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04 September 2015


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Your scenario makes sense - from Bloomberg, the following quote:

“It’s a signal that we won’t stick to Assad at all costs, but we consider the most important thing is to preserve Syria as a state,” Zvyagelskaya said. “Otherwise you risk total chaos.”

backs your (and the colonel's affirmation) re:the goal is the state of Syrian. With Crimea, Russia did rather than talk and not do - as the US tends often to do - (and when Russia starts to talk, things have been already well in motion).

So the question is will the Obamaites back down? I think so.
But will Erdogan and the Saudis back down? I dont think so as they have been playing the US consistently, no reason for them not to continue.


Either the Russians are using a load of Maskirovka or the rumors about Russian involvement are untrue. My bet is on no.2.

"No MiG-31s for Damascus: Russia Denies Sending Interceptors to Syria"


“It’s too early” to talk about Russian military action in Syria, though “we are considering various options,” Putin said. Russia is actively helping the Assad government with weapons and military training, he said.

Putin’s comments came after reports this week that Russia is ramping up its involvement in Syria. Russian troops are fighting with Assad’s forces and images of what appeared to be Russian planes and drones in the skies over Syria have been published, the U.K.’s The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sept. 2. Russia’s Defence Ministry has denied any direct military intervention.



Your piece posits a Russian willingness to engage AWACS, SLAR equipped RC-135, and/or coalition fighter aircraft enforcing a no fly zone within Syria. Entry into such a zone would also cause a reaction from ground based air defense. IMO this would lead to WW3. IMO the MIG-31 interceptors are more likely to be intended to counter unimpeded Israeli depredations. I would look to see Russian CAS aircraft brought in for the real battle. Other than that we are in agreement. IMO Russia is determined to block dissolution of the Syrian state. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Quoting "bloomberg", "sputnik" or "Telegraph" on a topic such as this ? I don't really see the point ... Maybe you should track their reports, and not their quotes, back to the source(s). That would give some added value, maybe.

That being said, I'm not sure you understand the difference between "sending a signal" and getting actually involved.

Patrick Bahzad


I agree it would lead to WW3, most likely. Unless indeed they are after Israeli incursions, or possibly target GCC aircraft only and not NATO planes. That would be a dilemma for US and NATO, how to react to that.

But basically, yes, if MIG presence was confirmed, or if there had been temporary presence of those planes at Mezze airbase, I would see it more as a signal, telling us that things might spiral out of control, if we don't put a lead on the "loonies" who put us into this mess and want to drag us deeper into it.

I also think the Russia-Iran discontent is being overplayed by certain groups in D.C.

David Habakkuk

Patrick Bahzad,

Thanks for this fascinating analysis, which I am attempting to digest.

A few ignorant questions:

1. Is the avoidance of a 'de facto' partition of Syria, at this late stage, a feasible objective? If in your judgement it is, then it would be helpful to have more clarification about the kind of accommodation between political forces it would involve.

2. If the avoidance of such a 'de facto' partition is a feasible objective, in your view, is it one that is in Western interests? Or is there a realisable objective which is preferable, in the Western interests? (I am dodging the question of whether the interests of different parts of 'the West' are different.)

3. If the avoidance of such a 'de facto' partition is not a feasible objective, what is the least worst solution which Western powers could set as a realistic objective?



Yes, it is past time for the air wing of Jahbat al-Nusra, a/k/a the Israeli air force, to be encouraged to reconsider the advisability of their actions inside of Syria. If it takes Russian air-to-air interception capabilities in country, well then, so be it.



Clearly Western rulers are intent on dismantling Westphalia States, war profiteering and regime change. With what NewsHour calls trench warfare ongoing in Ukraine, their Syrian ally splintering and economic sanctions, Russia apparently has be prodded into action. I agree this risks World War III.

This is exactly how End Day scripts play out. The media avoids the truth as panic spreads. Refugees trying to walk through the Channel Tunnel to safety in England shut down the high speed rail system stranding passengers.

William R. Cumming

What countries have formal Treaty obligation with the former Nation-State called Syria?

Norbert M. Salamon

If indeed Russia thinks that the US/puppet disturbances are against the national interest of Russia, the possibility of MIG 31 [if actually present I Syria] is a clear signal that Russia is fed up.

Then the possibility that a mis-guess by US, especially in view of the economic problems in the Homeland, would actually lead to WW3.

The constant presence of US Naval power in the Black Sea, the numerous military exercises in E Europe, the presence of advanced aircraft in Germany, the numerous regime change efforts in the near area{ex SSR-s], new sanctions all indicate that too many Res Lines are being regularly crossed.
I hope there are some adults in US, aside from the warmongering females in Dept. of State, UN etc; else we will not have to worry about economic collapse, global warming, degradation of ecology. sea level rising, and all other important global issues and personal issues in general.


Austrian media reports that Su-34 "Fullback" fighter-bombers have been seen in Syria. These are strike aircraft- the successors to the SU-24 "Fencers"



What do you mean "former"?


PB, what particularly alarmed me about the "Russians in Syria" stories was their broad, almost coordinated sourcing and the sequence of shallow cross-referenced news stories.

I watch this carefully with open sourced material and this story is more consistent with an organized IP push out of Israel or the neocon crowd - Israeli news, UK (Telegraph, Guardian), Australian pickup and the WaPo. This sequence shows up when the Israelis make a move in Gaza for example or early on in the Libyan civil war, or when there is a push on in congress and indeed even early in the Iraq war.

This sequence is different than one that would come out of Russia. The pattern of news sources is different as is the method of cross referencing which would put a heavier emphasis on blogs, Canadians, Germans and verbose perfectly spelled intellectual postings. If the Russians were in fact sending a message that a redline is about to be crossed to the west, why would it be so ambiguous? Also this blog would be hit with hundreds of trolling messages as occurs when a thread is posted regarding Ukraine.

Another possibility is that Assad might be desperately trying to get the Russians to engage and commit by pulling them out of the closet so to speak. But then the news source sequence is again inconsistent with that.

Patrick Bahzad

I Don't see the same media sequence. It's been tracked down to a first Statement by Turkish news agency in mid August. That the Izzies and neocons are trying to get on the band wagon , for their own reasons , can't be discounted of course. Regarding the why of such an MO, could be plenty of reasons, like doing as little as possible for maximum result (force multiplier), keeping your adversary guessing and avoiding fallout in press (plausible deniability). There's also the genuine anti-ISIS angle you shouldn't overlook.


Most of the analysis here misses the larger Russian global fears.

Russia's involvement in Syria is for self preservation.

The Russians have their eye on the imminent mass migration of middle-class Arab refugees with no where to go.
These are mainly migrants not refugees, most are middle class merchants/professionals, they choose to migrate away from the terror of Islamic fanatics rule.

Europes' borders will shut down under the strain of the vanguard of migrants.
The Americas have Oceans to protect them.
Africa is undesirable and succumbing to the Islamic militants.
Asia/Ociana too far away.

This leaves one direction - Russia's soft underbelly of 'Stan satellite states with 'Stans populations politics & economies very similar to the Arab migrants socio/economic/politic upbringing. (Different dictators - same ineffective bureaucracies, same underground economies etc…) The money the migrants have with them has more buying power in the Stans compared with the costs of living in Western Europe.

Once the turmoil overtakes Turkey, then the Stans will fall. Kurdistan, Turkmenistan etc.. and the land route is open to the north for all the Arab middle class regardless of sectarian affinity to move to a better life.
This migration will quickly wreak havoc in that region oppressed social order. and into the rest of the landmass.

Russia has strong first hand experience in dealing with the expansion of militant Islam. They do not like it.
Starting in Afghanistan - now in the Caucasus and numerous terrorist attacks in their Motherland.

Russia has strong cultural memory of mass migrations conflict & deaths during the turmoils of last century (WW1 WW2, revolutions etc.. ) They did not like it.
That chaos was finally stabilised by the communist totalitarian regime which clamped down on all social mobility.

So this leaves one game to play - Containment of wannabe migrants. -
Create economic safe havens in feasible spaces,
Syria's Mediterranean coast is Ideal example, defendable, supply-able by sea & economically sustainable for a vibrant society. The gas/petroleum pipelines from the crescent terminate there bringing some wealth and Agri/industry, social order etc… (all hard to create from scratch) are still functioning. Save that, create a haven for the migrants - avoid the threat to Russian way of life.

Russia is less worried about the religious fundamentalists who will migrate/flee to their own religious brethren and battle it out against the unbelievers creating pockets of religious intolerance - e.g DAESH. That will remain part of the great game.

As to an Israel - Russia conflict, not in the cards. The emigration of over 1 Million 'communist educated' Russians to Israel translates to good contacts & communications between the 2 countries. More importantly they now share 'cultural' & 'metaphysical' values. Russia isn't upset by Israeli abuse of its neighbours because the Russians behave in the same way and they don't have a 'soft spot' for Islamic militants of any stripe - except as customers for their arms.



Thanks for sorting us out, pl

William R. Cumming

Nation-states are not really nation-states that cannot control their borders or airspace. Some other label is necessary. And perhaps in futuro control of digital media within that nation-states borders.

Could be wrong as always!



"Refugees trying to walk through the Channel Tunnel to safety in England"

Escaping the literal Hell that is all the European countries right now, I'm sure, for the safety of iphones and gimmedats in the UK.

I can't believe I'm the first one to call out this laughable turn of phrase.


As the U.S. cannot or will not
control its borders are we well
on our way to a failed state??
I think so.

alba etie

If there is such affinity betwixt the Izzies & Russia perhaps Leader Putin can persuade Leader Natanyahu to stop flying CAS for al Nusra and other Liver Eaters fighting Assad . Also too - maybe Leader Putin can help sell the Iran Nuclear deal in Tel Aviv..


Lot of holes in the argument.
1. lots of intermarriage and social bonds b/n former soviets and syrians.
2. middle class professionals are not a destabilizing influence b/ desirable immigrants-especially to a country that has had a demographic problem.
3. Israel is not hitting the Islamists, indeed it's Al Qaeda in Syria's artillery and airforce. Israel has been hitting the secular government forces b/c contrary to Russian interests, it wants failed states on its borders. You know Netanyahu's line, we can't make peace b/c it's a "dangerous neighborhood" so we have to to keep all the pieces we have conquered for "security."

Agreed that a failed state ISIS Syria is a threat to many countries. The Saudis, Gulf states, Turkey, & Israel don't care about this. One wants to grab or hold land and the others to spread on-secular Wahabi and Brotherhood doctrine. Robert Ford and his ilk will be filed in the same binder as Feith, Bremer, Perle, Wolfwitz et al. Obama is at heart a non-interventionist and he has some sympatico with Islam, indeed his middle name is that of one of the Prophet's grandsons.

Sure some of these European countries are racist but an awareness of names makes it clear that migrants have made their way there. besides the elephant in the room of course are the Ashkenazi. Consider the etymologies of these names: Pasquale, Guderian, Canaris, & Lewinski, known as Manstein. Wasn't Pushkin part African? (wiki "Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His matrilineal great grandfather was Abram Gannibal, who was brought over as a slave from what is now Cameroon.")

Indeed, the US has benefited from Syrian blood, consider Steve Jobs & Mitch Daniels, and Syrian professionals here would offset the tone of the American Ashkenazi and Israeli Firster Cuban derived personalities such as Rubio, Cruz, and Ros-Lehtinen.


It is a different world from the 19th Century when the Great Powers protected Christians in the Ottoman controlled Levant. Russia looked after the Eastern Orthodox and exacted concessions for their protection from the Sublime Porte and France looked after the Catholic affiliated Maronites. Syria has long been a bastion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. That connection has even entered our language as a "road to Damascus moment." Antioch, the Syrian city the French gave to Turkey, was the first place the followers of Jesus were called “Christians."
In the 20th century, Middle East Christians have suffered in the European/American/early Soviet disproportionate backing for unlimited Israeli expansion. France helped Israel with nuclear Dimona (b/c they were pissed off at Egypt for backing Algerian rebels) and LBJ connived with Israel in the 1967 war land grabs. He even threw the USS Liberty under the bus. Likewise, the U.S. extirpated the Iraqi secular state and there are nowIraqi Christian refugees all over the world. There are a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Ironically, in the past, Leb. president Franjieh invited the Syrians to intervene to protect the Christians. They overstayed their welcome but finally left. Now they are back in greater numbers as refugees. Perhaps, Russia will come back to its historical roots. The Metropolitan Ilya (probably Lyas a form of Elias/Elizah) of Beirut has a connection with the Soviet rebound of WW2. He had a vision that Stalin should have processions with the Icon of St Mary of Kazan in Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad and that would turn things around. Incredibly, Stalin did just that. You can believe in miracles or as Thales said that the gods may have created the world but left its day to day operations to Nature, but that is a historical fact that these things happened.
Likewise the French have long held an interest in protecting the Maronites in Lebanon. Back around 1860 they protected the Christians in the Maronite/Druze war.
Lebanon and Syria have long been considered by some in Assad's words to be "one country with two governments." In fact under the Ottoman governance it was all called Syria. That the nominally Christian powers would help protect Levant Christians (as well as non takfiri salafist jihadist Muslims and other minorities) would be congruent with their past. You can forget America for the Neocons are still in power. Consider that Victoria Nuland is in charge of Ukraine portfolio. But perhaps, Russia and France will awaken to their historical roots. Because if Syria goes, then Lebanon and Jordan will burn.
(possibly that fool Erdogan’s Turkey too)

Patrick Bahzad


Great clarity of vision ! Thx for that ...

Patrick Bahzad

So far, all media reports about Su-34 can be traced back to one single social media posting by a JaN source, showing pictures of what looks like ONE Su-34 allegedly flying over Idlib area.

If that Austrian media has a different source, I'd be interested to see it !




Is this your reference? I take it that the presence of SU-34 would indicate Russian Air Force presence since the aircraft has not been sold abroad. Also, this is a ground or naval target attack aircraft, not an interceptor. pl

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