What Do We Really Know About Syria? Next To Nothing

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Anyone accepting "facts" or narratives from any interested party is being played.

About the only "fact" the public knows with any verifiable certainty about Syria is that much of that nation is in ruins. Virtually everything else presented as "fact" is propaganda intended to serve one of the competing narratives or discredit one or more competing narratives.

Consider a partial list of "interested parties" spinning their own narratives about events in Syria: (in no particular order)

1. The government of Syria

2. non-state groups in Syria

3. Turkey

4. Saudi Arabia

5. Iran

6. Jordan

7. The government of Iraq

8. non-state groups in Iraq

9. The Kurds

10. Hamas

11. Israel

12. Lebanon

13. The Gulf States

14. Russia

15. United States

16. European Union

17. United Kingdom

18. France

19. Germany

20. Italy

21. China

This doesn't exhaust the list of interested parties, of course, but it reflects the spectrum of competing parties pushing a narrative that supports their particular interests in Syria. These include neighboring countries, regional powers, global powers and consumers of Syrian energy exports.

Let's start by stating the obvious: the only way to gain any reasonably accurate contexts / assessments in Syria is to have intelligence-gathering assets on the ground. The situation is fluid and complex, and there is no one "truth."

The only way to get any sort of handle on the military, political and social dynamics in Syria is to have access to the intelligence assessments and analyses of all the major players' intelligence agencies.

In other words, the only way to get any sort of comprehensive understanding would be to have a WikiLeaks-type release of intelligence reports from all the players with assets on the ground and have a deep enough understanding of the history and culture of the region to make sense of the overlaps, conflicts, nuances and shades of "truth" presented in each of the intel reports.

Only by collating "raw" (unfiltered) intel gathered on the ground and high-level analysis by those directing the various interests' campaigns could a reasonably accurate assessment be assembled.

Short of that, we know next to nothing. What are presented as "facts" are narratives designed to persuade us of the fidelity of the "facts" being presented and the rightness of the narrative supported by the presented "facts."

If the "facts" aren't designed to support a specific narrative, then they're designed to undermine or discredit a competing narrative.

There are several ways to push a narrative: one is to present "evidence" that supposedly verifies the "facts," and the other is to limit the public's access to competing narratives amd claims.

In the good old days, the Soviet propaganda machine was famous for erasing public figures from photos once they ran afoul of the regime. In the photo published last week, Igor was standing next to a KGB apparatchik, and in the photo published this week, Igor has vanished, replaced by a snowy background--perhaps appropriate, given that Igor ould soon be enjoying the rigors of a Siberian gulag.

Nowadays, digital manipulation is much easier and more ubiquitous. Not just photos and videos can be edited--all sorts of digital fingerprints can be faked.

We know from various leaks about NSA/CIA capabilities that these agencies (and presumably others) engineer computer viruses so they appear to be the work of foreign intelligence agencies or hackers.

It's difficult to assess the "facts" in a world awash in digital manipulation and misdirection.

We know a few things, but they're not "news." We know oil and natural gas are still the primary energy sources of the industrialized global economy. So-called renewables (so-called because wind turbines and solar panels don't last forever and thus they are more correctly called replaceables rather than renewables) remain a tiny sliver of total global energy consumption.

We also know that Syria and Iraq are the geographic armature of the Mideast.

As I have noted in previous essays, sometimes the strategy isn't to control the assets being contested so much as disrupt competitors' enjoyment of the assets and send signals about future costs and consequences.

The Great Game: Regime Change in Syria (September 6, 2012)

The Media's Missing the Point: Syria, Empire and the Power of Signaling (April 10, 2017)

It is a grave mistake to take any narrative or set of "facts" presented by interested parties as being anything more than propaganda or signaling. Only those on the ground with intelligence on all the other players on the ground have anything close to a useful understanding of the situation, and they can only claim to have a useful understanding if they also possess a deep appreciation of the regional contexts, histories and dynamics that are in play.

In summary: anyone accepting "facts" or narratives from any interested party is being played. It's best to retain a healthy skepticism of all narratives and an equally healthy appreciation of how little we know or can ever know about the full spectrum of events and dynamics in Syria.

Comments

Déjà view GlassHouse101 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

Golan Heights...etc...

Since occupation of Palestinian territories following 1967 Six Day War down to 2015, it has been estimated by Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions that Israel has razed 48,488 Palestinian homes...

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/50-years-israeli-occ…

 

48,743

STRUCTURES DEMOLISHED IN OPT SINCE 1967

https://icahd.org/

In reply to by GlassHouse101

I hate cunton hedgeless_horseman Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:36 Permalink

Trump and Putin are allies.   Fake gas attack was the premise for the bombing.  No serious damage, just like last time. Putin responds with cyber attacks against unimportant targets like Facebook and Netflix.  The world now thinks Trump and Putin are adversaries.  This neuters the Mueller investigation, Comey's book and Stormy Daniels.  The whole left narrative has been wiped out by the bombing.  A few months later Trump and Putin make up, and continue to drain the swamp.

 

 (Israel launched a rogue bombing.)

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

beepbop WTFRLY Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:06 Permalink

Listen Up, Israel!

By Views Of News

Your antisemitism trick has come to an end. Most everyone knows you are NOT Semites.

Your terrorism trick has hit a brick wall. Most everyone knows that those so-called “Islamic Terrorists” are really Israelis.

Your war plans and provocations are fizzling at an alarming rate. Most everyone sees through your evil shenanigans.

Your apartheid state will not last very long. Even some of your clear-minded citizens admit that much.

So take the following advice:

  1. Admit that you are NOT really the Hebrews of the bible.
  2. Forget about that nonsensical “Promised Land” that supposedly extends all the way to the Euphrates.
  3. Stop slaughtering the Palestinians, create a bi-national state, repatriate all their refugees, and pay reparations to all the families you have hurt.
  4. Give back to Syria and Lebanon the land you’ve stolen from them and make peace with all your neighbors.

If you do all these things, you may still have a chance to redeem your soul.

In reply to by WTFRLY

FBaggins Give Me Some Truth Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:15 Permalink

What is going on in Syria is what went on for ten years before the so-called "civil" war broke out. It is called "divide and conquer".  That is the main principle used for destabilization when you want to take over a nation, together with its geopolitical positioning, its resources, and to clear the land of its pesky people for resettlements. The division against the stable government of Assad was easy to accomplish among the numerous ethnic, groups, tribes, and sects which prior to the Western klepto interventions were living quite contentedly. It was done with lots of those US fiat dollars; by infiltration with thousands of mainly, Israeli, SA, US, and UK agents to sew dissent and commit acts of terrorism; and by arming any revolutionary recruitments and factions they could find or create to oppose the government. They have carried out the process since the war started 7 years ago right to this very day. Our governments and agencies are committed to the same process presently in Iran, where there are reportedly thousands of similar agents doing the same dirty work with lots of money, bribes, intimidation, recruitment, and terrorism. The only way any government can protect itself from such illegal intervention is unfortunately to limit freedoms and become more repressive, which further serves the purposes of the invading nations by causing more discontent and division. Putin is right the only answer is strict adherence to international law to allow for the self-determination of all such nations, with all of the powers - even Israel - to stay the F out.

In reply to by Give Me Some Truth

fx I hate cunton Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:47 Permalink

I wanted to believe the exact nonsense that you wrote. But the FACTS do not support it. it's delusional, wishful thinking and make believe. This was not a show by Trump. That was a real, severe missile attack on a number of airffields and bases. What the pentagon showed was only the stuff that they did indeed manage to destroy. The other, missed targets did not get mentioned.

That there was no serious damage was the work of Syrian (and possibly Russian) air defense. Maybe some covert Russian air defense batteries were involved, too, besides thy Syrians

But COULDn'T it have been all made up and a show from both Putin and Trump? NO, and here is why:  The Syrian opposition (i.e. the sworn enemies of Assad and Putin) confirmed that 65-70 missiles were intercepted allover Syria. Which had targeted a dozen syrian army airbases and command centres. These jihadists have ZERO incentive to participate in supposed games of Trump/Putin. They also have zero incentive to exaggerate the claims by the assad or russian forces. zero! So you can and should take their confirmation  serious. see here, for instance: http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=89324

Which is why the whole "show" narrative falls apart. the q-anon scamsters are full of it. They seriously claim the missiles targeted deep shit assets in syria. Yeah, right. It does not fit with the facts. It is a clever attempt to justify everything and keep the growi9ng disillusionment among the trump supporters contained.

Appointing neocon warmongers to key-posts? All just "show" and part of "the plan". Trust Pottus. LOL!

Bombing Assad on a made-up pretext despite speaking against regime change and more wars earlier? All just show and part of "the plan" Trust Potus! LOL!

 

But here is, where the q-anon scam gets another big blow: they posted yesterday: Iran is next.

Gee, yeah, that was the neocon's plan all along. regime change in Iran. If that is "part of the plan" of potus trump, then he is IMPLEMENTING the neocons' and deep shit's agenda! In which case, he can go to hell along with melania, ivanka, and her retarded zio husband.

 

In reply to by I hate cunton

TRM fx Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:26 Permalink

Good points and I agree with most but leave Melania out of it. Ivanka and her Chabad-Lubovitch Israel first hubby sure but Melania I would put in charge over all of them given the choice. 

I didn't think I could think less of Donald Trump as I've always viewed him as a narcissistic loud mouth snook but IF he was banging porn sluts when his wife was home with his newborn infant then yea I can think less of him.

One month after being elected in the biggest upset since the Truman vs Dewey election Trump goes on TV and says "I don't want to hurt the Clintons. They are good people". "Good people"??? WTF? Bill and Hillary??? ROTFLMAO. At that point I knew Bill Hicks was right. They showed Trump the videos of him banging on kids or sheep (some baaaaad stuff) and he fell in line.

The bankers, MIC and Israel OWN Trump and he will get to do some of his domestic agenda but foreign policy is dictated to him by his owners. So MOAR WAR and still more war and then some more war.

In reply to by fx

DoctorFix TRM Mon, 04/16/2018 - 13:23 Permalink

That's pretty low to be out trolling for porn whores while leaving the woman alone with your kid.  It's one thing to be joking about "pussy" it's entirely something else to be a cheating lying dog to your spouse.  I remember what was said about Ross Perot.  He wouldn't trust a man to work with him if he was unfaithful to his wife.  If you can't be honest at home with the one you should be most intimate with then you won't be honest anywhere else.

In reply to by TRM

tion fx Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:03 Permalink

I think you forgot the part where my President told them the missiles were coming, they responded that they were going to shoot down the missiles, the missiles came, and were shot down. My President wants to leave Syria. Everybody but the sheeple know the chemical attack was a false flag and that ISIS is an Obama era Deep State creation. The sheeple and deep state are still forces to be reckoned with though.  

Actually it was my President who first had the balls during his campaign to say what no other public figure would. Obama founded ISIS. This round of theatre is an epic waste of money, but we are not absolved from cleaning up the mess that Obama created. Yes I am suggesting that regardless of how it looks, my President will clean up that mess.  You can keep laughing at me, but coming from the hystericals it doesn’t even hurt my feelings.

In reply to by fx

HopefulCynical tion Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:59 Permalink

The sheeple and deep state are still forces to be reckoned with though.  

Sigh.

EVERYONE overlooks this fact.

We The Redpilled People laugh at CNN and the like. But we have to remember - sixty fucking million people voted for that psychopathic cunt, and I promise you, over half of them knew damn well that's what she was. The (((media))) still has an enormous influence upon a big enough chunk of the populace to cause a monster shitstorm if they all work together, especially considering the billions of Soros Bux standing ready to pay the rent-a-mobs. The schools have had DECADES to indoctrinate millions of sheeple in the tenets of Cultural Marxism, such as no objective reality, eeee'bil wypipo, muh imperialism etc.

The only way Trump was going to avoid bombing Syria, after the UK came out pointing fingers at Assad and Putin, would have been to hold a press conference and say, "Guess what, folks? We now have false flags to go with our fake news." THAT would have been political suicide.

I don't think Trump and Putin are directly collaborating over any of this; the NSA would leak that shit to the Democrats immediately. But I do think that in the few meetings they've had, that they've gotten themselves on the same page, and that both understand the careful dance they must perform in order to get the globalists to fuck up and leave themselves vulnerable.

Shills, here and elsewhere, keep saying that Trump is a globalist. Wrong. The globalists HATE Trump; they always have. Blue bloods that they are, they disdain anyone who actually works for their money. I'm pretty sure that Trump hates them back, too, as well he should.

In reply to by tion

el buitre I hate cunton Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

This also neuters Agent Orange as he has lost his Libertarian base (who will sit on their sofas with a brewsky,  and the Democrats will sweep both houses in November, which will lead to his impeachment and the installation of a dyed in the wool neocon, War Party fascist.  5-D chess indeed!!  Perhaps if they release the Huma video on Carlos Danger's laptop of the Hildabeast raping young children, Trump might avoid this outcome.

In reply to by I hate cunton

DoctorFix el buitre Mon, 04/16/2018 - 13:19 Permalink

Hell.... Just some "carpet munching" action by that demented whore on Huma alone would be enough to turn someones stomach and possibly,..... possibly, wake some folks up.  But I figger that the lesbian lobby will simply wet their collective panties and demand that she be given yet another try.  Sweet Jeebus!  You just can't make this shit up.

In reply to by el buitre

Ace006 el buitre Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:54 Permalink

The only electoral function served by libertarians is to tip the balance in close elections to leftists. Who gives a damn what those open-borders dipwads think about anything.  They vote for delusion all day every day.

If there are 34 Republicans left in the Senate after this year's elections (exclusive of the usual Republic toads, turncoats, lickspittles, and crossdressers) there is no way Trump can be convicted in the Senate.  If the Rs lose all eight R Senate seats up for election this year, there will be 43 Rs left in the Senate.  Thus, only if all eight seats go to the Ds AND there are 10 scumbag Rs would there be a conviction.  Given my jaundiced view of Rs these days, the latter condition is probably a real risk.  Loss of all eight seats, not so much.

In reply to by el buitre

hedgeless_horseman curbjob Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:00 Permalink

 

What's more American than Fluroinated Aluminum?

A girl who was burned beyond recognition by a U.S. drone in Afghanistan and left for dead in a trashcan before she had to undergo reconstructive surgery.

The chemicals in the missiles burn so hot they can light a tank on fire, but this is somehow different from the chemical warfare allegedly waged by our enemy...

 

Hellfire thermobaric warhead using a metal augmented explosive charge is used primarily in urban warfare, against bunkers, buildings caves and other concealed targets. This warhead is designed to inflict greater damage in multi-room structures, compared to the Hellfire's standard or blast-fragmentation warheads. The Metal Augmented Charge or MAC (Thermobaric) Hellfire, designated AGM-114N, has completed rapid development cycle in 2002 and was deployed during OIF by US Marines Helicopters in Iraq. The new warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder that is layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the explosive detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures. The AGM-114N is designed for deployment from helicopters such as the AH-1W or UAVs such as the Predator drones.

http://defense-update.com/products/h/hellfire.htm

In reply to by curbjob

E5 hedgeless_horseman Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:07 Permalink

Can you feel that hand up your ass speaking and killing for you out of Washington?  

If you do nothing, you are no different than the german citizens under Hitler.  Do what?  Kill those who broke the libertarian social contract.  

So do you see my point when I say no one did anything and the time is past?  Time to stop the libertarian bs and get on the war train or the boxcars to the ovens.  There is no other choice as americans didn't kill to defend their liberty.  

It is gone.  or do you have a different definition that draws a red line?

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

Savvy E5 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

I'm not sure what doing something would accomplish. I remember going to the capital and screaming my head off, waving placards that said no attack on Iraq. And words of mass deception! I wrote I phoned I talked I emailed I marched.

Well guess what.

In reply to by E5

el buitre hedgeless_horseman Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

One must evaluate the truthiness of various sources by their track records.  In terms of geopolitical events, the truthiness of the Russian Foreign Ministry, as expressed by Maria Zahkarova, and their Ministry of Defense over the last 4 years has been close to impeccable.  As to the releases of the Ministries of Rothschild and Rockefeller, not so much.

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

two hoots hedgeless_horseman Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:01 Permalink

Syria before and after pictures of recent strikes: (I do not have permission to paste pics but one could imagine)

 

Before:

    (insert pic)  a bombed out hull of a place unfit for living

 

After:

     (insert pic)  a bombed out hull of a place unfit for living

 

So just what humanity role are we playing there, protecting the people from what?  

eyes, but cannot see/hearts, but cannot feel/minds, but cannot reason/what is left for us to believe in?

    

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

tion Give Me Some Truth Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

Oh man, I tried telling Mr. Winter that he has overstayed his welcome, how outraged I am at the way he is cramping my moving efforts, and that he is really hurting my feelings. You know what he did? He LAUGHED at me. He laughed so hard he cried even moar crystalline tears. When I pouted, he WAILED with laughter, sending his snow into mountainous drifts. Who doesn’t love snow banking the house in the middle of April?! The fortunate upside was getting to walk through the white out to cook up some moose steaks at a neighbor’s ^^

In reply to by Give Me Some Truth

TemporarySecurity GlassHouse101 Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:13 Permalink

Out of the 103 missiles we sent we got 3 buildings.  These were supposedly the new never before seen variety high tech variety.  The regular cost ~$830,000 so these are probably over 1 million each.

It would be interesting to know how many were shot down but I don't think we should be bragging about $103 million ordinance cost to destroy three building that if they ever had chemical weapons they also had a week to move them over to Russian camps.  With that kind of results to cost ratio we are going to go broke quickly.  Not that we are not already broke.

Silly dog and pony show.  Not serious enough to do any damage, not serious enough for Russia to respond other than in back channel ways, cyber or terrorist attacks, that will be called false flags anyways.

The sad problem is the good "rebels" Jaysh al-Islam we are bombing for are just as evil or worse than the propaganda against Assad.

In reply to by GlassHouse101

rusty_nail Rubicon Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:20 Permalink

Fisk has been compromised.

Take Daraya. After a horrific regime massacre, Fisk arrived at the site “in the company of armed Syrian forces” riding an “armoured vehicle” and after interviewing a few frightened survivors, wrote that contrary to “the popular version that has gone round the world”, the massacre was the outcome of a “failed prisoner swap”; the men who committed the crime “were armed insurgents rather than Syrian troops”.

In Daraya, however, no one was aware of this “prisoner swap”. And even his own interviewees didn’t support his conclusions. Most gave evasive answers. And the only interviewee he cites as supporting his theory casts further doubt on it: “Although he had not seen the dead in the graveyard,” writes Fisk, “he believed that most were related to the government army”.

https://pulsemedia.org/2016/12/03/robert-fisks-crimes-against-journalis…

 

In reply to by Rubicon

Give Me Some Truth tmosley Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:48 Permalink

It’s not what the media report, or the governments pronounce, it’s what they DON’t report/investigate/announce.

The “gatekeepers” of news (facts, evidence) control the narrative, and thus maintain and protect their power and influence.

FWIW, governments now seem to control the press gatekeepers - Something we should all think more about.

In reply to by tmosley

BandGap Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:35 Permalink

I would bet they worked out a set of targets, let the Syrians move out and made sure Russian armed forces were out of the way. Rumors swirling that all the buildings hit were empty.

Sure looks like this administration is in with the deep state. 

I trust nothing anymore without substantial verification. That's just me.