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19 September 2015


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different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

Shame on this computer program for not having the little accent mark which goes over the "e" in "mate". I feel sure you mean yerba "mah-TAY".
(If I'm wrong then everyone can have a good laugh).

different clue


Isn't Kerry more a NeoWilsonian than NeoCon? And isn't his distaste for Assad based on R2P type humanitarian pretensions?


I wonder if Russia will battle test their new hardened Tank the T-14 Armata?
The Syrian environment would be a good place for them to work out the bugs and refine capabilities, such as its Afghanit real world capabilities.

Ken Roberts

VV ... I respectfully disagree with your hypothesis on probable effect of refugees on Eurozone ...
"Not to mention the displacement of workers and welfare expenses when the peripheral of the EU is already in an economic depression. The Eurozone is a dead man walking."

The best counterexample is eastern Germany, which after wall collapse imposed significant costs on western Germany, but resulted in current prosperity of whole country.

If there is a challenge which is accepted by the Euro public, it can be a decades-long project to create jobs, both physical and social infrastructure, knitting Euro "core" and "periphery" further into a single polity.

I recently drove up Jefferson Ave in Detroit, crossing the northern boundary into Grosse Point. Example of what disaster can happen if a city, de facto metro, does not accept "metro" policy necessities.

"Eurozone" has a choice, yes; lots of choices if one considers the details ... but it has only one extended family of choices with good outcomes. I will bet on the latter ... we shall see, in 10-20 years.


William R. Cumming

I agree but what is little understood in Washington is the extent to which German financiers own Russian capitalism--that part not owned by oligarchs and criminals.

William R. Cumming

I thought large numbers of Afghans were in Pakistan not Iran but wonder if you have some numbers?

William R. Cumming

Accurate country of origin [not necessarily most recent location] of migrant flow to EU would be interesting to know. IMO many of the Syrian refugees are Iraqi.

William R. Cumming

IMO the military/industrial [and I would add academic] complex has been lobotomized and can only worry about the next contract or next weapon system while preserving the current force structure in the face of technological change.

William R. Cumming

To retire?

William R. Cumming

IMO US cannot improve its game but thanks for the insights in this comment.

The GREAT GAME now is the rest of the nation-states playing the USA for their own purposes and we [US] leadership pretending we have control and are in charge.

Could an argument be mounted that the US leadership largely is co-dependent on its myths of soft and hard power and exceptionalism?



You have it correct, the Deep State of the Shallow Minded.

Yeah, Right

"First, 100,000 Iranian soldiers can't be left on the base to be protected. They have to deploy to attack ISIS, so they can be attacked."

I think you'll find that the IDF's days of flying sorties anywhere inside Syrian airspace is now well and truly over.

Maybe a few Apache helicopter gunships hovering on their side of the Alpha Line and firing across the DMZ in the Syrian-held part of the Golan Heights.

Maybe. Just for bravado.

But the idea of Israeli F-16's streaking across the skies to attack... well.... anything that takes Bibi's fancy?

Nope. Not any more.

Yeah, Right

"100,000 Iranian troops on the border with Israel would result in an immediate Israel-US war with Syria and Iran. Take that to the bank."

Oh, I'd put up good money against that proposition.

100,000 Iranian troops disgorging from Russian military transport planes onto the tarmac of a Russian military base inside Syria, and all this happening at the invitation of the Syrian Government?

I'm curious what "reasons" could be put forward for launching an unprovoked attack on those troops. Would it be:
1) I attacked them because they make me nervous
2) Assad didn't ask me first if it was OK
3) I'll allowed to because I'm paranoid

"It would be a God-send to the neocons and the MIC."

Hmmmm. Maybe. But neither signs the Executive Order.

That would be Obama, and I suspect he'd side with me rather than you.

This may shock many people, but a country like Syria *is* allowed to form a military alliance with whichever other country it wishes, and it doesn't have to ask permission from anyone else before inviting in troops from that ally to host them on its own soil.

Such are the perks of sovereignty, and regardless of how much the neighbours don't like that development - and I'm sure they won't *like* it - those bellicose neighbours aren't actually entitled to go all Monkey Shit merely because this is a development that displeases them.

That would be "naked aggression", and it really isn't a good look.


Yeah, right

The Iranians do not need Russian help if they wish to introduce their forces into Syria. pl


The division would be approximately 40/60 between Iran/Pakistan

Patrick Bahzad

In relation to ISW,

You have to distinguish the data they're giving (which is pretty accurate in my view) from the interpretation/analysis they make of it. That is where not just the analyst's subjective views may interfere with the intelligence given, but also there is the ideological bias of the ISW that weighs in heavily.
The other issue with the ISW, is that their analysts can only work on the data that is given to them for analysis. They have no bearing over who gets to pick the "raw material" to be analysed in the first place, that work is subject to guidelines issues top to bottom, which means that if their analysts only work of 2/3 of the data that is important to make an assessment of the situation, their analysis could be deeply without the analysts' being in any way responsible for it.
That being said, it shouldn't prevent anybody from using/reading the ISW's papers. They give a very interesting, although partial and partisan, take on things. But that is also how intelligence collection works: you pool various analysis and confront the authors, their data and the quality of their sources in order to make a final call.
Final point, you can also analyse the ISW's papers with a view to "read between the lines", i.e. guessing what people close to their worldview have in mind in terms of possible COAs.

Patrick Bahzad

I totally disagree. The only solution is political. Anything else means more war, more destabilizing the region and more foreign involvement.
There is however an implicit problem in solving Syria. where will the Jihadis go, if the war ends ? If they'll go to Iraq and join in the ISIS, you got another war intensifying there, unless you take measures to meet them head on.
Or the many foreign fighters might go back to where they came from, and nobody wants that either, as this would mean serious trouble in many countries.

Patrick Bahzad

this is a very misguided view. A war like that can drag on for years, with changing "frontlines". Even if you take out government support on either side, it won't prevent individuals joining in militias or groups on both sides. Enough to keep it going for years and destroy the country completely. Maybe that would suit some players in the region, but it certainly wouldn't mean an end to the bloodshed.
Besides, there will always be foreign meddling, too many interests at stake, let's be real. Wishful thinking is not an option.

Patrick Bahzad

that's an opinion, not a fact. And you're actually forgetting about the last refugee wave in the 1990s, which was almost as high as the current one. What happened with these people, do you know ?

Patrick Bahzad

"The US created ISIS to degrade Syria and justify re-intervention into Iraq, with the ultimate goal of enabling the destruction of Hizballah and a subsequent war with Iran that will last a decade or more" ...

I'm afraid you should re-enter the earth' atmosphere, you dangerously close to point of no return !!!

Patrick Bahzad

I think you not getting the difference between the legal concepts of "legal immigrant" and "political/humanitarian refugee" ... your Jesuit style dialectic is very flawed.
Erroneous arguments + biased logic = wrong conclusions.
Besides you don't know your history.

Patrick Bahzad

Think it's rather odd how many articles have surfaced recently about the Chechen connection to ISIS and the Jihadis in Syria, most of them focusing on Abu Omar al-Shishani.

Could there be any connection with the recent Russian troop deployment in Syria ? surely not !

Yeah, Right

I don't understand how you can claim that.

Iraq is in the way, so an overland march into Syria is out of the question. And Turkey isn't going to let them take to long-way-around, ditto for Jordan.

So any troops will need to be airlifted in.

Military advisors? Sure.
Some small-unit special forces? OK.

But I don't see how Iran has the airlift capabilities to bring in combat units in numbers capable of making a difference.

Russia does.

But I can't see how Iran can do it on their own, and they certainly can't do that *and* hope to protect their disembarkation points from IDF attack as the troops are being disgorged.

Russia can.

I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I don't believe that Iran has the necessary airlift capability to transport in even a single division of Revolutionary Guards in short order and ready to fight.

Patrick Bahzad

Yeah Right,

You "don't believe that Iran has the necessary airlift capability to transport in even a single division of Revolutionary Guards in short order and ready to fight" ?

Guess you should reconsider such a bold statement and get a good look in the rearview mirror: early 1980s, ICRG being sent to Lebanon, several hundred of them, at a time it was much more difficult for the Iranians, considering the regional alignment of forces.

As for airlift capabilities., how did the US send troops to KSA during Desert Storm ? They chartered commercial airliners ! Do you think the Iranians would be so stupid as to embark their troops on military planes or ships ??

Time for a reality check !



We have a couple of people here recently who do not seen to have any real knowledge of military affairs or experience doing anything. You are correct that Iran would certainly not use Russian military airlift to move anything to Syria. Charter airlift or sea would be the means of transport. There is a lot of charter airlift available in the world. pl

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