From the River to the Sea

Let's debunk the myth:

the popular chant "from the river to the sea/ Palestine will be free" has nothing to do with making Palestine 'free of Jews'.

The Need for Sport

It’s easy to dismiss professional sport as the opium of the masses. The mass hysteria that accompanied Richmond’s inexorable march to Grand Final victory can be dismissed as a juvenile response to a sporting event. We can lament all we want that the passion, tears and jubilation that accompanied Richmond’s Grand Final victory after 37 years in the wilderness was wasted on a football match.

Patriotism is objectively unethical

Patriotism entails loyalty to one's government. The quintessential motto of the patriot is “support our troops,” which usually just means support the government and the wars of our rulers. If you actually cared about the wellbeing of the troops, you'd be ranting and raving about unjust war and demanding that they not be put in harm's way for the sake of strengthening the power of oligarchs and the economic elite.

It's A Gas

The term “it’s a gas” is derived from the use of helium gas as a public entertainment medium in the early 20th century. It became synonymous with a good laugh when it was used as a dental general anaesthetic in the mid 20th century. “It’s a gas”, a good belly laugh could be used to describe the current energy crisis if it wasn’t so serious.

Battles around Deir-az-Zor

The regime's Tiger Forces have finished their bizarre expedition to the north, capturing Maadan and eliminating the last ISIS position northwest of Deir-az-Zor. The Kurdish SDF has reached and mostly surrounded the city of Suwar, thereby effectively securing most of the Khabur river. They also took the Conoco plant, and are approaching the Jafra oil field. Once it falls, ISIS will no longer control any oil fields north of the Khabur (except the Derro oil field, which is way to the north).

Assadists Securing Random Farmland

The regime ended up crossing the Euphrates at Mazlum, a little to the north of where I'd expected, and the Tiger Forces are pushing north, not south. No movement from the Kurds. It looks like Assad's goal is to deprive the Kurds of all of the oil fields, even the one northwest of Deir-as-Zor, which would require a second river crossing. I'm guessing that tomorrow we'll see the regime push from Mazlum to the adjacent Tabiyah oil fiels, and then probably north to cut the N-7. The result is total strategic failure for the Kurds.

Anti-Corruption Commission Hobbled

The once powerful New South Wales Commission into Corruption has been sidelined by a host of parliamentary changes that have ripped out its legislative incisors. Nothing highlighted this more than the findings it recently delivered on a number of very shady deals that had been hatched by three former New South Wales Labor Cabinet Ministers while in power to enrich themselves and their families.

No No Nanette

If I hear Melbourne’s Archbishop Hart again, I'm going to scream. Considering the Catholic Church’s abysmal record on childhood sexual abuse, within the Catholic Church, you’d think they'd show a little bit of contrition. No, not Archbishop Hart. First we had to put up with the Catholic Church’s position on the mildly reformist voluntary euthanasia bill before the Victorian parliament. Now we have to put up with Archbishop Hart’s comments on marriage equality and the Catholic education system.

Oil and the Left bank of the Euphrates

I had realized so many of the oil fields were on the left bank of the Euphrates. There's no way in hell the regime will let the Kurds cross south of the Khabur. The question is whether the regime is willing to accept the Kurds taking the three oil fields to the north of it. Kurdish forces are only a few kilometers away from the closest one, so the regime would need to cross the Euphrates as soon as possible in order to secure them. This also makes it considerably less likely that they'll cross at Mayadeen, since it would take too long to secure the town.

Kurds and Assadists at Deir az-Zor

The Kurds and the Assad regime have both reached Deir az-Zor. The general working arrangement between the two has been that the Kurds get one side of the Euphrates and the regime gets the other. However, the regime is preparing to deploy pontoon bridges across the river, which would cross a stated red line by the US.


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