Friday, October 25, 2019

The geopolitics of “blood-stained sand:” the Astrology of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria



War deeply entangles personal and collective concerns.
One of the most intriguing things about mundane astrology is that, no matter what collective events or phenomena we might  research, if we dig deep, there are moving personal stories at the heart of it all. 


A notable example of this dynamic splashes across our media screens every news hour lately, with reports from multiple nations about unrest on the streets. Citizens of Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Hong-Kong, France, Haiti, UK and more (even Canada), have hit the streets lately to express frustration—usually with issues of economic and social injustice, but not always. 

Whatever grievances protestors may have, however, the common thread in all such expressions is that people feel personally driven to take collective action. 
 
Another, less uplifting example of this personal/collective dynamic, however, is the very consequential relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: its optics, not to mention its sketchy, ill-defined substance, are really being brought to the fore these days, and not just because every U.S. intelligence agency concurs that Russia meddled with our 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Trump, and appears to be doing so again for 2020. It’s also top of mind in U.S. news because of Trump’s recent actions vis-à-vis Syria. 

Namely, that Trump has blatantly handed over whatever influence the U.S. retained in Syria—perhaps even the Middle East more broadly—to Russian and Turkish interests, and he’s done this at the expense of the Kurdish allies who bore the brunt of the fight against ISIS in the past few years. We’ll dig into this story more deeply ahead.

Putin’s priorities have been well-known for years: he wants to dominate strategically critical Syria-Iran-Turkey geopolitics, and Trump has now stepped aside to make that possible, so check! Putin wants free rein to continue re-absorbing border nation Ukraine into Russia’s sphere of influence—Trump decided to play political games with nearly $400 million in military aid that Congress allocated, so check! Putin has long wanted to undermine and perhaps even deal fatal blows to NATO—and Trump seems prepared to go along, even as he gives lip service to the alliance. 

There's been evidence of this since day one of his administration, but never more clearly than in his willingness to use and abuse our alliance with Ukraine—a nation that has literally been under military assault by Russia since it expressed a desire for NATO membership (Putin feels very threatened by this idea, apparently). Again, Trump gives lip service to that alliance, but actions speak louder than words here. 

Ukraine's young new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In fact, Trump’s actions suggest that he’s fine with Russia’s designs on Ukraine—he clearly wants nothing to do with upsetting Putin, so why not dangle aid in front of a young, inexperienced Ukrainian President Zelensky while extorting him for political dirt on a rival—at the same time Russian troops are attacking his country? If it wasn’t for the courage of the so-called “whistleblower,” we may not have known about this betrayal of our ally for months or even longer. 

Little did we know, even so, that the influence of right-wing nationalists on Trump in this regard extends beyond Putin. This excerpt from Foreign Policy puts this into an historical perspective that we might easily overlook:

“Donald Trump has long viewed Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt—or at least that is the reason the U.S. president has reportedly given for his eagerness to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations that could aide his reelection chances in 2020. But Trump’s attitude toward the country may have been reinforced by his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, according to the Washington Post
The role these two leaders played in hardening Trump’s views toward Ukraine was described by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent during a closed-door hearing on Capitol Hill last week as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation, the Post reported. 
Putin’s efforts to salt the earth ahead of Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky come as little surprise. Russia has long sought to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and its relationship with the West. Less well known is Hungary’s own simmering tensions with Ukraine, which the Hungarian leader has made his own cause for complaint.
The dispute centers on the Hungarian minority in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. The Treaty of Trianon, which ended World War I, stripped Hungary of two-thirds of its territory, and the border areas of Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine are now home to millions of ethnic Hungarians. 
Almost a century since the treaty was signed, it is still an open wound for Hungary, and the fate of Hungarians living in neighboring countries has long proved to be a sticking point between Budapest and its neighbors. Preserving and enhancing the national identity of ethnic Hungarians in the region has been a cornerstone of Orban’s policy since he was first elected prime minister in 1998. Since 2011, more than 1 million Hungarians in the near abroad have been given Hungarian passports, and in turn they have overwhelmingly supported Orban’s Fidesz [right-wing nationalist] party in the polls. The move angered politicians in Ukraine, where dual citizenship is prohibited.”

So digging up old wounds and resentments is used yet again for political gain—it’s a favorite ploy with nationalist regimes and both Putin and Trump are adept with this playbook. For that matter, it shouldn’t surprise us that Trump would resonate with Hungary’s aggressive politics under Orban: that nation’s radix Jupiter (Cancer) conjoins Trump’s Mercury (Cancer-see middle wheel, Triwheel #1 below) and opposes Hungary’s radix Uranus-Saturn-Neptune conjunction (Capricorn).[1]


Hungary's P.M. Viktor Orban has installed a nationalist regime.

The other major takeaway from all this is that Trump has been very busy shifting U.S. alliances away from traditional European NATO members to a cadre of far-right-leaning Eastern European nations—basically to those nations that Putin also favors and on which he would like to reassert Russia’s influence. The more right-wing the governments the better—a friend of Putin’s is a friend of Trump’s these days. Remember that checklist of priorities Putin flashed at the cameras during that shocking July 2018 Helsinki meeting with Trump? From Washington Post:

“’Trump tried to keep his talks with Putin at Helsinki last year secret from his staff and the world, but Russia's president held up the checklist for the cameras. Syria was on it,’ Julia Davis recalls in the Daily Beast: ‘Trump is moving down Putin’s wish list, fulfilling the Kremlin’s aims at a rapid pace. He is chipping away at U.S. sanctions against Russia, deepening America’s internal divisions on the basis of race, faith, sexual orientation and political affiliation, vocally undermining confidence in our elections, intelligence agencies and institutions, all the while empowering our foreign adversaries and undermining NATO alliances. Trump’s claims that Ukraine—not Russia—is somehow responsible for the 2016 election interference fall right in line with conspiracy theories the Kremlin has been propagating for years.’”
So it's no surprise that Trump could be talked into stepping aside and letting his new-found friends Erdogan and Putin deal with the “problem” of the Kurds and—while they’re at it—exploit the free hands they’ve been given in regards to Syria and the Middle East. Trump has signaled, in fact, that he’s up for a sweeping capitulation in that region—“Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand” he said yesterday, announcing that he’s now lifting sanctions against Turkey because Erdogan promises a “permanent ceasefire” along Turkey’s Syrian border. More on the credibility of this promise ahead. 

The fact that ISIS is now emboldened to re-emerge (and that many imprisoned militants have escaped Kurdish control) doesn’t seem to faze Trump at this point. Nor does his upending of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against ISIS in northern Syria: they are now on the run for their lives, forced to go for help to Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad—all with the heavy taste of U.S. betrayal in their mouths. Trump may be making new friends for his own purposes, but he’s clearly thrown our national honor under the proverbial bus.


Putin and Syria's Assad, meeting in 2017.

It's painful to ask, but we have to wonder if Trump is actively working to strengthen our adversaries? According to The Daily Beast, even the Russian public is starting to wonder:

“Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. ‘All of this benefits the Russian Federation,’ Yusin marveled. ‘You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.’
‘This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. ‘Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!’ Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: ‘Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.’ Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: ‘This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!’”

It was hard to miss the twisted irony in Trump’s announcement yesterday, claiming “victory!”  Victory for whom? 




BBC.com explores the long history of animosity between Turkey & the Syrian Kurds.


Kurdish back story

There are long back stories about all of this, of course, but recent events on the ground confirm all of the above pretty simply: Bowing to pressure from Turkish leader Erdogan, Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of an area of Syria where they were instrumental in protecting an ethnic minority known as the Kurds from Erdogan’s animosity.  It should be noted that Trump first announced his intentions to take this action on December 19, 2018, at which time there was sufficient outcry from those around him to delay implementation. 

For its part, Turkey has a long history of problems with ethnic minorities (their role in the WWI-era Armenian genocide comes to mind), and according to Wikipedia, the Kurds—an ancient Mesopotamian culture—have never been treated very well in Turkey, or elsewhere, for that matter. 

According to Foreign Policy, the Kurds are “the largest ethnic group in the world not to have a state of their own:” after WWI, they were essentially betrayed by Britain and France (the super-powers of the day), who withheld the homeland they promised the Kurds at that time. The Kurds were instead consigned to small slivers of territory in four nations, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Sound familiar?  
This history of oppression—of being treated as “outsiders” who are eternally dependent upon the kindness of strangers—might explain why a small faction of Turkish Kurds have been radicalized over the years and formed the PKK, the group Erdogan regards as “terrorist.”

From Erdogan’s perspective, of course, it’s handy to have a scapegoat in tough times, and the Kurds seem to be providing that service, as well. In all fairness, times have been tough for Turkey recently, with millions of Syrians fleeing civil war and seeking refuge within their borders in the past few years. Even so, is it necessary to displace and victimize one community to help another? 


Syria's Kurdish military was instrumental in defeating ISIS.


During Syria’s civil war years, in fact, the Syrian Kurdish military allied itself with the U.S. to fight ISIS—and more than 10,000 Kurds died in the process, compared to a small number of U.S. troops. This is a victory that should be appreciated by all in that region, not to mention the U.S., but instead the Kurds are now scrambling for protection against Turkish forces who want to clear out their northern Syria territory for a “safe zone” for Syrian refugees. 

So as usual, there are land and resource interests at the heart of state-based aggression and betrayal, and it’s therefore not hard to see why Trump decided to drop the show of resistance to Turkey’s aggression—Trump has the Trump Towers Istanbul and other financial interests of his own in Turkey, so no need to ruffle Erdogan’s feathers against those!  

With all this, is it any wonder that some Kurdish onlookers threw vegetables and stones at departing U.S. troops this past week? Not our proudest moment, by any stretch, but the scene was enlightening in that it captured the deep reality of capitulation that we’re witnessing between Trump and his fellow authoritarians, Erdogan and Putin. 



U.S. troops leaving northern Syria this past week.


The Astrology
 
So what does all this look like astrologically? Clearly there’s no way to answer that in one post, but perhaps we can examine how Trump has impacted the situation in the past year. For other studies I’ve posted on this blog on the Syrian-Turkey-Trump situation, click here and here

For this post, we’ll focus on the announcement Trump made on a Sunday evening earlier this month, on October 6, 2019, and we’ll consider that event set against Trump’s nativity and the U.S. Sibly chart. 

So why would now be an apt time for Trump to move ahead with these controversial plans? There was considerable pushback on this withdrawal over the past year: in fact, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis (former Defense Secretary) resigned over Trump’s insistence on withdrawing troops at the Kurd’s expense (not to mention the frustrations of serving a president who wouldn’t listen). Although he’s careful not to criticize a sitting president, Mattis was reportedly appalled at the thought that the U.S. would betray its courageous allies. 

Perhaps the so-called “guardrails” around Trump have been lost, one-by-one? Mattis wasn’t the only Defense-related resignation in the past year, in fact, and there were other aides who strongly cautioned Trump against this action because they knew Republicans in Congress wouldn’t support it. So Trump not only threw our allies under the bus, he also betrayed GOP principles and priorities—at the same time he’s been pressuring Republicans in Congress to protect him against the impeachment inquiry when the evidence steadily amasses against him! Is it any wonder GOP spokespeople are looking and sounding frustrated and panicky these days?

As we’ll see ahead, these are tough astrological times for the Sibly chart (and the nation it represents) for more than one reason, but Trump’s consequential green-lighting of Turkey’s invasion against the Kurds living across the Syrian border (despite protestations to the contrary) is a definite low point that deserves a cosmic snapshot. 


Fmr. Amb. Bill Taylor gave tough testimony in the House impeachment inquiry this week.

One point before we proceed: one of the most damning bits of evidence surfacing in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry against Trump suggests that he wanted Ukraine president Zelensky to be put “in a public box” on the issue of investigating Trump rival, V.P. Joe Biden. Think about this for a second: demanding that another nation’s leader go to a microphone to carry through on your priority (honorable or not) is a pretty loaded power play, and it puts the target in question in a decidedly subservient position—something like a “lackey” forced to carry out another’s dirty work, not the respect due a fellow leader. 

Something like Putin and Erdogan have now achieved with Trump, perhaps? According to Foreign Policy, as of October 22nd, these two have agreed about how they’re going to carve up parts of northern Syria between them as part of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring.” In other words, there were real, tangible gains to be made by Turkey and Russia, at the expense of the Kurds who built a “fragile democracy” in that region, and Trump has basically enabled their plans. 

It’s all incredibly complicated, but the bottom line is that Turkey and Russia are grabbing Kurdish/Syrian lands, forcibly ejecting the Kurds, and the situation sure looks like it could go from bad to worse for those displaced people.  

Always determined to snatch victory out of the jaws of humiliating defeat, however, Trump showed up yet again yesterday at the microphone and declared “victory.”  Will we ever understand exactly what transpired during all this? Not likely, but the planetary dynamics in play right now will shed some light on why now was the time for this Erdogan-Putin-Trump  triumvirate to act on their plans. 

Let’s begin.





Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 am, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Trump-Syria pull-out announcement, October 6, 2019, 7 pm DST (approx. time; Sunday evening announcement reported in NYTimes), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
 
Interchart Cardinal T-Square: Oct 6 No. Node (Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer) and opposes Oct 6 Saturn-So. Node (Capricorn); this axis squares Oct 6 Sun-con-Trump Juno-Chiron-Jupiter (all Libra)-Sibly Saturn (Libra). This complicated, stressful set of dynamics reflects serious pressures on the U.S. presidency (Sibly Sun), on Congress and the Judiciary (Sibly Saturn) and on Trump’s wounded sense of entitlement (Juno-Chiron-Jupiter). To hear him talk, he’s the world’s biggest victim; yet, his lawyers were in Federal Appeals Court this past week arguing that he’s basically above the law—that if he “shot someone on 5th Avenue,” not only could he not be prosecuted for it while in office, but the police couldn’t even stop him! 


Really?!!

That argument will hopefully be broken open like the ugly pseudo-legal piñata it is, but clearly, he’s no victim. If he gets his way in terms of Executive power, the victims will be our democratic checks-and-balances, and for that matter, our entire constitutional system

As for the pressure on the U.S. presidency and the nation, at large represented here, Trump’s actions in regards to the Kurds in Syria are far from our proudest moment, but I suspect that many Americans feel as if there are so many concerns with the Trump presidency that it’s hard to even focus on this one, or any of them, one at a time. This is perhaps reflected in the fact that Trump’s Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer)—his very presence in the White House creates deep disruptions. 

Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes this midpoint (as a mundane matter) in both positive and negative concerns, as follows:

“Thesis (+)—Helps modernize and improve secretive agencies; new devices to allow the collection or analysis of secret information; revolutions in industrial management or practices to improve production, trade or goods….
Antithesis (-)—Violent upheavals or rioting which bring changes in government; intruders who cause disruptions of processes; strikes and labor movements which are intent on forcing changes; sudden new criminal acts.”[2]
Clearly, both types of disruptions (+ and -) have been in play—IMHO, we’re seeing more of the negatives at the moment. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square: Oct 6 Venus (Libra) opposes Oct 6 Eris (Aries); this axis squares Oct 6 Pluto-con-Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) opposite Sibly Mercury-Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). Because this stressful configuration cuts across the Sibly 2nd-8th axis, it’s quite possible that there is an economic dimension to the geopolitical intrigues reflected in Trump’s Oct 6th decision. This is reinforced by the involvement of his natal Saturn-Venus conjunction, a pretty reliable sign that his business priorities are an issue. 

For instance, the pressure that transiting Saturn and Pluto are applying by opposition probably helped deep-six his plans to host the next G7 meeting at his Doral resort in Florida: he was attempting to extract from the public treasury (Sibly Pluto) for his personal enrichment (Trump Venus), and he was (thankfully) constrained by the rules (Saturn). 


Did Trump-branded properties play a role in Trump's Syria decision?

As for the Syria situation, this configuration perhaps reflects that Trump somehow has financial interests at stake in the matter. As noted earlier, he does have several business interests in Turkey that could be impacted if Erdogan is displeased, and if Foreign Policy’s reporting about his financial dealings with Russian oligarchs are true, there may be issues there as well. 

One way or another, Saturn and Pluto are clearly putting pressure on Trump’s financial confidence, which may explain why he’s been bragging about his “amazing” properties more than usual lately. 

Interchart Mutable Grand-Square: Oct 6 Jupiter (Sagittarius) conjoins Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini)-Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini); this axis squares Oct. 6 Neptune (Rx, Pisces) opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Here we see the rough waves of chaos that are rocking our national boat at the moment, and unfortunately, our military (Sibly Mars) has been brought into the fray by an increasingly unstable seeming Commander-in-Chief. First he’s taking troops out and throwing over our allies (a repugnant idea to the military honor code); then he’s leaving them in; then he’s shifting them here, he’s shifting them there. Having vegetables and rocks thrown at them is the least of their problems! 

What this is all doing to our national morale is another story, but let’s keep our eye on the real issue here. This chaos is also providing cover to the forces that are moving into northern Syria, determined to clear out that territory for their own purposes, no matter what. 

Lack of clarity is a key theme in this configuration, and that is certainly reflected in Trump’s shifting military missions. He is reportedly now leaving some troops in Northeastern Syria to protect the oil reserves there from ISIS fighters—so now, he’s not concerned with ending the endless wars? 


Is Turkey's Erdogan launching an endless war of his own in Syria?

Neptune’s impact (especially from Pisces, but factoring in the Neptune-Neptune opposition more broadly) is clearly in play here, and it shouldn’t escape us that Neptune (along with Pluto) also rules subterranean oil reserves! We probably shouldn’t underestimate how important oil reserves are to the overall scheme of things in that tortured region. 

Jupiter is playing a key, multi-pronged role in all this, of course: 1) to embolden Trump’s recklessness by conjoining his volatile Moon-So. Node, 2) to inflate the hubris and impulsivity that he brings to his control of U.S. military forces by opposing Sibly Mars and his Sun-No. Node-Uranus complex, and 3) to trigger his natural bullying instincts by trining his Mars-ASC in Leo. Perhaps we’ll get a break from some of this volatility when Jupiter moves on into Capricorn in December—again, hope springs eternal! 

Interchart Fixed Grand-Square: Oct 6 Uranus (Rx, Taurus) opposes Oct 6 Mercury (Scorpio); this axis squares Sibly Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius)-Trump Pluto (Leo). I can’t think of a more clear representation of the shocking message (Uranus-opp-Mercury) that Trump delivered on October 6th; this may explain why October 6th presented an opportunity for the entire shocking campaign. The fact that his announcement had an immediate impact on America’s reputation and collective direction (nodal axis) is also seen here. Since Uranus moves somewhat slowly, we can expect more pressure of this sort, perhaps accompanied with more shocking revelations and/or disruptions to power dynamics.

Trump and Putin at 2018 Helsinki Summit.

This same Uranus sextiles Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer)-Trump Mercury (Cancer), suggesting that an opportunity may also exist to seal a trade agreement, or for Trump to spin a satisfying, if potentially delusional narrative (his Mercury squares Neptune). Neither of these may have anything to do with the Syria situation, but if the Justice Department’s announcement that William Barr has opened a criminal investigation into the origins of Mueller’s Russia investigation today is any signal, it’s possible that the next item Trump would like to check off Putin’s Helsinki wish-list is for Russia to be exonerated from any responsibility for meddling in our 2016 election. Barr seems willing to travel the world in search of support for his boss’s quest.

Why this, why now? From the NYTimes

“The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.
Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry.” 

There is perhaps no direct connection between this move on Trump’s and Barr’s part and the Syria situation, but we might surmise that after caving in to Erdogan and Putin—not to mention watching our former allies throwing vegetables at our withdrawing troops—that Trump needs an ego boost and to feel back in control. The impeachment inquiry is undoubtedly only triggering his desire to punch back at those he sees as political enemies. A Washington Post opinion piece today counsels that Barr’s actions don’t signal that it’s time to “freak out,” however:

“[However,] it is at least possible that this development isn’t quite as serious as it seems — and that this might be yet another effort to calm the Audience of One, the Mad King who is raging at everyone for not shielding him from the impeachment inquiry closing in all around him.”
This could well be the more constructive way to view Barr’s fantasy pursuit, although we shouldn’t let our guard down, either—an independent Justice Department is essential to our checks and balances, and no, American presidents are not supposed to use that department for personal purposes. If nothing else, we’re learning a lot of civics lessons these days, and it’s possible that a renewed appreciation for the elegant machinery of democracy will be a silver lining in this situation in the end.  
In any case, however, we’re likely to be in for a rough ride as all this unfolds over the coming months—there are planetary reasons for that, as we’ve seen—but we’re also graced every day with the committed efforts of so many who are working to preserve our “better angels” as a nation. 

This, too, shall pass.




Syrian refugees have faced unspeakable difficulties, and Turkey wants them gone.


What about Syrian refugees?

Meanwhile, life-and-death issues abound in the Syrian territory Trump has left to Putin and Erdogan to carve up. One dimension of their three-way “Syria victory dance” hasn’t gotten much play, and that is, what happens to the Syrian refugees who are forced to return to their homeland—especially if that means to a Turkish-controlled “safe zone?” This may be where the real tragedy of the situation unfolds. 

Questions abound: will Assad and other forces in that region respect that “safe zone?” What assurance or controls exist to assure that these refugees will be safe as they rebuild their lives?  Amnesty International has published a new report that paints quite a precarious picture: the report claims that Turkey has been forcing the deportation of Syrian refugees back into their war-torn homeland, in violation of international law, for some time now. The following excerpt fleshes out that claim. From Amnesty International:

“This report reveals that, contrary to the Turkish authorities’ claims that they do not deport anyone to Syria, in mid-2019 it is likely that hundreds of people across Turkey were swept up, detained, and transported against their will to one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Many people were deported from Istanbul, and were apprehended while they were working or walking down the street. Amnesty International documented 20 detailed cases of forced returns between 25 May and 13 September 2019, with most in July.
The Turkish authorities disguise these illegal deportations as so-called ‘voluntary returns,’ and claim that over several years, more than 315,000 Syrians have left of their own free will. Syrians, however, consistently say they are being misled about the ‘voluntary return’ forms they are being told to sign, or intimidated or beaten in order to make them sign. Some people say they were also beaten on the journey to the border by the Gendarmerie. All the deportees said they were sent to north-western Syria (either Idlib or Aleppo provinces), with most entering through the Bab Al Hawa crossing.
Most of the deportees were men, but some children and families were also deported. Even when it is only the breadwinner who is deported, sometimes the family members left in Turkey feel unable to survive, and subsequently leave for Syria themselves. If people re-enter Turkey –almost invariably by paying large sums to smugglers –they find that their Temporary Protection IDs have been cancelled.”
Perhaps over time the “safe zone” will be turned into an acceptable homeland for these returning refugees (hope springs eternal!), but the experiences noted above raise troubling doubts. For instance, what about the Kurds? 

Too many questions, too few answers. 

One thing is certain -- our truly honorable U.S. Representative, Elijah Cummings, will be deeply missed...thank you, Sir, for your lifetime of dedicated service! 



Representive Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019.










Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2019. All rights reserved. 









[1]Data for the Hungarian Republic’s radix chart: October 21, 1989, 12:00 noon (no exact time known), Budapest, Hungary. Source: The Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK. Chart #150, pp. 154-55.
[2]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, p. 316.