“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Syria War battlefield update 11 November 2015

Russia, Iran, Syrian Army and Hezbollah against ISIS:

 Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:18pm EST

Kurdish Peshmerga Fighters, Yazidi Fighters and US Airpower gaining against ISIS

ISIS sends suicide bombers against Hezbollah in Lebanon

UPDATE 9-Kurds expect to enter and clear Sinjar soon

* 7,500 Kurdish and Yazidi fighters backed by coalition firepower
* Sinjar lies strategically on road linking Mosul and Raqqa
* Islamic State attack last year triggered U.S.-led air strikes (Adds Kurdish predictions Sinjar will be captured soon)
By Isabel Coles
NEAR SINJAR TOWN, Iraq, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Kurdish forces who have launched an offensive to retake Sinjar from Islamic State militants expect to enter and clear the northern Iraqi town soon, the Kurdistan regional security council said on Thursday.
More than 150 square km (58 square miles) have been seized from the ultrahardline Sunni group and dozens of bodies of its fighters were left behind in a retreat from parts of Sinjar, it added.
Reuters could not independently confirm this account but Kurdish commanders near the frontline seemed confident and morale among fighters was high.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, Kurdish peshmerga fighters reached Sinjar from the east and west, the council said.
The Kurds launched the operation in the early morning designed to cordon off Sinjar, take control of strategic routes and establish a buffer zone to protect the town from artillery.
A victory in Sinjar could give the Kurds, government forces and Shi'ite militias critical momentum in efforts to defeat Islamic State, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria and has affiliates in Libya and Egypt.
The group, made up of Iraqis and other Arabs as well as foreign fighters, poses the biggest security threat to OPEC oil producer Iraq since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
So far the Kurds have captured several villages and taken up positions along Highway 47, a supply route between Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul, the main Islamic State bastions.
"The ground assault began in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, when peshmerga units successfully established blocking positions along Highway 47 and began clearing Sinjar," said the coalition in a statement.
"The peshmerga will continue operations to re-establish government control over key portions of the areas."
Islamic State, suspected by Western intelligence officials of playing a role in the crash of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt two weeks ago, overran Sinjar more than a year ago.
Islamic State's killing and enslaving of thousands of its Yazidi residents focused international attention on the group's violent campaign to impose its radical ideology and prompted Washington to launch its air offensive.
The U.S. expectation is that it would take two to four days to secure Sinjar and another week to finalise clearing operations, a U.S. military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. military advisers are with Kurdish commanders near Sinjar mountain but are positioned well back from the fighting, a U.S. military spokesman said.
U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren told Reuters some U.S. advisers were also on Sinjar mountain working with the Kurdish peshmerga forces to advise and assist with the development of targets for air strikes.
The U.S. military estimated that 60 to 70 Islamic State fighters had been killed in U.S.-led coalition air strikes so far on Thursday, said Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition effort against Islamic State.
Islamic State uses Highway 47 to transport weapons, fighters and illicit commodities to fund its operations, said the coalition, which conducted more than 250 air strikes in the past month across northern Iraq.
Russia's recent interventions - air strikes against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and intelligence sharing with Baghdad - have raised concerns in Washington that its former Cold War foe is gaining influence in the Middle East.
U.S.-led coalition air strikes pounded Islamic State-held areas in the town overnight, as around 7,500 Kurdish special forces, peshmerga and Yazidi fighters descended from the Sinjar mountain towards the front line in a military convoy.
"It is going according to plan. We are optimistic and we consider today like a celebration," said Sinjar district mayor Mahma Xelil.
Kurdish forces and the U.S. military said the number of Islamic State fighters in the town had increased to nearly 600 after reinforcements arrived in the run-up to the offensive.
The offensive is being overseen by Kurdistan regional president Massoud Barzani, who is also head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which other groups in the area accuse of seeking to monopolise power.
Many Yazidis lost faith in the KDP when its forces failed to protect them from Islamic State militants, who consider them devil worshippers, when the group attacked Sinjar in August 2014, systematically slaughtering, enslaving and raping thousands of Yazidis.
A Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) came to the rescue, evacuating thousands of Yazidis stranded on Sinjar mountain and establishing a permanent base there.
Near the front lines on Thursday, a Kurdish officer stood behind a wall of sandbags. Sinjar, about 300 metres (1,000 feet)away, could be seen through a gap in a rampart.
Kurdish officers said an Islamic State sniper had taken up position in the town. Coordinates were passed to a joint operations room and within five minutes the position was bombed.
Islamic State militants could be heard communicating in Arabic and Turkmen in intercepted walkie-talkie chatter.
"Where are you," asked one. "Praise be to God," said another. One fighter noted that a car used by his comrades had been destroyed.
Loqman Ibrahim, head of the eight battalion, made up of Yazidis and under peshmerga command, said he heard militants urging each other to fight to the death and that an order was given not to withdraw.
Most Yazidis have been displaced to camps in the Kurdistan region; several thousand remain in Islamic State captivity.
For Yazidi forces taking part, the battle is very much about retribution.
Hussein Derbo, the head of a peshmerga battalion made up of 440 Yazidis, said the men under his command could have migrated to Europe but chose to stay and fight.
"It is our land and our honour. They (Islamic State) stole our dignity. We want to get it back," he told Reuters in a village on the northern outskirts of Sinjar town.
Derbo's brother, Farman, echoed the sentiment, saying he hoped the militants would not retreat so the Yazidis could kill them all.
The forces, many wearing the thick moustache typical of Yazidis and carrying light weapons, had gathered at a staging position overnight.
They travelled in a peshmerga convoy comprised of Humvees on flatbed trucks, heavy artillery, and fighters waving Kurdish flags, flashing peace signs and brandishing their rifles.
Hundreds of vehicles wound slowly downhill along the same road Yazidis had fled up last summer seeking safety from Islamic State. Abandoned cars and blood-stained clothing were reminders of those chaotic scenes.
Around dawn, the fighters piled into their vehicles and headed to the front.
Authorising the first strikes against Islamic State in August 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama cited a duty to prevent a genocide of Yazidis by the radical Islamists.
In December 2014, Kurdish forces drove Islamic State from north of Sinjar mountain, a craggy strip about 60 km (40 miles) long, but Islamic State maintained control of the southern side where the town is located.
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by James Dalgleish)


  1. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has fired his top military aide for allegations of “misconduct,” a highly unusual move prior to a formal investigation into possible misbehavior by the Army general.

    In a statement, Carter said that he had removed Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis from his position as senior military assistant. As his top military aide, Lewis was a right-hand advisor to Carter, providing him analysis on military issues, joining him at high-level meetings, and traveling with him on overseas missions.

    Carter said the Pentagon’s Inspector General would investigate the allegations against Lewis and, if necessary, the Army would take action.

    “I expect the highest possible standards of conduct from the men and women in this department, particularly from those serving in the most senior positions,” Carter said. “There is no exception.”

    The Pentagon declined to provide details of what Lewis, 50, is accused of doing, but an individual familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter, said the decision involved an alleged improper relationship. Defense officials said that Lewis would remain in the military and would return to a position in the Army.

  2. WAPO

    BEIRUT — Twin suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State killed dozens of people and wounded more than 200 in Beirut on Thursday, raising fears of intensified attempts by the radical Sunni group to undermine Lebanon’s fragile stability.

    In the worst attack to hit the Lebanese capital in years, assailants targeted a southern suburb where many loyalists of the powerful Shiite Hezbollah militia live. The explosions killed at least 37 people, officials said, and left little doubt that the attackers struck with the intent of stirring up Lebanon’s volatile sectarian divisions.

    Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian government forces against the Sunni-led rebellion in Syria, drawing the ire of such militantly anti-Shiite groups as the Islamic State. Lebanon faced a string of similar bombings more than a year ago that also targeted the largely Shiite areas of Beirut.

    In a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the Islamic State said the first bomber struck with an explosives-rigged motorcycle, followed by a second assailant wearing a suicide vest.

    The statement, published on Twitter and other social-networking platforms, said the group targeted the Hezbollah “stronghold,” killing more than 40 people and wounding over 200. The statement’s authenticity could not be independently verified.


    Well, maybe not:

    Israeli airstrikes were carried out in Syria near the Damascus airport on Wednesday, news outlets in both countries reported.

    "Opposition media outlets [in Syria] reported that explosions were heard at the airport, followed by a power outage and the temporary grounding of aircraft," the Israeli paper Ynet reported.

    The opposition groups reported that the strikes appeared to target the Lebanon-based Shiite militant group Hezbollah that has been active in Syria. The U.S., France, Israel, and several Arab nations have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

    "Israel is reported to have been behind a series of air raids on Syrian soil, since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, aimed at preventing advanced weapons shipments from Iran from reaching arch-enemy Hezbollah via Syria," explained The Times of Israel.

    Read Latest Breaking News from
    Urgent: Rate Obama on His Job Performance. Vote Here Now!

    1. Wow, thanks for giving the Israelis a raise.

      Well what is an extra 2 billion?

      chump change, might as well exaggerate...

  4. Here is how it is going, While ISIS attacks Hezbollah in Lebanon with suicide bombers, ISIS ally, Israel attacks Hezbollah in Syria.

    1. Not to worry, hezbollah will blow up some more Americans soon

  5. The result of the ISIS attack on Hezbollah

    Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said a third suicide bomber was killed when the second attacker detonated his explosives, preventing that third person from detonating his payload in the Burj al Barajinah neighborhood of Beirut. The two other bombers struck close together in the notoriously congested area of the city during rush hour, apparently to maximize the number of victims, who included children, Lebanese officials said.

    At the scene of the attack, mangled bodies lay in pools of blood and broken glass as people shouted for help and tried to find missing loved ones. Security personnel who had rushed to the scene appeared stunned by the carnage. Ambulances could be heard speeding to and from the scene late into the night, while hospitals and aid groups issued public requests for blood donations.


    On Wednesday evening, Syrian and Lebanese media reported new Israeli airstrikes near Damascus International Airport. A member of the Syrian opposition said that Israeli warplanes entered Syrian air space via the Qalamoun Mountains in the Lebanese border area. The Israeli jets flew above the airport in Damascus and carried out strikes on military outposts. The opposition activist added that the outposts belonged to Hezbollah.

    A regime-affiliated news site reported heavy damage to the outposts that all went up in flames. Eyewitnesses described huge explosions and blasts that could be heard miles away.

    1. Hezbollah, with a few billion from Iran have placed over 100,000 rockets in souther lebanon.

      All for the next war..

      they have also taken over the democratically elected government of lebanon..

      smile the islamic nazis, hezbollah are there


    Nov. 10 2015, 12:56 p.m.

    SINCE TURKEY JOINED THE U.S.-LED COALITION to fight ISIS, its military actions have struck far more Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) targets than ISIS targets, leading many to suspect that the government is using ISIS as an excuse to reignite the civil war against the PKK and intimidate the Kurdish population.

    Critics argue, further, that Turkey’s failures to combat ISIS are calculated, given the Islamic State’s repeated attacks on Kurdish targets, such as the Suruc bombing last July and the Ankara bombing last month.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated his anti-PKK rhetoric last week, saying on Wednesday, “Turkey will continue its fight against Kurdish insurgents until every last militant is liquidated,” in his first major presidential address since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won reelection on November 1. The announcement led to an almost immediate end to a monthlong ceasefire, igniting deadly clashes that have killed almost 200 since last week alone.

    On Monday, clashes broke out in the Turkish city of Cizre when PKK fighters bombed a hospital, heavily damaging the facility and forcing the evacuation of 30 patients during the most recent wave of violence in the southeastern region of the country.

    While the AKP won the most recent elections by promising stability — appealing to an electorate traumatized by a summer of ISIS-linked bombings and renewed violence in the south — the ruling party’s actions leading up to and following the elections have yielded greater insecurity and instability. First is the renewal of Turkey’s war against the Kurds in the guise of fighting ISIS.

    “I am doubtful over whether AKP is afraid of the radicalization going on in society,” Dogu Eroglu, a locally based investigative journalist with the Daily BirGün told The Intercept. “After finding the best tool to contain Kurds both inside and outside of Turkey,” he continued, “there is no reason that AKP should give up on the opportunities offered by the existence of the Islamic State.”


    There must be “proper investigations” to ensure that Saudi Arabia has not breached international humanitarian law in the war in Yemen, according to Britain’s foreign secretary, who said that shipments of UK-supplied weapons would be halted if the Saudis fell foul of those probes.

    Philip Hammond’s comments came as Britain is being urged to halt the supply of weapons to Riyadh in the light of evidence that civilians are being killed in Saudi-led attacks on rebel forces in Yemen.

    Amnesty International has warned that “damning evidence of war crimes” highlights the urgent need for an independent investigation of violations and for the suspension of transfer of arms used in the attacks.

    Speaking during a visit to the US, Hammond told BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday that he had discussed the use of the weapons in Yemen when he visited Saudi Arabia recently.

    “The Saudis deny that there have been any breaches of international humanitarian law,” he said. “Obviously that denial alone is not enough. We need to see proper investigations. We need to work with the Saudis to establish that international humanitarian law has been complied with. We have an export licensing system that responds if we find that it is not. We will then find that we cannot licence additional shipments of weapons.”

    Saying that he was aware that some British weapons were being used in Yemen, Hammond added: “That doesn’t fall foul of the export licensing criteria. It would be hypocritical to think that we could have a large defence industry exporting weapons systems and that they never get used. What matters is that they are used legally in compliance with international humanitarian law and we monitor that very carefully.

    “The important thing is that they are being used legally in an international armed conflict. There have been accusations of breaches of international humanitarian law. We regularly intervene with the Saudis to encourage them to be transparent with us.”

    Separately during his visit to the US, the foreign secretary also broached the subject of Russia’s intervention in Syria and the likely next move by Russia’s president, telling journalists: “My assessment of Mr Putin and the way he works, he’s clearly got two options now.”

    “He can double down and increase the pressure that he’s seeking to bring to bear on Isil, or he can back off and seek a way of limiting Russia’s engagement in Syria while still seeking to achieve his diplomatic objectives, and that would imply a greater commitment to and engagement the talks that are taking place in Vienna.

    “One thing I think we can take as a given is that Mr Putin will never wish to appear to be backing down in anything, never wish to give any impression that he’s acting out of weakness rather than strength.”

    On the Sinai air crash, he repeated that Britain’s assessment was that it was “very likely” to have been been brought down by an explosive device, but said: “We don’t have hard evidence of a bomb yet.

    “In terms of the battle against [Islamic State], it doesn’t really change anything. The bit that’s new here is the ability to penetrate airport security and that of course will lead to questions about the way we do airport security in the region in areas at high threat from [Isis].”

  8. Now I ask you sports fans, which one of our illustrious masters and rulers, spending all that corporate money to fix the next election, is smart enough to figure this out and come to a conclusion that we dump most of all the above?


    From now on anti-aircraft missile systems will be deployed in Syria except for Russian attack aircraft, fighters, bombers and helicopters, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces claimed today. Colonel General Viktor Bondarev stated that 'any sort of force majeur may occur'.
    Thus, objective of this initiative of the Aerospace Forces authorities is to repel the threat. First, we should be ready for a strike attack against our forces in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, and secondly, we should prevent hijacking of a combat aircraft. Beside that, Bondarev refuted information suggesting that Russian pilots allegedly lack missiles in Syria.


    - See more at:

  10. Deuce says:


    On Wednesday evening, Syrian and Lebanese media reported new Israeli airstrikes near Damascus International Airport. A member of the Syrian opposition said that Israeli warplanes entered Syrian air space via the Qalamoun Mountains in the Lebanese border area. The Israeli jets flew above the airport in Damascus and carried out strikes on military outposts. The opposition activist added that the outposts belonged to Hezbollah.

    A regime-affiliated news site reported heavy damage to the outposts that all went up in flames. Eyewitnesses described huge explosions and blasts that could be heard miles away.

    JPOST reports a little more interesting details

    The target of Israel's alleged airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday evening were Hezbollah weapons warehouses, Arab media affiliated with the opposition to Syrian Preisdent Basher Assad reported Thursday.

    Pro-Assad operatives on Facebook said that the strikes, adjacent to Damascus airport, struck "military outposts near the airport, and there is a high probability that it was IDF warplanes that struck."

    New portal 'Damascus Alan,' which is affiliated with the Assad regime, reported that heavy damage was caused to army outposts around the airport, all of which went up in flames. The site did not specify what damage was caused to the outposts, but they said that nobody was hurt.

    Syrian opposition activist Ahmed Yabrudi said: "Israeli warplanes entered from south Lebanon, arrived at Qalamoun and flew above the international airport in Damascus where they struck nearby military outposts."

    He added that "the Israeli planes remained in Syria's skies for a half hour, and there is no information about the outposts that were hit - except that they belonged to Hezbollah."

    Official Syrian media failed to report on the air strikes attributed to Israel.

    Israeli defense officials also declined to comment on the foreign media reports.

    However, Israel did previously announce a strict-policy of intolerance towards threats to the state, such as weapons transfers to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    What is interesting of what Deuce purposefully left out...

    They were not "outposts" rather they were WAREHOUSES.....

    Storing weapons destined for Lebanon.

    Interesting.. Not all hezbollah targets are the same.

  11. It probably won’t be quite as much fun if General Viktor Bondarev gets his missile defense system setup in Syria.

  12. .

    It's likely all the Palestinian's fault.


    1. The Russians have worked it out with israel.

      Israel can take out the weapons that Russia sold to Iran that are given to hezbollah. Then Iran will purchase more weapons for the Hezbollah and Israel will destroy those,

      Russia has been selling weapons to the arabs and persians for decades to be destroyed by Israel, and then repurchased.

      BTW I doubt the s300's that the Iranians will get will be the same as the s300's the russians will be using.

    2. It stands to wonder what will be the next war look like?

      The rounds of war that the russians (IE the soviets) have supported against Israel have all failed.

      Let's remember that's why the Soviets were thrown out of Egypt in the 1st place.

      Of course who an forget Assad's daddy's attempt to destroy Israel and Israel taking out what? 90 USSR supplied fighters? 20 or so SAM batteries? Yeah the Beka Valley Turkey Shoot..

      Russians are great at killing Chechnyians, Georgians and other's of that level but how would the Russian's do against the IDF or Americans?

      I have heard rumors that the Russians are having issues with keeping their planes in the air...

      Should be interesting..

  13. QuirkThu Nov 12, 11:44:00 PM EST

    It's likely all the Palestinian's fault.


    The Fakistianians are on both sides of the ISIS/Syrian war... Good to see them kill each other.

  14. as for the esteemed general?

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has sent missile systems to Syria to protect its military forces there, the head of Russia's air force said on Thursday.

    Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said fighter jets could be hijacked in countries neighboring Syria and used to attack Russian forces.

    "We have calculated all possible threats. We have sent not only fighter jets, bombers and helicopters, but also missile systems," Bondarev told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

    "We must be ready."

    Sounds like they are more worried about airbuses and boeings airliners than Israel Jets..

    As they should..

    But If I was a betting man?

    I'd be worried about Commercial airliners crashing in Moscow.


  15. Deuce ☂Thu Nov 12, 11:37:00 PM EST
    It probably won’t be quite as much fun if General Viktor Bondarev gets his missile defense system setup in Syria.

    Besides the Russians are not their to get their asses handed to them by the IDF.

  16. Harsh conditions are foiling Russian jets in Syria
    Russian warplanes sent to Syria to back the regime of Bashar Assad are breaking down at a rapid rate that appears to be affecting their ability to strike targets, according to a senior Defense official.

    Nearly one-third of Russian attack planes and half of its transport aircraft are grounded at any time as the harsh, desert conditions take a toll on equipment and crews, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about sensitive intelligence matters.

    The Russians appear to be having difficulty adapting to the dusty conditions, and the number of airstrikes they have conducted seems to have dipped slightly.

    "For deployed forces, that's a hideous rate," said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed warplanes, including Russia's advanced Fullback ground-attack jet, helicopters and troops to a base near Latakia, Syria, in September. In addition, at least a dozen transport planes have been stationed there.

    "They could have bad operating procedures, inadequate supplies of spare parts and support crews," Aboulafia said.

    Russia's inexperience deploying forces at some distance, unlike their military actions in bordering countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, could also account for problems keeping planes in the air, he said.

    "An awful lot of expeditionary warfare revolves around logistics," Aboulafia said. "A lot of it comes down to experience. They don't have that much of it."


    1. Your story comes from the secret agent man for the Neocons, Rupert Murdoch.


  17. ISIS terrorists taunted the Russians on Thursday, vowing they will “make your wives concubines and your children slaves.”

    Hey that's the same thing the moslems of north africa said to America in 1783!!!!!!


    1. Mortimer Zuckerman’s Daily News, another Neocon voice in the Israeli/Jewish controlled US media.

    2. Ah, when you cannot actually comment?

      Use ridicule of the source?

      Rules for Radicals.. eh?

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. the Israeli/Jewish controlled US media


    5. thanks for deleting my post Blog admin, just proves my point again,

      You do not fail.

      Like a trained seal.


  18. Admit it quirk, once again you shot your mouth off when your brain was not engaged.

    I just went back to see if there was anything I missed on the last stream and came across this. I'm sorry, WiO, read your two posts on this subject and am now waiting until another resident of WiOland, preferably one who is an English major, shows up to translate them for me.

    When I get that translation, I'll revisit the question above.


  19. .

    US drone strike targets Islamic State executioner ‘Jihadi John’

    Pentagon says it is unclear whether British jihadist Mohamed Emwazi was killed in Syria raid; US official: ‘We’re 99% sure we got him’



  20. BEIRUT – The Syrian regime backed by Hezbollah has begun to mobilize troops for a major offensive in a triangle of territory stretching from the southern outskirts of Damascus down to Quneitra in the southwest and Daraa in the southeast.

    Known commonly in Arabic-language media as the “triangle of death,” this stretch of land has been the focus of a number of regime offensives, including a major one in February that was directed by Hezbollah and Iran.

    The February campaign, however, made little headway amid the heavy winter storms that buffeted the region.

    Now, weeks after Russia began airstrikes on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, government forces are once again readying an offensive in southern Syria, according to rebel sources.

    All4Syria cited a source in the Free Syrian Army-affiliated Southern Front as saying Monday that the regime had started to deploy “large detachments of its forces to more than one front in order to target the point of convergence between the three regions that form the triangle of death (Daraa, Quneitra and western rural Damascus).”

    The source said that the main objective of the offensive was to seize the Tel al-Hara hilltop, which was captured by rebels in October 2014 during a blistering offensive in the Quneitra province bordering Israel.

    Russia reportedly maintained a facility at the Tel al-Hara observation base which collected intelligence on Syria’s neighbors. In October 2014, rebels released a video showing documents bearing Russian writing as well as symbols of Russian Military Intelligence’s (GRU) 6th Directorate, which is tasked with signals intelligence.

    The Southern Front source, who remained anonymous, also told All4Syria that the current regime build-up has focused on Daraa’s Deir al-Adas area, which lies northwest of rebel lines, as well as the town of Sanamayn, which hosts the Syrian army’s 9th Armored Division.

    “The regime, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and IRGC groups assisted by Russian air cover are preparing for a gigantic and ferocious battle over the coming days in ‘the triangle of death,’ especially in rural areas of northern Daraa province,” the source warned.

    Meanwhile, the commander of the FSA-linked Saif al-Sham Brigades in Quneitra told All4Syria that “Hezbollah militias and Afghan mercenaries” had been “summoned by the regime… to several locations in the triangle of death and northern Quneitra.”

    “Leaked information suggests that these fighters intend to open several fronts as the same time, with the goal of advancing on one of them.”

    “Also, they have set the strategic Tel al-Hara as the main goal.”
    His comments come after Russia in late October began to conduct airstrikes in southern Syria, focusing on the rebel frontlines outside of Tel al-Hara.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported October 29 that what were “believed to be Russian jets” had conducted a series of strikes on the villages of Tel al-Hara, Tal al-Antar, Kafar Nasij and Tal Aqraba, all of which are located approximately 15 kilometers east of the Golan demarcation line.

    The SOHR report comes after a number of pro-rebel outlets had claimed starting from October 27 that Russian strikes had targeted positions in southern Syria, while Iran’s semi-official Fars News said the strikes took place in the Quneitra province, which borders Israel as well as Daraa.

    In turn, the pro-Damascus daily Al-Akhbar touted the start of Russia’s aerial campaign in southern Syria, which comes two weeks after Syrian regime forces backed by a sizeable Hezbollah-contingent reversed a rebel offensive in northern Quneitra and gained ground near Israel.

    1. NOW
      Published: 10/11/2015 02:38 PM

      Regime preparing new south Syria offensive

      “The regime, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and IRGC groups assisted by Russian air cover are preparing for a gigantic and ferocious battle over the coming days."

    2. Cant wait for the Hezbollah body count!

      Those mothers in Lebanon will sleep soundly knowing their sons died as martyrs..


  21. It looks like the Kurds have retaken Sinjar. The question is, now, "can they overcome their fractured "leadership," and mount a real offensive?"


    1. Al-Arabiya reports that the Security Council in Iraqi Kurdistan has announced that their paramilitary, the Peshmerga have taken 150 square kilometers of the city of Sinjar from Daesh (ISIL, ISIS) and has the entire city surrounded. Some sources say that 70% of the city has fallen to them.
      The Peshmerga say that they have set up security checkpoints along the route that connects Daesh-dominated Mosul in north Iraq to the Daesh capita of Raqqa in Syria.
      The US military announced that they had given the Peshmerga air support and had killed dozens of the Daesh extremists.
      The Kurds said that they intended to take the city of Sinjar, which has a large Kurdish population, and establish a safety zone around it that would protect it from Daesh artillery fire.
      On Wednesday night, some 7500 Peshmerga troops converged on Sinjar in a convoy along with Yazidi fighters from nearby Mt. Sinjar (liberated from Daesh rule by the Peshmerga last winter). The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat [“Life”] reports that a third force, Syrian Kurds of the far left YPG or People’s Protection Units also are taking part in the campaign. There is a dispute whether there is participation by Yazidi members of the PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party that is fighting an insurgency in Turkey. The Peshmerga commander denies this allegation. The US and Turkey consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.
      Al-Hayat also reveals that there have been clashes between the Peshmerga and the Turkmen militia at nearby Tuz Khurmato.
      Altogether, some 20,000 Peshmerga troops are expected to participate in this campaign. The Iraqi army is sitting it out, a datum for which I have seen no explanation.
      Daesh has some 600 fighters in the town of Sinjar, having brought reinforcements in the last few months as the Kurdish campaign was delayed for several months, in part by disagreements between the Peshmerga from the Kurdistan Regional Government and Yazidi fighters from Mt. Sinjar, as well as by poor visibility for the US Air force.
      The campaign is being personally supervised by Massoud Barzani, the president of the KRG, who has been accused of having authoritarian tendencies (his term as president has actually ended but no new elections have been held.)

    2. The various "anti-isis" forces are just as liable to be fighting each other, tomorrow, as they are to be fighting isis.

      The politics over there are a complete clusterfuck.

  22. Jeez, Producer Prices have fallen through the basement, and are on their way to China.

    Headline - Down 0.4%

    Year on Year - Down 1.6%

    Minus Food and Energy - Down 0.3%

    Year on Year - Up 0.1%

    1. .

      YOY rail car builds dropped by 83%.

      Big Truck builds have dropped by around 25%

      That is not good.


  23. Paul Krugman: Republicans’ Lust for Gold

    Why have Republican candidates for president embraced hard money policies?:

    Republicans’ Lust for Gold, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: It’s not too hard to understand why everyone seeking the Republican presidential nomination is proposing huge tax cuts for the rich. Just follow the money...

    But what we saw in Tuesday’s presidential debate was something relatively new on the policy front: an increasingly unified Republican demand for hard-money policies, even in a depressed economy. Ted Cruz demands a return to the gold standard. Jeb Bush ... is open to the idea. Marco Rubio wants the Fed to focus solely on price stability, and stop worrying about unemployment. Donald Trump and Ben Carson see a pro-Obama conspiracy behind the Federal Reserve’s low-interest rate policy.

    And let’s not forget that Paul Ryan ... has spent years berating the Fed for policies that, he insisted, would “debase” the dollar and lead to high inflation. Oh, and he has flirted with Carson/Trump-style conspiracy theories, too...

    As I said, this hard-money orthodoxy is relatively new. ... George W. Bush’s economists praised the “aggressive monetary policy”... And Mr. Bush appointed Ben Bernanke... But now it’s hard money all the way. ...

    This turn wasn’t driven by experience. The new Republican monetary orthodoxy has already failed the reality test with flying colors... But years of predictive failure haven’t stopped the orthodoxy from tightening its grip on the party. What’s going on?

    My main answer would be that the Friedman compromise — trash-talking government activism in general, but asserting that monetary policy is different — has proved politically unsustainable. You can’t, in the long run, keep telling your base that government bureaucrats are invariably incompetent, evil or both, then say that the Fed, which is ... basically a government agency run by bureaucrats, should be left free to print money as it sees fit. ...

    The interesting question is what will happen to monetary policy if a Republican wins next year’s election. As best as I can tell, most economists believe that it’s all talk, that once in the White House someone like Mr. Rubio or even Mr. Cruz would return to Bush-style monetary pragmatism. Financial markets seem to believe the same. At any rate, there’s no sign in current asset prices that investors see a significant chance of the catastrophe that would follow a return to gold.

    But I wouldn’t be so sure. True, a new president who looked at the evidence and listened to the experts wouldn’t go down that path. But evidence and expertise have a well-known liberal bias.

    Economist's View

    1. .

      I gave up on Paul a while back. And, he is a smarmy little guy, but...

      While I didn't see the last debate, I have read some of the comments and I pretty much agree with Paul's foreign policy positions, an area where as president he would have a degree of flexibility. On economics, it is a lot more difficult to make moves without consensus.


  24. The Mighty Vandals are 'at Home in the Dome' tomorrow, Vandals Fan, against Appalachian State at 2:00pm Pacific.

    2-4 in League play and I am thinking 'win'.

    "Boosting the Vandals Builds Character"

    (it's the secret behind the sterling characters of Vandal Fans across our great nation and around the world)

  25. CNN Cop pulls over Google self-driving car, finds no driver to ticket.....Hot Air


  26. Trump says Carson has the personality of a child molester.

    Carson advises we all pray for Trump.

  27. Vanderbilt students move to oust professor who suggested radical Islam might be a problem
    posted at 10:41 am on November 13, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

    At this point we could probably use a second blog to do nothing but stories about college campuses and the activities of the special snowflakes who are going to create safe space homes for themselves there. The story coming out of Vanderbilt this week might have been shocking in years past, but by now it’s just a footnote to the daily rap sheet. The students at this esteemed university, having seen the “success” of their fellow seekers of knowledge at Mizzou, are looking to give the boot to one of their professors. Her crime? Penning an editorial many months ago suggesting that we might be having a problem with Islam. (TaxProf)

    At Vanderbilt, many minority students have in recent days renewed a push for the university to take action against Carol Swain (right), a tenured professor of political science and law, over a column she wrote in January after the terrorist attacks in Paris against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

    In the January column, Swain asked, “What would it take to make us admit we were wrong about Islam? What horrendous attack would finally convince us that Islam is not like other religions in the United States, that it poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored better than it has been under the Obama administration?”

    Many students and others said that the column stereotyped all Muslims in a way that was profoundly biased, but the university defended Swain’s right to free speech.

    For the umpteenth time, I’m not saying it’s time for us to burn down the universities, but…

    It seems that part of the problem here is that the president of Missouri University has opened the door to what is turning into a rolling disaster. By effectively shutting down a long established center for higher learning and using the football program (along with all the money it brings) to blackmail the administration into throwing some high profile sacrificial lambs under the bus, they established a template. Now students at other colleges have seen the “success” that’s been achieved and all of the wonderful media attention it brings, so everyone has to jump on the bandwagon.

    None of this answers the far more pressing question of what these kids plan on doing for a job if and when they finally graduate and go out into the real world. There are no “safe spaces” beyond the walls of your own home (or your mom’s basement in the cases of many of them I’m guessing) where you are assured protection from being offended or hearing ideas which differ from your own............

    1. These nasty students have the worrying habit of wanting to censor anything they don't like, and the person that wrote it, too.

      This is an extremely bad trend taking hold in our society, the supposedly 'higher reaches' of it too, the universities.

    2. The lady of course has it right, except she should have dropped the 'radical' and just went with Islam.

      In Hamtranck Michigan, the newly elected city council with a majority of muslims, the first pronouncement by a member was:

      First we show the Poles, then everybody else

      I have offered Quirk refuge when the need arises out on the farm, for himself and his loved ones.

  28. There is always a certain lag time before the University of Idaho takes up idiot ideas from elsewhere, but it is coming to us too -

    November 13, 2015
    Universities Have Become Totalitarian Gulags
    By Robert Oscar Lopez

    The modern American university has become a taxpayer-subsidized left-wing gulag. In it, dissenters such as myself can be subjected to Stalinist show trials, spied on, and threatened with loss of livelihood for espousing dangerous ideas or associating with political pariahs. If Republicans continue to moan about "liberal bias" and "losing the culture wars" without mustering the courage to do something about it – à la Ben Carson's stoppage of funding or Glenn Reynolds's abolition of aristocratic loopholes for Ivy League tithing – then the whole notion of higher education is going to be lost.

    I have glimpsed the future that awaits the whole country if the Equality Act is passed. My university – which I have nicknamed Gaslight University – has charged me with "discrimination" against gays and women. I suggest that you check out the article by Peter Fricke (or this one or this one or this one or this one or this one). If moved, you are always free to sign the online petition posted by a British academic or the online petition posted by Ruth Institute president Jennifer Roback Morse.

    Everything you've heard recently about universities shredding the Constitution is unfortunately true.

    The Gulag and the University – Is There a Difference?..................

    Maybe I have a future yet as the oldest counter-protester on our streets here.

    1. The original 'Free Speech' movement at Berkeley was, actually, about free speech. How things have morphed -

      Campus Protests

      Claremont McKenna Dean Resigns After Students Protest Racial Bias
      Students Protest, Call for Heads to Roll at Schools Around Country
      U of Minn. Decides It May Incite Racism to Remember 9/11 Victims
      Dershowitz on College Protests: These Students Are Book-Burners

      All can be found at Real Clear Politics

    2. .

      Maybe I have a future yet as the oldest counter-protester on our streets here.

      Make sure and take your sign, "Will quote Roethke for money".

      (Although, if you are serious, you might want to hire a dog to sit next to you. It's amazing the difference it can make. Even if they think you are nutz, they will still view you as a harmless old coot.)


  29. .



    WiO, one of these days you will come to understand the 'Law of Holes'.

    The silliness of your statements are evident to anyone who 'actually read the entire Juan Cole' article in question rather than just reading the 'headline.' In your post to me, you cite an extended definition of ‘headline’ as if it had the least bit significant here, yet…

    Had you read the entire article you would have realized that there were two main points Cole was making:

    a. One, that most of the main stream press reporting has been about Iran’s support for the Assad regime and its allies while ignoring or at least downplaying the fact that Saudi Arabia, the US and to a lesser degree Kuwait have been supporting radical groups on the other side of the conflict.
    b. Two, that history has proven that when you provide support to terrorists it can come back to bite you.

    Ignoring this background, you go on to state,

    Interesting how the Palestinians who are fighting on both sides were not mentioned even once.

    Initially, I thought you were talking about the Palestinian refugees in Syria. The official count is over 150,000 but most estimate their numbers in the 250,000 to 450,000 range. As a group, they have been caught in the middle of the civil war, with Assad barrel bombing them on one side while ISIS slaughters them from the other side. It is no wonder thousands of them have taken up arms supporting one side or another in the war.

    It prompted my statement,

    Perhaps, to you.

    The discussion was about Saudi influence as opposed to Iran's. The Kurds weren't mentioned either, or the Christians, or the Druze.

    You've got Palestinians on the mind.

    But no, you were actually referring to the trickle of Palestinians who have been able to sneak out of the occupied territories.

    The question becomes why?

    1. I’ve pointed out the theme of the Cole article above. Within the context of the article, why would anyone bring up the Palestinians?

    2. Ignoring the thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria, the number of Palestinians leaving the occupied territories to join ISIS is small. If yours was a viable question, why not ask why those leaving Canada or Australia weren’t mentioned.

    3. The answer of course is that the article wasn’t about the specific radicals but about those governments that are caught up in supporting them. That obviously doesn’t apply to those sneaking out of the occupied territories.

    Just a suggestion but you may want to try reading the entire article next time rather than just the ‘headlines.

    Under either scenario, whether speaking of the Palestinian refugees in Syria or the few Palestinians sneaking out of the occupied territories, my point still applies…

    You've got Palestinians on the mind


    1. And with that firmly drummed and beaten into my mind, I take leave for a day of errands.

      Cheers !

  30. .

    3 billion barrels of oil in storage. A record.

    Next year, Iran will re-emerge. There is still always the chance (though small) that Libya will get their shit together.

    How much storage capacity is there?


  31. 100 hostages in Paris theater - 35 dead

  32. Three coordinated terror attacks in the heart of the city

    1. Hey, they scream the same thing as the palestinians when the stab to death Jew babies and old people!!

      Allahu Akbar....

      I see a pattern...

  33. Syria refugee crisis: U.S. opens centres to speed vetting
    The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.

    The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.

    The U.S. State Department confirmed the plans to open a refugee settlement processing centre in Erbil, Iraq, before the end of 2015, and to resume refugee processing in Lebanon in early 2016, said spokeswoman Danna Van Brandt.

    The White House would not say how many additional refugees it may take in beyond the 10,000, but two senior administration officials said they are seeking ways to increase the number.

    Yeah that makes sense..... LOL


    Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” President Barack Obama seemingly downplayed the threat of ISIS in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Friday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.”

    Stephanopoulos asked Obama if ISIS was gaining in strength, to which Obama denied they were.

    “I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

    Tip to Quirk, notice how the HEADLINE stays true to the article?

    1. .


      So what? You do realize the irrelevance of your statement, don't you?

      Or do you?

      Well, don't worry. If you prefer brevity over clarity, that's fine. A lot of the online papers are now trying to accommodate the short attention spans of their audience. They don't even bother with headlines. They just put up a bunch of shiny pictures to attract the readers to their stories.


  35. Wow, they done blowed up France.

    I gotta quit taking naps in the middle of the day. :)

  36. Glad I had to make that run to town, got to listen to Michael Savage absolutely explode about the situation in Paris, and here.

    He's thinks we ought to close our borders to moslems. I do too.

    Anyone up for bringing, today, say, 4 million 'Syrians' to USA ?

    Do I have a second for this proposal, today ?

    They could all go to Hamtramck, Michigan, where they would 'first show the Poles, then everybody else'.

    1. Deuce was advocating it not to long ago

    2. Matt Vespa


      Shep Smith: Man in French custody told police he's Syrian, he came with 2 others, recruited by ISIS, and that this is an ISIS mission WOW
      3:52 PM - 13 Nov 2015

      Hot Air

    3. Yup, he was. Just testing to see if he's sticking with it.

  37. At this point, it has surpassed Mumbai.

  38. At least 140 dead...according to Hot Air

  39. Will the 'Palestinians' and the Hamas be celebrating ?

  40. When the body count is put together from the attacks in Paris today, something on the order of two hundred innocent civilians will be on the butchers' bill. Two hundred human beings who did not deserve to die in the way that they did. Two hundred families left with horror and grief for things that were and are beyond their control. Tragedy on a horrendous level, but small change when put against the one to three million dead in the Middle East since 9/11.

    We hanged the guy that kept the lid on Islamic terrorism in Iraq. We fired the 400,000 Iraq army. We made the Neocon dream come true destabilizing the very countries that have suffered the most from groups we armed.

    We supported the Mujahideen, ran the prisons that incubated al Qaeda in Iraq and armed forces fighting Assad.

    We came, we saw, he died in Libya, the guy who kept the lid on there.

    The blood on the streets of Paris belongs on the hands of the terrorist gunmen who did the deed.

    It also belongs on the hands of people like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and all of the opportunistic politicians who feed off of and support the war on terror.

    It is mission accomplished as described by General Clark.

  41. “Do you realize what you have done?”

    1. The First Mistake is the Worst Mistake.

      I'd have to go back to 1948.

    2. A truly disgusting statement only a drunken old a-hole could make.

  42. Truman Adviser Recalls May 14,1948 US Decision to Recognize Israel

    By Richard H. Curtiss

    May 1991: (American Educational Trust) With US President George Bush increasingly frustrated by the Israeli-Palestinian problem, a new generation of Americans is asking an old question: Why must the US deal with this seemingly intractable dispute?

    The answer, unfortunately, is that the US is largely responsible for the problem because of two American decisions in 1947 and 1948. Now, only the US can break the impasse, by forcing its Israeli client state to give back all or most of the land the United Nations allotted to Muslim and Christian inhabitants when it partitioned Palestine in 1947.

    An "insider's account" of the discussions leading up to these decisions has just been published by former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, one of the few living parties to the discussions leading to partition.

    Most people who knew the Middle East at first hand opposed the partition plan, adopted by the United Nations on November 29, 1947. Patently unfair, it awarded 56 percent of Palestine to its 650,000 Jewish inhabitants, and 44 percent to its 1,300,000 Muslim and Christian Arab inhabitants.

    Partition was adopted only after ruthless arm-twisting by the US government and by 26 pro-Zionist US senators who, in telegrams to a number of UN member states, warned that US goodwill in rebuilding their World War H-devastated economies might depend on a favorable vote for partition.

    In a Nov. 10, 1945 meeting with American diplomats brought in from their posts in the Middle East to urge Truman not to heed Zionist urgings, Truman had bluntly explained his motivation:

    "I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism: I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."

    Immediately after the plan was adopted, however, extensive fighting broke out between Jews and Arabs, just as US diplomats had predicted. The Arab states categorically rejected the partition by outside parties of an overwhelmingly Arab land.

    1. David Ben-Gurion, soon to be Israel's first prime minister, had ordered his representatives at the UN to accept the plan, but not to enter into any discussion or agreement defining the new Jewish state's borders. To his followers, who, like the Arabs, laid claim to the entire land, Ben-Gurion promised that his acceptance was only tactical.

      As well-organized Jewish militias seized Village after village assigned by the UN plan to the Arabs, and badly organized Arab villagers retaliated with bloody but purposeless attacks on Jewish vehicles and convoys, Secretary of State George C. Marshall urged Truman to reconsider.

      The British Army was resolved to withdraw from Palestine on May 15, 1948 regardless of the outcome of events in the UN. The fighting was spreading all over the mandate, including Jerusalem, which was supposed to remain a "corpus separatum" under international control and not be assigned either to the Jewish or the Arab state.

      "I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."

      Marshall and a majority of diplomats at the UN saw a direct UN trusteeship, succeeding the British mandate, as the only solution to halt the bloodshed. Otherwise, they knew, neighboring Arab states would send military units across the border into Palestine the day the British withdrew, in an attempt to reoccupy the Arab towns and villages seized by Jewish forces. The State Department urged Truman not to grant diplomatic recognition to the Jewish state when the British withdrew, but instead to side with rapidly growing sentiment in the United Nations in favor of trusteeship. Truman wavered and, for a time, both sides in a bitter battle for the president's ear thought they had his support.

      Forty-four years after these events, Clifford, Truman's principal domestic advisor, has produced his memoir. Written in two parts with Richard Holbrooke, the first part of the memoir was published in the March 25, 1991 New Yorker. It covers events from 1944, when Clifford, a 37-year-old lawyer and newly commissioned lieutenant, junior grade, in the naval reserve from St. Louis, MO, Truman's home town, took up duties in the White House, through the decision to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948.

      Astonishingly, it confirms the key role of Clifford, Truman's inexperienced domestic political adviser, in overriding the wishes of General of the Armies George C. Marshall, the World War II chief of staff.

      Marshall had returned to government to serve as secretary of state to the inexperienced former vice president, who was ill-prepared for the presidency when it was thrust upon him by the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, just a month before the Allied victory in Europe and four months before the victory over Japan.

    2. A Hasty Decision

      Confirming charges by "Arabists" that the decision to recognize Israel was hasty and based upon domestic political considerations, Clifford writes:

      "Marshall firmly opposed American recognition of the new Jewish state; I did not. Marshall's opposition was shared by almost every member of the brilliant and now legendary group of presidential advisers, later referred to as the Wise Men, who were then in the process of creating a post-war foreign policy that would endure for more than 40 years. The opposition included the respected Under Secretary of State Robert Lovett; his predecessor, Dean Acheson; the No. 3 man in the State Department, Charles Bohlen; the brilliant chief of the Policy Planning Staff George Kennan; (Navy Secretary James V.) Forrestal; and ... Dean Rusk, then the director of the Office of United Nations Affairs...

      "Officials in the State Department had done everything in their power to prevent, thwart, or delay the President's Palestine policy in 1947 and 1948, while I had fought for assistance to the Jewish Agency.

      "At midnight on May 14, 1948 (6 pm in Washington), the British would relinquish control of Palestine, which they had been administering under a mandate from the old League of Nations since the First World War. One minute later, the Jewish Agency, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, would proclaim the new state.

      "I had already had several serious disagreements with General Marshall's protege, Dean Rusk, and with Loy Henderson, the director of Near Eastern and African Affairs, over State's position ... He had no use for White House interference in what he saw as his personal domain in American policy in the Middle East. A number of Middle East experts in the State Department were widely regarded as anti-Semitic. On May 7th, a week before the end of the British mandate, I met with President Truman for our customary. private day-end chat...

      "I handed the president a draft of a public statement I had prepared, and proposed that at his next press conference, scheduled for May 13th, the day before the British mandate would end, he announce that it was his intention to recognize the Jewish state. The president was sympathetic to the proposal, but, being keenly aware of Marshall's strong feelings, he picked up the telephone to get the Secretary's views ... I could tell that Marshall objected strongly to the proposed statement. The president listened politely, then told Marshall he wanted to have a meeting on the subject ...

      "On ending the conversation, the president swiveled his chair toward me. 'Clark, I am impressed with General Marshall's argument that we should not recognize the new state so fast,' he said. 'He does not want to recognize it at all-at least, not now. I've asked him and Lovett to come in next week to discuss this business. I think Marshall is going to continue to take a very strong position. When he does, I would like you to make the case in favor of recognition'. . .

      "President Truman had asked me to debate the man he most admired, a man whose participation in the administration was essential to its success. I was 41 years old, in my third year at the White House as a presidential aide. Virtually every American regarded General Marshall, then 67, with a respect bordering on awe. He had capped his central contribution to victory in the Second World War with his speech at Harvard a year earlier proposing what became known as the Marshall Plan ... Without his towering presence, the administration would be much diminished, perhaps even mortally wounded, at home and abroad ...

    3. A Crucial Meeting

      "At 4 pm on Wednesday, May 12 ... seven of us joined President Truman in the Oval Office ... President Truman did not raise the issue of recognition; his desire was that I be the first to raise it, but only after Marshall and Lovett had spoken, so that he would be able to ascertain the degree of Marshall's opposition before showing his own hand.

      "Lovett began by criticizing what he termed signs of growing 'assertiveness' by the Jewish Agency ... Marshall interrupted Lovett. He was strongly opposed to the behavior of the Jewish Agency, he said. He had met on May 8th with Moshe Shertok, its political representative, and had told Shertok that it was 'dangerous to base long-range policy on temporary military success.' Moreover, Marshall said, he had told Shertok that if the Jews got into trouble and 'came running to us for help ... there was no warrant to expect help from the United States, which had warned them of the grave risk which they were running'. . The United States, he said, should continue to support those resolutions in the United Nations which would turn Palestine over to the UN as a trusteeship, and defer any decision on recognition."

      Clifford then relates his own arguments, citing the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 promising a Jewish homeland, the European Holocaust, and the possibility of establishing "a nation committed to the democratic system" in the Middle East.

      "The new Jewish state can be such %a place, " Clifford reports he told the group. "We should strengthen it in its infancy by prompt recognition. I had noticed Marshall's face reddening with suppressed anger as I talked. When I finished, he exploded. 'Mr. President, I thought this meeting was called to consider an important and complicated problem in foreign policy. I don't even know why Clifford is here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign-policy matter.'

      "I will never forget President Truman's characteristically simple reply: 'Well, General, he's here because I asked him to be here.' Marshall, scarcely concealing his ire, shot back, 'These considerations have nothing to do with the issue. I fear that the only reason Clifford is here is that he is pressing a political consideration with regard to this issue. I don't think politics should play any part in this.'

    4. "Injurious to the Prestige of the President"

      "Lovett joined the attack. 'It would be highly injurious to the United Nations to announce the recognition of the Jewish state even before it had come into existence and while the General Assembly is still considering the question. Furthermore, such a move would be injurious to the prestige of the President. It is obviously designed to win the Jewish vote, but in my opinion it would lose more votes than it would gain.' Lovett had finally brought to the surface the root cause of Marshall's fury: his view that the position I presented was dictated by domestic political considerations ...

      "When Lovett concluded his attack, Marshall spoke again. Speaking with great and barely contained anger and with more than a hint of self-righteousness, he made the most remarkable threat I have ever heard anyone make directly to a president. He said, 'If you follow Clifford's advice and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you.' Everyone in the room was stunned.

      "Here was the indispensable symbol of continuity, whom President Truman revered and needed, making a threat that, if it became public, could virtually seal the dissolution of the Truman administration and send the Western Alliance, then in the process of creation, into disarray before it had been fully structured. Marshall's statement fell short of an explicit threat to resign, but it came very close.

      "Lovett and I both tried to step into the ensuing silence with words of conciliation. We both knew how important it was to get this dreadful meeting over with quickly, before Marshall said something even more irretrievable ... President Truman also knew that the meeting had to be ended ... Seeing that Marshall was still highly agitated, he rose and turned to him and said, 'I understand your position, General, and I'm inclined to side with you in this matter'. . .

      Clifford did not consult Truman on some of Marshall's proposals.

      "Marshall did not even glance at me as he and Lovett left. In fact, he not only never spoke to me again after that meeting but, according to his official biographer, never mentioned my name again. At the end of that day, still steaming, he did something quite unusual, which the president and I were unaware of at the time. Certain that history would prove him right, he wanted his personal comments included in the official State Department record of the meeting. His record, exactly as he wanted historians to find it when it was declassified, almost three deco4es later, reads as follows:

      '"I remarked to the president that, speaking objectively, I could not help but think that the suggestions made by Mr. Clifford were wrong. I thought that to adopt these suggestions would have precisely the opposite effect from that intended by Mr. Clifford. The transparent dodge to win a few votes would not in fact achieve this purpose. The great dignity of the office of the president would be seriously diminished. The counsel offered by Mr. Clifford was based on domestic political considerations, while the problem which confronted us was international. I said bluntly that if the president were to follow Mr. Clifford's advice and if in the elections I were to vote, I would vote against the president. "'

    5. Clifford's article details at length his further negotiations, through Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett, to stick to his own plan to recognize the Jewish state while keeping the general from resigning. To do this, he pretended to take to President Truman Marshall's suggestions, as relayed by Lovett. In fact, Clifford did not consult Truman on some of Marshall's proposals, but simply waited for a while and then called Lovett back, saying in one case, the President "is not going to budge an inch."

      In recounting this, however, Clifford indicates throughout the New Yorker article that he represented President Truman's own personal position, even when he did not consult the president.

      Truman's own accounts, however, and those of his biographers, indicate that he vacillated and was honestly confused. He was pulled one way by Jewish White House adviser David Niles, and Truman's old Jewish army buddy and business partner, Eddie Jacobson, and another by the professionals at the State Department.

      Meanwhile Clifford and Niles, as well as the Department of State, were dealing directly with Eliahu Epstein, the Jewish Agency (predecessor to the government of Israel) representative in Washington. Clifford describes his own role on May 14 as follows:

      Setting the Machinery in Motion

      "Even without a clear signal from Lovett and Marshall, I felt, we had to set in motion the machinery for recognition, in the event that a favorable decision was made. At 10 am, I made a different call-one that I looked on later with great pleasure.

      ... Mr. Epstein,'I told the Jewish Agency representative, 'we would like you to send an official letter to President Truman before 12 o'clock today formally requesting the United States to recognize the new Jewish state. I would also request that you send a copy of the letter directly to Secretary Marshall.'

      "Epstein was ecstatic. He did not realize that the president had still not decided how to respond to the request I had just solicited ... It was particularly important, I said, that the new state claim nothing beyond the boundaries outlined in the UN resolution of Nov. 29, 1947, because those boundaries were the only ones that had been agreed to...

      "A few minutes later, Epstein called me. 'We've never done this before, and we're not quite sure how to go about it,' he said... With my knowledge and encouragement, Epstein then turned for additional advice to two of the wisest lawyers in Washington, David Ginsburg and Benjamin Cohen, both of whom were great New Dealers and strong supporters of the Zionist cause. Working together during the rest of the morning, he and they drafted the recognition request. . . "

      Clifford closes with the well-known story of how a Jewish Agency employee driving to the White House with the request for recognition of "the Jewish state" was overhauled by another Jewish Agency employee. Epstein had just heard on the radio that the new state was to be called "Israel" and instructed the second employee to write in that name in ink before handing over the request for recognition to the White House.

    6. Meanwhile, General Marshall agreed that, although he could not support President Truman on the issue, he would not oppose it. When the news was broken to the American delegation at the UN, which had been lining up votes for continued trusteeship, US Ambassador Warren Austin left the building in order not to be present when US recognition of Israel was announced, just 11 minutes after the state's creation. Dean Rusk subsequently had to rush to the UN to talk US delegation members out of resigning en masse in protest.

      Lovett, who Clifford believes talked General Marshall out of resigning because "this issue did not merit resignation," remained friendly with Clifford, who writes:

      "Lovett remained adamant for the rest of his life, however, in his view that the president and I had been wrong. So did most of his colleagues. Nothing could ever convince him, Marshall, Acheson, Forrestal, or Rusk that President Truman had made the right decision ... Because President Truman was often annoyed by the tone and fierceness of the pressure exerted on him by American Zionists, he left some people with the impression that he was ambivalent about the events of May 1948. This was not true. He never wavered in his belief that he had taken the right action."

      Nor, apparently, does Clifford, who never once expresses any regret about the 750,000 Palestinians pushed out of their country during the 1947 to 1949 fighting, and never allowed by Israel to return to their homes. Nor does Clifford seem to realize that his opponents in the bureaucratic battle he describes are vindicated by the five ArabIsraeli wars. These and the Middle East instability that has led to the overthrow of several Arab governments and, perhaps, the two bloody wars in the Persian Gulf, are largely attributable to US recognition of Israel before it officially agreed to the borders assigned it by the United Nations in 1947. That recognition has led subsequently to the US military and economic support of every elected government of Israel, even the Likudist fanatics presently in charge there, that postpones the necessity for those governments to settle with the Palestinians on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242's land-for-peace formula.

      Clifford's story once again disproves the assertion that American diplomatic or military personnel ever viewed Israel as a " strategic asset." The foreign policy establishment, 43 years ago as today, saw Israel as a geopolitical liability that owes its US support to the extraordinary clout of its apologists within the American Jewish community and the American political system.

    7. Still-Pertinent Implications

      Other implications of the story are still pertinent. Had General Marshall resigned the moment he realized President Truman was bent on his unwise course of recognition, the subsequent tragedies might have been averted. Too often leaders like General Marshall, who could have resigned without personal sacrifice, acquiesce in small evils in order to remain in office to fight larger ones. The small evils, however, become the larger problems that overwhelm their successors.

      The US is once again the world's only superpower, just as it was in 1947 and 1948 when it had the world's only atomic weapons. Now, as then, it cannot afford to base foreign policy decisions on domestic political considerations without reaping a bitter future harvest.

      Clifford, a cabinet member in the Lyndon Johnson administration and adviser to Democratic presidents for more than 45 years, has been described as the most powerful man in Washington and the "consumate insider. " Now, at 84 years of age, he faces, for the first time in his life, serious legal problems.

      As lawyer for some Arab businessmen, and as a director of a bank they illegally took over, he will likely face trial and prison. In recent media interviews he has made little attempt to prove his innocence in activities that seem to have brought him $6.5 million in 1988 alone. Instead, he indicates that age must have dulled his judgment.

      His article in the New Yorker, however, is not entirely candid. Biographies of Truman indicate Clifford was deeply concerned that if Truman, who had succeeded to the presidency on Roosevelt's death, did not court the "Jewish vote, " he would not be elected president in his own right in 1948.

      With his current article claiming more altruistic motives for supporting Israel, and taking such cheap shots as claiming that his State Department opponents in 1948 "were widely regarded as anti-Semitic, " Clifford once again demonstrates shrewd, and amoral, political calculation.

      Clearly he seeks mercy in his travails not from the courts, but from the media. What better way to get it than to remind a younger generation of American journalists, many of them avid Jewish supporters of Israel, that he, as much as any other American, was responsible for Truman-era policies that not only created Israel, but also turned it into the pampered client state of a reluctant America?

      Copyright: American Educational Trust


    8. You and WiO are two sides of the same coin - no attribution to copy and pastes which is, technically, plagiarism. At least we all here know the two of you couldn't write that well.

    9. selective bits of shit.

      Amazing how the entire "affair" never mentions the League of Nations and it's legal resolutions?

      Amazing arrogance on display.

      The Jews of the middle east fought and won and deserved their self determination.

      No matter who recognized them.

    10. .

      Amazing how the entire "affair" never mentions the League of Nations and it's legal resolutions?

      You are constantly enjoining people here to 'learn history'; yet, the only thing 'amazing' here is how every time you open your mouth you distort actual history.

      It surprises me that Ash would complain about you providing no attribution. The 'facts' you offer her are all obviously from the deluxe edition of WiO's Exciting Alternate History of the World, the Universe, and Everything Else".



    11. No attribution leaves open the possibility it was made up entirely.

      It is pretty simple - you copy and paste others writing and you designate it as such (quotation marks are the standard but italics will do) and you cite the source. If you don't it is plagiarism. Crying "Google it" doesn't cut it.

      Ya, WiO appears to be a classic propagandist - make shit up, throw it at the wall, and hope it sticks. Rufus tends that way as well but not as bad. I hope he's just lazy but sometimes I wonder.

    12. You dumb motherfucker, there's a Link at the bottom.

    13. And, if you're too blind, or stupid, to see the link, copying the title of the article into google takes you to this page:

      google page

  43. Go back to 1783, the start of the modern troubles with the savages that call themselves Mohammedan

  44. AshFri Nov 13, 09:19:00 PM EST
    You and WiO are two sides of the same coin - no attribution to copy and pastes which is, technically, plagiarism. At least we all here know the two of you couldn't write that well.

    Ash, tell us, do you renounce the moon god?

  45. The "Money Shot," of course, is this:

    David Ben-Gurion, soon to be Israel's first prime minister, had ordered his representatives at the UN to accept the plan, but not to enter into any discussion or agreement defining the new Jewish state's borders. To his followers, who, like the Arabs, laid claim to the entire land, Ben-Gurion promised that his acceptance was only tactical.

    1. Ash, did you not see the little linky-poo at the end of my post?

    2. are you fucking blind? The letters are a. r. t. i. c. l. e.

    3. .

      Various Israelis did define Israel's borders in May/June of 1948 and they did it in official documents including in the letter requesting US recognition. Ben-Gurion merely chose to forget it.


    4. Oops. 3rd look and I saw it. Sorry!

    5. Going back to '48 borders would be quite the shrink for Israel. Heck, they sqwack when faced with '67 borders

      The Isreal/Palestinian conflict is just one of many in the region. Solving it would be helpful but much would still ail the region.

  46. Hey Rufus, the fact is simple.

    Islam is not a retreating faith. All lands ever conquered by them and lost must be re-conquered. Period.

    Islam is a new war cult.

    It showed up in 640 CE. sweeping across the middle east.

    Jews? were there for thousands of years before them

    But you have no time for history.

    SO forget history.

    Today Israel IS.

    There is no palestine state.

    There is a crumbling arab world that is disintegrating as we speak.

    America used to stand to justice, liberty and freedom.

    You refuse to take that mantle of responsiblity for the USA.

    Freedom is not free, regardless of it's against Communists, Nazis or Islamists...

    DO not be the coward you seem to be.

  47. Update: Another mention of Syria by one of the jihadis:

    Yasmin, inside the Bataclan, told BFM television: “I saw two guys. The biggest one said: ‘What are you doing in Syria? You’re going to pay now.’

    “Then he opened fire.

    “I saw bodies falling all around me. I was shot in the foot. It was carnage. I’ve never seen so many dead people all around,” she said, sobbing.

    from Hot Air Paris Terrorist Attack thread

  48. The United States bears paramount responsibility for all that's transpired in the Middle East since 1948.

    Truman didn't make a lot of mistakes, but when he did it was a doozy.

    1. Israel was not created by the USA

      You may side with the savages of the middle east, I do not.

  49. Deuce seems to want to blame the USA for all this, Rufus Israel, and just now, the USA too.

    Sane people place the blame where it ought to be, with Islam and the moslems.

    You'd think they'd learn sometime.

    1400 years of aggression is a long run of aggression.

    I'd think they'd see the links.

    1. It's been,what, some hours now since Obama said we've contained ISIS.

    2. Maybe that Vanderbilt professor lady that said Islam was uniquely different and dangerous will be seen in a new light tomorrow ?

      Maybe the multi-culturalists will let her stay and teach in peace ?

    3. The American band playing at the concert - one band member dead, it is reported.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Rufus hates Israel, that's clear.

      But the truth?

      His opinion? Is like an asshole, everyone has one and most stink.

    6. I don't "hate" Israel. I just intensely dislike You.

      But, we shouldn't have taken those peoples' homes, and land, and given it to someone else. That was wrong, and we'll be paying for it as long as there's a United States, and a Middle East.

    7. So far, the only link I can find is to Syrians, not 'Palestinians'.

      I am anticipating some stories about the 'Palestinians' celebrating in the streets, though.

    8. .

      "And, if we don't see them we will make them up."


    9. I'd offer to make a little wager with you but I've you in Class Rufus these days, those that don't play their legally due internet betting debts.

      I'd need a little 'confidence building' out of you, first.

    10. pay, not play, pay

      They don't pay up, the Class Rufus folk.

  50. President O'bozo doesn't want to 'speculate' who might be behind the attacks -

    Obama: "I Don't Want To Speculate" Who Is Behind Paris Attack
    Posted on November 13, 2015


    As President Obama was finishing a statement to the press on the coordinated terror attack in Paris, France he said he did not want to "speculate" on who was behind it.

    Might be the tea-totaling Methodists like my wife, who knows ?

    Might be the Seventh-Day Adventists, or the Mormons.

  51. This is an interesting thought -

    The Regime Change Problem in American Politics

    NOVEMBER 13, 2015 3:44 PM

    This post isn’t about what you think it’s about. I’m not talking about a looming coup; I’m talking about the problems facing political science, which — it recently occurred to me — are a bit like the problems facing macroeconomics after 2008.

    First things first: I’m a big admirer of political science, and a fairly heavy consumer of the more quantitative end. Larry Bartels, McCarty/Poole/Rosenthal, Alan Abramowitz, Andrew Gelman, and more have helped shape my understanding of what is going on in this country; I get more out of any one of their papers than out of a whole election cycle’s worth of conventional horse-race punditry. Studying what actually happens in elections, as opposed to spinning tales based on a few up-close-and personal interviews, is definitely the way to go.

    Yet I don’t think I’m being unfair in saying that so far this cycle the political scientists aren’t doing too well. In particular, standard models of how the nomination process works seem to be having trouble with the durability of clowns. Things don’t seem to be working the way they used to.

    And this makes me think of the way some economic analysis went astray after 2008. In particular, I’m reminded of the way many fairly reasonable analysts underestimated the adverse effects of austerity. They looked at historical episodes, and this led them to expect around a half point of GDP contraction for every point of fiscal tightening. What actually seems to have happened was around three times that much.

    Now, as it happens we know why — and some people (e.g., me) predicted this in advance: the conditions under which past austerity took place were different from the recent episode, in which monetary policy was constrained by the zero lower bound and unable to offset fiscal contraction. But the point was that the world had entered a different regime, in which historical relationships could be and were misleading.

    And surely it’s not too much of a stretch to say that something equally or more fundamental has happened to US politics. Partisan divisions run deeper; establishment figures are widely distrusted; the GOP base has gone mad; and so on. History is just less of a guide than it used to be.

    In the case of macroeconomics, fortunately, we had models that allowed us to make reasonably good predictions about how the regime would shift at the ZLB. If there’s anything comparable in political science, I don’t know about it (but would be happy to be enlightened.)

    I’ll still take academic analysis over horserace punditry any day. But we really do know less than ever.

    The Durability of Clowns

  52. For about the 90th day in a row, the Iraqis are just a day or two away from retaking Ramadi.

    Meanwhile, the Shi'ite Turkmen are fighting the Kurds up around Kirkuk.

    The Clusterfuck to end all Clusterfucks

  53. The Paris attacks did bring the benefit of shutting down Al Gore's 24 Hour Climate Bull Shit-a-Thon from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but the price is way way too high

    1. His wife was smart to get out after the political career ended.

  54. Did you know that you can create short urls with Shortest and receive dollars for every click on your shortened urls.