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04 June 2015


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BF and Liza

We are talking about third world armies. A force equipped with T-72s, Iranian built anti-tank missiles and all the other gear that the Iranians make should be quite effective in that context. pl


I've been wondering why, to use Col. Lang's terminology, the Borg had become so surreal of late

with the NYT putting in their front page that Assad supports ISIS. Perhaps it's a panicked reaction to the arrival of this force? ["Imagine", from the comment above, I think we arrived at the same set of claims from different sources]

I don't mean to spam SST with Brecher/Dolan/War-Nerd pieces, but here,

he made the point that,
"At the moment, most of the bigger Shi’a and Sunni powers are contributing money, intel and volunteers. That’s where multi-national fighting forces become so important in the Syrian war. If most of your troop strength consists of local men, fighters tied to one neighborhood, then you’re going to be very weak offensively — which the Sunni have shown themselves to be in this war."

So I can see how the arrival in theater of 15,000 "multi-national" Shiite forces men would alarm both Saudis and neocons.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

The NY Times' insinuative article about Syrias supposed support for Daesh has to be of a piece with this. I'm not sure I believe any of it. I would imagine that the flow of Iranian technical expertise, volunteer fighting men and equipment of all sorts is continuous.


Quote: "During The Saddam's war on Iran, Iranian pilots achieved something of a miracle with their Boeing 747s on May 9, 1982 when they transported over 6000 fully armed troops of Khorasan’s 77th infantry division from Mashad (near the USSR-Afghanistan border in Iran’s northeast) to Khuzestan in a single night (Cooper & Bishop, 2000, Iran-Iraq War in the Air, p. 134)."

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

IMO the Borg does not know that body counts don't count.

William R. Cumming

Curisity? Does anyone know if the historical Persian Empire held ports on the Med?


My concern is what they (and their assets in Congress & US Media) will get the US to do about it.


Amir et al

Long ago when the world was green and spring was everywhere in the air (poetry) I graduated from what is now the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. This was a six month course for which the students were selected by a national board. The sole focus of the course was to train senior level staff planners for the creation of Joint Task Forces (JTF) for expeditionary operations across the world. Operations up to and including things as big as Overlord were planned in this course. All the logistics for such operations were planned in great detail. There was a lot of emphasis on the plans necessary to re-position forces and logistics on both a theater and sub-theater level. I became quite good at this and later did this kind of work at the Joint Staff level in Washington as a "Planner." This is a term of art for a principal in such planning. I give it as my professional opinion that to position a sizable combat force in Syria and to maintain it with its own transport (or leased transport) would not be very difficult for Iran unless an air and/or naval blockade of Syria is enforced. pl

Patrick Bahzad


10 000 to 15 000 men in a few weeks time is peanuts. And even if there was a no fly zone over Syria, Iran could still find other ways to get the fighters there.

After all, if you have an influx of foreign civilians arriving in Beirut, on what reasons you gonna stop them all and how you gonna pick them out of the thousands of passengers arriving in Lebanon ? They might also fly to Cyprus and travel by boat to Latakia or Tartus. I mean the possbilities and alternatives are there. This is, as PL notes, easy-peasy for the Iranian planners who arranged these moves.


This has a history. Already in the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict 1993-94 five to six thousand Afghan Hazara mercenaries participated on the Azeri side, I was told by a competent source. At that time this happened with the sanction of a part of the mujahidin government - itself mostly busy making war on itself. Proceeds went back and strengthened the faction / minister in charge of the project.
This most recent support comes out of a recruitment that went on since 2012, so I'd expect the Afghan contingent to be relatively well trained by the Quds Force.


read about the battle of Salamis, where the Greeks defeated the Phoenician fleet of the Persians. The Persian empire had the Anatolian coast, the Levant, and Egypt at one time. Alexander the Great had to conquer the Levant and Egypt lest there be a hostile fleet at his back.


Patrick Bahzad: the best part of your and the Colonel's posts are the logistical details. Great stuff.



The Achaemenid Empire controlled virtually all the eastern Mediterranean coastline from the Dardanelles down to and including Egypt's coast.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

There was (and out of the front pages, I suppose continues to be) a hue and cry from establishment minions to establish a 'no-fly-zone' in Syria to protect civilians from the fiendish President Assad. I always assumed the real reason would be to make it fair game for USUK combat aircraft to 'accidentally' shoot down an Iranian airliner or two and block the transfer of men and material between the two allies. A quick search of net articles for "Syrian no fly zone" quickly brings up an endless stream of impassioned op-ed propaganda from all the usual sources.

alba etie

Could Turkey , Saudi Arabia & the Gulfies mount an effective air/naval blockade of Syria ? What happens if Turkey attempts its on no fly zone over Syria ?


Saudi criminality as policy. See http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/saudi-arabia-is-heading-towards-war-118656.html#.VXILOSxFDq5

If Iran pulled stunts like this, our state department would be bleating non-stop about "terrorism."

Ishmael Zechariah

Alba Etie.
1-There will be/can be no overt coalition between SA and TR.
2-Turkey , Saudi Arabia & the Gulfies CANNOT mount an effective air/naval blockade of Syria. There is the small problem of the Russian naval base in Latakia.
3-Please read the link posted by Petrous in a post above. It states "These sources emphasize that the Turkish military is determined to strictly adhere to national and international legality.". This is correct. At this point tayyip cannot push TSK into a conflict w/o great personal risk.
Let us see what happens after the Turkish elections on Sunday.
Ishmael Zechariah


Also unloading are TOS1A flamethrower/MRLS on a T-72 chassis.
Very impressive firepower, and likely very effective against dug in infantry.


al Monitor is reporting there have already been 7000 Iraqi/Iranians in Syria for a few weeks. And the majority of those 7000 are Iraqi.

If true, that 'few weeks' quoted would mean that before Ramadi fell to #Daesh, Abadi's government was sending weapons and fighters to Syria.

You have to ask - is that why the troops in Ramadi were shortchanged of weapons, ammo, and reinforcements?


Tidewater to William R.Cumming,

I can't even pronounce Achaemenid, so I looked, or rather listened, it up. The "Ah-khee-menids," according to Herodotus, kept a fleet of triremes at Elaeus ("Olive City") on the Thracian Chersonese. ("Ker-son-eez"?) Elaeus is, or was, a harbor on the European side of the Hellespont. That long interesting bit of geography is now called the Gallipoli Peninsula. This N.O.B. would have supported the punitive operations that the Persians sent by way of the Chalcidice against Athens for supporting the Ionian (Islands) Revolt. Over time that harbor would have seen hundreds of troop transports, horse transports, supply ships, as well as triremes.(Like a small kind of Ulithi?) What I find interesting about this base is that it also controlled the sea route to the Black Sea and Crimea. I am curious about Persian influence or control (if any) of areas that would become the Russian side of the Black Sea.

There is another thing about Elaeus I feel is somehow worth mentioning given the recent observation of Memorial Day and my coincidental reading of Col. Stuart Herrington's account of the fall of Saigon (Peace With Honor?) and of the deaths of Corporals Judge and McMahon at Ton Son Nhut Airbase at their "Post 4," which was mentioned in the Atlantic article; it is that there was a very important war memorial or shrine at Elaeus. (Incidentally, Col. Herrington, who was on the scene, thought there were North Vietnamese spotters on the water tower at Ton Son Nhut and the incoming was very accurate.) The very real shrine at Elaeus was dedicated to the fictional character in the Iliad, Protesilaus. The priests had said that the first man off the boat was going to be killed, and Protesilaus, knowing this, arrived with his forty black ships (reminds me of Brecht), hit the beach, killed four men, and was killed. The shrine was famous, perhaps as significent and sacred in its own way then as Canterbury is now and has been (Chapel honoring the Buffs where names are read out I think daily; and the Corona Chapel, a cold, blue illuminated room from the high windows where, touchingly, in 2007 I found the name of VMI's Jonathan Daniel honored.) This shrine was so important that Alexander repeated the landing in his time. It is said that there was a statue here as of a man poised on the forward end of the prow of a ship. If you think about it it was all about the first (fictional) western man dying in a war in Asia! There was a legend that elms were planted on Protesilaus's grave were magnificent, but when the top branches grew high enough to see Troy across the Hellespont, they withered. Hatred for the east emanated from this grave and shrine?! Was it the wind?

Virginia also has a Chersonese, I now learn. Original documents of Charles I call the Eastern Shore that; of course, it means a peninsula. Now it is named the "Delmarva Peninsula" though that is actually an island. Cheers.


alba etie,
Turkey has a modern, NATO trained, built and supplied navy. They could blocklade Syria. The Turkish airforce is likeweise modern, NATO trained, built and supplied. They could enforce a 'no fly' zone, with all that the euphemism implies.

Consequences off the top of my head, in no particular order:

* Turkey, involving themselves in that war openly now, would have to fess up about their war of choice.

* Erdogans opposition would try to capitalise on this, which would be good. As it is now, reporters who publicise Turkish support for JaN and ISIS find themselves facing terrorism charges. Erdogan may find himself too insecure still to expose himself to that politically. He may also try and use it domestically as a means to overcome pockets of residual resistance to his consolidation of power.

* How the Turkish military stands on a war of choice in Syria I don't know. Given that they are apparently still a resvoir of kemalist thought I cannot imagine them approving of collaborating with the likes of JaN and ISIS, or the Saudis.

* As a result, Erdogan may try to give the armed forces something to do and to invest them in the Syria enterprise, which as I understand, has so far been largely run out of the intelligence service and the gendarmerie.

* The Russians won't approve, given that they have that base in Tartus (which also means they are excellently informed since they likely have SIGINT assets there). They would disapprove. There are lots of things they could do, like trying to ship an aid convoi through and dare Turkey to stop it.

* It would also kill any pipeline proposals Russia as proposed to Turkey to invest them in Russian interests.

* The question for NATO involvement would inevitably arise, with the likely result that this war of choice does not trigger the obligation under.

* Neocons and R2Pers would try their shtick again and make the case that, now that 'Turkey has take the lead', NATO cannot stay behind!

* This would get more intense if Turkey ecounters setbacks.

* Just as with the Saudi belligerence, subsequent setbacks could lead to either endorsement of folly, or as consequential, a verdict that they are on their own because they brought it on themselves. The Neocons and R2Pers will push vigorously and unencounberted by reflection for the former.

* Direct Turkish involvement would liklely also increase Iranian involvement (motivated by not wanting to write off as sunk cost their investments so far).

* Iranian resupply to Syria would (have to be) be re-routed through Lebanon. The smugglers and arms dealers there would make a fortune.

* That development would IMO make another Israeli war on Lebanon more likely, and they would blanketly label all Iranian resupply as support for Hezbollah, and that that grave and gathering threat must be destroyed.

* ...

All in all, I think that Turkish involvement would be a mistake for Turkey, and a bad move regionally, but not one that would cripple Turkey. They can afford that for as long as the Saudi spigot keeps them afloat. The move bears a significant risk of escalating the conflict further.


that was to read: ... "with the likely result that this war of choice does not trigger the obligation under" Article 5.

alba etie

Ishmael Zechariah ,
Thank you Ishmael , I will read the link . Do you have a ' best guess' about the upcoming elections results ? It just defies logic that NATO has allowed Erdogan to continue his support of Daesh - I keep waiting for there to be a open push back to Erdogan's arming the Liver Eaters .
I have a thesis - surely more based in hope then reality - that should the deal get done with Iran regarding its nuclear program we may see a shift in strategic framework- that would involve more USA cooperation with Tehran and less with Tel Aviv . You already are seeing some signs of that strategic shift , for example President Obama gave an interview recently where he stated he was entertaining the idea of supporting a UN resolution that would endorse a Palestinian State alongside Israel.

alba etie

Meanwhile the Russian & Chinese navy just finished a ' protecting resupply convoys ' joint exercise off the Levant coast . BTW the Chinese Navy helped to escort the CW out of Syria.

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