by Pepe Escobar exclusive for The Saker Blog
Rostislav Ishchenko is arguably the leading international analyst focused on the extraordinarily turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations. He posts regularly on Ukraina.ru, with frequent English translations here.
In contrast to the 24/7 “Russian aggression” demonization campaign effective on all corners of the Beltway and spreading towards selected European capitals, Ishchenko’s analysis, for instance of the information war deployed on all fronts of the Russia-Ukraine saga comes as a breath of fresh air.
Although we were not able to meet in person during my recent visit to Moscow, due to conflicting schedules (the meeting will take place later in the winter), Ishchenko graciously accepted to answer my most pressing questions regarding what could happen next on the Russia-Ukraine front, with translation by Scott Humor.
Ishchenko’s answers on the situation in Donbass should also be expanded to Crimea, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed he had information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko planning an armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the last ten days of December.
Considering the terrain in winter is usually propitious for tank advance, would Poroshenko, in desperation, go for a major provocation in the Donbass, perhaps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
First of all, this winter is too warm and the area is not yet favorable for an offensive. Second, even if frost strikes and an attack becomes possible, it is too big of a risk for Poroshenko. He does not have enough military power to defeat the DPR/LPR forces, without even mentioning that surprises are still possible as it happened in August 2008 in South Ossetia. After all, the Minsk peace agreement has not been canceled yet, and it is unlikely that the West will be able to stand against Russia in a consolidated manner at the moment when Russia is conducting a peace coercion of the confectioner, who is out of his mind with fear, and whom the West has already written off. The West requires a mandatory holding of elections, and any war would mean a cancellation of elections. If the war is facilitated by Poroshenko, he will be blamed for the cancellation of the elections and there will be no need to protect him.
Is there any possibility of the Minsk agreements being fulfilled in case of a slightly less anti-Russian government in place in Kiev after the next elections?
No, it’s not possible. Kiev is unable to implement the Minsk agreements because this would imply the federalization of Ukraine, while the Kiev elites are able to rule only within the rigid vertical of the unitary state. They basically do not imagine a different system of relationships. Since 2014, the internal resources which could satisfy appetites of oligarchic groups were exhausted, and there is no material basis for compromise. Therefore, they are doomed to fight among themselves for the dominance. Even if Russia, Crimea, Donbass and the whole world would suddenly vanish, the civil war in Ukraine, no longer restrained from the outside, would only intensify.
Is Kiev aware that in case of a military attack on Donbass, the Russian response would be devastating? And that in Brussels, as I confirmed with many diplomatic sources, nobody really cares about Poroshenko’s fate anymore?
I think that he knows this very well. That’s exactly why he organized his provocations in the Kerch Strait and also in Kiev (attacking the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate), but not in Donbass.
I just wonder if enough devils reside in Poroshenko’s pig head to drive him into the sea yet?
I think I need to offer a web training class for wannabee dictators. The class title would be “Know When to Take that Helicopter Ride Out of the Country.”
So many get that wrong and wait too late. And if Poroshinko is already at the point where there is absolutely zero interest in backing him in Washington or Brussels, then he may have left it too late. The key is to leave while there is still at least a little bit to trade on to make the required soft landing into a nice mansion in a retired-dictator-friendly country such as Florida.
‘a retired dictator friendly country’, is the best description of Florida I ‘ve ever seen.
The keenest and most factual indeed.
Recalling the foremost , the top dictator was George Bush who ”was born” right there in the year 2000 by the curious vote counting by Cathy Harris. Who btw was granted a perpetual memory thereof in her CFR nomination.
Wow, Pepe Escobar exclusive! We’re hitting the big time.
(Ok, I’ll go and read the content now lol)
Saker”s has always been big time, welcome on board ! Talking about people on board, where’s Ann, I miss your comments !
Precisely so. Rostislav Ishchenko is correct. There is no Minsk Agreement. It is as dead as a marriage in which one spouse shamelessly, repeatedly, brazenly cheats on the other.
Perhaps there will be no war this year, but a new year starts in January. The West cares nothing about Minsk I,II or III or IV–and it never did, nor does it now care one fig about elections. How can one have elections in a period of perpetually renewed martial law anyway?
There seems to be, as Paul Craig Roberts has pointed out, a spat of wishful thinking among Russians that the people running things in Looneylandia take a rational, legalistic approach to affairs of state.
No one can be that totally daft or stupid to do otherwise, right? Wrong.
Maybe Poroshenko’s job is too “pull the plug” , leave town and play useful victim? Maybe he is just a spoiler. It is certainly in the realm ( the spectral realm) of awful possibility.
When this Monday’s edition of the Sacramento Bee has a 3/4 page article mid way through the main section about how Russia is massing troops on its border with Ukraine, and then we have the phony consensus of the UN General Assembly ( 66 yeas and 72 abstentions with 15 nays) against Russian Crimea and the Kersh bridge plus more munitions being placed in the pipeline to the Ukraine, it makes one very suspicious about just what is being cooked up.
Trump teeters on the brink of total dysfunction. The emperor has no clothes and very soon even Alex Jones may be forced to acknowledge that although it appears that , of the two,it is mostly Roger Stone who has his wits about him. Sadly enough, these two are the only opposition figures on the American scene with Ron Paul in the background droning, ” The end is nigh”.
You know, I can almost believe that the knuckleheads in Washington would actually start a war with Russia in the winter time.
Sounds crazy to me, but most of what they say anymore sounds crazy. So, maybe they really are crazy enough to think hey, third time’s the charm, we are better than Napoleon or Guderian, so hey, a winter war in Russia is going to be a cakewalk this time. Oh, what was that? We already used ‘cakewalk’ for the war we started in Iraq 16 years ago and where we still have fighting troops? Yeah, ok, so maybe we can change the cakewalk bit. Who’s got a thesaurus? I’ve got to sound impressive on TV, that’s what’s really important!
Even though PCR seems to think Putin is being too soft, I don’t doubt for a second that he’s playing this all out to Russia’s (and the Freedom of the world’s) advantage. Wait and see
It is very important to recall, or learn, that Putin and the Kremlin did not start the Militia or launch an armed resistance against Kiev. That was Strelkov’s plan. In open defiance of Putin and the Kremlin.
So, once the war began, the Kremlin and the General Staff had to create a means to support the defense of Donbass.
That led to several systemic operations. Voentorg supplied the militia with the logistics of warfare. North Wind supplied the volunteers with military experience and expertise. Strategy and maneuvering of forces was commanded by top officer advisers (Generals and Colonels) who made certain the Militia was not defeated.
The Ukies and Kiev supplied the stupidity and incompetence that led to their devastating losses in boilers.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin welcomed the other stakeholders from the West—Germany and France. The basis of the Normandy Group was formed, four heads of state, including Kiev’s Porky.
From the initial Minsk Accord came failure. But Debaltsevo brought back to life the device for freezing the conflict. Kiev lost thousands of men, NATO had 600 or more men trapped in the boiler with the Ukies, so the three sides facing Putin had to accept what he constructed in Minsk 2.
It froze the conflict, freed the NATO troops, and finished with the utter debacle of Debaltsevo for the Ukies.
The 13 milestones were almost all exclusive steps that Kiev had to take in order to fulfill the Minsk 2 agreement.
There would be a federal government, Donbass would be safeguarded.
This is where the reality and the roadmap diverged.
Kiev could not obey, the government would be overthrown by the nazi battalions.
The US began to step in and manipulate the contact line separation of forces and all-for-all exchange of prisoners, while demonizing the Militia, the two Republics, Putin, the Kremlin and Russia.
But Putin had bigger fish to fry. He had three years of GRU and SVR reports on the war in Syria and intended to rescue Assad. He had Crimea to support, rejuvenate and clean out the corruption. He had secret weapons to complete and test and then surprise the US and the West with Russian military superiority.
Freezing the war in Donbass (even at the cost of a few hundred people per year) was imperative.
His Generals had the militia rotate to Russia for better training, many thousands of them. Training has been ongoing since 2015.
What is in the cards for Donbass is really a product of Kiev and the U.S. If the U.S. wants to, it can keep control of the Ukraine government through financing its survival. Ukraine will remain a basket case for decades. No one wants to reconstruct, invest in, or underwrite any sector of the society. As long as this occurs, the Ukies will be used to terrorize Donbass and threaten the Russian border with irrational military thrusts. One mistake and the U.S. will lose that military proxy. Even FM Lavrov spoke of that yesterday. The MOD presented proof of us of Iskander missiles in Syria. Lavrov indicated such weapons would be used to stop any attack by Kiev.
Donbass’s fate is attached to Putin. They have half a decade of support in all forms coming their way. After that, no one yet can see a solution of any kind.
It is as likely as not that something will happen to change this fate.
Russia will not decide this matter for itself. Russia’s military will not decide this matter as an aggressor.
The initiative is in the hands of the US, or Germany or Ukrainians.
However, what any of these three face is the Russian military and Kremlin, as well as the straightjacket of Minsk 2 which is the legal bondage Kiev cannot escape except through suicidal military action.
They (Ukies) cannot fight their way out of Minsk 2 and prevail.
They cannot bait the Russians into a war.
They cannot walk away from Donbass and leave it to Russia. The nazis will execute them.
They cannot win while trying, because they will lose.
They can only give in to whatever Putin decides he wants. (Of course, such an outcome is unacceptable to U.S.)
So, for five more years, they won’t do anything different. They will try to wait out Putin’s presidency.
You can see the policy in Syria as prototype for Ukraine.
The U.S. has no intention of allowing a full Syrian victory for Assad and Russia.
They will stay for as many years as they can.
And the near term is five more years. They will try to wait out Putin’s presidency.
And they have the Kurds, al Nusra, ISIS proxies to use, like they use the nazis and conscripts in Ukraine.
It is almost painless for the U.S. to follow this policy in both hotspots.
Trump has bought into it for both fronts.
This is why Putin did not want an armed resistance to the Maidan Putsch in early 2014.
A really informative comment…actually better than most articles…
I would just add that if the US ‘strategy’ is to wait out Putin…then they are making a big mistake…what’s the US Ponzi economy going to look like in five years…?…you can’t keep this smoke and mirrors show going forever…
Look at the China and Russia relationship and the SCO…this is basically the power grouping of the 21’st century…everybody knows the US is a Titanic just waiting to hit an iceberg…even the Saudis aren’t going to think twice about ditching miss USA…LOL
Syria…?…the US is burnt toast there…the Turks are seriously pi**ed and sooner or later the Kurds are going to have to reconcile with Damascus and kick the US the hell out in order to save themselves…Just now we had the Astana Group meeting in Geneva with Mistura, Russia, Turkey and Iran…and WITHOUT the US, so that tells us that US hopes for the Geneva format becoming some sort of alternative to Astana has gone up in smoke…for the US in Syria there simply is no ‘there’ there…it’s entirely possible that a deal has been reached between Russia and Turkey where Erdog gives up on Idlib in exchange for Russian support for his move on SDF territory…that territory means a lot more to Turkey than the Idlib rats’ nest…
As for Ukraine…what can time achieve for the US and the EU…?…both of them have much bigger problems and they do not need a basket case, nor are they going to pay for one…does anybody think about what normal Ukrainians want…?…they want a better life obviously and with a normal government AND without EU and US interference they might have actually got that…the Ukraine inherited one of the world’s highest tech aerospace industries…and the brain power that goes with that…just on that alone the country should have a pretty solid base to build on…
But they frittered it away…First in 2004 with the ‘Orange’ revolution…the Ukrainian people fell for the glossy magazine ads beamed into their brains by the western propaganda machine…it took just a few years to wake up and smell the coffee…throw those bums out and elect another Russian leaning leadership…then in 2014, the EU and the Obama neocons made another big push…going for all the marbles this time, forcing the country to choose between the west and Russia…but nobody really chose anything…a handful of covert operators kicked up a big violent fuss…shot a bunch of people…set a lot of fires… and the west’s government in waiting just assumed power…
If I were Ukrainian at some point I would say ‘look, I’m going to have my say about all of this’…at this point it is abundantly clear to many, if not most, Ukrainians that the west is full of s**t…at some point most Ukrainians are going to realize that they belong, organically, in the vicinity of Mother Russia’s apron strings…
That’s not going to change in five years…in fact that cooling down period may be long enough for most Ukrainians to come to their senses…
“They will try to wait out Putin’s presidency”.
Odd… it’s almost as if they didn’t realize that any successor will be much harder and less tolerant towards the West.
Tom, this is precisely my thinking. Also, the can still wish. Actually, Poles have an excellent saying which does apply to “waiting” and they say (It’s not quite that way, we can say it as) “hope/(wishful thinking) is the mother of the stupid”
Sorry, partner. You got Strelkov completely wrong. He was there in the service of a certain oligarch (the “Orthodox oligarch” as he is known in Russia) Malofeyev, who, for his part, was serving the interests of a certain predatory investment fund that had purchsed a massive amount of Ukro debt right around that time and really needed to see its value go up, way up. Strelkov was deployed to Donbass (together with a select PR team and spin doctor Borodai) in order to create the false impression that he “represented Putin himself” and was there “on a mission to pave the way for things to go the Crimea way” (i.e. Russia will invade). In fact, it was a conspuiracy between Malofeyev, that investment fund and the ukros, envisaging that Strelkov would subjugate and lead the resistance, fight the ukies (half-assed, sacrificing as many men as possible), lose to the ukies, tank Slavyansk (duly fulfilled) then tank Donetsk, and precipitate a mass exodus to Russia around Rostov – of locals and resistance soldiers – which would have totally undermined Russia and Putin. This plan, of which Strelkov was only the executor on the ground, went well with the surrender (totally unnecessary) of Slavyansk and a few other towns. But then Strelkov, having fled to Donetsk and agitating for the surrender of Donetsk, was stopped by someone, who exposed the scheme, and then the more sound forces from among the DNR resistance kicked him, Borodai and this other Russian quasi-nazi dude Gubarev the hell out of the Donbass. Since then Strelkov has been moaning and groaning against Putin. But Putin had nothing to do with any of this. Putin had everything to do with the couldrons, the building of a regular army in DNR/LNR and sustaining the existence of these unrecognized republics ever since, pending the final solution, which is coming soon.
Sorry, partner. You got Strelkov completely wrong.
I have Strelkov perfectly correct. I said he was not doing anything for Putin or the Kremlin.
You come with a story. We’d like the facts.
Borodai is clearly a Kremlin/Intel operative, so you have him wrong.
I don’t know what else you might have correct. I’d like the facts that might exist under your “tale”.
I’ve read your analysis again, and decided to remain mostly silent. It’s a great analysis. I was bugged by the words about Strelkov organizing resistance. His intentions in it were highly questionable – and according to my information, downright destructive for the DNR/LNR cause. I will stick to that. I am not sure Putin did not want armed reistance in Donbass (but this is arguable). What did he want instead? It is also true that Strelkov did not organize all resistance. The Vostok battalion, which ended up ousting Strelkov, was organized by others. Otherwise, there is not a thing wrong with your analysis, in my view. I am sorry i wrote anything, as you sound offended. I apologize. I used to be a Strelkov supporter through the spring and early summer of 2014, reading his battlefield reports avidly. On several occasions, he would state that he and his men would rather die than surrender Slavyansk to the enemy. Then he surrendered for no good reason. He also badmouthed other resistance groups, like the Cossacks, constantly. He moaned about “Russia giving no help,” which was a lie. And on the day when the Malaysian airliner was shot down – i remember this distinctly – he wrote (before the news broke) that they had shot down several enemy warplanes that day. “We shot down this (some warplane) and this (some warplane) and we also shot down something much bigger, flying a lot higher. Must have been a cargo transport.” So he was in on the game with that airliner, contributing his two cents to the narrative, subsequently emerging, that the Russian controlled rebels shot down that plane.
I never take critical comments personally.
Not a problem.
I tend to like cogent counter-arguments when they are on target with my thoughts or if I have facts incorrect.
We all get smarter if we are challenged. The best challenge is a better POV that brings stronger information.
So, facts, logic, insights are valuable.
Interesting synopsis of what happened. Truth is Strelkov arrived in Donetsk Oblast in mid April with 22 men. For 2 1/2 months he held off most of the orc army as they tried to crack him out of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. His constant laments of ‘where are all the young men who should be flocking to the colours’ was disingenuous to be kind, he was sending them to Mother to be trained and equipped while it was the veterans of Afghan who held off the orcs. In the end he had no choice but to retreat to Donetsk or be surrounded and destroyed, which he pulled off in the small hours of 05 July.
The Summer Cauldrons around Ilyavsk and Saur Mogeleh were destroyed by these younger men returning from their training, cut short, and catching the orcs sitting fat, dumb and happy camped out on the open steppes. This is when Da West was stunned at what half a battery of Grads can do in minutes and sending orcs in their hundreds running for the Russian border and safety as the Novorossiya soldiers cleaned up the cauldrons and succored Saur Mogeleh.
Rinse and repeat six months later in the Debaltsyevo Cauldron which cost the orcs many more thousands of orcs when they retreated by agreement through a corridor and were dumb enough to not only try to take all their equipage and heavy weapons, which by agreement for the safe passage were to be left intact and in place, but to fire at the DNR forces.
The rest is window dressing.
An Incident On Simonka https://rhauslander.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=1
Sevastopol, The Third Defense https://rhauslander.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=3
Thanks for that info, Auslander…quite enjoyed it…
“You can see the policy in Syria as prototype for Ukraine.
The U.S. has no intention of allowing a full Syrian victory for Assad and Russia.
They will stay for as many years as they can.
And the near term is five more years. They will try to wait out Putin’s presidency.”
However, please note that just one day after you wrote those words:
Trump says ‘we have defeated ISIS’ as US starts withdrawal from Syria
Who knows what this “announced” withdrawal portends? Trump has conspicuously reversed himself on previous occasions.
But things do change, sometimes suddenly. The day came when the USSA definitively pulled out of Vietnam; has that day arrived in Syria??
I think the US pullout from Syria is genuine…although SouthFront opines that some special forces will remain…there are reports already that all State Department personnel are to be removed within 24 hours…
The US situation in Syria is not tenable, as I had already pointed out in my comment above yesterday, before this pullout announcement…the US has to finally make a choice between Turkey and the Kurds…Turkey is forcing the issue by getting ready to send a force of 20,000 FSA ‘rebels’ across the border…the US cannot have its troops there if that happens…
The much publicized phone call between Trump and Erdog, where Erdog says Trump has given a green light to the Turkish back FSA incursion tells us that Turkey is ready to go ahead with this…what could Trump say…?…no don’t do it…?
The fact is that the US is irrelevant in Syria and is making a problem for Turkey with those Kurds…there is possibly some kind of ‘grand bargain’ in place now between Putin and Erdog that encompasses all of Syria…Erdog has said repeatedly that if the Kurds acknowledge Damascus’ rule there will not be a problem…as it will be Damascus that controls the border…a Russian guarantee on this would only seal such a deal…
So the US really has no choice but to pull out…Turkey is going to send in those head choppers no matter what…and the US is not going to fight them for the sake of the Kurds…so Turkey has simply called the US bluff and it’s game over…the US never had a hand to play here, as I already pointed out previously…
@FB. I buy that. “If the Syrian Kurds will acknowledge Syrian Government, Turkey will have no quarrel with the Syrian Kurds”.
Then bang goes the dream of a Rothschild-owned Israeli-run oil company to be known as Eretz Kurdistan, complete with NATZO base and U$ nuclear missiles in the heart of the Middle East. Vanished like a djinn in a puff of smoke.
What do you make of this breaking event?
>update 2: A troop withdrawal appears already underway after a Pentagon official said it would happen “quickly”.
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has issued a formal statement on troop withdrawal from Syria: “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign.”
Moments after President Trump confirmed reports of US pullout via Twitter saying “We have defeated ISIS in Syria,” Pentagon officials said the president “ordered full US troop withdrawal from Syria,” and that this will be “rapid” — apparently already beginning, per a Reuters breaking report: “All U.S. State Department personnel are being evacuated from Syria within 24 hours – official.”
This to me is very unexpected and sudden. If times were normal and we were dealing with people who are not consumed with a lust for power this would be great news. But I don’t trust them at all. What exactly is the next phase of this campaign? Where are they going next? I hope they aren’t planning to give their entire focus to help poor Ukraine defend against those aggressive, nasty and rogue Russians and help them get Crimea back. Something is up and I don’t have a good feeling about this at all.
To you and Richard Sauder, this is the third President Puppet Trump has announced a withdrawal. It has taken a nanosecond for the real power in Washington to overrule him again.
You will know when the 14 bases are empty and CENTCOM turns elsewhere that the US has left.
They are not withdrawing while Turkey is hellbent to kick the hell out of the Kurds.
Both of you knew the salts to clear your head of such nonsense.
Trump can’t build the Wall, get Mexico to pay for it, talk to Putin, end regime changes, pull NATO out of Ukraine or do anything a President with full power might want to do after he says he’d do it.
In fact, he’s the most hegemonic of all Presidents so far, by far.
He’s deep into a Hybrid War with Russia and has started one with China.
Get real. Get some facts.
Larchmonter445, and I just love the depth of your insight and knowledge and look forward to your comments.
But, but-but, we all knew that Trump does not really make these decisions
And apparently it has dawned on the Pentagon that this little corner of their war, in Kurdistan, is a losing proposition no matter how they try to spin it. So they’re cutting some losses. Don’t worry, they will make up for it with something equally stupid somewhere else.
I am not familiar with this language:
“Both of you knew the salts to clear your head of such nonsense.”
I am very cordially and politely asking you to please tone down the negative emotional valence of your remarks. You are speaking with an adult.
No sane person disputes that Trump — every USSA president — is hegemonic. I certainly have not maintained that, and yet it seems to me that you aggressively throw it out there as if I have. Why?
As for whether the USSA truly withdraws from Syria, we shall see. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. As of today’s news cycle that was the announced policy decision. You objectively do not know what will happen, and neither do I. You may express your opinion, and you may prove to be correct or incorrect. Time will tell.
Of course, there is a hybrid war against Russia. I have also not disputed this, nowhere, never, certainly not here, and yet you throw it out there as if I have, or have I misinterpreted your remarks? You do not even know me, and yet it seems as if you are attributing motives and thoughts to me without ever having met me or spoken with me, without even knowing where I live or how or why.
I said what I said, nothing less, certainly nothing more. It was a factual observation. Please, I am civilly requesting that you do not read (your) words into what I say. I am fully capable of speaking for myself.
I am thinking that Trump’s announcement has to do with Israeli “War” delegation to Moscow. They must have made a deal with Moscow and Trumps just follows up on that deal. I do not believe that this was Trump’s decision. He was just told what he has to do. The question is: what was the deal, who got sold? Would it be DNR/LNR (is Lavrov saying that)? My thinking.
The Israel delegation was lower level military, not top tier. They got the word that their day in the sun flying over Lebanon and Syria is over for good. That if they push for war in Golan, the Russians will prevent the IDF AF from covering their ground assault. So, basically, all they have left is the Palestinians to fight. And Russia has a plan for that dilemma also. More to come . . .
Russia can’t bully anyone. They merely inform them of what they will do and the other side knows what the Russians can do. The air defense missile systems and EW integration after the shootdown of IL-20 changed everything.
There won’t be a deal that gives up DNR/LNR.
The sad fact is those folks have a lot more hell coming their way until Kiev is no longer in the hands of the Nazis and bankrolled by the the US. Could be 5-10 years. But likely, after Yulia is President, Putin will impress upon her that Ukraine will never recover unless federalization and protection of Russian-speaking occurs.
‘The air defense missile systems and EW integration after the shootdown of IL-20 changed everything.’
Absolutely agree on that one…also agree with the rest…
Here is an interesting take on the situation from Moon of Alabama…
The really interesting part…
‘They [US] will coordinate with Russia for a handover. There will be Russian advisors that will replace the U.S. Green Berets who command the Kurdish and Arab tribal forces against ISIS. Russia will also try to convince Turkey that there is no further need to invade Syria’s east. It will promise to disarm the Kurdish forces or to integrate them into the Syrian army. Its air force will replace the U.S. and others who currently bomb the 2,000 or so Islamic State fighters left in their hold out along the Euphrates.’
Now I don’t know where he is getting that from…but it sounds plausible if we consider the possibility that Putin and Erdog have reached a ‘grand bargain’ on Syria as I [and others] suspect…
I mentioned previously that Geneva meeting among Putin, Erdog, Rouhani and UN envoy Mistura…clearly Russia is in charge of Syria and everyone is just coming to terms with it…apparently Putin has given Erdog enough goodies that he is fully on board…this is the Russian diplomatic way…a full consensus among all sides involved…US wasn’t in that meeting of course, so just that fact tells us the US is toast…
Also the fact that powerful elements in the Pentagon are not okay with losing Turkey over the Kurds in Syria…Eurocom commander Gen Scaparaotti is said to have been pushing for US withdrawal to placate Turkey…
In that same article we get this little snippet from an unnamed ‘very senior’ US officer…
‘We can’t repair Syria—and it’s not our job to do it. If Putin wants to inherit it, that’s fine.’
That seems to suggest that the inevitable denouement in Syria has actually arrived…the Russian military and diplomatic work has succeeded, as many of us had expected…I think from here on in, it will be just a matter of tying up loose ends…
Thank you for your insights. Wow, now here’s a quote for us to recoil from: ‘We can’t repair Syria—and it’s not our job to do it. If Putin wants to inherit it, that’s fine.’ Sure sounds like the “un-named very senior US officer” is stuck in a very dark tunnel he dug for himself, one with no light at the end of it. Has this individual ever heard of throwing someone a life-line? Can he even imagine the concept?
Let us imagine what would -or could- happen if America’s attitude was this: we Can, and Want , to assist in the rebuilding of Syria. It Could be Our job, it could be Our mission , to do it. But no. “If Putin wants to inherit it, that’s fine”…… “fine” for exactly who, and what? There is a difference between inheriting something (from the proverbial rich uncle) or adopting something that looked pretty hopeless, something that was tossed out to perish.
The incredible amount of respect and goodwill and trust that the Russians will achieve from this project will be their reward, far into the future, and our reward will be a legacy of ashes, far into the future.
When Al Tanf is vacated, that will mean it’s true. When the oil fields east of the river are vacated, that will mean it’s true.
So far, ‘only’ 2000 troops are supposedly on the move to leave. What about the other 25,000 plus the proxies? What about the billions of dollars of weapons, support echelons and physical plant in place in Syria? What about the prisoners still being held by IGIL? Or are they to be written off? Not a good move as said write off will be instantly known service wide and might move the Praetorians to do something rash.
Breaking…Mattis is out…
Also…convoy of 150 trucks carrying US equipment has already crossed into Iraq…
The al Tanf base is also going to be abandoned, according to Pentagon…
US bombing in Syria also to stop…
All these stories in Southfront…no question it’s a real pullout…Trump has finally exercised his presidential prerogative and the pullout from Syria will be total…
Craig Mouldey, you beat me to it.
Apparently Uncle Sam has finally decided that he can’t fight for and against the Kurds at the same time. Can’t claim Turkey as a loyal NATO member and ally while supplying and defending Kurdistan.
So, KTHXBYE Kurds, you’re on your own!
Presumably they’ll (the Kurds) soon be petitioning Damascus to return to the fold . . .
No telling what Sam will do with the troops and material, ?maybe send them to Transnistria? I don’t really think he has reclaimed any shred of sanity.
South front says: SDF is already talking to Syrian Government. I am thinking that they’ll be told: disband, surrender your weapons and the territory, then we will talk. Otherwise Sultan is sharpening his teeth.
I am thinking, that once the US leaves (for real) the end to Syrian conflict will be instant.
Yep, it looks like it’s up to Damascus to decide.
As for the shreds of sanity, maybe just maybe, Uncle Sam is beginning to recover from the blithering stupidity of “neoliberalism”. Mattis is out. Hopefully Bolton will soon follow.
It’s beginning to look to me that actually Russia is waiting out the west, and Kiev, rather than the west waiting out Russia.
I suspect we’re seeing a true US breaking point in Syria right now, and that we’re going to see a similar thing one day in Ukraine. The US will blink or simply shrug and walk away from Ukraine long before Russia gives up its current stance. Minsk 2 has the hold over Ukraine. Russia will wait for Ukraine to crack, and when it does, the US will find itself unequal to the task of doing anything useful.
Incompetence and corruption in the US means that, yes it can afford to do nothing with Ukraine so long as the situation stays frozen, but can it actually rouse itself to meaningful action when the situation becomes more dynamic?
Yulia will bring a lot more flexibility to the table – I assume. She will find much less to steal than she requires. Poroshenko took most of it already, and the pool of wealth continues to shrink, and even though the assets and natural resources for sale to the west continue to become available, Ukraine’s bargaining position is hardly robust.
So Yulia will be up for some deals, some action of any kind to generate income for herself. Perhaps this may bring some dynamic energy to the situation. When the situation moves, Russia’s hold remains strong while the west’s hold has always been a provisional thing, only as good as its money. When the situation moves, Russia has the advantage, or at least some opportunity for change.
Perhaps Yulia will make some about-faces. Perhaps she will court the east to see if they have any money, or to entice the west to pony up some more cash – the Erdogan ploy. Perhaps she will simply fail and soon be swept away to be replaced by another, and then another. Hard to say how Ukraine will crumble over time. Slowly at first, and then all at once, one day, perhaps.
It is not about Poroshenko or Ukraine. I think it will be an attempt to force Germany to cancel North Stream 2
Germany cannot quit the natural gas pipeline project.
She already has begun shutting down nuclear power plants.
Their economy will go into recession for years using LNG from wherever. It costs 30% more and is less efficient pound for pound.
Germany is at a crossroads.
Freedom from vassalage or perpetual bondage to the US.
And no gas piped to Germany means no gas for Ukraine. So the pig’s people freeze their asses to ice.
A summary indirectly from TASS on developments on Donbass-some detail:
Dozens of tanks, mortars, multiple-launch rocket systems and almost 20,000 soldiers. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready for a large-scale offensive in Donbass according to the DPR intelligence published by the republic’s defense ministry. The estimated date is the beginning of next week.
Pushilin – Kiev plans to carry out chemical provocation in Donbass
Poroshenko is expendable, as he is only a puppet. A puppet does as told. We shall see if he will indeed attack the Donbass. Everything will depend on NATO’s analysis of the situation.
NATO, of course, would love to provoke Russia into a war with Ukraine. However, NATO must be aware of the state of affairs in Ukraine. As I have written before, an attack against the Donbass could well see a Maidan in reverse, as the impoverished population has no desire to fight a war.
Some tough questions here!
The more I read here, the more I realize how little is known about what is actually happening in America. So, I have just one question for the “learned” thinkers here to ponder before they continue with the same, worn out narrative that has it’s basis in the old paradigm, “If there was an attempt to recapture the governmental structures of the United States, using the established constitutional provisions given for such an endeavor, how would it happen and how would it look as it was happening?”
Being one who stands with the concept of the original republic at it’s inception, I will await any serious and constructive input and perceptions. Because, it is clear that you haven’t a clue as to what is happening in my country.
Do elucidate, Dihlon. You know, so give us your take.
I think your remark about the Original Republic says a ton.
That entity was captured and is controlled by s Shadow Government, the Deep State, ideologues who have blessed the People with Trillions in Debt and a MIC that sucks the life out of the economy with corrupt practices.
You understand how useless the democratic processes are, of course.
The very basis of the social contract, the Bill of Rights and Rule of Law have been abrogated.
That’s the current state of things in a nutshell.
The government in DC is a Tyranny. The power of the government expressed overseas is that of a global Hegemon. It is a menace to all sovereign states.
Is that the watered-down version? (smile)
Police State might be accurate- so I overheard in a bar…
You can never make friends with a Turk — it is like a wolf being situated with a dog.
Certain Syria-Ukraine parallels; one has Turks in the mix, and the other, wolves. Hypothetically: in as much as the West has built-up the Kurdish fighting force; now, should they be betrayed/abandoned by their handlers —however crocodile-ish this cry may sound — open invite for Erdogan to unleash his drooling wolf-pack warfare, ensues. Double dividend of bogging down the Russian Black Sea access; should all the wolves howl at once, ie, Poroshenko and co.; can Russia be sucked into a two-front theatre? Do the Turks have USA nuke secrets as Unz suggests; do they have sobriety?
Thank you Pepe, good cheer and tidings in the forthcoming year.
The link given in the article for Ukraina.ru English translations seems to be incorrect…
The concept that the current Ukrainian government should be acceptable or recognised as being legitimate is, in my opinion, a complete abortion of the entire concept of democracy, or, indeed, decency.
The formerly democratically elected government of Yanokovich was overthrown by a violent coup, which no truly independent observer can describe as being purely domestically-driven.
There is no doubt that past Ukrainian governments have been furiously corrupt. It’s been endemic.
But to suggest the current government is in any way legitimate is only an exercise in brilliant bullshit. The elections that happened AFTER the Russian Federation re-acquired Crimea via a popular referendum (thus thwarting the US plan of taking the Sevastopol Naval base) happened under extra-ordinary intimidation, including mass murders in Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, by the ‘heavenly one-hundred’s.
Also after the usurpists banned the former government’s political party, which was majorly supported by the… guess who… Crimean people and those in the Donbass… and who properly rejected their disenfranchisement.
As the not-so-beautiful Victoria Nuland said: fuck the EU.
Poroshenko is a dead man walking… if not crawling…