05 September 2015


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The State Department just released this

"Readout of Secretary Kerry's Call With Foreign Minister Lavrov"

The Secretary called Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning to discuss Syria, including U.S. concerns about reports suggesting an imminent enhanced Russian military build-up there. The Secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria.

The two agreed that discussions on the Syrian conflict would continue in New York later this month.

"risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria."

Indeed! And the White House and Pentagon would probably not like that.

So they offer more talk.



This sounds like more "softening the blow." pl



"risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria." IMO this public statement will serve to justify a de-confliction regime in Syria. Good! pl


Col. Lang:

I think the best bet is that the Russians are now opening "a Voentarg" to provide the SAA (as well as Hezbollah and the IRG) with the same equipment that was provided to Novorussian forces before the decisive battle of Debaltseve.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work gave a surprisingly candid speech at the National Defense University in which he spoke about the Russian military technology that has been used by Novorussian forces. He described the Novorussian forces as "Hezbollah on steroids" and spoke about Russia's impressive electronic warfare capabilities. If this technology is provided to the SAA, the results could be decisive.




What technology is that? pl


"Turkey's actual allegiances make such a process problematic."

Maybe Erdogan will be replaced with someone who will support this diplomacy.


Col. Lang :

Work referred to two technologies:

1) counter-battery radar used "to accurately pinpoint Ukrainian fires capability and command and control"

2). advanced electronic warfare equipment used "to jam GPS frequencies and command and control networks"

He observed: "So in the future, US Army and US Marine forces ... are going to have to fight on a battlefield that is swept by precision-guided munitions but also one that is swept by persistent and effective cyber and electronic warfare tanks."

Norbert M. Salamon

Not long ago there was some blurb by DoD that they are far behind Russian electronic warfare capabilities. This include intercepting military drones, EM, missile disabling, GPS interference, radar and a few others I forgot.



For LZA. Just a few of us moderate all comments on this blog. I do not sit in front of a monitor all day long. Post it ONCE. For both of you, some technologies are inappropriate to a situation and an enemy. For example, I was a consultant to the Joint IED task force that spent billions of dollars trying to beat the Iraqi insurgent IED menace. The overwhelming emphasis was to find a way to beat the Iraqis through technology in surveillance, electronic detonation, etc. There were many ingenious successes and none of them defeated the threat. The Iraqis included among them many people with more than a modicum of technological savvy, among them people from the former Iraqi military. As fast as we devised counter-measures they devised new and ingenious counter-counter measures engineering their response with components of old electronic gizmos lying about in Iraq and material ordered from overseas from such outlets as "Radio Shack." Often an assembly had to be disassembled to get at the bits they wanted for the purpose of making something new. Ah, the poor dumb "ragheads," who were by the way the same nation who had re-engineered French made aircraft to take two exocets as in the case of the Stark attack and who had designed and built a successful two stage space vehicle. In the end what more or less defeated the IED threat in Iraq was the "Awakening," i.e., the "Sons of Iraq" who killed the bomb makers and planters. They did this in cooperation with low level marines and GB's like I once was and in pursuit of their visceral hatred of AQI. I suspect that this is a somewhat analogous situation and that the jihadis present a less than maximal technological target. pl



This is very interesting speech. It is clear in its intent and the description of the future of warfare. Small proxy forces with directed robotic firepower. “Skynet”.

His contempt for draftees is straight forward. “…in July 1975, the last conscript had washed out of the U.S. military”. Disdain for Untermenschen permeates his worldview.

There is not one mention of the risk of nuclear war with Russia or that American elites supported the Maidan uprising or greenlighted the Donbass campaign. Most telling is his disregard for bravery of the people of Shiite Lebanon and ethic Russian Ukraine defending their families from foreign invaders.


After some detective work from a russian blog.
"...our team believes that currently Russian marines have been moved to Syria to guard and strengthen the Tartus depot as well as the airbase close to Latakia. We believe infantry does not take part in the fighting. However, we believe that Russian vehicles with Russian crews do go into battle. Support is also rendered at least by Russian UAVs."




"the US Government is "softening the blow" for the American people in anticipation of an unannounced accommodation with Russia"

"IMO this public statement will serve to justify a de-confliction regime in Syria."

But why then is the U.S. government doing its best to escalate the war against the Syrian government?

Why inciting the UK and France to wage war against Syria?
Why this sudden migration wave from Turkey to Europe if not to make Europe agree with war on Syria?
Why keep stomping against the Russians and not just accept the Russian proposal?

The way you describe it does not make sense to me. The Obama administration is climbing up the tree to prepare to climb down when Russia says so?

To me this looks like the Obama administration was actively preparing to wage war on the Syrian government under the disguise of waging war against IS. Russia is making clear that this means really big trouble. The White House now has to change its plans or risk a wider and large war. It is not voluntarily going into an "unannounced accommodation with Russia" but is pressed into it by necessity and against its will.



Firstly, the idea that the US government deliberately produced the wave of immigrants entering Europe is just ridiculous. What evidence is there of that? None. The war in Syria produced the refugee migration. You are understandably upset that your country is going to absorb this large alien population but the US did not deliberately produce the wave of refugees. That is paranoid. Secondly, the US government is badly divided internally and going in several directions at once. Kerry is playing some game that may or may not be integrated with WH "policy." Lastly your desire to see all evil in the world as the result of American evilness is showing once again. pl


The US inspired war against Iraq and the Borg's subsequent efforts at regime change in Syria have not been instrumental in the production of these refugees? The two would seem to smack of more than pure coincidence.
Post hoc ergo proctor hoc?



Yes, of course, the stupidity of our past and ongoing actions in de-stqbilizing the MENA by seeking regime change are largely responsible for the refugee mass migration, but what "b" is saying is that we DELIBERATELY and as a matter of policy have somehow DELIBERATELY caused the refugee flow to force Europe into war in Syria as part of our policy. That is just silly. US policy is a tale told by an idiot but it is not DELIBERATELY evil. pl


PL and all

I want to bring to your attention a part of the recent joint statement of Obama and Salman that reads, quote:

Both leaders stressed the importance of reaching a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict based on the principles of Geneva 1 to end the suffering of the Syrian people, maintain continuity of civilian and military government institutions, preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and ensure the emergence of a peaceful, pluralistic and democratic state free of discrimination or sectarianism. The two leaders reiterated that any meaningful political transition would have to include the departure of Bashar al Asad who has lost legitimacy to lead Syria.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/04/joint-statement-meeting-between-president-barack-obama-and-king-salman

To me the key in that statement is: Both leaders stressed the importance ... to ... maintain continuity of civilian and military government institutions ...

To me it looks quite a lot like what the Russians want: keep the Syrian government and army together. The only real difference left is the position on the person of Assad. The obvious solution to bridge US/Russian differences would be to defer the dispute over Assad to the end of international negotiations over a joint plan of action regarding Syria.

But when it comes to that the US is confronted with a serious dilemma: How to get rid of Assad while maintaining the "continuity of civilian and military government" institutions?

I can't see no way for the US to do that. Or, put it the other way round: the US hand to reach all these goals is weak. Either it's war on Syria destructing and defeating the Syrian military to get rid of Assad or it's leaving the Syrian military intact which will continue then to protect Assad and the Syrian government.

The only way I see the US could reach the goal of getting rid of Assad while maintaining "continuity of civilian and military government" is when Syria agrees to drop Assad. To make that happen I think the overall package offered to Syria must be quite good. If that would be the case I could imagine that Syria would agree to a transition like the Iraqis did from Maliki to Abadi: the name of the leader changed, but the policies didn't and Iran-friendly power structure remains fully intact.

For Syria, I could imagine, that if the US offers a very good package of support to the Syrian government in the fight against all and every terrorism, Assad may agree in the end to step down and back instead DM Fahd Jassem al-Freij to become president in new elections. I think al-Freij is one of the few people Syrian government supporters would trust, and I think, Iran trusts him, too, which is exactly why he is DM.

Al-Freij would have also the advantage that he is Sunni so that the old sectarian canard of Shia or Alawi occupying power in Syria for sectarian reasons will be discredited. Of course, as al-Freij is already today pretty much in the center of the military relationship with Iran it would be expected that al-Freij preserves Syria's close relationship with Iran, Russia and Hezbollah nevertheless.



In general I agree with your analysis. A few observations; 1- There is a tradition in Syria of having Baathi Sunnis as senior defense officials. Mustafa Tlas, Hikmat Shihabi and Freij are all examples. You are correct that Freij is probably an acceptable figure as a replacement for Assad. 2- IMO Assad might well be willing to resign of he is offered asylum for him and his family. Russia would seem to me to be the only realistic place where he could feel secure. 3- The Salman/Obama statement is, IMO, the result of Kerry's efforts in personal negotiation with the Saudis and other Gulfies. I don't think Obama had much to do with this. 4- The US government is badly divided among the R2Pers, the neocons, party political hacks and post grad students placed in power by Obama in his search for "Hope and Change." The JCS are looking on in befuddlement unable to resolve what guidance there might be. CIA is merely executing the welter of conflicting policy. They are not making policy. 5- The US, Gulfies and Turkey have succeeded in weakening the Syrian government so much that the non-jihadi rebels recently refused Assad's new found willingness to negotiate with them and to hold new elections. After meeting with these people, Lavrov was heard to mutter something like "f-----g morons" in Russian. IMO the Russians are going to attempt to strengthen the Syrian government position enough to make the non-jihadi rebels negotiate with it. The ultimate goal is to form a coalition government in Syria between the pro-government forces and the non-jihadi rebels taken as a group (somehow). Such a coalition could be assisted directly in the fight against the jihadis. 6- IMO there are people or factions within the US government who favor this scenario but direct expression of that opinion would be hazardous in the present IO inspired state of ignorance in the US. pl

Babak Makkinejad

In Iraq, Maliki was replaced by Abadi and the state remained firmly entrenched in the Shia Crescent.

The strategic prize is the orientation of the Syrian state, with or without Mr. Assad.

Am I to believe that NATO States and the Non-Seljuk Arabs and Turkey will now accept a change in personnel and leave that state's orientation unchanged?

That is: Are France, UK, US, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE now going to accept this fig-leaf of a Peace Negotiations and withdraw their support for Jihadists?

Am I to believe that the war against the Shia Crescent is now in the process of being dismantled?

Well, I look hither and thither and I do not see a man such as Nixon.

Russians can do as much as they want, the War in Syria will continue in my opinion.



You have no proof that the US, France or the UK have deliberately provided assistance to the jihadis in Syria or Iraq. Ineptitude results in unforeseen consequences. That I would accept as reality. Please don't cite the opinion of the vendu Byzantine Petraeus as evidence of anything. pl

Babak Makkinejad


But would the war in Syria have taken place or lasted this long without the political support that US, UK, and France had supplied?

Would there have been a war at all?

What do you think?


"direct expression of that opinion would be hazardous in the present IO inspired state of ignorance in the US"

The problem with IO domestically is that they are effective, and that their effect is baleful in that it pollutes the well of information that Washington must tap into.

That is one of the big problems with IO at home IMO, that the perpetrators start to believe their own BS and base on that policy. The R2Pers and neocons certainly are true believers of their own BS.

One needs to be an intelligent cynic to keep constantly in mind the two conflicting angles that (a) there is the political truth (bs they tell folks to influence their perception and decisionmaking) and (b) actual reality which may be a very different thing and not reconcilable with the political reality at all and who are willing to (c) act on (b) and adjust (a) to match.

Apparently there aren't such folks in positions of political influence in DC.

Richard Armstrong

Glenn Greenwald wrote a peace on Bernie Sanders lack of foreign policy experience . I suggested a hiatus on foreign policy. We don't seem to be very successful at our accounts and perhaps a hiatus might be in order.

We are not very good at it and it is not a job for Joe OJT.


Intercept on the US neocons' success in Syria:
"THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS WILL TRANSFORM MIDDLE EAST POLITICS," by Charles Glass https://theintercept.com/2015/07/14/syrian-refugee-crisis-will-transform-middle-east-politics/



IMO France and the UK should not be accused of this. They have been more or less dragged along by the USA. We, OTOH, brought the destruction of the established political order in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia. We did this from a position of grotesque naiveté about the nature of MENA societies and this process was accelerated by the deliberate skewing of policy by people who think they know what is best for Israel. pl



Yes, we have brought the peoples of the MENA area hell, but that was not our intention and they would not be in the situations they were in if they could compromise with each other. Their mutual group hostilities make their societies particularly prone to this kind of violent disintegration. That, was not understood by the poly-sci educated incompetents. pl

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