Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Putin, Turks Agree to Patrol Syrian Border, Disarm Kurds. But Will Damascus Get Its Oil Back?

by Pepe Escobar, Russia Insider:

Russia-Turkey deal establishes ‘safe zone’ along Turkish border and there will be joint Russia-Turkey military patrols

The negotiations in Sochi were long – over six hours – tense and tough. Two leaders in a room with their interpreters and several senior Turkish ministers close by if advice was needed. The stakes were immense: a road map to pacify northeast Syria, finally.

The press conference afterwards was somewhat awkward – riffing on generalities. But there’s no question that in the end Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan managed the near impossible.

Iraqi Defense Minister Says to US Military: ‘You Have 4 Weeks to Leave’

from 21st Century Wire:

After the dramatic announcement by Washington that it would be removing its troops from Syria, it seems that the Trump Administration wasn’t telling the full story.

This week, we learned that Trump has already back-tracked on his pledge, leaving some of America’s troops and heavy assets around the area of Deir Ezzor, Syria, allegedly in order to “guard Syria’s oil from ISIS“.

In addition to this, Washington has also casually laid out its supposed ‘exit plan’ which includes repositioning US troops over the border into neighboring Iraq – to be ‘on call’ in case ISIS suddenly emerges.

Is Syria Withdrawal a Prelude to a US Build-up Against China?

from Russia Insider:

Much to Washington’s dismay, China is gaining further momentum in the Indo-Pacific region. As the US president pretends to deploy a hands-off approach to the Middle East, expect China’s gains to fare in the news more often.

The reason the US might be (at least, on the face of it) caring less about the Middle East and the situation in Syria is that Washington has a new priority theater it is allocating its time and resources to focus on: the Indo Pacific. In that vein, you may start to notice that China and its relationship to the Pacific region is starting to make headlines again.

“No Approval To Stay”: Iraq Rejects Pentagon Plan To Relocate US Troops From Syria

from Silver Doctors:

American forces withdrawing from Syria into western Iraq have not been issued permission to stay in the country…

from Zero Hedge

American forces withdrawing from Syria into western Iraq have not been issued permission to stay in the country, an official Iraqi government statement has warned, saying further only brief “transit” approval has been given.

Can Trump Survive Ending Project Syria?

by Tom Luongo, Strategic Culture:

From the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Davos) announced reluctantly that impeachment proceedings would begin against President Trump I knew this was about his shift in Middle East policy.

It happened on Terrible Tuesday where both Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were handed smackdowns by their respective Deep States over their plans to unwind multiple decades of aggressive foreign policy on the one hand and subjugation to the growing European Union on the other.

Now that Trump has fully embraced ending some of the US’s involvement in Syria the knives have come out in full. There have been nothing but howls of pain from every corner of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism on both sides of the domestic political aisle, about how Trump is unfit for office because he abandoned the heroic Kurds to genocide by the Turks after fighting for freedom against the brutal Bashar al-Assad.

2020 Insight: Democrats Have No Answer to Trump’s Anti-War Posture

by Maj. Danny Sjursen, 21st Century Wire:

I hate to say I told you so, but well … as predicted, in the wake of Trump’s commanded military withdrawal from northeast Syria, the once U.S.-backed Kurds cut a deal with the Assad regime. (And Vice President Mike Pence has now brokered a five-day cease-fire.) Admittedly, Trump the “dealmaker” ought to have brokered something similar before pulling out and before the Turkish Army—and its Sunni Arab Islamist proxies—invaded the region and inflicted significant civilian casualties.

One must admit that a single phone call between Trump and President Erdogan of Turkey has turned the situation in Syria upside down in just over a week. The Kurds have requested protection from Assad’s army, Russian troops are now patrolling between the Kurds and invading Turks, and the U.S. is (for once) watching from the sidelines.

Big Win in Syria: US Avoids Headache, Turkey Secures its Border, Russia Brokers Peace

from Russia Insider:

What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:

“It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive.  And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

SYRIA: Buried in the US-Turkey ‘Ceasefire’ Deal Are More Seeds of Instability

from 21st Century Wire:

Yesterday, the US and Turkey reached a supposed ‘ceasefire’ arrangement which will temporarily halt a Turkish military incursion and attack on Kurdish forces in Syria. The deal was apparently finalised after a face-to-face meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence. While this engineered “pause” in fighting offers a temporary calm, the situation remains tense and fraught with endemic conditions that could lead a resumption of hostilities. Those conditions include the ulterior agendas of Turkey and the US which are sure to antagonise Damascus and its allies going forward. Reading between the lines, this latest US-brokered ‘peace plan’ still leaves the door open for long-range US regime change plans for Syria. 

US Magazine Believes This is Real Russian Doomsday Weapon

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from Sputnik News:

Last month, the newspaper Izvestia cited a Russian Navy General Staff source as saying that the new Borei-class attack submarine Knyaz Oleg (Prince Oleg), equipped with 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles, is due to join the country’s Pacific Fleet in 2020.

In an opinion piece for the US magazine National Interest, American military expert Sebastien Roblin specifically focused on Russia’s 4th generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), describing the Borei-class vessels as Moscow’s “real doomsday device”.

No More Blank Check: Syria Withdrawal Signals to Saudis That They Cannot Count on US Fighting Their Wars

from Russia Insider:

Russia Insider Tip Jar – Keep truth alive!

President Donald Trump could have been more deft and diplomatic in how he engineered that immediate pullout from northeastern Syria.

Yet that withdrawal was as inevitable as were its consequences.

Erdogan Holding 50 US Tactical Nukes ‘Hostage’ As Trump Authorizes Sanctions

from ZeroHedge:

Amid all the media and pundit outrage since Turkey’s President Erdogan launched his so-called ‘Operation Peace Spring’ into northeast Syria last week, vowing to wipe out Syrian Kurdish forces who’ve long held the border areas, what’s been largely missing is acknowledgement of the uncomfortable fact that NATO ally Turkey has long hosted a major portion of America’s nuclear Cold War-era arsenal stored across Europe.

Washington is Wrong Once Again – Kurds Join Assad to Defend Syria

by Ron Paul, Ron Paul Institute:

When President Trump Tweeted last week that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars,” adding that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Washington went into a panic. Suddenly Republicans, Democrats, the media, the think tanks, and the war industry all discovered and quickly became experts on “the Kurds,” who we were told were an “ally” being sent to their slaughter by an ignorant President Trump.

But it was all just another bipartisan ploy to keep the “forever war” gravy train rolling through the Beltway.

IT’S MIDDLE EAST MAYHEM AS U.S. PULLS OUT ALL TROOPS IN FRONT OF RAPIDLY ADVANCING TURKISH ARMY LEAVING SYRIA IN THE HANDS OF ERDOGAN AND PUTIN

by Geoffrey Grinder, Now The End Begins:

The fast-deteriorating situation was set in motion last week, when Trump ordered U.S. troops in northern Syria to step aside, clearing the way for an attack by Turkey, which regards the Kurds as terrorists. Since 2014, the Kurds have fought alongside the U.S. in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, and Trump’s move was decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally. Over the past five days, Turkish troops and their allies have pushed their way into northern towns and villages, clashing with the Kurdish fighters over a stretch of 200 kilometers (125 miles). The offensive has displaced at least 130,000 people. On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger of getting caught in the crossfire.