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04 June 2015

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Patrick Bahzad

PL,

Can only confirm the news from Lebanese point of view. Beirut is full of rumors about the arrival of reinforcements for the SAA.
Supposedly, but personally I can't confirm this, there are some 3000 afghan Hazaras among them.

mbrenner

At the macro level, perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the situation is that with growing complexity the gap between the challenge (military/political/diplomatic) and the very modest capabilities of Washington in all spheres grows. Our current leadership already is overwhelmed and inclined to self-inflicted wounds, e.g. Yemen. As the various elements in the regional equation become more intricately interlaced, the Obama people's primitive coping mechanisms soon will stutter to a halt. Witness the declaration yesterday by State's No 2, Tony Blinken, who waxed optimistic about the future in pointing to 10,000 ISIl fighters allegedly killed. This is just one casual brushstroke in their distorted picture of a glass that is 10% full.

A second impression is that the White House et al never have come to terms with the implications of a mounting and spreading sectarian war in the region that transcends state boundaries and various other lines of division. Even today we continue actions that cast kindling on the fires - Yemen, again; stiff-arming Iran.

BabelFish

This is where my lack of knowledge leaves my questions suspect but just how do you move 15,000 Iranian troops to that location without anyone knowing? That is obviously a big group with the need for attendant equipment and ongoing logistics support.

That level of activity would not require one of our spiffy CIA/Air Weenie recon sats to surveil. You you get that out of commercial resources. I can see the headline, "Iranian army spotted on Google Earth! Woof Blitzkrieg will have more when we come back from this message from your local sponsors!"

turcopolier

babelfish

Actually, you don't know what the IC knows or does not know. They don't hold press conferences. How would they be transported? By air into Damascus International Airport, Latakia, Banyas, etc. I anticipate maritime shipments of equipment and logistics material into these ports.pl

turcopolier

mbrenner

"Tony Blinken, who waxed optimistic about the future in pointing to 10,000 ISIl fighters allegedly killed. This is just one casual brushstroke in their distorted picture of a glass that is 10% full." This is normal Borgspeak. pl

GulfCoastPirate

What are the Israelis going to say about this development?

turcopolier

GCP

A lot but there is little they can do about it. pl

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;

Speaking about or publishing anything about government support for Daash will land you in jail in Turkey. Recently a set of pictures showing the ammo shipmets surfaced ( http://armedia.am/eng/news/18946/davutoglu-it-is-nobodys-business-that-turkey-sends-ammunition-to-syria.html ) and will land some folks in jail at the personal direction of tayyip. There are no current reports of aSunni Jihadi army being assembled in Turkey but, supposedly, some unicorns are being trained in Eskisehir per the original agreement with the USA (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/150219/turkey-us-sign-deal-train-equip-syria-rebels ). Contrary to any reports you might read, there are no TSK regulars in Syria.

Ishmael Zechariah

VietnamVet

Colonel,

If true, the intervention of Iran into the Syrian Civil War has just torn the Middle East asunder. With overbearing Western hubris and ignorance; together with a push from Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, a regional Sunni Shiite Holy War has started.

Victoria Nuland birthed a civil war in Ukraine. Aston Carter’s China War over sand islands in South China Sea is on deck. Russia and China have been forced into a Eurasian Alliance to counter these threats to their governments’ existence.

Since there are no longer any nations or multi-national institutions working for peace; the world is engulfed in flames.

liza

Col. Lang:

Last week the Fort Russ blog posted photos of Russian T-72 tanks being unloaded in Iraq. If these are also supplied to the Syrian army, would they be effective against the TOW anti-tank missiles?

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/05/iraq-turns-down-us-abrams-tanks-in.html?m=1

turcopolier

liza

If I were the Iraqis or Syrians I would rather have the T-72 BMRT than the Abrams. The Abrams is too much tank for them and they are familiar with the T-72 series. It is much easier to maintain. As for tactical sufficiency that is an impossible to answer as so much is situational, basically, who gets "the drop" on who. pl

Patrick Bahzad

BF, you not gonna move around a group of 15 000 men bunched up together ... Might as well have them carry posters saying "Iranian reinforcements for bashar al-assad" !
You simple fly in 15 000 individuals through commercial airlines going from Tehran, Tabriz, Najaf or Baghdad to Damascus, Latakia or Beirut, over a period of several weeks. You get each a return ticket bought with Iranian Shetab credit cards, and you provide your men with Iranian, Lebanese, iraqi or Syrian IDs.
You give each individual a meeting point at the arrival airport where he gets taken over by your local assets, avoiding large gatherings in airport hallways. Nothing looks more normal than a traveler being greeted by family or friend on arrival, doesn't it ?
If the number of passengers on the airlines is not out of ordinary, which is quite easy to do if you control who can board the flight, and if you use local banks credit cards for payment of tickets, what's so difficult about that ? You can also have some of your group pay in cash as this is not uncommon in Iran ... Have things look as normal as possible from statistical point of view. Once your guys have disappeared into south Beirut for example, no more tracing them until they arrive in combat or training areas.
Weapons, equipments and logistics probably already on site, or shipments and cargo planes moving in some extra stuff.

Petrous

Col Lang
Turkey is very aggressively involved in the region and it would be no surprise for them to intervene, as you point out, via an assembled army on behalf of the opposing forces both in Iraq and Syria. In fact they seem to be recovering lost Ottoman territory one country at a time. Here is a link to the troops they are sending to Qatar (from Al Monitor):
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/06/turkey-qatar-what-are-turkish-troops-going-to-do.html

turcopolier

Petrous

Erdogan has to calculate what the reaction in Turkey would be to overt intervention. pl

turcopolier

Patrick Bahzad

They may not want to keep this covert. pl

BabelFish

Patrick, so this would then take quite some time, yes? I certainly do not know the normal passenger load into that area on a daily basis but to jump it up by 15,000 would still be quite an increase. And to stay stealthy, it would have to be persistent but rather small on a daily basis, it would seem.

Interesting! The other issue I see is the provision of 45,000 meals a day. A lot of food if these folks are gathered in one spot. All of this speaks to a serious commitment, without a doubt.

BabelFish

Thanks, Pat.

BabelFish

liza & Pat: if I may, I did not see the photo and do not know how the T-72s are kitted out. All of our anti-tank weapons in Desert Storm were effective against the T-72 but the Iraqis did not have reactive armor on them.

TOWs were retrofitted with a different warhead when reactive armor became widespread, to keep them effective. It sets off the reactive armor before the main shaped charge kicks in. So, it depends if we gave them the latest version of the TOW and if the T-72s have reactive armor and at what level.

Patrick Bahzad

Absolutely ! Or they might want to make a big show of it in one place, say Beirut, and keep another concentration of troops much more low profile in Latakia for example ... Confuse enemy about numbers to expect or direction they may come from.

Babak Makkinejad

ISIS could use this approach - which TTG had also mentioned earlier in the form of sneak-in - to conquer Mecca & Medina - specially during the Haj.

Once ISIS controls those cities, the war against it is effectively over for they become the Custodians of the Holy Shrines - they would then have received the Mandate of Heaven.

What would France do, do you think?

Attack Mecca and Medina?

Or General Sisi; get the Sheikh of Al Azhar to declare the "Custodians of the Two Shrines" to be infidels?

What do you think?

Patrick Bahzad

BF,

Actually 10 000 passengers spread over 30 days and going to 3-4 final destinations is not going to attract lots of attention, particularly not if the planes aren't filled more than usually ... Would be less than 100 people per day and per airport on average. Don't forget part of these 15 000 are Hezbollah from Lebanon, allegedly. They don't need to fly nowhere.
And as PL mentioned, Iran might want to make a big fuss about it in Beirut where everybody has eyes and ears, and at the same time they might send in troops to Latakia, maybe not all of them on planes but on ships ... Use your imagination ! Logistics in Intel operations is very much an entrepreneurial business !
There's also the Russian naval base in tartous ... Who's gonna check what Russian ships have as cargo ? From tartous to latakia ils not very far !
Regarding food, why would they need 3 meals a day ?

Imagine

ZH points out U.S. Embassy in Syria's using Twitter to insanely accuse Assad of giving air support to help ISIS: nice analysis:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-04/iraq-war-propaganda-redux-us-claims-syrian-government-supporting-isis
quoting: https://twitter.com/USEmbassySyria/status/605471087422488579

is this setting up the pins for a turkey shoot?

Amir

Cyrus the great conquered Babylon ( http://www.livius.org/a/1/maps/babylon_map.gif ) by walking on the dry bedding of Euphrates, alongside the massive walls of the city, after having diverted the flow of the river by impoldering it and channeling the flow through side arms.

They also had a battle near Opis (probably at the confluence of Diyala river with Tigris https://www.google.com/maps/place/33°13'11.2%22N+44°30'18.7%22E/@33.219785,44.505191,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0 ) and "the timing of the invasion may have been determined by the ebb of the Mesopotamian rivers, which are at their lowest levels – and therefore are easiest to cross – in the early autumn." (See Wikipedia / http://www.achemenet.com/ressources/enligne/arta/pdf/2005.003-Tolini.pdf I only scanned through a few paragraphs of the latter)

ISIS might be filling the reservoir and drying the bedding to do the same and if the situation becomes too difficult, opening all gates to flood the river embankment to clear the defenses and again attack through the dry bedding. September or October has the lowest tide in Tigris and that might give a hint about their timeline.

b

I am told that the Iranian move is for the DEFENSE of Damascus and Latakia, not for major offense purpose. The idea is to keep the government assets safe. Meanwhile IS and AlQaeda/Nusra shall fight and weaken each other.

It is expected that IS will, as announced, do something big in the "western" world at the end of this month. Then the "western" world will have to seriously fight IS to keep it down and will need Syrian/Iranian help to do so.

turcopolier

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PB BFMoving this number of people with their gear and supplying them is really not much of a logistical task either for planning or execution given the amount of shipping and aircraft the Iranians possess. pl

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