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12 September 2014


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William R. Cumminh

ALL and PL! Does the US have any insights as how Russia will play its cards in all of this complex situation?

William R. Cumminh

What percentage of SAG air defenses Russian in origin?


Colonel, and All,

To further deepen the sense of impending doom, let me offer up another encouraging bit of information. b over at Moon of Alabama just put up a post in which he treated us all to a quote from a background conference call with a "Senior Administration Official" who had this to say:

"ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region. They view it as an existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria."


Huh? Here's a link to a map of Syria; do you see any border with Saudi Arabia?


Oh, God, please make it stop.

Former 11B

"Russia has recently tested new submarine launched ICBMs with a range of 5,000 miles. Hello! Is anyone home in the NSC?"

This made me smile at time when I haven't smiled much. And the NYT is pretty much worthless at this point for anyone looking for anything that isn't domestic propaganda.


I think Shakespeare said it best (Midsummer's night dream I think):

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"



"Will they be pleased when jihadis sit on Israel's NE frontier"

If ISIS succeeds in this, the deathtoll will reach Khmer Rouge dimensions, which in an nutshell pretty much what R2P was conceived as a means to prevent.

But since offing Assad was all about kicking Iran in the teeth, the genocide part of the policy never was the point of concern anyway. For all practical purposes, the R2Pers were just handmaidens tasked with providing a more palatable rationale for power politics, allowing that to remain a flower that prefers to blush unseen.

Thus, for full emphasis:

"Will they be pleased when jihadis sit on Israel's NE frontier after having massacred Syria's and Lebanon's minorities along the way?"

I ask myself, does the genocide chick still like that regime change op in Syria all that much, or is it really all about doubling down or losing face, or was she never serious about any of this anyway?


Thanks for the good update.
Surveying the players in this affair one can only hope that Obama is only giving a head fake and he is praying that the media oligarchs, their journos, our elected demagogues and the bottomless think tankers will become pre-occupied with something domestic, maybe the election.
Anything to slow down this descent into a Levantine meat grinder. Although John Kerry seems to be have trouble picking the meat.


This is nuts! What the H is wrong with the guy who's purportedly in charge? More worried about saving his face than his fellow citizens' asses?

Time to bring Assad in from the cold...

Seamus Padraig

"Once again the people who cannot grasp the idea of escalation leading to war between the US+ and Russia, ridicule Russian seriousness about their policy."

I strongly agree with you here, Pat. The Russians almost certainly persuaded Assad to give away his chemical weapons in exchange for security guarantees from Moscow. If Obama uses this ISIS thing to weasel out of his promise not to bomb Syria, I think the Russians will be livid. Their credibility is on the line here. What if they were to deliver new, high-grade SAMs to the Syrians, and the Pentagon started losing lots of planes and pilots? That would be a PR catastrophe for Washington!

As long as the Russians don't intervene directly, though, I see the risk of a nuclear exchange as being fairly low. But, by the same token, I wouldn't put the probability at zero. I once read that America and the Soviets nearly went to war in 1973 during the Yom-Kippur War, which also involved Syria. According the legends, Kissinger persuaded Brezhnev not to intervene by convincing him that Nixon was a 'drunken maniac' who would not hesitate to press the red button. Kissinger and Nixon were both feared and respected in Moscow; Kerry and Obama, not so much. I doubt the same trick would work this time around!

FB Ali

There is a telling review of the Syrian opposition at:



Never fear Colonel. The US is kindly providing the Lebanese Armed forces with a AC 208B Combat Caravan! With Hellfire missiles no less! We are all safe now.

They have already had on foray into Lebanon. It did not end too well for them.

As for Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, they are not off the leash yet so those countries are safe. Turkey has become their biggest ally so I guess Erdogan thinks he has some leverage now.

Its remarkable how the man keeps proving that well of his idiocy is deeper than we think. After this is over he will be in the unique position of being hated by both the pro and anti Resistance Axis.



"Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, they are not off the leash yet" you actually think we control these countries? Deluded as badly as the idiots in the WH. Why do you think Kerry is over there kissing their asses.? pl


Colonel, I meant IS is not off the Turkish/Saudi leash, not those countries on the US leash.

In fact, in regards to the US position this is from the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House:

"ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region. They view it as an existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria. "

Im really hoping that this was meant to read Iraq and not Syria otherwise we are really in trouble.




I'm tempted to start snarking about "genocide in defense of human rights is no vice," except I fear that somebody might actually say this with a serious face. Some years ago, I was aghast when I heard Richard Holbrooke talking excitedly about "bombs for peace" on PBS Frontline (on the 1990s Balkan conflicts, I believe). Compared to the current crew, people remember him as the sane, practical one....

The beaver

@ JJ

May be to some SAOs , Turkey must be KSA.
After all, it is the Sunnis that must count :-)


"Will they be pleased when jihadis sit on Israel's NE frontier?"

Well, either Walrus Reverse Rule, or Strauss was secretly creating an anti-Zionists movement.

I know you've referenced space/sci-fi before, perhaps Wolfowitz is really R. Giskard Reventlov.

William R. Cumminh

What is the capability of Russian SA-300 missile?

The beaver

From Matthew Lee at ICP:

"After 45 UN Peacekeepers from Fiji were released by the Al Nusra Front, multiple UN sources told Inner City Press that Qatar had paid a ransom. Their cited figures ranged from $10 million to (well) over $20 million. Several said it reminded them of Ban's murky travel on a Qatar-funded private jet, first reported then pursued by Inner City Press."


Qatar is still distributing money here and there.


I sure would like to comment on what is the Turkish position on all these latest developments, regarding Kerry's visit, latest coalition building, etc. But there is absolutely no reporting here, no news, no press releases, nothing. About the use of the NATO bases, Turkish hostages held by ISIS, or what is going on on the borders, if any moves are made to tighten the flow of arms and people over the border... Nothing.

Turkey is slowly losing her position to
be a part of the Western Alliance, and of civilized Democratic Nations, much to my disappointment. I sure would have liked to see a government in Turkey to see and admit its mistakes of the past regarding the policy in Syria and join the ranks of all other nations who now regard the ISIL threat paramount, again on the wrong side of history and realpolitik, to do much damage. But all here on this site, please be assured that there is still a good 50% of Turks in this country who have common sense and not given to idol worship and exploitation through religious populism. The fact that it is not changing anything for now is immaterial, a severe sanction of RTE and his reign in the international arena will make a difference. He has no right to take the republic of Turkey so far away from the Western Democracies and alliances Ataturk has worked so hard to bring closer against all odds and material facts.

Nancy K

It isn't just the president who is making bad decisions. The congress seems to be going along with his thinking. His two opponents, McCain and Romney would have boots on the ground and fighting in Syria. Is their anyone in congress who is concerned about our asses? I think the president and congress care about winning elections and little else.


"... the concept of the Free Syrian Army as a unified force with an effective command structure is a myth."

Well, the Fake Syrian Army does have their version of Ahmad Chalabi in the form of Oubai Shahbandar, the spokesman for the opposition to Assad. This guy has gotten alot on tv time recently.

"The neocons started this juggernaut rolling with their insistence on attacking Iraq. Will they be pleased when jihadis sit on Israel's NE frontier?"

They don't see to be all that worried about this possibility. The neocons' complaints about Obama's coalition are mainly over a lack of "boots on the ground". Turkey and Egypt have been the main focus of their lament with emphasis put on the fact that Turkey borders Syria and could go in in short order into northern Syria.

Hmmm, there is another country that also borders Syria, has a rather sizable airforce with plenty of "boots on the ground" including FACs. I have yet to hear anyone on tv or radio explain why Israel doesn't get involved in this even if it is in the background. Some of these worthies are Jack Keene, Bill Cowan and Charles Krauthammer. (Krauthammer's Friday column illustrates this perfectly.)

If asked they would probably claim Israel would break up the coalition. Nevermind on other occassions the neocons have claimed Israel has nothing to do with the problems over there, the occupied territoris notwithstanding.

Israel and certain Gulf states have worked together against Iran, so wink and node has been done before. It would seem to me that as much as the Israelis holler about "terrorism" they would be raising the most hell over this, but they are silent for some reason, Netanyahu's claim to be doing something notwithstanding. Something here isn't kosher.

Babak Makkinejad

Turkey was not and is not and will never ever be a part of the Western World.

Turks would be Western when Turks could enjoy, en mass, Bach's Air on G-String.

Until such time, Turkey will continue to be part of the Iranian world of culture and civilization.

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