Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Indicates Rejoining Northeast Syria with the Rest of the Country

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Indicates Rejoining Northeast Syria with the Rest of the Country

One on one talks in Helsinki between Presidents Trump and Putin regarding U.S.-Russia cooperation to assist Syrian refugees in returning home are bearing fruit — despite public statements that sound like feet dragging from Secretary of State James Mattis and CENTCOM head Gen. Joseph Votel. Neocon U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are proposing legislation that would allow the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine if fresh ‘election meddling’ occurs in November 2018 and thereby usurp the President’s chief executive authority to impose more sanctions on Russia.

Nonetheless, on Tuesday Secretary of State and former CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would support a peace settlement that includes the northeast of the country where American troops are based (without Damascus permission) after the defeat of ISIS. This is to some extent belated recognition of the reality that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Kurds, recognizing the Americans won’t stay for years and fearful of future Turkish aggression against their lands without Syrian Arab Army (and indirectly, Russian) protection, are in negotiations to reconcile with the Syrian government. With the rebels rapid collapse in the southwest, the SAA’s next battle is likely to be for jihadist dominated Idlib. — JWS

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After the Helsinki Summit, Trump Threatens Iran in ALL CAPS tweet

After the Helsinki Summit, Trump Threatens Iran in ALL CAPS tweet

A week has passed since the Trump-Putin summit, and a RogueMoney reader asked me for my thoughts on the outcome. Rather than give the stock answer of ‘it’s too soon to say’, I thought I’d do what analysts do and emphasize the knowns, then contrast those with the greater part that remain ‘known unknowns’ in the ongoing negotiations to defuse Cold War II (or more accurately, to revive the USA’s geoeconomic fortunes because Kissingerian realists in Washington realized by 2016 fighting Russia, China and Iran all at once while dominating the EU, Japan and the Koreas was no longer feasible). The problem with this traditional analytical framework including labels like ‘realism’ vs. neo-conservativism, is that Trump defies easy characterization.

On the one hand, Trump appears to sincerely want to improve U.S.-Russia relations because he has taken more heat for this than any other aspect of his platform, culminating in this week’s insane allegations that he has committed ‘treason’ by questioning the ‘intelligence community’ finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections in support of his candidacy. On the other hand, on Sunday night Trump escalated his anti-Iran rhetoric, hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) delivered a speech in southern California calling for a 1980s Reaganesque policy of rollback against the Islamic Republic.

Screen shot from: Russia’s Vesti News/First Channel

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Syraq SITREP 61: SAA Liberating SW Syria Despite Israeli Strikes, Putin Meets Netanyahu Ahead of Helsinki Summit with Trump

Syraq SITREP 61: SAA Liberating SW Syria Despite Israeli Strikes, Putin Meets Netanyahu Ahead of Helsinki Summit with Trump

On July 11-12 the warm up act before the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump took place in Moscow. This was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Uncle Sam’s BFF whom Congress once gave a standing ovation, praising the Anglo-American deep state and the legacy media’s enemy no. 1 Putin for Russia’s superb hosting of the 2018 World Cup. Netanyahu then joined Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Croatia’s Prime Minister in watching the Croats 2-1 win over England at Luzhniki Stadium. After the pleasantries and Netanyahu’s posturing over the Israeli shoot down of a Syrian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) followed by IAF missile strikes against structures along the Golan Heights line of contact, negotiations (which were well along the last time Bibi came to Moscow for the Victory Day holiday on May 9) resumed behind closed doors.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2018.(Kremlin Photo)

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Syraq SITREP 58: Mattis Vows U.S. Will Stay in Syria Indefinitely, SAA Preparing Dara’a, Quneitra Offensive

Syraq SITREP 58: Mattis Vows U.S. Will Stay in Syria Indefinitely, SAA Preparing Dara’a, Quneitra Offensive

NOTE: This is our 58th Syraq SITREP written for RogueMoney. Barring any major U.S. or Israeli strikes in Syria, the Russian Analyst plans to publish fewer Syraq SITREPs on RM this summer.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is preparing for a major offensive to liberate the southern part of the country from jihadists who serve as a buffer between Damascus southern outskirts and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. This offensive will be led by the SAA’s elite Tiger Forces commanded by Brigadier General Suheil Hassan (portrayed with Russian airpower art on the left) and the 4th Armored Division.

However, Islamic State remnants which have been attacking across the Euphrates River from territory nominally controlled by the U.S. and its Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies forced the SAA to delay the big push south. Syrian government forces have beaten back Daesh at Abu Kamal, a city that borders Iraq’s Al-Qaim which is the overland linkage between Damascus and friendly forces from Baghdad. SAA units also went on the offensive against ISIS in the southeastern Badiya Al-Sham region, killing over 20 Daesh terrorists near Sweida. But SAA fighting with ISIS units operating from American controlled territory continues.

Speaking on Friday at a NATO forum in Brussels, Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed to keep U.S. occupation forces in Syria indefinitely after the elimination of the remaining ISIS pockets along the Syrian-Iraqi border, saying a hasty withdrawal of American troops would be a “strategic blunder”.

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Syraq SITREP 57: Assad Tells RT in Interview U.S. Troops Must Leave Syrian Territory They Illegally Occupy, Israeli-Russian Defense Ministers Meet in Moscow

Syraq SITREP 57: Assad Tells RT in Interview U.S. Troops Must Leave Syrian Territory They Illegally Occupy, Israeli-Russian Defense Ministers Meet in Moscow

It was the first time in a long time that an interview broadcast on Moscow’s government funded channel RT made global headlines. But Russian journalist Murad Gazdiev’s question, “I’m Sunni [Muslim], Mr. President. I have relatives who went to Syria to fight you. To stop you killing Sunnis. The Muslim world is convinced that you are…” took a back seat to Bashir al-Assad’s statement, that this spring Russian forces narrowly avoided direct clashes with the Americans ahead of the April 14 Anglo-American-French strikes, and that U.S. forces must leave sovereign Syrian territory they have illegally occupied in the Levant.

The American response, coming in a statement from the State Department, was that Coalition forces do not seek clashes with Syrian or Iranian-government backed units in the country, but would use necessary and proportionate force to defend themselves and their Kurdish partners. Yet as the deaths of several Russian and scores of Syrian soldiers in clashes with Islamic State terrorists recently showed, Daesh remains dangerous across the so-called badiya or Syrian desert stretching to the Iraqi border, where U.S. forces have conspicuously failed to finish ISIS remnants off. Pro-Damascus protests against the American presence and low level insurgency against the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Kurds’ occupation of historically Arab lands in and around Raqqa have also been admitted this week by The Washington Post.

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Syraq SITREP 40: From Salisbury to Syria

Syraq SITREP 40: From Salisbury to Syria

In the past week, the alleged novichok nerve agent poisoning of British intelligence asset and formerly imprisoned GRU agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury has sucked all of the oxygen out of other Russia-related stories. Even the effort to keep the RussiaGate story alive here in the U.S. via claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians has failed as an addendum to the bellicose headlines from the United Kingdom. This is occurring despite or because of Attorney General Jeff Sessions firing the corrupt FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over his lies about leaking to the media and stifling of the investigations into Hillary Clinton.

Another problem the neocons and 'the cabal' have on their hands, is keeping the war drums at a sufficient pitch without going overboard or alternatively, being accused of laughable half measures in light of the enormous threat they're hyping. The expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, some of them undoubtedly intelligence officers working in under diplomatic cover Great Britain, followed by Russia's tit for tat PNG'ing of 23 Brits from their country hardly seems sufficient retaliation by PM Theresa May's government for 'the first offensive use of nerve agent in Europe since WWII' and an act of chemical 'terrorism' supposedly ordered by President Vladimir Putin himself (if we believe the buffoonish British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson). It seems if May and her cabinet really believed the evidence they're presenting to the British people and the world, the Royal Navy ought to be sailing for the Bosporus Black Sea entrance and a second Crimean War, or at least the once mighty British Army ought to be reinforcing their aging Challenger tanks a stone's throw from Russian borders in the Baltics. At the very least, the spectacle of denouncing a country whose oligarchs both Kremlin connected and anti-Putin have lavished so much cash on London-grad without the British doing much of anything to stanch the licit and illicit money flows would be amusing for the hypocrisy if it weren't so serious. 

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Syraq SITREP 34: Israeli, U.S. Air Strikes Reportedly Kill Scores of Syrian Soldiers and Militiamen

Syraq SITREP 34: Israeli, U.S. Air Strikes Reportedly Kill Scores of Syrian Soldiers and Militiamen

Early Wednesday morning, Israeli Air Force jets violating Lebanese air space struck the Jamraya research center outside Damascus, reportedly killing two and wounding four people at the  weapons development center linked to Iran. The Syrian government claimed that its air defenses engaged the incoming air to ground missiles, destroying several projectiles over Lebanon. The IAF strike came after reports that the Syrians had moved longer range surface to air missiles to northern Aleppo province, in order to back up Damascus' prior threats to shoot down Turkish Air Force jets that were bombing Kurdish forces in Afrin. It was unclear whether there was any link between the relocation of some Syrian SAMs and the timing of the IAF strike, though Turkish jets and even drones were reportedly staying clear of the newly relocated (and Russian or Iranian upgraded) Syrian air defenses, which left Turkish units operating miles away from their border without friendly air cover.

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Syraq SITREP 33: Russian SU25 Pilot Shot Down and Killed, Turks Take Casualties

Syraq SITREP 33: Russian SU25 Pilot Shot Down and Killed, Turks Take Casualties

A SU25 ground attack jet of the Russian Air Force was shot down near Saraqeb, Idlib province on Saturday, February 3. According to Russian Defense Ministry sources the ejecting pilot, Major Roman Filippov of Crimea, was killed by jihadists after he parachuted and tried to evade. The Al-Qaeda franchise Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) took credit for the shoot down, but the first group to post apparently authentic video of a SU25 getting hit by a man portable anti-aircraft missile (MANPAD) is Jaysh al-Nasr, aka the jihadist wing of the so-called 'Free Syrian Army' 'moderate rebels'. This led Russian Duma members and experts to point out that, in the most recent U.S. Defense Authorization Act, Congress officially permitted the supply of MANPADs to 'vetted' Syrian rebel groups. But in response to a question from TASS, a Pentagon spokesman denied that any MANPADs have been supplied to Syrian rebel groups

However, Syria watchers took note on January 31 when the so-called 'National Army', remnants of the FSA and various jihadi groups now fighting under the Turkish Army's banners in Afrin, posed with a Soviet designed MANPAD system they allegedly captured from the Kurds. In retrospect the prominence of the MANPAD posing on social media by the Turkish proxies could have been staging for a planned shoot down near the Saraqeb front, where Russian airpower has been supporting the Syrian Arab Army. The apparent propaganda motive being, with hardcore neocon 'journalists' like #JihadiJulian Roepcke of Bild and Michael D. Weiss of CNN chiming in on Twitter, to claim that Turks and Russians are killing each other via proxies in northern Syria. Yet there is little evidence to support the claim that Moscow is currently supplying anti-tank missiles to the Afrin Kurds, of the type that just killed several Turkish servicemen in their armored vehicle this weekend. Instead it appears that someone is trying to set the mistrustful frenemies up for a clash, which many pro-Damascus Syrians regard as inevitable, once the Turks are finished fighing the Kurds and the SAA liberates the jihadist-dominated Idlib province.

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Syraq SITREP 32: U.S. Warns Turkey Against Manbij Offensive, Turks Tell Americans to Get Out of Their Way

Syraq SITREP 32: U.S. Warns Turkey Against Manbij Offensive, Turks Tell Americans to Get Out of Their Way

On Tuesday January 23 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a phone call with President Donald Trump, which apparently did not go well. The Turkish readout of the call differed from that of the White House, with the Turks complaining of inaccuracies from the Americans' side. As the Trump Administration sought to portray itself as toughening the American stance on Turkey's (illegal under international law) intervention into northern Syria, Turkish media reported Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had agreed days ago to a 30-kilometer deep 'safe zone' inside Syrian territory.

The U.S. is pursuing a contradictory policy trying to appease its NATO ally while keeping its YPG proxies on script with regards to blaming Russia rather than the U.S. for the Afrin Kurds' suffering. under Turkish bombing and shelling. The problem for the Kurds is, regardless of them blaming Moscow for stepping aside, Erdogan's troops show no signs of stopping their promised advance toward Manbij, even while progress remains slow and 10,000 'Free Syrian Army' cannon fodder have to be brought in to minimize Turkish Army casualties. However, there are many American special forces and contractors in Manbij, creating a political headache Trump really doesn't need. The Commander in Chief is headed for a face-losing choice: either pull U.S. troops out of Manbij and allow the Turks to back him down, or risk worsening the split with a NATO ally that's already pivoting towards Russia and Iran. Naturally, if Trump sides with the Kurds his domestic critics will insist that is what his puppet master Putin wanted him to do, especially if the Turks should again threaten to boot the Americans out of Incirlik Air Base as they did after the failed (CIA and Gulenist linked) July 2016 coup.

Above: Screenshot of a Turkish media argument that the U.S. is backing Kurdish 'terrorists'

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Syraq SITREP 31: SecState Tillerson Commits Trump Admin to U.S. Occupation of Eastern Syria

Syraq SITREP 31: SecState Tillerson Commits Trump Admin to U.S. Occupation of Eastern Syria

During our commentary on Syria, the Russian Analyst and V the Guerrilla Economist began referring to the 'Race to the Euphrates' in late 2015, after Moscow forcefully intervened in the Syrian war to save the legitimate, and multi-confessional Damascus government. The historic analogy was to the Soviet and Allied armies meeting at the Elbe in the heart of a defeated Nazi Germany in spring 1945. However, like many historical analogies this one is both useful and flawed, in that elements of the Anglo-American-deep state (like their Wall Street bankster predecessors who supported Hitler's war machine even after Pearl Harbor) were covertly dealing with the Islamic State enemy. Certainly the huge convoys of ISIS oil tanker trucks left untouched by the Obama Administration's rules of engagement bombed to bits by Russia after President Putin's presentation to the United Nations in late September 2015 exposed the charade for anyone paying attention, shaming the Pentagon (including after a series of bloody Daesh attacks in Europe) into strangling the Langley/Riyadh fueled Frankenstein monster.

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Syraq SITREP 30: Turkey Moves Against U.S. Occupation Kurdish Statelet Army in Syria

Syraq SITREP 30: Turkey Moves Against U.S. Occupation Kurdish Statelet Army in Syria

Since the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been pivoting the once staunch NATO allied country toward its neighbors Russia and Iran. However, there are inherent tensions between the Turks illegal under international law de facto zone of occupation in northern Syria and Moscow's client in Damascus. Yet it appears that it's the Trump Administration, seeking 'leverage' on behalf of its Israeli and Saudi allies through proxy forces building in Syria, that's forcing Erdogan to finally put his cards on the table against NATO.

The Assad government wants the Turks out of their country, but Damascus and its Russian patrons wish to prevent a Kurdish state backed by the Americans -- who cannot be easily dislodged -- without risking a much larger conflict. Now with Washington declaring a 30,000 strong 'border security force' aka an American occupation supporting proxy army led by Ankara's YPG Kurdish enemy, the Turks are indicating forceful action, through shelling Afrin. It isn't clear despite Erdogan's fiery rhetoric and blaming the Americans for the situation just how far his troops intend to go into Syrian Kurdish areas. The rumors (which are being spread by pro-Russian sites like Southfront) that the U.S. is supplying the Kurds with MANPADs capable of shooting down Turkish helicopters and or lower flying jets may prove the last straw for Erdogan.

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Syraq SITREP 29: Ru MoD Says Drone Swarm Attack on Kheimmim Was State Sponsored, Asks Why US Navy Surveillance Plane Loitered Off the Syrian Coast During Attacks

Syraq SITREP 29: Ru MoD Says Drone Swarm Attack on Kheimmim Was State Sponsored, Asks Why US Navy Surveillance Plane Loitered Off the Syrian Coast During Attacks

On January 9, 2018, the Russian Defense Ministry all but accused Washington or an unnamed U.S. ally in the southeastern Mediterranean of sponsoring a 'home made DIY' drone attack on the Kheimmim Air Base. After the 2017 dismantling of ISIS pseudo-caliphate, when it seemed U.S.-Russia tensions might be easing in Syria, the 'shelling' attacks using low flying drones dropping mortar rounds on the Russian bases near Latakia and Tartus were clearly intended to tarnish the prestige of Russia's victorious military and put pressure on the Kremlin before the March national elections. A 'Free Allawite Army' which almost certainly does not exist in the Latakia coastal heartland of President Assad's sect claimed credit for the drone attacks.

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Syraq SITREP 28: Attacks on Russia's Kheimmim Air Base, Iran Likely to Increase Support for Houthis as Payback for CIA Sponsored Unrest

Syraq SITREP 28: Attacks on Russia's Kheimmim Air Base, Iran Likely to Increase Support for Houthis as Payback for CIA Sponsored Unrest

On New Year's Eve jihadists launch a surprise mortar attack on Kheimmim air base outside Latakia, taking advantage of Russian servicemen's festive holiday mood. No group has claimed responsibility or released video footage of the attack, likely launched using 'shoot and scoot' tactics from a mortar mounted on a pickup truck to avoid counter-mortar fire. Nonetheless, a follow on attack on the base timed for Saturday's Orthodox Christmas eve a week later using multiple armed mini-drones that were shot down by Pantsirs or other base air defenses strongly suggests state sponsorship and intelligence support for the attacks.

At least two Russian servicemen are reportedly dead from the initial mortar assault and multiple aircraft were said to be damaged -- though only pictures of a SU24 bomber number 29 (filmed previously operating at the base by RT camera crews) have emerged on the Russian social media network VKontakte (see above). The damage irreparable or not to six Su-24s; one Su-35S; one An-72; one An-30 spy plane; and one Mi-8 helicopter the BBC claimed, citing Russian journalist Roman Saponkov's VK post, could not be confirmed.

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Syraq SITREP 26: CIA MIA in Syria, Langley's 'Bin Laden' Abbottabad Docs Dump Conveniently Points to Iran After Putin's Visit to Tehran

Syraq SITREP 26: CIA MIA in Syria, Langley's 'Bin Laden' Abbottabad Docs Dump Conveniently Points to Iran After Putin's Visit to Tehran

While Washington obsesses over Robert Mueller's legal witch hunt and Jesus vs HillarySatan memes supposedly produced by Russian troll farms, revealing admissions and likely preparations for a second Israel-Hezbollah war are unfurling in the Middle East.

This week Israel's Air Force struck what Israeli media say was a copper plant used for munitions manufacturing inside Syria, firing missiles as usual from Lebanese air space and reportedly notifying the Russians who control most Syrian air space about the attack. Last week the U.S./UK media largely did their best to downplay if not completely ignore the admission by Qatar's former foreign minister that the Gulf emirate may have 'inadvertently' financed Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, while emphasizing that Doha only did this with the blessing of the same Saudi government which later hypocritically accused the Qataris of 'sponsoring terrorism'.

The ex-Qatar FM's press conference was far from the only bombshell confirming that the 'conspiracy theorists' of the alt or new media were correct that Washington's Gulf allies supported Al-Qaeda if not ISIS directly in their war against the legitimate Syrian government. Another confirmation of indirect U.S. support for the jihadists if not Washington's avowed enemies in the 'global war on terror' came late Thursday night, after experienced Mideast reporter Elijah J. Magnier's sources in Damascus notified him that the CIA was seeking the Syrian government's assistance in locating American intelligence officers missing inside the country. Whether the CIA agents were abducted by the nominally 'moderate rebels' they worked with, ambushed by ISIS, or found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time for a Russian Kalibr missile strike, has yet to be revealed.

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Syraq SITREP 25: IAF F35 'Adirs' vs. Syria's Russian SAMs and Hezbollah

Syraq SITREP 25: IAF F35 'Adirs' vs. Syria's Russian SAMs and Hezbollah

Did two of the Israeli Air Force's Lockheed F35 jets get removed from service due to bird strikes, or because they had close encounters with Soviet vintage Syrian S200 SAMs?

That was the question asked by the respected among alt media websites Southfront.org, which was picked up by Zerohedge this week. However, the Russia Analyst believes, thanks to W the Intelligence Insider, that there is a third explanation for the reported temporary grounding of the two F35s. This theory ties in with advanced IAF/IDF preparations for an apparently delayed -- but hardly averted -- devastating second war between Israel and Hezbollah. A conflict W has warned in multiple RogueMoney radio programs will change the Middle East as we've known it.

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Syraq SITREP 21: Trump Dumps AlCIAeda, Iraq's VP Calls for More Russian Arms/Presence in Mesopotamia

Syraq SITREP 21: Trump Dumps AlCIAeda, Iraq's VP Calls for More Russian Arms/Presence in Mesopotamia

The emergence of oil-rich Iraq from the ashes of occupation and war, first by the Americans and second by the Saudi-Qatari financed fake Caliphate (whose collapse has been accompanied by an acrimonious divorce between Riyadh and Doha), is directly linked with the rise of a Eurasian axis from Moscow to Tehran to Beijing, first promoted by former Soviet spymaster and Mideast hand turned Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov back in the 1990s.

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No Illusions: The Latest Trump Putin Call

On Tuesday President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin at 12:30 p.m. Eastern/7:30 p.m. Moscow time. Notwithstanding the initial optimism greeting Trump’s election in the Russian Federation, following the difficult meeting after the American strike on Syria’s al-Shayrat air base between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov joined by Putin in mid-April, neither side can enter negotiations with illusions as to any dramatic breakthroughs being possible.

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Trump Gets Neoconned -- Now What?

On Thursday night over fifty Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean against a Syrian base allegedly used by the Damascus government jets that bombed the town of Khan Sheikhoun, held by Al-Qaeda and allied jihadist groups, where some sort of poisonous agent is said to have killed scores of civilians earlier this week.

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Battle of Syraq, 2016 Year End SITREP (11): After Turkish Army Bloodied by ISIS at al-Bab, Erdogan Accuses Washington of Supporting Islamic State

Battle of Syraq, 2016 Year End SITREP (11): After Turkish Army Bloodied by ISIS at al-Bab, Erdogan Accuses Washington of Supporting Islamic State

The year opened with Russia and Turkey as enemies, exchanging economic blows and locked in proxy warfare across Syria in the aftermath of Turkey's treacherous shoot down of a Russian SU-24 bomber in November 2015. 2016 closes with Turkish president turned despotic strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accusing Washington and its allies of supporting not only the Kurdish militants of the PKK but also the Islamic State terrorists, plus rumors of Russian air strikes in support of Turkey's troops struggling to make gains against Daesh at al-Bab.

As the Russia Analyst predicted as far back as August 7, 2015, the Obama Administration would eventually try to make Erdogan the fall guy for the spectacular rise of ISIS, only to have the Sultan blame Washington in reply. We also predicted along with the rest of team RogueMoney and some friends of RM such as Dr. Jim Willie and Joseph P. Farrell, that Turkey would pivot East -- as the alternative would be winding up 'on the menu' with its own territorial integrity in question due to the Kurdish issue. We just did not envision it occurring in this way, with the Russian-Turkish-Iranian troika talking about a nationwide ceasefire across Syria in 2017, and the U.S. State Department and EUnuchs pointedly NOT invited to the peace table...

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