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19 September 2015

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FB Ali

Apart from the effect the Russian deployment (and what underlies it) will have on US and Western policy in Syria, as outlined by Col Lang, it will have a significant impact on the local contestants.

It will re-energise the Syrian regime and its forces. There was a real danger of the regime imploding; that has now passed. Its troops will take up the fight against the jihadis with renewed vigour, of which there are some signs already.

It will block Turkey's (really, Erdogan's) plans to intervene in Syria against the regime, and indirectly support the jihadis. This may well have internal repercussions in Turkey.

It provides a strong incentive for the Saudis and the Gulfies to reconsider their policies in the ME (urged on by Egypt). As Alastair Crooke has said recently, the Saudis are feeling the financial pinch of their military adventures on top of their profligate ways, and this is causing rumblings within the royal family. Some change may occur there.

For all those who wish to see the jihadi enterprise defeated, it is the first sign of a serious effort being made to that end. Unlike the pinpricks of the Western air campaign, and the laughable "moderate Syrian" force exercise.

rjj

... and after Canossa?

DH

Colonel, your recent post about Congress re-thinking the ousting of Assad gives me hope that Russia and the US will work together. A tri-polar world (US, Russia, China) would be a natural progression in world politics, I think.

Valissa

In honor of this momentous occasion I will have both a shot of bourbon and a shot of vodka this evening ;)

Another reason for libations... Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day everyone!

Test your knowledge of pirate lingo here http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/international-talk-like-pirate-day-6468496

David Habakkuk

All,

From the 90-day 'strategic forecast' of the Syrian Civil War by the ISW:

'The most dangerous course of action that ISIS can pursue in the 90 day timeframe is attempting to cause the precipitous collapse of the Syrian regime.'

Hell, precisely this collapse is what neocons like the Kagans have been working to achieve for many years, together with their fellow travelers – including the major part of the British foreign policy elite. One would be tempted to collapse into laughter, if the threats to Europe and the United States these people have done so much to create were not so serious.

A question in passing. Has the ISW ever provided:

1. a realistic scenario for an alternative to the current Syrian regime, which could reasonably be expected to be better from the point of view of American interests – as distinct from those of Israel, as interpreted by the likes of Netanyahu;

2. a coherent view of what the 'least worst' strategy for the United States now is, to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the various shambles which the Kagan clan have played such a significant role in creating?

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

As you may expect I am interested in the rather good work done by the analysts at ISW, not the opinions of the Kagans. pl

oofda

Isn't ISW headed by a Kagan?

In a related area, a current joke going around Russia is that the mother of a Russian officer calls him and asks him to be careful if he is going to Donetsk. The son replies, "Mother, I'm already in Damascus."

VietnamVet

Colonel,

You’re analysis is right on.

The only way to return the refugees home is to have a Syrian government secure enough to sign a peace treaty with its Sunni opposition and to quarantine the jihadi groups into the Islamic State. Europe and the USA would have to join to a coalition with Russia and China to do this.

The problem is the ideologues in DC who hate Russia including Hillary Clinton’s staffers while at the State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Victoria Nuland. They want Russia bogged down in another Afghanistan quagmire. This will hasten the Kremlin regime change that they are working so hard to achieve. No matter if it starts World War III. They and John McCain’s GOP will oppose any coalition with Russia.

João Carlos

I agree that US and Russia are natural allies against the jihadists, but I cannot think it will happen. Too many fools, tools, clowns and crazies at the US side. And I fear that Trump will be elected Commander in (Mis)Ch(i)ef...

O tempora! O mores!

turcopolier

oofda

I worked for some real assholes. Did you not? pl

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Of course I realised that. And indeed, I am in your debt on this point, as on many others, in that had you not linked to their analyses, I would have simply assumed that no sane person would bother reading them, because of the links between the ISW and the Kagans.

Since the onset of the Ukraine catastrophe, I had added Clan Kagan to Clan Podhoretz and Clan Wohlstetter, as forces creating mayhem and destruction in whatever area they touched.

However, it turns out that the ISW materials are an invaluable source of useful information on the constantly changing situation in Syria.

But precisely that paradox – some of the most helpful analysis being associated with some of those who in my view have had the most catastrophic influence on American foreign policy over the past decades – leads me on to a puzzle.

Any reasonably clear-sighted outside observer, going through their productions and noting the questions the information they present naturally raise, would be driven to ask questions as to whether neoconservative approaches to the Middle East have been fundamentally flawed.

It would take a great deal of Orwellian 'crimestop' to prevent such questions occurring to people.

So, I find myself wondering whether people like Kimberly Kagan – and even more Jessica McFate – are still capable of a completely effective suppression of heretical thoughts.

Babak Makkinejad

The best solution for all NATO states is the acceptance of 2 things:

1- HAMAS 99-year cease-fire deal with Israel

2- Acceptance of the Iranian Sphere of Influence

Babak Makkinejad

Refugees will never ever go home - EU states are stuck with these inassimilable in-assimilable people for generations to come; the second and third generations will be the real source of real troubles as the experiences of France, UK, and Germany with Pakistanis, North African Arabs & Berbers, and Kurds respectively have demonstrated.


Babak Makkinejad

That is all plausible but I think one needs to wait and see what the next US President is going to do.

I do not think any of this has anything to do with the so-called Military-Industrial Complex - look no further than Philippe II who bankrupted Spain twice in pursuit of what he considered to be "Just Causes".

He left the field to men such as Olivares to salvage what he could from the wreckage that Philippe II had left in Spain.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree, it won't happen. It makes too much sense.

turcopolier

Babak
we have a history in this country of many immigrants going home in their lifetime. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, like some Italian-Americans who try to retire to Italy and they can no longer cope with its shortcomings and thus beat a hasty retreat to US.

Or the Russian & Ukrainians who went back to help build Socialism in USSR and disappeared.

I think it is safe to assume that the majority of immigrants will remain in EU states and will not go back to the ruins of Syria even if the war were to end very shortly from now.

Perhaps if EU were to offer something like 20,000 Euros per head for them to go back, may be then there would be some incentive.


turcopolier

Babak

contrary to Americans' desired self image a lot of people have gone home to stay usually having made money and discovered that the US was a land of opportunity but one in which you would have to work very hard to survive. Life back home was often cheaper and you could speak your own language among your own people. As a minor point of reference the US Embassy in Yemen when I was there as DATT delivered 50,000 SS checks a month to Yemenis who went home to retire. pl

walrus

I concur with Col. Lang, quite a few immigrants go "home" to retire accompanied by monthly Australian pension cheques.

Some of my Market wholesaler acquaintances have lost considerable money to foreign shop owners who build up liabilities just before they leave. The Australian Government will not help in recovering these debts. They won't even tell you the address to which they are sending the pension cheques…citing "privacy law".

Babak Makkinejad

These people have made a living in Australia, at times abusing Australian institutions, but they worked there.

The same situation does not obtain for refugees into EU; they will be wards of the state for decades if not until the end of their natural life spans. And their children, mostly getting accustomed to EU, will not be inclined to go back to some Godforsaken village in the middle of Syria.

You can walk in the parks in Western Europe in the middle of working day and see for yourself the idle non-European population; many of them from Africa.

If you do not believe me, ask others PB, or CP, or DH and others.

There are 20 million people, in all likelihood, within a day's train ride of European borders that would want to settle in EU.

You in Australia are probably facing 100 million such people.

Mishkilji

I had many contacts (professional class) in Damascus that headed home from well paying jobs in US when their children became teenagers.

They wanted to escape the US's sexually charged culture and expose their kids to their other roots.

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

Are Lebanon and Turkey and Jordan any less stuck with the refugees they have? (Perhaps I shouldn't include Turkey here because Turkey has the power to expel all its refugees, as well as expelling up to several million indigenous Kurds under cover of calling them refugees . . . if the Erdogists are strong enough to make that happen).
If the SAR forces and government re-become strong enough to reconquer all parts of Syria which they feel worth including in a SAR going forward, won't the SAR government be very picky-choosy about which refugees it permits back into the country?

different clue

Richardstevenhack,

I think a President Sanders would be very off-board against such a plan and goal. Is there any possible combination of actions and lucky breaks which could lead to a President Sanders?

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

Aren't at least some of the Syrian refugees technically skilled and intellectually and/or scientifically trained people?

alba etie

All
Perhaps this military build up by the Russians will allow the political space & security to create an exit for Assad- Foreign Minister Lavarov seems to have been sending out 'smoke signals' that Moscow might find this acceptable. It would be yet another off ramp those pesky Russkis have given the Obama administration to thwart the neo cons - the first being the removal of the CW from Syria. Why could we not have a P 5 plus one effort to find a political solution for the Syrian civil war? And make crushing the Caliphate also part of the P5 plus one effort ?

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