"Let's Pray This Works": Syria "Ceasefire" Begins After Russia Takes "Total Control" Of Country

Tyler Durden's picture

Last Monday, Washington and Moscow hailed an agreement that would see a temporary cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The “ceasefire” went into effect on Saturday and so far, so good. “Clashes and airstrikes across western Syria largely abated Saturday morning, as an internationally backed truce took hold in parts of the country where rebels have been fighting the regime,” WSJ reported this morning. Although the SAA apparently hit a few rebel positions east of Damascus, overall, “it was a calm morning.”

Russia said it would halt all flights over the country for the first 24 hours to avoid “mistakes” in targeting. "Given the entry into force of the U.N. Security Council resolution that supports the Russian-American agreements on a ceasefire, and to avoid any possible mistakes when carrying out strikes, Russian military planes, including long-range aviation, are not carrying out any flights over Syrian territory on Feb. 27," the Defense Ministry said.

By “mistakes” Moscow means hitting anyone other than al-Nusra or ISIS, who are not included in the agreement. Rebels, not to mention analysts, have argued that Russia and Hezbollah will be able to use al-Nusra as an excuse to continue the offensive against anti-Assad elements. While the ISIS presence is concentrated in eastern Syria, al-Nusra has positions in Aleppo City, the Jabal Turkman region of Northeastern Latakia, the Jabal Zawiya region in Southern Idlib Province, and the Quneitra Province along the Golan Heights. Just to name a few. That effectively means Russia can bomb anywhere along the country’s urban backbone in the west and claim to be targeting the group, which, you’re reminded, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.

(a captured ISIS fighter lets you know "who's number one")

The other important thing to note about the ceasefire is that Russia and Hezbollah were within a month or so of declaring victory when the deal was struck. The Iranians and Hassan Nasrallah had surrounded Aleppo and the YPG were about to cut off the Azaz corridor, the last remaining supply line from Turkey. Backed by Russian airstrikes, the Hezbollah offensive was racking up gains and it was just a matter of time before Aleppo city was recaptured by forces loyal to Assad.

That meant Russia was negotiating from a position of strength. “We are totally in control of the situation in all of the territory of Syria,” Sergei Rudskoi, head of the main operations directorate of the general staff said today.

The rebels echoed that sentiment in the days leading up to the ceasefire. Russia pounded anti-Assad positions all week in an apparent effort to cement gains and ensure the rebels loses are devastating enough that they can’t use the lull in fighting to regroup.  

"We are heading toward being liquidated I think," a former official in a rebel group from Aleppo told Reuters.

In other words, Russia and Iran have the rebels feeling like HY fund managers in a junk bond rout and the opposition is essentially finished.

(women walk amongst the ruins of a town in Hasaka)

Some rebel commanders say the Syrian army (or whatever is left of it) isn’t abiding by the truce. “In early reports of violence, a Syrian rebel group in the northwest said three of its fighters had been killed while repelling an attack from government ground forces a few hours after the plan came into effect,” Reuters reports. “There are areas where the bombardment has stopped but there are areas where there are violations by the regime such as Kafr Zeita in Hama, via targeting with artillery, and likewise in Morek in northern Hama countryside,” Fursan al-Haqq chief Fares Bayoush said on Saturday.

Importantly, it's not entirely clear what this is supposed to accomplish. "Let's pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better and hopefully something related to peace," U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a midnight news conference in Geneva.

While any day that innocent people aren't dying (or at least are dying less, because six people were killed in a suicide attack in Hama and three children died in Deir al-Zor in an "unspecified" attack) is a good day in Syria, this seems to be a road to nowhere. Aleppo is surrounded. There's no chance of the rebels rallying here. They'll either have to eventually surrender or they'll ultimately be starved out or overrun. There's no chance whatsoever that Assad is going give back the territory captured over the last two months. 

(a fighter from Islamist Failaq al-Rahman holds his weapon on Friday in Ghouta, the late Zahran Alloush's stronghold)

What seems likely is this: it would appear that this may be the prelude to what will amount to a negotiated surrender. If Russia can build up some goodwill with the rebels over the next week or so and if the Assad government can demonstrate a willingness to focus its attacks on "the terrorists" rather than the FSA, then perhaps the rebellion will be willing to accept defeat in exchange for some kind of seat at the table in a new government. 

Make no mistake, this is farcical. As long as Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah overtly back Assad and the Saudis and Turks are unwilling to provide the same level of support for the rebels, there are only two possible outcomes here: 1) the ceasefire collapses, Russia and Hezbollah overrun Aleppo, the rebellion goes the way of the dinosaurs, or 2) by some miracle (Allahu akbar) the rebels decide to lay down their guns in exchange for what will be billed as representation in a restructured government. But if you think that representation will be anything other than symbolic, and if you think Bashar al-Assad and the Alawites are going to establish some kind of democratic oasis in the Mid-East after seeing their country gutted by militants, you're sorely mistaken.

If anything, the last five years underscore Assad's cold, yet pragmatic assessment of his country's political prospects: "We do not claim that we did not make mistakes in Syria. And we do not claim that we, in the Middle East, have reached a stage of significant political openness. We were moving in that direction, not very quickly, and maybe slowly."

The implication there is simple: the region isn't ready for democracy and when you remove a Mid-East autocrat, you risk creating anarchy.

Photos: Retuers/AFP

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Looney's picture

<<< Syria ceasefire WILL NOT hold

<<< Syria ceasefire WILL hold


BTW, Russia has gone beyond the Russia-US agreement and unilaterally suspended all flights over the areas where the “moderate opposition” groups participating in the ceasefire are located, even if ISIS or al-Nusra groups (not covered by the ceasefire agreement) could be present.

Mr.Sono's picture

It will hold, Russia got s400 to maker sure. Now it's a ground play where there is no true western troops. Let's see what Putin is up to, turkey might start to invade? What will he do then? Wait and see game, now let's turn back to collapsing economy.

JRobby's picture

nuclear option

destroy all evidence

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

Can you imagine what would happen if Turkey invaded during a ceasefire, Putin would dominate the moral high ground and then nuke Erdo's ass. NATO might just say WTF and stay on the sidelines. I doubt Germany and the rest would come to Erdo's rescue. Turkey is not very popular in the West, one of the reasons it has been kept out of the EU.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

If Turkey crosses the border, NATO can wash their hands of this mess.....

J Jason Djfmam's picture

Why Nuke when you can Thermobaric?

flaunt's picture

The question in that scenario is what does Saudi Arabia do?  They have nukes too.  The main problem for SA is that they have to deliver their nukes by bomber, and Russia would almost certainly shoot it down before it ever got close to target.  Russia has been very measured in its approach so far, and Turkey is too afraid to massively invade Syria because they know they are the aggressors and NATO can't support them without destroying what credibility they have left.

Tall Tom's picture

NATO's credibility to who?


Let me give you a hint...


It is not about credibility.


Was 9/11 credible?

Was Hitler's false flag attack of his own radio Station on the Polish border credible?


Did the credibility of those events have any bearing on anything...when the result was the desired war?


When the Nukes fall I am not going to be that concerned about who is to blame.


I will be faced whith a much larger predicament to deal with and will not really sweat that problem.


It is like having two squabbling brats and a broken vase as a result.


They are each pointing at one another declaring that it is the other one's "fault".


It does nothing to repair the vase.


And both of them are getting their ass swatted.


Likewise I will be directing my wrath toward both Governments.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Ceasefire=resupply. It will be broken in some way or another and the end will be bloody......

monk27's picture

The Russians needed a break for their people and hardware. Resupply, fix the damaged gear, rotate some people. They've been going at an increddible rate for 20 weeks, way above what USAF did in its most intense Gulf War moments. However, springtime is a great season for offensives. Russians (of all people) would know that...

COSMOS's picture
  • This is the story behind the war in Syria. Many people, myself included, have been wondering why some countries have insisted that Assad must go, when such countries as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have more oppressive regime than Syria. And why Western powers have been supporting regimes that are worse than Syria? The answer is related to oil and pipeline for natural Gas that can be built through Syria..

    From an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, : Syria: Another Pipeline War 

    A Pipeline War
    In their view, our war against Bashar Assad did not begin with the peaceful civil protests of the Arab Spring in 2011. Instead it began in 2000 when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

    Qatar shares with Iran, the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world’s richest natural gas repository. The international trade embargo, until recently, prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad and ensured that Qatar’s gas could only reach European markets if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs.

    The proposed pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mid-East headquarters.

    The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry for the pipeline which would have given its members cheap energy and relief from Vladimir Putin’s stifling economic and political leverage. Turkey, Russia’s second largest gas customer, was particularly anxious to end its reliance on its ancient rival and to position itself as the lucrative transect hub for Asian fuels to EU markets. The Qatari pipeline would have benefited Saudi Arabia’s conservative Sunni Monarchy by giving them a foothold in Shia dominated Syria.

    Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin’s view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally.”

    Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mid-East and the world. 

    Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

    Assad’s regime was deliberately secular and Syria was impressively diverse. The Syrian government and military, for example, were 80 percent Sunni. Assad maintained peace among his diverse peoples by a strong disciplined army loyal to the Assad family, an allegiance secured by a nationally esteemed and highly paid officer corps, a coldly efficient intelligence apparatus and a penchant for brutality which, prior to the war, was rather moderate compared to other Mideast leaders, including our current allies.
    According to Hersh, “He certainly wasn’t beheading people every Wednesday like the Saudis do in Mecca.” Another veteran journalist, Bob Parry, echoes that assessment. “No one in the region has clean hands but in the realms of torture, mass killings, civil liberties and supporting terrorism, Assad is much better than the Saudis.”

    No one believed that the regime was vulnerable to the anarchy that had riven Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. By the spring of 2011, there were small, peaceful demonstrations in Damascus against repression by Assad’s regime. These were mainly the effluvia of the Arab Spring which spread virally across the Arab League states the previous summer. However, Huffington Post UK reported that in Syria the protests were, at least in part, orchestrated by the CIA. WikiLeaks cables indicate that the CIA was already on the ground in Syria.

    But the Sunni Kingdoms wanted a much deeper involvement from America. On Sept. 4, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms had offered to foot the bill for a US. invasion of Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad. “In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing, the way we’ve done it previously in other places [Iraq], they’ll carry the cost,” he stated. Kerry reiterated the offer to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27): “With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the costs of [an American invasion] to topple Assad, the answer is profoundly Yes, they have. The offer is on the table.”

    Despite pressure from Republicans, Barrack Obama balked at hiring out young Americans to die as mercenaries for a pipeline conglomerate. Obama wisely ignored Republican clamoring to put ground troops in Syria or to funnel more funding to “moderate insurgents.” But by late 2011, Republican pressure and our Sunni allies had pushed the American government into the fray.

    In 2011, the U.S. joined France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and England to form the “Friends of Syria Coalition,” which formally demanded the removal of Assad. The CIA provided $6 million to Barada, a British T.V. channel, to produce pieces entreating Assad’s ouster. Saudi intelligence documents, published by WikiLeaks, show that by 2012, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were arming, training and funding radical Jihadist Sunni fighters from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to overthrow the Assad’s Shia allied regime. Qatar, which had the most to gain, invested $3 billion in building the insurgency and invited the Pentagon to train insurgents at U.S. bases in Qatar. U.S. personnel also provided logistical support and intelligence to the rebels on the ground. The Times of London reported on Sept. 14, 2012, that the CIA also armed Jihadists with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons from Libyan armories that the agency smuggled by ratlines to Syria via Turkey. According to an April 2014 articleby Seymour Hersh, the CIA weapons ratlines were financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    The idea of fomenting a Sunni-Shia civil war to weaken the Syrian and Iranian regimes so as to maintain control of the region’s petro-chemical supplies was not a novel notion in the Pentagon’s lexicon. A damning 2008 Pentagon funded Rand report proposed a precise blueprint for what was about to happen. That report observes that control of the Persian Gulf oil and gas deposits will remain, for the U.S., “a strategic priority” that “will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

    Rand recommends using “covert action, information operations, unconventional warfare” to enforce a “divide and rule” strategy. “The United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch a proxy campaign” and “U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the sustained Shia-Sunni conflict trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world … possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

    WikiLeaks cables from as early as 2006 show the U.S. State Department, proposing to partner with Turkey, Qatar and Egypt to foment Sunni civil war in Syria to weaken Iran. The stated purpose, according to the secret cable, was to incite Assad into a brutal crackdown of Syria’s Sunni population.

    As predicted, Assad’s overreaction to the foreign made crisis—dropping barrel bombs onto Sunni strongholds and killing civilians—polarized Syria’s Shia/Sunni divide and allowed U.S. policymakers to sell Americans the idea that the pipeline struggle was a humanitarian war. When Sunni soldiers of the Syrian Army began defecting in 2013, the Western Coalition armed the “Free Syrian Army” to further destabilize Syria. The press portrait of the Free Syria Army as cohesive battalions of Syrian moderates was delusional. The dissolved units regrouped in hundreds of independent militias most of whom were commanded by or allied with Jihadi militants who were the most committed and effective fighters. By then, the Sunni armies of Al Qaeda Iraq (AQI) were crossing the border from Iraq into Syria and joining forces with the battalions of deserters from the Free Syria Army, many of them trained and armed by the U.S.

    Despite the prevailing media portrait of a moderate Arab uprising against the tyrant Assad, U.S. Intelligence planners knew from the outset that their pipeline proxies were radical jihadists who would probably carve themselves a brand new Islamic caliphate from the Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq. Two years before ISIS throat cutters stepped on the world stage, a seven-page Aug. 12, 2012 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), obtained by the right wing group Judicial Watch, warned that thanks to the ongoing support by U.S./Sunni Coalition for radical Sunni Jihadists, “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (now ISIS), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

    Using U.S. and Gulf State funding, these groups had turned the peaceful protests against Bashar Assad toward “a clear sectarian (Shiite vs Sunni) direction.” The paper notes that the conflict had become a sectarian civil war supported by Sunni “religious and political powers.” The report paints the Syrian conflict as a global war for control of the region’s resources with “the west, Gulf countries and Turkey supporting [Assad’s] opposition, while Russia, China and Iran support the regime.”

    The Pentagon authors of the seven-page report appear to endorse the predicted advent of the ISIS caliphate:
    “If the situation continues unravelling, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime.” The Pentagon report warns that this new principality could move across the Iraqi border to Mosul and Ramadi and “declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

    Of course, this is precisely what has happened. Not coincidentally, the regions of Syria occupied by ISIS exactly encompass the proposed route of the Qatari pipeline.
    But then in 2014, our Sunni proxies horrified the American people by severing heads and driving a million refugees toward Europe. “Strategies based upon the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend can be kind of blinding,” says Tim Clemente, who chaired the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force between 2004 and 2008 and served as liaison in Iraq between the FBI, the Iraqi National Police and the U.S. Military. “We made the same mistake when we trained the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The moment the Russians left, our supposed friends started smashing antiquities, enslaving women, severing body parts and shooting at us.”

    When ISIS’ “Jihadi John” began murdering prisoners on TV, the White House pivoted, talking less about deposing Assad and more about regional stability. The Obama Administration began putting daylight between itself and the insurgency we had funded. The White House pointed accusing fingers at our allies. On Oct. 3, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told students at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard that “Our allies in the region are our biggest problem in Syria.” He explained that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad” that they had launched a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” funneling “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons to Jihadists of the al-Nusra front and al-Qaeda”—the two groups that merged in 2014 to form ISIS.

    Biden seemed angered that our trusted “friends” could not be trusted to follow the American agenda. “ISI[S] is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion,” declared Obama, disassociating himself from the Sunni rebellion, “which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.” As if to demonstrate their contempt for America’s new found restraint, our putative allies, the Turks responded to the U.S. rebukes by shooting down a plane belonging to our other putative ally, the Russians—probably to spoil a potential deal between Russia and the U.S. that would leave Assad in power.

    Across the Mid-East, Arab leaders routinely accuse the U.S. of having created ISIS. To most Americans immersed in U.S. media perspective, such accusations seem insane. However, to many Arabs, the evidence of U.S. involvement is so abundant that they conclude that our role in fostering ISIS must have been deliberate. On Sept. 22, 2014, according to the New York Times, Iraqi leader, Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told Baghdad demonstrators that “the CIA created ISIS.” Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bahaa Al-Araji, echoed al-Sadr’s accusation. “We know who made Daesh,” Iraq’s Treasury Secretary, Haidar al-Assadi, told the Digital News Aggregate, “The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States, and the United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State.”

    In fact, many of the ISIS fighters and their commanders are ideological and organizational successors to the Jihadists that the CIA has been nurturing for 30 years. The CIA began arming and training the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in 1979 to fight the Soviets. Following the Soviet withdrawal, the CIA’s Afghan Mujahedeen became the Taliban while its foreign fighters, including Osama bin Laden, formed Al-Qaeda. In 2004, then British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that Al-Qaeda took its name—meaning “database” in Arabic—from the voluminous CIA database of Jihadists—Mujahedeen foreign fighters and arms smugglers trained and equipped by the CIA during the Afghan conflict.

    Prior to the American invasion, there was no Al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Bush destroyed Saddam’s secularist government and his viceroy, Paul Bremer, in a monumental act of mismanagement, effectively created the Sunni Army, now named ISIS. Bremer elevated the Shiites to power and banned Saddam’s ruling Ba’ath Party laying off some 700,000, mostly Sunni, government and party officials from ministers to school teachers. He then disbanded the 380,000 man army, which was 80 percent Sunni.

    Bremer’s actions stripped a million of Iraq’s Sunnis of rank, property, wealth and power; leaving a desperate underclass of angry, educated, capable, trained and heavily armed Sunnis with little left to lose. General Petraeus’ decision to import dirty war tactics, including torture and death squads, from the CIA’s El Salvador conflict in order to shock and awe the Sunni resistance, instead ignited a shockingly bloody spiral of sectarian violence that devolved quickly into escalating atrocities topped finally by the Sunni Army signature head cutting. The Sunni insurgency named itself Al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI).

    Beginning in 2011, our allies funded the invasion by AQI fighters into Syria. In June 2014 having entered Syria, AQI changed its name to ISIS. According to the New Yorker, “ISIS is run by a council of former Iraqi Generals … many are members of Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’ath Party, who converted to radical Islam in American prisons.” The $500 million in U.S. military aid that Obama did send to Syria almost certainly ended up benefiting these militant Jihadists. On Sept. 16, 2015, incredulous senators from the Armed Services Committee listened to U.S. General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, explain that the Pentagon had spent $500 million to train and arm “moderate” insurgents in Syria and had only “four or five reliable moderate fighters” to show instead of the promised 5,000. The remainder apparently deserted or defected to ISIS.

    Tim Clemente told me that the incomprehensible difference between the Iraq and Syria conflicts are the millions of military aged men who are fleeing the battlefield for Europe rather than staying to fight for their communities. “You have this formidable fighting force and they are all running away. I don’t understand how you can have millions of military aged men running away from the battlefield. In Iraq, the bravery was heartbreaking—I had friends who refused to leave the country even though they knew they would die. They’d just tell you it’s my country, I need to stay and fight,” Clemente said.

    The obvious explanation is that the nation’s moderates are fleeing a war that is not their war. They simply want to escape being crushed between the anvil of Assad’s Russian backed tyranny and the vicious Jihadi Sunni hammer that we had a hand in wielding in a global battle over competing pipelines. You can’t blame the Syrian people for not widely embracing a blueprint for their nation minted in either Washington or Moscow. The super powers have left no options for an idealistic future that moderate Syrians might consider fighting for. And no one wants to die for a pipeline.

    What is the answer? If our objective is long-term peace in the Mid-East, self-government by the Arab nations and national security at home, we must undertake any new intervention in the region with an eye on history and an intense desire to learn its lessons. Only when we Americans understand the historical and political context of this conflict will we apply appropriate scrutiny to the decisions of our leaders.

    Using the same imagery and language that supported our 2003 war against Saddam Hussein, our political leaders led Americans to believe that our Syrian intervention is an idealistic war against tyranny, terrorism and religious fanaticism. We tend to dismiss, as mere cynicism, the views of those Arabs who see the current crisis as a rerun of the same old plots about pipelines and geopolitics. But, if we are to have an effective foreign policy, we must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.

    It’s the only paradigm that explains why the GOP on Capitol Hill and the Obama administration are still fixated on regime change rather than regional stability, why the Obama administration can find no Syrian moderates to fight the war, why ISIS blew up a Russian passenger plane, why the Saudi’s just executed a powerful Shia cleric only to have their embassy burned in Tehran, why Russia is bombing non-ISIS fighters and why Turkey went out of its way to down a Russian jet. The million refugees now flooding into Europe are refugees of a pipeline war and CIA blundering.

    Clemente compares ISIS to Colombia’s FARC—a drug cartel with a revolutionary ideology to inspire its foot soldiers. “You have to think of ISIS as an oil cartel,” Clemente said. “In the end, money is the governing rationale. The religious ideology is a tool that inspires its soldiers to give their lives for an oil cartel.”

    Once we strip this conflict of its humanitarian patina and recognize the Syrian conflict as an oil war, our foreign policy strategy becomes clear. Instead, our first priority should be the one no one ever mentions—we need to kick our Mid-East oil jones, an increasingly feasible objective, as the U.S. becomes more energy independent. Next, we need to dramatically reduce our military profile in the Middle East and let the Arabs run Arabia. Other than humanitarian assistance and guaranteeing the security of Israel’s borders, the U.S. has no legitimate role in this conflict. While the facts prove that we played a role in creating the crisis, history shows that we have little power to resolve it.

    As we contemplate history, it’s breathtaking to consider the astonishing consistency with which virtually every violent intervention in the Middle East since World War II by our country has resulted in miserable failure. The long list of CIA and military adventures has each cost us dearly in national treasure, in liberty at home, in our moral authority abroad and in our national security. Without any memorable exception, every violent intervention has resulted in a catastrophic blowback far more costly to our country than any problems the authors our meddling intended to solve. Our mischief has neither improved life in the Middle East nor has it made America safer.

    A 1997 U.S. Department of Defense report found that “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Let’s face it, what we call the “war on terror” is really just another oil war. We’ve squandered $6 trillion on three wars abroad and on constructing a national security warfare state at home since oilman Cheney declared the “Long War” in 2001. The only winners have been the military contractors and oil companies who have pocketed historic profits. We have compromised our values, butchered our own youth, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, subverted our idealism and squandered our national treasures in fruitless and costly adventures abroad. In the process, we have turned America, once the world’s beacon of freedom, into a national security surveillance state and an international moral pariah.

    America’s founding fathers warned Americans against standing armies, foreign entanglements and, in John Adams’ words, “going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Those wise men understood that imperialism abroad is incompatible with democracy and civil rights at home. They wanted America to be a “city on a hill”—a model of democracy for the rest of the world.

    The Atlantic Charter echoed their seminal American ideal that each nation should have the right to self-determination. Over the past seven decades, the Dulles brothers, the Cheney Gang, the neocons and their ilk have hijacked that fundamental principle of American idealism and deployed our military and intelligence apparatus to serve the mercantile interests of large corporations and particularly, the petroleum companies and military contractors who have literally made a killing from these conflicts. It’s time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy. We should let the Arabs govern Arabia and turn our energies to the great endeavor of nation building at home. We need to begin this process, not by invading Syria, but by ending our ruinous addiction to oil.

Main_Sequence's picture

It would be folly to think that the Russians haven't been resupplying, maintaining, and rotating people in and out of the theater of operations in tandem.

WorkingClassMan's picture

Not only the Russians, but also the IRGC troops, SAA, NDF, Hezbollah and allied Shia militias need time to refit and resupply.  This ceasefire is to the moment the fist pulls back before the punch in the face of the terrorists.  Their chance to surrender and save face (and their lives) is now.  If they don't, the fist will fly, and teeth will leave the scene, stage left.

HowdyDoody's picture

The ceasefire does not apply to ISIS?Daesh/al Nusra/Jund al Aqsa and any other terrorist organisation listed in the UN agreement. Some 17 out of the 97 factions of the so-called Free Syrian Army have signed up to the ceasefire.

The pause by the RuAF will allow those outfits sticking to the ceasefire to be delineated from those who don't.

Demdere's picture

I think so.  The video of those Russian versions of TOWs used by Kurds and Yeminis convinced me.  If Russia can supply large numbers and train people in their use, very hard to hold broken ground or cities against them, impossible to attack.

Once those are on the battlefield, it is a logistics war and a meatgrinder.  Russia wins at logistics, locals and Iranians at least hold their own in the meatgrinder.

Nobody wins wars, but sometimes you can not lose.

XuscitizenSweden's picture

Ma'aleash......It doesn't matter in arabic.

It's popcorn time for us western non-combatants.


On a lighter note, of course it won't hold.

The AngloZionists & Türkïes are gonna do everything in their power to fuck the Iranians & Russians.

The unfortunate Syrian People are only pawns on the *Great Game* chessboard.


+1 "Syria ceasefire WILL NOT hold"


Winston Churchill's picture

ceasefire: A brief interlude while both sides reload.

Which way to the beach's picture

Reload. Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw on a truck with Texas plates. I'm not ignoring you, I'm reloading.



Whodathunkit's picture

The other bumper sticker in Tejas says:

Keep honking, I'm reloading

Eyeroller's picture

Ceasefire Headlines:  a brief interlude where stawks soar on the rumour and fail to re-trace on reality.

iggenFlot's picture

Can someone please get Vlad a decent set of lifts?

Baby Bladeface's picture

Monkey go to Prague, there is a good zoo you will enjoy your cage.

Demdere's picture

Thank God for Vlad.  Currently the only rational power on the planet also able to do anything.

Vlad is working in the worlds interest in peace, at the moment.  We can't point to a Western leader who even thinks peace is important.

I think peace is very important, am close to a single-issue voter, in fact.

9/11 FF and Sandy Hoax are very anti-peace and need investigated to get rid of the rot that is causing these wars.

open-range's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... www.wallstreet34.com

fattail's picture

Putin is winning why would they negotiate now with the rebels.  The time for the rebels to negotiate was the moment before Assad picked up the red phone and asked Putin to save his ass.

peddling-fiction's picture

Ceasefires are sometimes taken advantage of by regrouping, rebuilding, healing wounds and then getting on with the show again.

Mr.Sono's picture

You think Russia need to reload? Maybe the scum backs will leave there caves now.

Tall Tom's picture

Logisgtics are a bitch when engaged fighting in foreign wars.


See World War II...Patton's drive toward Berlin....halted....due to lack of fuel and ammo...intentionally done by US General Omar Bradley.


That war might have been officially over by Christmas Day, 1944.


The soft underbelly was poorly defended as the Maginot line had been stripped of armaments.


Hitler's Generals would have had to divert entire divisions away from the Eastern Front to bolster a Southern Front which would have allowed the Soviet advance to progress at a much more rapid pace.


But Stalin was promised Berlin at the meeting in Tehran, Iran. (Curious, isn't it?)


And since when does military tactical advantage and strategy override fuckin' politics?


But I digressed from the point.


Yes. Even Russia needs to reload.


It is not that Russia has an inferior force...because they do not have a inferior force.


But it is just a fact.

TheObsoleteMan's picture

Sorry Tom: but you are wrong about several points in your post: Patton wasn't halted because of a fuel shortage, he was halted because he was over running the points where he was told to halt, due to the the artificial "spheres of influence" lines that were politically agreed to much earlier. And no, German divisions would not have been pulled from the Seelow Heights to shore up the western allied fronts. In fact, after the Ruhr pocket collapsed, the western allies had an open road to Berlin if it wanted to do so, von Rundstedt said so in his memoirs.

Winston Churchill's picture

He may have already won,but this ceasefire is for a worldwide audience.He needs to appear to be


XuscitizenSweden's picture


Exactly my thoughts.

This is a only theatre, designed to win the PR-Public Relations war by Syria & Russia


A Re-Deployment Strategy (re-grouping/re-arming/ time delayment) by the US/Türkïes/WahabbiSauds/NATO/CIA

A Win-Win for both sides in the short term ie 1 month maximum.

The fireworks finalé start after the next western sponsored False Flag.

Global Observer's picture


He needs to appear to be Mr.Reasonable.

He already proved that when he called for the meeting between the rebels and the government. The West and its minions thought it was a show of weakness and started dictating which rebel groups will be part of the negotiations and which will not be. So he had to prove that Russia didn't need to negotiate and can help the government retake all of Syria militarily. Once that point has been made, the West and their minions needed an honourable way to come back to the negotiating table. This cease-fire is that. While Russia certainly means to prove that the West can do nothing once Russia gets involved, she certainly by no means intends to humiliate the West, which can have its own unintended consequences. Allowing the West to save the skins of those it openly supports while Russia continues to mop up those it covertly supports will help the West save face while Russia gets the job done. Handing Assad a military recapture of all of Syria is very much an option for Russia, but certainly not the first choice. The first choice is accomodatig the demands of non-Jihadist groups for a lasting peace in Syria. While Assad is certainly hugely popular in Syria, he did make mistakes in the past and it is important for those he alienated to understand that he realises his mistakes and that they will be safe under his rule. A military victory will result in a fragile peace. The only way for lasting peace is to prove to every non-Jihadist in Syria is that the only way they will achieve any part of their goals is to sit across a table and negotiate and then let the negotiations begin.

conscious being's picture

Great synopsis of the situation.

BorisTheBlade's picture

It wins him a couple of neutrals or even subjects among opposition, since he spared them and they already saw what alternative might be. Whoever is not clinically suicidal would get the message.

Demdere's picture

Certainly Mr. Rational, with good reasons for doing everything, reasons that seem to be leading events in a direction of peace.

And even peace throughout the ME, which is of course what the US and Israel DO NOT WANT.  And so the reason Russia is our great enemy.

Countries with governments of a certain type need enemies, and ours cultivates them well, more ripen every year.

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poor syrian people

first they are forced to practice their stupid filth of islam

then saudi arabia fucks them up


today  real syrian christian and nonmuslim population should be  25 million

instead there are only a few left


fuck stupid islam   muhhamad ruins every country

and muhhamad is now allied with usa and russia as they both are raising the islamo filth

Iwanttoknow's picture

Hey double digit Iq, post when you have anything remotely intelligent.

- - - - - -'s picture

hey muslim lover    post when you plugged out your lovely sand-nigger dick out of your ass and vagina


is it because i attacked you holy pootie?  


ohh  pootin         they guy who turned moscow into an islamic cow and said "russia dont belong to russians"



HowdyDoody's picture

I think you are being generous - he has 1.5 digits max.

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pootin the one who gave low end criminal chechens money and a autonomous region

pootin who turned russias inside into one big mosque

pootin who is replacing non-muslims with muslims

pootin who is allowing muslims from degestan and co. to buy up all real estate



woooooooooow what a graet leader  thank you putin for selling russia once again




well if would be the president of russia i would give every single muslim a bullet  - in the head

i would also remove islam from iran, tajikistan kirgistan, uzbekistan kazahstan and other


fuck your shittie pootie




Baby Bladeface's picture

My child, do not swear obscenities. To 14 years is strictly prohibited. Mamma will tell you the belt so gonna kick your ass, then a week shit standing up.

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read your own empty comment    you are completely nuts 


your comment is without value to begin with  you are a biased russian

monk27's picture

At a second thought, you sound more like a single digit IQ...

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*crinch*crunch  *crinch*crunch       ....waht is that noise? ahh  its putins sand in your vagina

Sirius Wonderblast's picture

Your comments are foul, misguided and in need of spell checking. Give up.