Erdogan and Washington’s Neocon Sunni-Firsters Fume as Iraqis Liberate Fallujah and the Race to Raqqa Begins

After weeks-long ceasefire negotiations that their jihadist and Saudi/Turkish proxy enemies used to regroup, the Syrian Arab Army is back on the offensive and so is the Russian Air Force in the skies over Syria. On the East Ghouta front east of Damascus the SAA and Hezbollah are chopping up the rebel factions into near-encircled pockets of resistance. To the south of Damascus, a shaky ceasefire is holding in the town of Daraya which has been a logistics hub for arms flows to the rebels from Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In the west, SAA mortar and artillery fire exchanges continue with besieged rebels in Zabadani near the Lebanese border despite the U.S.-Russian negotiated truce to permit humanitarian aid into the city.

As East Ghouta Falls to the SAA, the Aleppo and Eastern Desert Fronts Heat Up

However, the main fronts are developing in the north where the SAA is preparing an assault to finally cut the Castillo road, the last highway into the rebel-held portion of Aleppo. After Russian diplomats complained about the continued flow of jihadists and arms from Turkey to the rebel-held territories, the highway has come under intensive Russian aerial and Syrian artillery bombardment in the last few days. There is yet no indication that it has been decisively cut to all rebel arms flows, which is why the SAA’s elite Tiger Forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Suheil Al Hassan are massing to block it.

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Although the Tiger Forces do not have sufficient manpower to actually take the rebel end of Aleppo, they can force the various jihadist groups to furiously counterattack in order to prevent the arms flow to their comrades in the city from being completely cut. This somewhat negates the manpower and guerrilla force advantages that the rebels have and forces them to fight as conventional infantry along a predictable axis of attack that can be hammered by Russian bombs and SAA artillery/cluster munition rocket fire. In other words, Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s proxies are being drawn by a Russian general staff created plan into a meatgrinder fight they can’t hope to win, only stalemate.

The Idlib Hospital Air Strike That Didn’t Actually Hit the Hospital

Perhaps recognizing that little can be done to save their jihadists in Aleppo from encirclement, the Turks and Saudis have returned to the propaganda offensive in lieu of military intervention. An air strike on a building located very close to a hospital in the Al-Nusra and Army of Conquest terrorist group held city of Idlib not far from the Turkish border was spun into a Russian atrocity, filmed in gory detail by members of the George Soros-funded, Al-Qaeda cooperating ‘British NGO’ the White Helmets.

From the Moon of Alabama blog:
Not a Hospital, Not a Russian Strike, Not Civilian – Propaganda Fail in Syria

The Russian Ministry of Defense denies conducting any air raids over Idlib province in recent days, and it’s entirely possible the raid which reportedly killed several Nusra jihadist commanders and their families as well as civilians in neighboring buildings was conducted instead by Syrian Air Force MiG-23s that have been upgraded for night operations and with Russia’s SVP-24 GLONASS guided system for dropping ‘dumb bombs’. Pro-SAA social media accounts have responded to allegations of another ‘Russian/Assad massacre’ by arguing that Jabhat al-Nusra — Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria — deliberately conducts meetings and places ammo stocks as close to hospitals as possible and frequently using mosques as command centers.

Has the Race to Raqqa Begun, or is Relieving Deirezzor the ‘Desert Hawks’ Aim?

The SAA’s well-trained ‘Desert Hawks’ brigade are spearheading an advance against Daesh in eastern Homs with at least 5,000 men, some of whom are from pro-Damascus and Ba’ath party militias. After the much ballyhooed ISIS counterattacks at the Al-Sha’er gas fields ended in failure and scores of dead Daeshbags, IS has been focused on pressuring the besieged SAA garrison at Deirezzor in southeastern Syria.  But the defenders do not appear to lack ammunition or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) that they are using with devastating precision against poorly trained Daesh cannon fodder ‘who wants to volunteer to be today’s suicide Toyota driver’ attacks.

As this footage of intense combat shows, ISIS losses on that front appear to be rising at the very moment when the Daeshbags are getting killed by the dozens every day in their doomed defense of Fallujah across the border in Iraq’s Anbar province. There are rumors that Daesh commanders have already abandoned Fallujah with their families leaving behind the young, dumb and hot for 72 virgins jihadis to slow the Iraqi Army and its Shi’a militia allies’ advance with IEDs and suicide truck bomb attacks. 

Nonetheless, these men are clearly tired if not exhausted from months of near-urban combat against Daesh and the SAA would like to relieve them both for morale and logistical reasons. Lifting the siege of Deirezzor will allow the SAA and its allied militias to consolidate their control over the highways of the eastern desert, and open the gates to a surge of friendly Iraqi Shi’a fighters from across the border. ‘Free Syrian Army’ efforts to block this link up, most likely promoted by the CIA through Jordan, are unlikely to succeed as the Iraqis can easily sweep aside Washington’s proxies who would try to prevent the SAA and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces from linking up with a little help from the Russian Air Force.

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A Rare Confluence of Interests Between Washington and Moscow:
How Both the U.S. and Russia Are Playing the Kurdish Card Against Turkey

If Daesh is getting closer to collapse, the Turks want to be part of any post-Caliphate settlement, if necessary using their own troops for the job. Unfortunately the Turks are unlikely to be able to secure the air space over Raqqa or other parts of the defeated Caliphate without using the USAF as shielding from Russian S400, Pantsir and SAA manned BUK SAMs blowing Turkey’s F-16 jets out of the sky.

As has become evident to all military analysts who understand the cautious nature of the Turkish high command, Turkey’s military will only mount an invasion of northern Syria in force if the U.S. gives it assurances of providing American troops as human shields from Russian, Iranian and Syrian counterattack. Unfortunately for Turkish President turned dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman ambitions, the Pentagon does not appear willing to throw its YPG Kurdish allies entirely under the bus after arming and training them and affiliated Arab tribes of the non-Assad linked Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to fight Daesh. Thus, the Turkish offer of joint operations with U.S. Special Operations Command (JSOC) against ISIS has apparently been turned down by Washington.

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The Russia Analyst explained all of this, including the ‘Deep State’ forces that Dr. Joseph P. Farrell thinks have put modern Turkey’s borders ‘on the menu’ for a carve up, back in February (see “Neo-Ottoman Rumors of War, Addendum“). The bottom line is that there’s no honor among thieves, and the Turkish Deep State cannot trust Washington not to wring its hands but ultimately do nothing should Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria be met with massive Russian firepower and a surge of VDV and Iranian paratroopers ready to kill thousands of Turkish soldiers. In case the Turks had any doubts about Russian and Iranian resolve, those have been answered by Erdogan’s allegation that Russia is secretly arming the YPG-linked PKK group across the border inside Turkey.

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Ankara and Washington both label the PKK a terrorist organization but thus far, Washington has refused angry Turkish pleas and pressure from Turkey’s lawmaker lobbyists on Capitol Hill like Sen. Lindsey Graham to cease arming and training the YPG. This is why we see a lot of whining from neocon Saudi-firsters like Qatari-shill Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center or obnoxious Brit Kyle W. Orton of the UK’s Henry Jackson Society.

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Why Putin Agreed to the Ceasefire in Syria Moscow Knew Would Be Temporary:
Russia Needed Kurdish Insurance Against a Turkish Invasion of Northern Syria

While Vladimir Putin caught a lot of flak from Russian, Syrian and Iranian hardliners over the naivete of Moscow’s ceasefire deal with Washington, it should be pointed out here that the territory controlled by the U.S. Special Forces-backed YPG/SDF has expanded, even if the U.S. backed forces aren’t killing as many CIA-backed ‘moderate’ jihadis as they were before. Furthermore, while some SAA sources have dismissed the YPG/SDF offensive in the northern Raqqa countryside as a sideshow that poses no threat to the ISIS Caliphate capitol on the Euphrates, it does serve several useful purposes from the Kremlin’s viewpoint.

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First, while the neocons and the ‘no boots on the ground’ Obama White House have colluded for over 20 months to wage a half-assed, fraudulent campaign against ISIS and perform as few air strikes against actual important targets as possible, mostly striking empty desert, once U.S. forces are committed to a task the natural inclination of combat commanders is to ‘win’ by pushing against the enemy force (if only for career advancement purposes, but also because at least some U.S. generals sincerely care about their men and Green Beret-trained charges, particularly in JSOC).

Second, the wounding of two JSOC soldiers this past weekend while conducting their supposedly ‘non-combat missions’ in the northern Raqqa outskirts, as well as the widely publicized scandal of American special operators wearing patches given to them by the YPG angering Turkey serves Moscow’s ends. These developments increase the distrust between U.S. generals and their Turkish counterparts, because the former if they have any brains know damn well Daesh has been aided and abetted if not created by the Turks.

The JSOC guys also know full well from whence Daesh gets a great deal of its ammunition and supplies, which is precisely why, as retired Army Col. Patrick Lang reports at his blog, the Green Berets are moving to cut off ISIS’ lifeline to Turkey. And  since this offensive is being conducted largely out of range for all but Turkey’s longest range MLRS and the Turks can’t bomb the YPG without potentially killing U.S. Army special operators or getting shot down by Russian SAMs, there’s not a damn thing Erdogan can do about it.

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Given these realities, which vindicate the reporting of Thierry Meyssan and Webster Griffin Tarpley that Putin and Obama struck a deal to defang the neo-Ottoman Empire, it’s no wonder Erdogan has started ranting about why Turkish women shouldn’t use any birth control instead of geopolitics lately. It’s also no coincidence that more negative headlines like these have been appearing in (post)Western media and PKK attacks are increasing in their brazenness since Turkey refused to ‘play ball’ with the globalists who want a greater Kurdistan.

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Are the ‘Good Guys’ in the Pentagon Finally Overcoming the Scumbags Who’ve Been Playing Patty-cake with ISIS in Deference to the Turkish and Neocon Saudi Lobby?

Thanks to the secret ‘deal’ that was likely struck between a briefcase carrying Secretary of State John Kerry and Putin and Lavrov several weeks ago in Moscow, the Neo-Ottoman Sultan’s ‘red line’ is meaningless and his threats to invade northern Syria to carve out a ‘safe zone’ are empty bluster:

This YPG/SDF offensive expands the previously announced offensive moving towards Raqqa. I have no idea why Reuters calls it the Manbij pocket. It’s the main line of communications/supply between IS and Turkey. IMHO cutting this LOC should be a, if not the, primary offensive objective of both the R+6 and YPG/SDF coalitions. All else will follow.

In addition to expanding the Tishrin bridgehead, the YPG/SDF has crossed the Euphrates River some 25 miles north of Tishrin. This was done by ferrying men and equipment across the river and by repairing the damaged bridge at Qarah Qawzaq with a military pontoon bridge. My guess is that there were a couple of SF engineering sergeants involved in that operation. Judging by the map, the YPG/SDF has made a lot of progress from this new bridgehead. So much for Erdogan’s red line. The Kurds have crossed the Euphrates with U.S airpower and Special Forces advice and expertise. This has to infuriate Erdogan a lot more than seeing U.S. special operations forces wearing YPG and YPJ arm patches.

In deference to the sensitivities of our NATO ally, the U.S. is assuring Erdogan that the Arabs of the SDF comprise the majority of the offensive forces targeting Manbij and that the Kurds will not enter the city of Manbij itself. Yeah… right. The Kurds want to link up with their brothers to the West and I seriously doubt they are concerned about Erdogan’s hurt feelings. They are still better off staying out of the reach of Turkish artillery.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/06/erdogans-red-line-not-ttg.html

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Every square mile of territory the YPG Kurds liberate with JSOC assistance is another piece of land they’re unlikely to want to yield at the negotiating table because their old enemies the Turkish Army rolled in at the eleventh hour to claim ‘victory’ over a Daesh proxy the YPG know the Turks created. In practical terms this means the Kurdish buffer between the combined SAA/Hezbollah/Iranian forces Putin is backing and the Turks continues to expand, and with the Pentagon’s blessing.

From Putin’s perspective why take the risk of a huge President Hillary Clinton ordered ‘how about you and him fight’ war with Turkey next year that would be ruinously expensive for Ankara and Moscow, when you can instead, allow the Americans to take the lead in a key area Damascus isn’t going to be able to reclaim or hold for the long term anyway? Thus the chess player Putin is outfoxing his neocon enemies in Washington once again. Like their notions of stumping the Turmp, the neocons dream of fighting Russia, Assad and Iran to the last Turk are vanishing in the Mideast desert air. Unfortunately for Assad’s hopes of restoring full control over all of pre-war Syria, the price of this blocking of Turkish, Saudi and neocon ambitions in Syria is a federated state emerging from the rubble in which the Kurds will be all but independent.

Whether the Assad government and the Iranians like it or not, a new Kurdish homeland called Rojava that will enjoy full autonomy from the Assad government is now a fact on the ground. Whether Ankara likes it or not, several powerful Big Oil and globalist factions from Washington to Paris to Tel Aviv and the City of London see a Syrian Rojava linking oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan to a small coastal strip still controlled by Damascus (and de facto, Russia) on the Mediterranean as advantageous. If nothing else, it gives the oil majors eager to pump crude out of Kurdistan for the next forty years a stronger negotiating position with the Turks over pipeline fees to reach the Med. But the bigger picture is that the Israelis want powerful and oil-rich Kurdish ally right in the middle of the Persian, Turkish and Arab nations. The Kremlin, which has quietly come to various understandings with the Israelis, reconciled itself to these facts many months ago when it permitted the YPD political wing of the YPG which Ankara regards as all terrorists to open offices near the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

A Downer from Pepe “Empire of Chaos” Escobar:
What if the Neocons Seek to Delay YPG or Iraqi Advances vs. Daesh?

While it will be many weeks before Raqqa falls and it remains to be seen if Russia has ceded to the U.S. and Kurds the ‘honor’ of taking the Daesh capitol, or if Raqqa will fall before the November elections, one thing is clear: there are forces at work inside the Pentagon and in U.S.-Russia diplomacy that are counteracting the neocon lust for a Turkish and Saudi-dictated ‘solution’ to the Syrian Civil War. Call them ‘the good guys’, or simply call them U.S. military officers with the quaint idea that their job is to kill and defeat America’s avowed enemy in Daesh not pussyfoot around pretending to fight him.

IF and it’s a very debatable IF these men prevail in Pentagon bureaucratic infighting, possibly through leaks to the Trump campaign to put pressure on the Obama White House, then the supposedly ‘super elite’ terrorist army’s ‘Caliphate’ is going down for the count by autumn. But arrayed against these, Pepe Escobar believes, are the L and K Street neocons and State Department neo-liberals of ‘Exceptionalistan’, who will do everything possible both within and outside the U.S. government to see that the YPG/SDF offensive against Daesh does not actually reach Raqqa:

Embedded with the SDF advance is a massive P.R. operation deployed by Washington, involving a hilarious controversy on American boots on the ground. President Obama has always repeated non-stop there would not be US boots on the ground in Syria. The State Department parroted the White House line. But boots — as many as 250 — are indeed on the ground, even as they may disguise themselves with YPG insignia.The Pentagon maintains they are only acting in an “advise-and-assist” role — as in trademark Obama “leading from behind” format. The boots are in fact Special Forces specialized in UW (unconventional warfare). Yet the theater of war — as established by Daesh — is quite conventional. Daesh is constituted as a small army, with heavy armor and considerable artillery, against which UW is meaningless.

The lame duck Obama administration — whose Syria “policy” hardly deviates from the “Assad must go” mantra — is trying to convey the impression for US public opinion that it is actively fighting Daesh. Yet this is a fiction. With no considerable “coalition” air power (apart from some bombing of Daesh targets south of Ain Issa) and no sizeable troops, no “leading from behind” will yield a US victory in Raqqa.

It’s enlightening that the offensive on Raqqa got the go-ahead only after CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel traveled to Kobani, in Syria, and Ankara. Yet CENTCOM only gave the green light to a partial operation — vetoing the YPG plan to go after the key border town of Jarablus, one of Daesh’s only remaining revolving doors to Turkey. That’s because the Pentagon refuses to confront a NATO ally’s red line.This is not even about taking over Raqqa; the SDF does not have the manpower and the resources. As SDF commander Abu Fayyad put it, this is mostly about liberating the region north of Raqqa.

Syrian Kurds though simply won’t resign themselves to not advance on Jarablus; their strategic priority for months has been to try to open a corridor between their cantons in Kobani and Afrin. While commanders insist Washington would not interfere were that to happen — and that’s highly debatable — they also point out that the lame duck Obama administration wants a “victory” in Raqqa (as well as Mosul in Iraq) before the November presidential election.

So this is what it’s all about; a “gift” from the foreign policy-handicapped Obama administration to Hillary Clinton, assuming she survives the subterranean email server scandal.

http://thesaker.is/on-the-road-to-raqqa/

The Last Option on the Table:  Russia and Iran Go Hard with Thousands of Troops to Finish Off Daesh and Secure the Gas Fields of Eastern Syria

Meanwhile, the rest of the Syrian Civil War is likely to grind on for another year or three. But after weeks of after weeks of intense negotiations between the Russians and Americans, the defeat of Daesh and the severe bombing of Al-Qaeda in Syria are finally on the agenda, rather than Cold War 2 gamesmanship and avoidance of fighting as opposed to covertly aiding the terrorists. Ironically, the only hope the neocons now have may be is that Hillary Rodham Clinton their champion gets indicted by the Justice Department, and Vice President Joe Biden gets  shooed into the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. But if the neocon portion of the U.S. Deep State prevails, we think Moscow is already putting together contingency plans for that eventuality. Plans like a sudden influx of highly competent Russian VDV paratroopers capable of getting to Raqqa first — just like their grandfathers beat the Americans to Berlin in 1945.

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6 thoughts on “Erdogan and Washington’s Neocon Sunni-Firsters Fume as Iraqis Liberate Fallujah and the Race to Raqqa Begins

  1. Btw the same image of the T-90 being transported on a flat bed truck is shown here in Russia Insider, going for a rapid strike on Raqqa, apparently before the US backed Kurds does:"Syrian Army Joins the Race for Raqqa, Launches Bold Offensive With Russian SupportSyrians are saying they intend to push all the way to Raqqa — 140 kilometres from their current positions"http://russia-insider.com/en/syrian-army-joins-race-raqqa-launches-bold-offensive-russian-support/ri14772

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  2. I’m Gary but not Mr. Frianchi. Thanks again for an incredible article! They keep coming and coming. The situation is really fascinating but also very complicated in Syria-Iraq but Putin’s got it all figured out. This man Putin just does not make mistakes. Putin and Lavrov are such masters of strategy and tactics that they are miles ahead of US diplomats (if you can call them this). By opening up the consulate office of the YPG in Moscow Russia is taking an independent role in this region. Even though Russia is in alliance with Assad and Iran it doesn’t mean that Russia takes marching orders from their allies. But c’mon Assad, Iran and Iraq. Isn’t it about time that the Kurds have their own homeland. I understand Iran and Assad’s fear of this because they’re rightly worried that this Kurdish homeland will be allies of the US and Israel and be a zionist agent right in the middle of their area. But I think that a new nation of Kurdistan doesn’t necessarily have to be a puppet of anyone if it’s done right. Why can’t it be neutral and this is exactly the point of view of Russia. Maybe the Kurds have big resentments against Iraq, Iran and Syria (forget the psychopathic Turks for a moment) for historical reasons but I imagine the Syrian Kurds feel very warm towards Russia because of what Russia has done by helping them to destroy the Wahhabis who are their mortal enemies. By Russia opening up to the Syrian Kurds they will be able to balance any moves by Israel and the US to make Kurdistan an imperialist bridgehead. It’s about time that Iran and Syria follow Russia’s lead and support a Kurdish homeland. Only good will come of it. And one last point. There are many differences amongst Kurds themselves. The YPG-PKK and the likes of Iraq Kurdistan’s leader Barzani are miles apart in ideology and actually are very hostile to each other. This opens up possibilities for Russia to get influence.
    Now regarding Turkey they are in big trouble. Because of Erdogan’s arrogance, hubris and stupidity Turkey has a real possibility of losing land not only to the Kurds but also to Syria which considers some of Turkey their land. I believe it’s called Hatay province. It may be that Turkey gets carved up and I’m not talking about Thanksgiving dinner. Out of this war may indeed be southern portions of Turkey being given over to the Kurds and to Syria in some grand bargain. That would be a fitting end to Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ambitions.
    Now on the last point. As James has wonderfully talked about, this war has showed the splits in the US ruling class. Jim Willie even talked about this maybe over a year ago where he speculated that you will have one part of the US deep state (CIA-neocons) fighting the other part (Pentagon-JSOC). Can you imagine the delicious irony of CIA-Neocon supported Jihadis battling US supported Syrian arabs and Kurds both using US supplied weapons. How bizarre! I also call attention to spiritual teacher David Wilcock mentioning for many years now a huge alliance of over 140 nations and including elements of the patriotic US military. The most important proof of what David Wilcock is saying was written by Seymour Hersh regarding the intelligence information the Joint Chief of Staff were giving to President Assad over the heads of Obama and the state department. I believe this is unheard of. When you combine this expose of Hersh with the US military and the Russian military running parallel campaigns to destroy ISIS, then it really does seem that Wilcock’s alliance is truly a reality.

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    1. Thank you Gary (not Frianchi, though he does good work) and SOF,
      I am at the point now where there is so much stuff in my ‘stack’ — that I’m not sure what to write about next. We do keep some material ready to use as needed, things like Southfront video embeds or links to Al-Masdar News. Right now I have about 200 emails to myself in my JWS gmail account that I have to go through and delete the ones that are just geopolitical ‘noise’ as opposed to ‘signals’.
      You are correct Gary as we’ve been saying, JW, JPF and others for a while there is a cold civil war going on inside the Beltway between the hardline globalists/neocons and the softer or more realistic side of the house. I’m not going to say everyone in the Pentagon or within JSOC is a ‘good guy’ but there is still some loyalty left to the country there whereas I’m not sure just how far the rot goes at CIA, the rumors that DCI Brennan is a Saudi agent of influence and Wahhabi Muslim covert during his time as Riyadh station chief persist. Therefore although shocking it’s not all that surprising in retrospect that the Pentagon’s proxies would come to blows with the CIA’s much more hardline Islamist and anti-YPG Kurdish faction due to the latter’s supplies from neo-Ottoman Turkey.
      What I will probably do is write a follow on piece to this one over the weekend which will be shorter, once I’ve listened to V’s show tonight.

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      1. Not a problem. Like the inside joke here is that the average time spent on Roguemoney is 8 minutes because it takes 8 minutes to read your articles because of the insane amount of research done, some things just get missed. I just thought I might add my 5 cents since I run around all these other websites that I got to know thanks to your links.
        Latest V broadcast 3rd June 2016:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY3SZd5xi0Y
        WTF moment at 44:30:’Half a million people dropping out of the labor force because they don’t want to work.’
        I am sure Wolf Gray is ready to tear this carcass to shreds.

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