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28 May 2013

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confusedponderer

IMO Israeli histrionics over the S300 sale are primarily for show. It's them saying how mad, how really, really mad they are, making sure that everybody gets how really, really mad they are, and that they really, really may do something really, really stark about it. Well, unless, somebody else does what they want, which in this case is to cancel the S300 sale.

The only thing the missiles in Syrian hands are good for is to deter intervention, by making it potentially costly. The Russians are quite correct to point that out.

The Syrians are clearly not so stupid that they would, as one particularly inane commenter at WashPo suggested, attack for instance an El Al airliner in Israeli airspace, thus inviting Israeli retaliation. Assad and his folks have their hands full, and they know it. Why on earth they would be so stupid as to add Israel to the list of active enemies is a mystery to me. But then, Assad is evil and must go, and that explains everything.

Even with Assad getting the S300 the Israelis will remain the dominant and superior military power in the region. Their EW capability is formidable, their air force is well trained and sophisticated in its capabilities. They can handle that.

What the S300 would change is that Israel could no longer expect to attack Syria with impunity. The Israelis would IMO still be victorious in an engagement with the Syrians, but for a change, they would lose some hair.

So the point here is the luxury of Israeli impunity, and not that the missiles constitute a threat to Israel proper. Threats are relative. Babble over "threat systems" and whatnot obfuscates that important point.

I recall that, a decade or so, I was drifting through the web on a search for information on military hardware. My search led me to some USMC unit's web page where they listed 'threat systems'. To my surprise, I found listed there the Leopard II main battle tank. I commented that to the best of my knowledge only NATO countries and US friendly neutrals were privy to that weapon system, and why the tank would constitute a threat. I didn't receive a response. The conclusion I drew was that to the guy who set up the page, a "threat" was apparently everything non-American.

In similar vein, Israeli thinking (and that of her supporters and apologists) is apparently that everything that someone else has that is not crap constitutes a threat.

What a joke, in the region, Israel is the military juggernaut, not that mystical 'poor little Israel'.

Clifford Kiracofe

German security services reportedly have identified at least 600 "German" citizens who have gone to Syria to fight with the Islamists.

French security services reportedly have identified about the same number of "French" citizens fighting jihad in Syria.

Are there going to the "home grown" terrorists with experience coming back to haunt Germany and France?

No doubt hundreds of "subjects" from Britain have gone on to Syria to fight jihad but data seems somewhat suppressed on this matter.

Edward Amame

My reading of the Reuters story suggests that the "hotheads' the Russians are referring to are France and the UK. The Russian description of the Israelis would more likely have been "lunatics" and the Israeli response to Russia's sending the S-300 air defence system to Damascus certainly fits it.

Also, Reuters (and McClatchy, too) supplied the most clear headed and unbiased reporting during the pro-war media frenzy in the run-up to the Iraq War, IMO.

Matthew

UM: A new Turkish caliphate would be an improvement.

Where would you prefer to live: in Turkey or in Egypt.

Alba Etie

It could very well be we are seeing a course correction in the "West " regarding the Syrian Civil War - and who may intervene. It could be moderate secular voices are starting to be heard pe in Turkey . The Erdogan grand experiment in "islamic democracy " could be stalling out . I am not an expert on Turkish politics but I do know a few Turkish American and they say that the Attaturk legacy is alive and well in their country . And they also say that the attempt to 'defang' the Turkish military, and remove it as a moderating force in Turkish politics did not work . It appears there is no appetite in Turkey for a military intervention in Syria either. Moreover I also try to listen for the ' silence' - its interesting to note that currentFrench leadership is not expressing the same hand wringing that Sarkozy's crowd did about supporting the FSA, al Nusra & AQ. My hunch is that the current French government has decided that it has its hands full in the former colonies in the Sahel region - and if anything further meddling in Syria might only make matters in Mali worse. I also believe that the EU generally as an organization does not want to alienate the Russians & Chinese . Finally I believe that the BHO administration decision making levers are now in the hands of the Realist - such as Sec of Defense Hagel & DIA Director Clapper. And these Realist are fully in lockstep with the broad spectrum of the American electorate - we have learned our lesson well regarding "mushroom clouds & mobile anthrax labs'. . Does not matter here in These United States if you support Rand Paul or BHO - we are all vehemently opposed to any military intervention in Syria . I do believe we are seeing a course correction - there will be no Syrian intervention from the West .

Fred

J,

Nice music selection.

b

Some people seem to be doubt that Russia would deliver S-300s to Syria. They are right, Syria will not get the export version but the newer S-300PU2 the Russians use themselves.

And how fast could they be there?

Consider this:
http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20130528/181379250/S-300-Air-Defense-Systems-Deployed-at-Snap-Alert-Drills.html

/quote/
MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Four regiments of S-300 air defense systems have been deployed at the Ashuluk firing range in southern Russia as part of another snap combat readiness check of the Russian armed forces, the Defense Ministry said.

The regiments were airlifted on Thursday by military transport planes to designated drop zones where they will carry out a variety of missions simulating the defense of the Russian airspace from massive attacks by “enemy” missiles and aircraft.

“The missions will be carried out in conditions of heavy electronic warfare to test the capabilities of the air defense units to the highest limit,” the ministry said.
/endquote/

DH

"London and Paris have argued for months that Europe must send a strong signal of support for rebels fighting Assad by allowing EU arms deliveries, even though they say they have not decided yet to actually supply arms.

But they ran into strong opposition from other EU governments, led by Austria and Sweden, which argued that sending more weapons to the region would increase violence and spread instability.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the EU meeting had effectively ended the EU's arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.

"While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate," Hague told reporters."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/28/us-syria-crisis-eu-idUSBRE94Q09320130528

kxd

You'd have to think at some point the sane folks would take control of the situation before it ever got to that stage. But history says otherwise...

Tyler

Somewhat O/T, but maybe not:

http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/24-05-2013/124656-boston_terrorist_fbi_agents_killed-0/

The two agents who shot the Boston bomber's suspected accomplice died during a 'training accident'.

This is...odd.

Walrus

Willy Hague is lying through his teeth, if I know anything of Westminster system politicians, I'll bet the first shipment was winging its way within hours of the decision.


Zero hedge explains why - getting Qatari gas to Europe via pipeline from the Nabucco field and breaking Russia's death grip on their gas supplies.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-27/europe-ends-arms-embargo-syrian-rebels-desperate-break-russian-natgas-export-monopol

Fred

Seems to be a rather untimely coincidence.

optimax

That is impossible since the two FBI agents died in the training accident days before the Chechen in Florida was shot.

The beaver

Pravda got it wrong . Taberlan was killed by police . It was hi sbuddy in Florida , linked to the triple murder who was killed by the FBI during or after questioning.

The beaver

The French were already providing arms to the FSA - breaking the embargo but no one blinked an eye.

J

Irregardless of the timing regarding the Chechen boneheads, to what is really more disturbing in my book, namely.........'Coincidences' for 'highly trained', 'veteran' members of HRT, really, really?

Training accidents......hmmm....where have I see that one before.......

Now back to my tornadoes and their bee bopping around my neck of the woods.....

The Twisted Genius

b,

The timing of these snap alert drills are interesting. I remember when Russia sent a motorized rifle company on an overnight run to seize the Pristina International Airport ahead of NATO forces in June 1999. It was a ballsy "Hail Mary" move that caught NATO flatfooted and forced Wesley Clark to integrate Russian troops into the Kosovo peacekeeping forces. It was a brilliant chess move. I would not be overly surprised if Putin made a midnight snap alert drill into Damascus with a regiment or two of S-300s. Check.

Tyler

Well apparently now Taberlan was unarmed when he ended up being shot.

DH

Thanks, Walrus. I poked around and found this also:

"The key (unstated) reason for Qatar to be so obsessed by regime change in Syria is to kill the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, which was agreed upon in July 2011. The same applies to Turkey, because this pipeline would bypass Ankara, which always bills itself as the key energy crossroads between East and West.
It’s crucial to remember that the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is as anathema to Washington as IP. The difference is that Washington in this case can count on its allies Qatar and Turkey to sabotage the whole deal.

This means sabotaging not only Iran but also the 'Four Seas' strategy announced by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2009, according to which Damascus should become a Pipelineistan hub connected to the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The strategy spells out a Syria intimately connected with Iranian – and not Qatari – energy flows. Iran-Iraq-Syria is known in the region as the 'friendship pipeline.' Typically, Western corporate media derides it as an 'Islamic' pipeline. (So Saudi pipelines are what, Catholic?) What makes it even more ridiculous is that gas in this pipeline would flow to Syria and then Lebanon – and from there to energy-starved European markets close by."

An interesting article, it discusses other pipeline deals between other countries.


DH

Okay, thanks. I guess I'd already heard that buzzing around in the background.

Ali

the 2 agents fell out of a helicopter during a training exercise.
"..incident happened about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.."
http://hamptonroads.com/2013/05/fbi-agents-died-fall-helicopter-va-coast

Ali

505thPIR

"The knots of war" are being pulled tighter.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/05/30/matt-gurney-somewhere-in-israel-the-countdown-has-started/

Russian advisers/tech's may be kept on site to serve as a tripwire/Rubicon of sorts. Gives one pause.

twv

Kerry is proof of "success" in politics:
Zero ability, zero character BUT lots of connections/rich wives.
Great country America.
Even a complete nitwit loser like Kerry can become "SOMEBODY."

b

The Pristina case came to my mind too. Russia could either send a few fighter wings to defend Syrian air-space or some of its S-300+ regiments. They could be fully operational within some 48 hours. Together with the Russian flotilla in Tartus it would be a checkmate move.

Anyone considering a "no-fly zone" aggression against Syria will have to risk fighting against Russian units with all consequences that would imply.

I can not think of any "western" public that would condone such a move by its politicians.

confusedponderer

Jason Ditz of Antiwar has a nice summary on the problem with McCain's blitz to Syria:

"Sen. John McCain’s Monday decision to sneak into Syria for a photo-op with rebel commanders is quickly going from publicity stunt to embarrassment, with the revelation that one of the “commanders” in question is the head of a kidnapping ring.

According to freed kidnap victims, the photo shows Abu Ibrahim, the leader of the rebel Northern Storm brigade, which has been fighting in Aleppo and whose strategy has centered around kidnapping foreigners and Shi’ites and holding them for ransom.

McCain’s spokesmen have issued statements terming the incident “regrettable,” but insisting that McCain had no way of knowing who the rebel commanders he took pictures with were, adding that none introduced themselves as Abu Ibrahim.

Which of course underscores the problem with McCain’s visit. He was eager to endorse the rebels and rushed headlong into the country to give his imprimatur to the civil war, but he showed little interest in finding out who the rebels he was posing with were, or what they stood for. That they were on the side of a war that McCain is hoping to suck the US into was simply good enough for him."

McCain had "no way of knowing who the rebel commanders he took pictures with were"? Priceless. IF YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHO THESE GUYS OR GOONS WERE - WHY FLY AT ALL, WHY LEND YOUR FACE (that of a US Senator no less)??!

This is Kindergarten, except for the fact that as a result of these Sandkastenspiele people die in scores.

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