conflict zones, latest, Syria
Comments 24

Syria: The Creeping Partition

by Peter Ford, October 24, 2018, Syriana Analysis

The September crisis over Idlib was brought to a conclusion by the Russian Turkish agreement to create a partially demilitarised border strip. This should have been implemented by 16 October but hasn’t.

Idlib

Some armed groups have pulled back their heavy weapons from the 15-20 km wide 250 km long strip but others haven’t, while the groups internationally categorised as a terrorist, including Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham (HTS), Hurras Ad Deen, and the Turkmenistan militia, have not vacated the area as the Turks promised. Russia was supposed to be allowed into the area to monitor but isn’t. In blatant violation of the ceasefire, some of the groups are shelling neighbouring government-controlled areas including the outskirts of Aleppo and northern Lattakia.

The Turks claim all is well. The Russians, putting a brave face on a very unsatisfactory situation, call for patience. The reality appears to be that the Russians don’t think the Syrian government forces are strong enough to overcome the approximately 90,000 jihadi fighters in Idlib, many dug in in areas of difficult terrain, and all promised air cover by the US if Asad advances.

It has barely been noticed that the US has moved the goalposts on what it gives itself permission to do in Syria. The new US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, a former diplomat emerging from that neocon haven, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy, stated explicitly recently that the US no longer felt itself bound to bomb Syria only if Asad used chemical weapons: henceforth the US would bomb ‘if Asad advances. Period’. (In such an eventuality it would be interesting to see how the British government went about following suit, although it is worth noting that its much contested legal opinion which was offered in April (attached) would startlingly licence the government to bomb under any circumstances whatever as long as it claimed to be acting for humanitarian reasons.)

Some claim that the standoff and emergence of an effectively separate entity in the North could force the Syrian government to make concessions at the negotiating table. This is wishful thinking. The Syrian government would never regard the recovery of a lost province as a fair price for surrendering power. That being the case what we are witnessing appears to be the beginning of the emergence of a safe haven for terrorists under the guardianship of the Turks and the air umbrella of the Western powers: a replay of US/Saudi support for the Taliban in the days when removing the Russians from Afghanistan seemed like a good idea.

The North East

The dismemberment of Syria continues also in the North East (Al Hasakeh province and part of Deir Ez Zor province) which is under the joint control of the Kurdish-dominated SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) and the US. Here too the US recently moved the goalposts virtually unnoticed, Secretary of Defence Mattis declaring that the purpose of the US forces’ presence was to combat Iran, which has no presence whatever in the North East. The US barely even pretends now that the purpose is to defeat the lingering remnants of ISIS, a task which the Syrian forces could handle easily if they were allowed to enter the parts of Deir Ez Zor and Hasakeh provinces where ISIS lurks effectively under US protection. The US plan appears to be to condition the withdrawal of the US presence on the withdrawal of that of the limited number of Iranian military advisers in Syria and of the rather larger number of Iranian–funded militia forces, considered essential to its security by the Syrian government. As many have pointed out this is a recipe for another open-ended US commitment to a military presence in the Middle East.

When the US-led coalition does move against ISIS remnants it is careless of civilian casualties: 62 civilians were killed this week in an air strike on two villages in Deir Ez Zor. This being the conveniently anonymous ‘coalition’ we have no way of knowing if the RAF was involved.

Hopes had been aroused that the US might pull out because of the costliness of propping up local civilian services, which for Trump is anathema. The arrival of 100 million dollars from Saudi Arabia in the Pentagon’s bank account last week (totally unconnected of course with the current predicament of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman) may have upset the Turks, unhappy to see another  Kurdish statelet emerging, but it has eased the financial burden of de facto US occupation.

Al Tanf

The US had given some hints that it might be willing to draw back from the Al Tanf enclave it controls with UK military support near the apex of the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders. Displaced persons started to go home from the jihadi-infested Rukban camp which lies within the Al Tanf perimeter. The Syrian government is offering to facilitate more returns but will not acquiesce in US control over sovereign Syrian territory. Hopes of US departure appear to have been dashed, however, as it becomes clearer that the new US strategy for Syria requires the US to keep its all its assets in Syria, however vulnerable they would be in the event of major conflict, and however much they complicate the humanitarian situation, as potential bargaining chips to force the Syrian government to make concessions in terms of relinquishing Iranian military protection, preparatory to a reinvigorated Geneva negotiating process with a weakened Asad which would deliver the yearned for ‘transition’ away from him.

Return of refugees and reconstruction

With most territory clawed back and fighting now virtually on pause, the Syrian government is working hard to resettle the internally displaced and encourage the return of refugees. Syria’s enemies have discouraged return but many Syrians have voted with their feet: 50,000 have already returned from Lebanon in 2018. Much has been made by those enemies of Law 10 which required property owners to register their claims, an essential step before large scale reconstruction of heavily damaged districts could proceed and new housing be allocated. This was disingenuously portrayed as a land grab by the government. Reports suggest that registration has been put on hold.

Funds for reconstruction remain elusive. The Western powers continue to block any international development assistance as long as the holy grail of ‘transition’ has not been attained.

Meanwhile, ordinary Syrians continue to groan under the handicaps of sanctions and government red tape.

Israel

Israel’s mis- step in causing the shooting down of a Russian plane has been heavily punished. Syria has now taken delivery of several Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems, as well as aircraft communication jamming equipment. As a result, Israel which carried out over 200 air raids on Syria before the incident, has not carried out a single one since, possibly pending delivery by the US of more stealth fighter bombers. The US has categorised Russia’s delivery of the new (defensive) systems as ‘destabilising’ ….

Farewell Staffan de Mistura

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has announced his intention to step down in November, citing ‘personal reasons’. His great achievement in the eyes of Western powers was to keep the Geneva process alive when it was clearly moribund. Without Geneva, they would lose the commitment to ‘transition’ which Russia conceded in a moment of great weakness in 2014. The Geneva process has been void of significance, however, for years. The besuited opposition representatives who attend the Geneva discussions are transparently stooges of the Western and Gulf powers and have absolutely no influence over the Islamist battalions, who have not the slightest interest in the refining the constitution or sharing power and who listen only to Turkey, which controls their logistics. The only meaningful negotiation takes place between Turkey and Russia.

White Helmets

The government declined to answer Baroness Cox’s parliamentary question as to their plans for receiving White Helmets who fled Syria via Israel in July, citing the protection needs of this particularly ‘vulnerable’ category of refugee, only to leak details via the Daily Telegraph a few days later. It transpires that the country can look forward to receiving 28 of these ‘heroes’ with their families.  Meanwhile, a White Helmets local leader who remained behind, giving the lie to those who claimed they would all be rounded up, told a Western journalist that half of the evacuees were not White Helmets at all but jihadis masquerading as such.


Peter Ford was a British Ambassador to Syria.  He is now an independent commentator on the regional and international conflicts.

 

24 Comments

  1. Nicolas Maroudas says

    U$: The Creeping Retreat.

    A prolonged U$ occupation of Syria is unsupportable given the state of US economy, and the growing strength of the Syrian Resistance which ys already supported by Hezb’Allah, Iran, Russia and China, with Iraq and Turkey now wavering against NATZO, and an increasing number of non-Aligned statelets re-opening their Embassies in Syria.

    The Irresistible Power of Reality will force the U$A to retreat from Syria eventually, same way as it retreated from China, N.Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Iraq. The longer it takes Uncle $cam to face reality, the weaker the U$ bargaining position in the ME will be. The Men from Uncle are already warning the Old Man him that U$Dollar share of world FX market has fallen below 63%, and its future as Reserve Currency is in doubt.

  2. vexarb says

    Sweden: The Creeping Degradation.
    A ciip from Nussimenin BTL Saker Vineyard:

    “Nussiminen’s law: Whenever there are conflicting interests between the Big Bourgeoisie and the Petty Bourgeoisie, the former always wins out, hands down.

    And I’ll start right at home (Sweden).
    In the parliamentary elections of 1991, the winners were the _notorious oligarch criminal scumbag and Washington stooge Carl Bildt_ plus a lesser creature from within the ’science’ of economics, Anne Wibble. Bildt (prime minister) and Wibble (finance minister) came to power after a barrage of successful neoliberal propaganda openly paid for and skillfully promoted by Sweden’s business community throughout the preceding decade. The social mass base of the Bildt/Wibble regime was precisely the owners of Sweden’s small and medium size businesses — understandably enough, as their ’intolerable sufferings’ due to ’oppressive taxation’ and ditto labour laws had been stressed to the utmost in Sweden for 10 long years as per the propaganda frenzy.

    Of course, the dissolution of the Eastern bloc and the USSR itself gave an extra boost to this regime, which noisily proclaimed ’Ny start för Sverige’ (new start for Sweden). After a year in office with [Sweden’s Finance Minister] Anne Wibble acting under the banksters’ and big corporations’ very explicit instructions, _a whopping 10% of Sweden’s small and medium size businesses had filed for bankruptcy,_ duly accompanied by a seven-fold increase of the numbers of (officially) unemployed people. Rather than a New Start, the [Bildt] regime orchestrated a crash-landing of the country.”

    [Sounds familiar, my fellow Brits? 1991 New Start for Sweden. 1996 New Labour, New Life for Britain.]

  3. EU$A: the Creeping Disintegration. Clipped [and edited by Vexard] from an interesting but lengthy post by novice “Daniel” BTL SyrPer:

    “… the U.S. is undergoing economic retrenchment to compensate for its relative imperial decline and obsolescence in terms of manufacturing, R&D, et al. as China emerges to be the new global economic powerhouse, fully integrated with Russia, Iran, and, sooner or later, India. The powerful Israel-Zionist lobby in the West now aims to salve its failed “Greater Israel” / U.S / NATO project in the region, by shoring up [its only Zionist ally in the ME] — the Saudi regime — at a time when Regional and Global shifts put Israel, for the first time since 1948, in a truly terminal stage. [In other words, for the first time since 1918 it seems that the Israel project of British Lords Balfour and “Dear Lord Rothschild” is becoming irrelevant to the future of the ME Region. — note added by vexard].

    … The EU is likely going along with the U.S. to expedite this very shift, given the deep and widening U.S / EU rifts on economic matters, especially in regard to Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse and the party most interested in EurAsian integration, since Germany has played a leading role in convincing other EU members to work with Russia and China on circumventing US-imposed sanctions.

    The significance of this shift cannot be underestimated. It directly challenges the petrodollar and, along with Turkish, Syrian, Russian, and Iranian – to not mention Chinese – cooperation on a widening panoply of matters in the MENA (soon to be joined by Iraq, Jordan, Libya, and Egypt), puts the very existence of Israel on the line, given the following:

    1) the victory of the secular pan-Arab Syrian republic over the Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood-linked, Gulf-financed, pro-US / pro-NATO / pro-Israel proxy-Jihadists; the solidification of the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria Resistance Axis; the impending recovery of all Syria by Assad and Putin; the battle-hardened experience of the SAA and its allies; and the imposition of a de facto no-fly zone over all Syria via the [Russian] S-300PM / S-400 / Pantsir network;

    2) the impact of the IL-20 incident on the Russian public’s … perception of Israel and the Israeli fifth-columnist lobby inside Russia … [this has] greatly split the Russian people (not least among them, those in the military and FSB) from the Zionist lobby; and precipitated unusually blunt statements by MoFA spokeswoman Zakharova on the “Jewish lobby” and its tentacles in the U.S. and elsewhere;

    3) the renewed MENA focus on resisting U.S / NATO Imperialism and the Zionist occupation of Palestine … thus strengthening the appeal of secular, socialist, pan-Arab nationalism (Syria), populist Islamic Republicanism (Islamic Republic of Iran), and the hybrid democratic model (the secular Turkey [of Kemal Attaturk]) vs. feudal, pseudo-Islamic, Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood activity (Saudi Arabia / Kuwait and MB factions within Turkey/Qatar);

    4) the effectiveness of modern Syria and Iran and their equally modern Russian and Chinese partners as against [Anglo French] Imperialism and the pro-US pro-Zionist, backward Gulf monarchies having become plain for all the Muslim Ummah to see, [this is] heightening the appeal of the Multipolar Eurasian model, based on mutual benefit and cultural respect, over the Unipolar Western Sectarian / Imperialist / Capitalist model, the latter being based on resource wars, genocide, and religious sectarian divide-and-rule tactics [as practised in Israel and Saudi Arabia];

    5) the growing Regional (as opposed to Western) _anger_ over the Saudi regime’s innumerable crimes, … but also due to the domestic and regional crimes of U.S / NATO / Israeli interventionism (in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere) [is leading the ME to a Regional distaste for] the Wahhabi fanaticism that emanates from Saudi Arabia, its technological backwardness, and its ever-more-slavish subservience to the Zionist agenda on Palestine;

    • DunGroanin says

      Vexarb, a very interesting analysis you quote. Certainly a lot more rounded consideration of the geopolitics there. A lot more than the western MSM, which seems to have coordinated a ‘blackout’ of the continuing coverage of ALL the developments in that part of the ME – and is now concentrating on US hoax bombers and killings using glock weapons!

      The latest news of the 4-way meeting between Putin, Erdogan, Merkel AND Macron (!?*) is BIG news – but mostly relegated if not completely ignored.

      Al-jazeera at least manages to give a much bigger picture covering most of the developments. For example reporting :

      ‘A final statement from the four leaders also rejected “separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries”.’
      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/leaders-turkey-syria-france-germany-hold-syria-talks-181027181752402.html

      * Macron being there must be representing FUKUS & SIS (SaudiIsraelState) – the losers in the Syrian debacle – the bankers man

      • @Done Groaning (that’s the spirit!): “the western MSM, which seems to have coordinated a ‘blackout’ of the continuing coverage of ALL the developments in that part of the ME – and is now concentrating on US hoax bombers and killings using glock weapons!”

        Yes indeed. In the old days when Nelson didn’t want to read the signal, “He clapped the glass to his sightless eye / And I’m demmed if I see it! he said”. Nowadays the modern Consumer Sheeple do it more effectively by clapping on a pair of Virtual Reality Glasses to view Fake News via MSM. “Distracted from Distractions by Distraction”.

        Thank heavens for Truther sites like this one and a thousand others. Fight for Net Neutrality, the greatest aid to the establishment of Truth and the spread of Enlightenment since the invention of writing.

  4. You’ve read “Syria: the Creeping Partition” by Syria ambassador Peter Ford.
    Now read “EU$A: the Creeping Financial Bloodbath” by SyrPer analyst Canthama.

    “Canthama

    As I commented few times at Syrper and twitter, the period of late 2018 and all the way to 2023 will witness many geopolitical and economic shifts around the world.

    Late 2018 promises some rough rides on global stocks and equities, Banks are extremely vulnerable at the moment, including few central banks, losses are mounting globally as USD 8 Trillions just evaporated this past week.

    Anyone with connections to industrial outputs and markets is already noticing raw material prices melting down due to lower demand, this process is aggravated due to high oil and gas prices lead by the northern hemisphere winter arriving, that will reflect in horrible balance sheet for multinationals all around the world during 4Q18 & 1Q19, pulling bloodbath a bit further down, then comes the fragile bubbles formed by years of QEs from few key Central Banks. Rough times ahead Syrpers, it will get really ugly, as we move thru 2019, global economic crisis will spread all over, not sparing anyone but the countries that prepared to this very moment…like Russia.

    “Don’t tell anyone that foreign buying of Treasury debt has been cut in half this year and keep it a secret that the dollar share of world FX reserves has shrunk to a 5-year low of 62.5%. The USD role as the reserve currency is on its last legs.”

    — David Rosenberg Oct 24, 2018

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-26/bloodbath

  5. Paul says

    When the spotlight first fell on US Forces in NE Syria directing an Arab army a very frank American spokesmen said one thing was for sure, there was no way the profits from the enormous oil fields there were going to Assad. He didn’t add that such big business in oil was best done by an American company. In return for a slice of the profit an ‘Independent’ Arab administration would keep everything ultra secure.

  6. FuckemAll says

    Our PM must surely be grateful to Putin for so far not capturing our mercenary forces holed up on the turkish borders, and having them on show with their ‘beards’. Though reports seem to say they are blowing themselves up in their makeshift chemical factories.

    Now the Saudis are out of that game (it is high irony that Kashogii’s final influence would be to give peace a chance where he and his family have spent their lives selling war and conquest and misery). Erdogan will force the US out and restore these parts to Syrian control.

    There already is a ‘Sunnistan’ it is called Saudia Arabia – plenty of space there for the mercenaries collected by FUKUS and Israel.

    Meanwhile NATO has decided to poke the bear in the Artic regions!

    I wonder how many General Winter is going to freeze as the north wind has started to blow?

    Our fuckwit inbred toy soldiers just keep on fucking up and getting ‘our boys’ damaged for the benefit of their aristo families and plutocrat masters.

    Fuckem!

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  7. Yup thanks Peter Ford and the efforts by your associates such as letters that regularly appear. Hope we get an optimistic update from this…
    “MOSCOW, October 25. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold a meeting with a delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Committee headed by Nasr al-Hariri on October 26, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters, adding that the parties would discuss the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, the separation of opposition members from terrorists and the formation of a Syrian constitutional committee.”

    More:
    http://tass.com/politics/1027835

  8. Mark Gobell says

    Jan 2016 : Syrian Free Press :

    Creating Sunnistan: Foreign Affairs Calls for Syria and Iraq to be Balkanized

    https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/creating-sunnistan/

    By Steven MacMillan Journal-Neo

    On the 29th of November, 2015, Foreign Affairs [the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)] published an article titled: Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq; Why the West Should Plan for a Partition. It was written by Barak Mendelsohn, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In the article, he argues that the “solution” to the current crisis in Syria and Iraq is the creation of an “independent Sunni state” (or Sunnistan), in addition to separating “the warring sides:”

    Nov 2015 : CFR : Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq : Why the West Should Plan for a Partition

    By Barak Mendelsohn

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2015-11-29/divide-and-conquer-syria-and-iraq

    ***

    See also :

    The “ISIS Caliphate and Saudi Arabia”

    ISIS Announce Caliphate “The End of Sykes-Picot” on 29 June 2014
    http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1062529154#post1062529154

    MG

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      That is just the Oded Yinon Plan, the Zionazis’ decades old intention to destroy and vivisect all its neighbours, the better to dominate the region and steal their God-ordained lebensraum of ‘Eretz Yisrael’ at their leisure. Barak Mendelssohn would be a devout Zionazi supremacist, one assumes.

  9. Stonky says

    Thank god for people with a bit of integrity like Peter Ford and Craig Murray.

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  10. Good report on the Syrian continuing situation. One which is hidden in the WMSM.

    A detailed report here from Vanessa Beeley exposing more about the UK created MI6 propaganda construct called the White Helmets:

    https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/10/17/syria-exclusive-vanessa-beeley-meets-the-white-helmets-and-armed-group-leader-in-daraa-al-balad/

    FUKUS are being protected by their paid for media cohorts in what are and have been blatant war crimes in Syria.

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  11. The liberation of NorthWest and SouthEast border regions of Syria was reserved for last, because the first was occupied by terrorists from NATZO member Turkey, and the latter was occupied by terrorists from NATZO members UK Z U$A via Jordan (with unwilling compliance of Harrow educated, Sandhurst-trained King Abdullah). And diplomacy (persuading UKZU$A to forego their sense of entitlement to other peoples property) was always going to be an important part of the liberation campaign.

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  12. archie1954 says

    The US as usual is acting despicably! Not one treaty, not one promise, not one international relationship is safe, while the World’s biggest bully is flexing his disintegrating synapses. Nothing is sacred, nothing is immune from cash sales. The US signs a solemn pact and if a better offer comes along the pact is thrown in the dustbin. So much for trust and there is no honour among thieves.

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    • Antonym says

      Assad might prefer to keep those assembled fanatics outside; Erdogan too – maybe.
      Then again, they might start shooting rockets over the borders….

      1
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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      ‘Human Rights Watch’ is a cabal of New York Jews and their Sabbat Goy stooges, racists whose latest confection was the ‘one million Uighurs in detention’ lie, nicely illustrating the Zionazis’ hatred and fear of China, a state they will never totally control as they do the West. Racists, through and through.

      • Admin says

        New York Jews and their Sabbat Goy stooges” – translation – some of the people running HRW are Jewish and some are not. You think their race/religion worth mentioning and attach a slant to it.

        There’s a HELL of a lot wrong with HRW, but being run by some people who may be Jews isn’t really it. You claim you aren’t racist and that you don’t blame “the Joos” for everything, but in practical terms it sure looks like you are and do. At very least in taking the tone you do you only help the cause of the people who are trying to call all dissenters “antisemites”.

        Try not to bring the race/religion of anyone into a discussion that isn’t about race or religion. And especially avoid doing so in a pejorative manner.

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  13. Here is someone else who knows what she is talking about when it comes to the suffering of Syria. Britain’s very own Vanessa Beeley:

    Vanessa Beeley with Eva Karene Bartlett and 6 others.

    https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/videos/10158464178623868/

    ”This was one of the most moving interviews I have done. I met Hassan Ali Kanani and his wife, Samiah, in their home in the northern countryside of Latakia, in September 2018…
    They told me the story of their courageous son, Tarek Hassan Kanani, who fought with the SAA and participated in many battles in Syria to liberate territory from the Western-backed terrorist plague…”

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  14. writerroddis says

    Thank you Peter Ford. Good to have this kind of detailed assessment from one who actually knows what he’s talking about re Syria.

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