everything. Cancel the Security Council meeting on Syria, recall FIMA from Florida and Georgia, forget about Haitians aren’t dying of Cholera it’s just a little brown water and it’s going to Ok since the Clinton Foundation will take all the reconstruction money, call off the search for the Syrian born bomber in Germany, and quick someone ask Clinton what she thinks but do it in private so we actually know what she thinks.
Wow I hate Trump but come on, the American press is going over board on this one. Russia just beef up it’s air defenses and threatened to shoot down any American aircraft’s if they attack Syrian army positions. Really a potential for conflict that would lead to an all out nuclear confrontation and the extermination of the human race and all the talk is about p****. Let’s be honest the press by any definition can no longer call itself the press. All these pressing important stories and Trump is on the front page of every website and newspaper in the United States. 9 Americans are dead, billions of dollars of damage but not p**** is more important. Trump said something bad lewd and unacceptable things but front page especially since this story was 11 years in the making and was release only hours after the bombshell Clinton leaks. Talk about drowning out a story with another story. What is worse a sexist disgusting moron or untrustworthy 2 faced politicians?
The Clinton campaign hand in hand with the press released the Trump story to drown out the damming emails that basically shows how she is not only for TPP but wants to expand free trade in the Americas and create a EU systems with free trade and open borders. She is in the pockets of big banks and Wall street and basically says “I mean, politics is like sausage being made,” she said. “It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.” Really that is the definition of 2 faced, public and private position.
My favorite is how she describes the security requirements of the State Departments during visits to China and Russia but to the FBI she says she didn’t get any guidance about the mail server and security briefings about it. This is what she said
“And we knew it was going on when I would go to China, or I would go to Russia, we would leave all of our electronic equipment on the plane, with the batteries out, because this is a new frontier,”. So you know they can hack you and you did get briefings about security so why did she still maintain a private email server? It wasn’t about security but hiding her emails from Freedom of Information Act. So in order to drown out the story the p**** story came out while never confirming nor denying the content of the emails but point to the Russian and have John Podesta infer the emails are fake without ever showing evidence “. Don’t have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked…”.
I think it is time that Clinton releases all the transcripts of the speeches she made behind close doors and Trump releases his taxes. Fair is fair. Let’s have mutually assured political destruction. This is the sad state of our broken political system and non existent press. One side we have a crude unpolished sexist big mouth incapable of restraint moron and the other a shrewd calculating power hungry untrustworthy corrupt. So are you ready to vote for Johnson or Stein? The only wasted vote is a vote for Clinton or Trump and against your good conscience.
Recently we have been seeing a lot of oinking around about how Republican nominee Donald Trump is a sexist and fat shames women. Some of these stories are true and he is a sexists and he should be ashamed of himself but lets not accept every story as true and slap everything on him. During the debate, Secretary Hillary Clinton set of a fire storm using allegations that Mr. Trump called a former beauty queen Miss Piggy due to the fact that according to many reporters “she gained a few pounds”.
I do believe that calling someone “Miss Piggy” is not politically correct and uncalled for. But this story has a twist and shows how our press cannot be called the press for their bias. Alicia Machado was actually a Miss Universe contestant and winner. She proudly represented her country of Venezuela in 1996 and was crowned Miss Universe. After her coronation, she gained not a few pounds as described in the current press but 50 to 60 pounds. A few would be 5 to 15 pounds.
As a Miss Universe contestant she signed a contract to represent the crown and fulfill her duties that included public appearances and marketing/promotional events. She was given a contract with Kellogg that featured her on their cereal boxes in her home country of Venezuela. Kellogg was not too happy and had to Photoshop her body on their boxes and decided not to renew her contract because of her weight.
The press at that time did not feel very obligated and ashamed to point out that she had gained a lot of weight. I submit this article from cnn at the time to showcase the rudeness of their reporting: http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9701/29/fringe/miss.universe/
CNN taught it was funny then to title the article “Expanding Miss Universe works to shed pounds”. Where are the apologizes from cnn and other news organizations for their demeaning words and fat shaming then and now? But even worse is how the press turns around 20 years later and only reports half the story. No reports from major news agencies have looked into to the story with any depth and accept Secretary Clinton’s story as true. The funniest thing was actually CNN posting an old video from 1997 that actually makes Mr. Donald trump look good. In this video Mr. Trump said that travel and tress can lead some to eat in her defense. Instead of stripping her of her crown, as some suggested, he got her in the gym to work out and help her lose weight and keep her crown. At one of these gym sessions he organized, he defended her again and pointed out that some in the press corps . If this was the case of weight discrimination then he would have publicly shamed her and stripped her of her crown. Check out the this video from the work out session back in 1997:
Facts must be presented and all the facts not just those that suit the narrative of some. Secretary Clinton’s attack on Donald Trump was not accurate and left out the fact that he helped her retain the crown and continue on as a model and an actress. At the end of the day, this was another one of those diversions for the public, wasting our time on nonsense instead of talking about the debt, Syria, immigration, low interest rates risk, low wages, slow economy, poor infrastructure, etc etc.
I will end by saying that both candidates are despicable and should be ashamed of even wanting to earn our vote and represent the people of this great nation in the oval office. The White House is too important and too respectable of an office to be tarnished by either one of these individuals.
PS I truly believe that reporters no longer have a dictionary next to their desks. How it is possible to have a tirade on twitter? 3 or 4 twits at 140 characters each is impossible to call a tirade. But please, fake press, please continue to not talk about policy and real issues. Please continue treating us like sheep and making us believe that the election is only about and between Trump and Clinton instead about us and our country.
Sorry I couldn’t help myself with the title but seriously Secretary Clinton has a beef with Johnson. I apologize again for going there. Clinton surrogates, MSNBC has been on the offensive trying to ridicule libertarian presidential candidate Johnson. MSNBC has been attacking Johnson for not knowing what Aleppo was and no being able to name a single foreign leader he admires. In his defense they are politicians just like ours so we could argue people shouldn’t admire them as well. Heck do all their citizens admire them?
CNN, another Clinton surrogate, also came out with the following article (http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/29/politics/gary-johnson-hillary-clinton-donald-trump/) very prominently titled: “Why is Gary Johnson still in the race?”. Really CNN, you couldn’t water down a little your overly enthusiastic support for Hillary Clinton just a tad. I have never seen CNN be so biased. Just check out some of the stuff they said:
“The Libertarian presidential candidate is the subject of intensifying ridicule”
“The gaffes, combined with his failure to make the debate stage and his infinitesimal chance of winning the White House”
Ouch. The worse thing this is not an opinion piece but one from Stephen Collinson who according to CNN is: “is a senior enterprise reporter for CNN Politics, covering the 2016 presidential campaign and politics across the United States and around the world.” I thing CNN should strike the word “reporter” from the profile.
So why all these attacks? The Clinton campaign is obviously worried that the race has tightened and any vote for Johnson or Stein could cost her the election. Her campaign and surrogates are going to do everything possible to tarnish, ridicule, and crush third parties in order to secure a victory in November. She is going against a moron with a big mouth that can’t himself and she is polling at a statistical tie. Just think about that for a second. She is perceived as being corrupt, unlikable, and untrustworthy that even against Donald Trump she is neck and neck with her. Her campaign is so worried that earlier today she said:
“Either Donald Trump or I will be the President of the United States,…” “People have to look carefully in making their decision. It will be either him or me.”
This was a clear message to all that Johnson or Stein should not be even considered. For me that is insulting to the American voter. I will vote for who I want and not based on who I think could or could not win.
Some of you might just be convinced that a vote for Johnson or Stein is a vote for Trump but let me paint you another picture. If Gary Johnson can carry his home state of New Mexico and and Clinton/Trump split votes and none achieve 270 electoral votes then no one can win the election. If that could happen then that will be the ultimate ups yours to the Democratic and Republican party. Just one state could send a powerful message that our democracy is not for sale. It’s a long shot but statistically possible since Johnson was a popular former governor of New Mexico and Ohio/Florida could go to Trump both states are too close to call.
With no winner the vote goes to the Congress with each state having 1 vote. Who ever wins the vote in the House of Representatives will undoubtedly have very little support from the people and then maybe our democracy will flourish by moving away from an artificially created two party system.