It’s a sign of my suspicion of government that I read everything they say at least twice. So, when I saw the headline: [bi] “Trump is reportedly ending the CIA’s covert program to arm Syrian rebels.” I thought, “good!”
But then I realized there are 2 ways to read this:
It’s not entirely clear all of a sudden. What’s clear is that the US has stopped pretending that it’s not invading Syria.[stderr] And the writing is all over the wall that the US is giving Turkey the slow finger and aligning increasingly with the independent Kurds. [stderr]
Meanwhile, Mosul looks more like genocide (aka: “ethnic cleansing”) to set the remains of the city up for a general Kurdish take-over. Given that the Mosul dam still looks like a disaster waiting to happen, I’m not sure that they’re getting real estate that anyone should want. Patrick Cockburn over at Counterpunch reports that ISIS sympathisers and fighters are being thrown off buildings [cp] to get rid of them permanently.
Iraqi security forces kill Isis prisoners because they believe that if the militants are sent to prison camps they will bribe the authorities in Baghdad to release them. “That is why Iraqi soldiers prefer to shoot them or throw them off high buildings,” says one Iraqi source. A former senior Iraqi official said he could name the exact sum that it would take for an Isis member to buy papers enabling him to move freely around Iraq.
These are the Iraqi security forces that the US military is serving, that are calling in air strikes and incendiary strikes for. After a decade of asking the Iraqi military to “stand up for itself” and not take to its heels, the US military has now flattened a path for them to go in and kill surrendered enemies. In case anyone cares anymore, that’s a war crime.
Here’s a satellite image of one of the border crossings between Syria and Turkey. I guess they aren’t letting people through with their cars. Imagine the feeling of having your ability to control your future wrenched away from you: one day you’re a person with a car and a house and a job and a year later you’re desperately hoping you can walk empty-handed across a border into a refugee camp. This is liberation: “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”The Syrian rebels, reportedly, learned that the Trump administration had changed its policy via the news. It’s like a sort of break-up-by-TXT scenario, but it’s nothing new – remember when the US tried to foment an insurgency in Iraq between Gulf War I and Gulf War II? Yeah, they got weapons and support from the CIA until, eh, sorry, your rebellion didn’t work fast enough – time to die.
Some 15,000-plus rebel troops in northern Syria have been receiving CIA support for the past four years. But four commanders told The Daily Beast they had learned of the aid cutoff from news reports. They said they had feared something was afoot when they didn’t receive their salaries in July. [beast]
That’s gonna win some “hearts and minds” for sure. I’m surprised Trump didn’t tweet the whole thing out like some Ubu-esque Blac Chyna/Rob Kardashian “we’ve dumped you and are so in love with Kurdistan, BFF!”
Meanwhile, [military times]
Over the last week videos and pictures posted by Kurdish activists on social media show flatbed trucks delivering U.S.-made MRAP, M-ATVs, and up-armored bulldozers into Syria.
Military officials say these vehicles are not part of the U-S.-led coalition’s aid to Kurdish allies on the ground who are currently engaged in a tense street-by-street urban battle in Raqqa – ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital.
The images of heavily armored American vehicles flowing into Syria emerge as the Kurdish fighters attempt to push closer to Raqqa’s city center and their progress has slowed in recent days.
“The SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] has reportedly encountered intensified resistance and ‘better-emplaced defenses’ over the past four weeks following initial rapid gains in districts on the outskirts of Ar-Raqqa City,” according to a report of the latest assessment from the Institute for the Study of War.
The Vietnamization of Syria continues, only it’s worse – at least Congress had the courage to rubber-stamp the administration’s deepening forays into that quagmire. In Washington, it appears the military is running the show while the president golfs and Congress worries about who is using which toilets and whether they sit or stand.
Meanwhile, in Raqqa, the US continues to put troops in the front line to keep Turkish and Syrian and Kurdish forces apart, while deciding who’s going to get what parcel of real estate when all the rubble-making is done.Raqqa’s next.
I was a kid during the anti-war protests against the Vietnam war, and didn’t think about them very skeptically. It wasn’t until decades later that I encountered the idea (I believe it was in Howard Zinn) that the anti-war movement really didn’t get much traction until the draft started eating into the white middle class. When I was in the army reserves (1983-1989) it was pretty obvious that the volunteer army was almost entirely staffed by the lower class, and entirely managed by the upper. It’s a step from the victorian British army, where nobility simply bought rank – now they have to earn it by going to a military academy and pulling family ties with lawmakers to get into West Point – but it’s starting to look more and more like Zinn was right (again) – we won’t get any kind of resistance to the war without the rich and white getting forced to play the hand they’re dealing for the lower class. That’ll be when, like in the 1960s, they look at it and go, “Wait! This is shit! Not for ME! I have bone spurs and shit!” My buddy Sazz, [stderr] who spent two tours in Vietnam shooting and getting shot at, was stone deaf but they took him anyway. He couldn’t afford a deferment and got DEROS only when a visiting officer yelled at him, “What, are you deaf?!” and Sazz wrote “yes!” on a piece of paper and handed it to him.
This is a link worth keeping: it’s when the Washington Post broke the ‘news’ that the CIA was supplying weapons to Syrian rebels. [wp] 9/11/2013. Clearly it had already been going on for some time. Probably shortly after the marches and protests in Daraa got violent.
Sit or stand: I have a penis and I sit. Anyone who’s had to clean army latrines, as I have, will appreciate the value of sitting. Sitting doesn’t mean you’re weak or anything like that, and it’s just a hell of a lot easier to read a good book, too. If sitting is weak, standing is anti-intellectual.
The Wall St Journal interviewed Bashar Assad in January 2011, right before the civil war kicked into high gear. [wsj] All I can think, when I read it, is how nice it would be to have leaders that were articulate and who could answer a question.