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11 October 2015


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different clue

To what extent are former Iraqi Army members and old Baathists still supplying the strategic and tactical expertise and vision for the ISIS forces? Would a knowledge of how the Iraqi armed forces did their warfighting "then" be valuable in understanding and countering ISIS forces' warfighting "now"?

The Beaver


"The Iraqi air force "bombed the convoy of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while he was heading to Karabla to attend a meeting" with Daesh (IS) commanders", Sunday's statement from an interior ministry intelligence unit said. "

"Group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi not among the victims, hospital sources say, after military claimed to have hit Baghdadi’s convoy"




Your analysis is exactly how Russia’s Levant campaign should play out.

The overwhelming sentiment is that the only good Jihadist is a dead Jihadist. I agree. There are two problems. First is that both Russia and the USA have armed combat aircraft flying missions in the same theatre without joint air control. One mistake and a nuclear war could break out incinerating Washington DC, its suburbs and my family. Second; it will be a campaign of Russians against Sunni Arabs. This is the Second Crusade of the 21st century with America’s petering out. I firmly believe it will tough slog to take Raqqa; requiring hundreds of thousands of troops and a thousand armored vehicles.

Headlines today said that Turkey blamed the Islamic State for the bombings yesterday. If the Turkish Armed Forces, Jordon, the minority areas in Syria, Israel, Iraq and Lebanon sealed their borders with no resupply or safe havens, the Islamic State would wither on the vine without the risking the Apocalypse.

America must seek ways to ensure peace not endless wars that enrich a few and risk annihilation.

Bill Herschel

My belief is that the Syrian campaign is best seen as a direct outgrowth and continuation of the Ukraine campaign.

Jacques Chirac famously said to George W. Bush, "Ça suffit." That's enough. Putin very correctly perceived the events in Ukraine as a direct and intentional threat to his government. He has said, "That's enough."

Ultimately, I think the outcome will be determined by the quality of Russian intelligence.

Is it WW III right now? I'm going to go back and watch the 1984 version of Red Dawn to take my mind off the question.


Bill Herschel. The Russians can read a map and have overhead reconnaissance as well as SIGINT. Since this is a conventional war that should be enough. That and the balls to get on with it and keep moving. Anyone who resists you is an enemy. "Laudace, l'audace, toujours l'audace." pl



Syria's Kurds Are Contemplating an Aleppo Alliance with Assad and Russia

...Turkey has told the PYD that it cannot expand this territory further west than Kobane, seemingly ruling out a bridging move toward Afrin. Any such Kurdish offensive might also break the PYD's strategic agreement with the United States, which does not want the group to seize Jarabulus and Azaz. Yet it is difficult to believe that the Syrian Kurds will stick to the status quo in the Aleppo area indefinitely. Many of them believe they are at an historic moment and are intent on seizing the opportunity to build a state by unifying all Syrian Kurdish territories. Because they consider the area between Afrin and Kobane to be historically Kurdish, they believe it should join the Rojava.

Recent declarations by the PYD's leader not only reiterate these Kurdish goals, but also signal that the group is willing to ally with regime and Russian forces in order to meet them. As he told al-Monitor, "We will fight alongside whoever fights Daesh." Again, Turkey has prohibited the PYD from advancing on western Kobane as if it is a Daesh territory, and the Turkish project of establishing a buffer zone in this area interferes with the Kurdish Rojava project. Yet Salih Muslim cast doubt on the efficacy of this prohibition: "Should Turkey attempt to intervene, then they will. Russia has a joint defense agreement with Syria. They will prevent Turkish intervention not to defend us [Kurds] but to defend Syria's border."


I find my day buoyed by this analysis.



IMO Russian help will be accepted by the YPG. The chance to actually crush IS with the YPG acting as anvil to the Russians and Syrians acting as hammer will be overwhelmingly tempting. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The recent participation of the Kurds in the democratic process in Turkey was, for me, a singular and heart-warming sign of progress in that country.

I viewed it as an indubitable indication that a vast majority of Kurds had accepted to participate in Turkey as citizens of that state instead of forever pinning for the chimera of the Kurdish Independence - disingenuously posited as "Autonomy".

An unreachable goal that has been causing deaths and more deaths among both Kurds and Turks - all the while keeping both groups backwards and poor.

Alas, it was not to be, social peace - orperjaps social cease-fire - is now broken and I wonder what could restore it.

One has to ask AKP and other Turkish leaders: "Was it worth it, to try to destroy Syria? Was it really worth it?"

One has to ask the PKK leaders: "Earth to PKK, come in PKK, come in please."


Here is a five-minute clip of Putin responding to John Simpson of the BBC, a typical Russophobic Brit who posed a loaded question to Putin about Russia's hostilities, etc. Putin's comments are dead on.

Yeah, Right

Are you suggesting that Kurdish forces should move into that "approximate buffer zone" that is shown in that Washington Post graphic, thereby plugging a gaping hole in that "anvil"?

Or am I misreading you?


Yeah, right

No. The Russians and friends should keep going past Aleppo until they meet the Kurds around Kobane. if you don't like my plan, make your own. The Turks and Hillary want to have an Indian reservation north of Aleppo? So what. pl


This is my take on Russian involvement and what will play out with Assad: Russia is in Syria to pour cement and create Alawistan Israel 2.0, centered on Latakia/Tartus and Homs if SAA can fight in the latter; and enough buffer space around the two to be comfortable. Nothing more. All higher level players, whether in Assad's or Russian or Iranian camp, have realized the futility of doing anything more besides holding as much of the current status quo as possible in the backyards of the cash-and-weapons strapped Saudi/Turkish players. Never mind the taking of Aleppo, I truly believe that all of these camps have realized even the futility of holding Damascus in the long term . Russian involvement, as a mirror of the USA pinprick strikes it it has been so far, is only to further embolden the Turks/Saudis into pouring arms into their favored Jihadis. But a Jihadi is a Jihadi is a Jihadi, and in the end the victor will be the strongest Jihadi(guess who)" "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse".



You are either a defeatist or on the other side. this can be won and should be. pl


With all due respect, I do not envision Russia having either the know-how, the political will, or the resources in order to maintain the relevant staying power in the Levant in order to accomplish what you mean by a "won" war. In the contexts of your comments about the Saudi "mashru" for the Levant, Sunni Arab triumphalism in a region that has not seen such in hundreds of years would be deeply satisfying to me, and so I would need to be categorized on the other side.

Patrick Bahzad

I agree with PL as this being the most likely plan for the syrian/Russian operation. Will they be able to reach Aleppo is another issue, but the maximum achievable outcome is certainly a drive into Aleppo, pushing the jihadi and salafi groups either towards Kurdish held areas or ISIS ... Let them make up their choice as to which direction thery rather go.
As for the NFZ/safe zone, it's non existent but if turkey and the U.S. insist on having it, they might end up not having war with Russia, but having to deal potentially with hundreds of defeated jihadis from various groups floding that NFZ. Good luck with that ! Who's gonna look a fool then ?!

Patrick Bahzad

Sure, why not hand them Damascus ? Sounds like a great idea !
Just one question, given you sound like you're definitely in the know. Where will the saudi weapons come through if the Syrians/Russians control the border crossings in the north-west ? Will they come accross the Kurdish areas ? I don't think so ! Will they come through ISIS areas ? Certainly not ! Will they get through the Non existent NFZ ? Guess that one is a non starter ...


Here's a short, two-minute video of insane, low-altitude Russian Mi-24 helicopter attack runs in Syria. Unreal.

Patrick Bahzad

Given your views, think you're in the wrong country. at least, man up to your opinions and get lost in the ME !



Well, keep hoping. Are you from the Gulf? pl

Babak Makkinejad

I disagree.

After more than 4 years of war, the side that can sketch out a plausible outline of a future peace is the one who is going to prevail; in my opinion.

That is, the side that can persuasively point to a future in which one can send one's child to buy flat bread from the corner bakery and to come home alive.

The Syrian Government, in my opinion, is sketching out such a future, predicated on dead Jihadists everywhere - aided by Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, and Russian military forces.

The Jihadists cannot point out to such an end - the Peace of Jihadists means death to non-Religious Sunnis, the Shia, the Kurds, the Alawites, the Arab Christians, the Armenians, the Druze and others.


I derive great enjoyment from your posts in which you try to pin down the probable origin of posters on this forum, so in the spirit of truthfulness I am a mongrel half-Québécois nationalist half-non Gulf Sunni Arab


I agree with you Pat. Though I doubt the "armor heavy ground task force" will be Russian. More likely Iranian though it will ride on Russian equipment.

Hizbullah already has a brigade size force (3,000) fighting in Syria and is building up an additional brigade strong force that will be armored with tanks and IFVs. Those come partially from old Syrian stock but there will also be some newer additions.

Iraqi Shia groups are setting up a (small) infantry brigade for Syria.

When all three, the Iranian force, Hizbullah and infantry from the Iraqi Shia will be ready the fist that is needed to take the ground under Russian air and artillery support will be there. My gestimate is six to nine month until everything is ready.

The YPG will be integrated but will not get the Afrin corridor. Syria can and will not allow that as the area is much more Arab than Kurdish. Cultural autonomy in there traditional areas within Syria is all the Kurds can get. Anything more would be long-term suicide for them.

Other news:

The Saudis are sending more TOW after Brennan visited them last week. I hear that at least part of the delivery was interdicted.

Rumor has it that Russia is sending Mi-28 helicopters which are relatively new and especially equipped for night operations. These will make nightly supply runs for the Jihadis much more difficult.

Babak Makkinejad

You wrote:

"...Sunni Arab triumphalism in a region that has not seen such in hundreds of years ..."

There have been good reasons for that; Arabs could not govern. Like Kurds, or Sikhs - may be they are great fighters but not capable administrators.

The Abbasids built their empire on the Persian models, when they got rid of the Persian they began to decline and the Turkic military slaves took over.

At least Sikhs knew their limitations.


I do not see a reality in which either the totally exhausted SAA(as evinced by the complete lack of territorial gains against the weakest of the "syrian rebels" in the past two weeks even with complete enthusiastic(sure to peter down) russian air support) or the farmer Kurds, as posited by Paveway in an earlier post, are militarily or politically able to control the entirely non-Kurd stretch of land between Afrin and Kobane. I simply do not see it happening. In the case that it does, the wily Turks/Saudis, the latter having the entire political basis of their Saudi system at stake with the Ulema NEVER accepting anything else but either the total partition of Syria along religious lines or the murder of Assad à la Gaddafi; they will find a way like they did in Afghanistan and Lebanon and others in the bygone days.

In regards to your second post, I'm never shy about hiding my political opinions.I'm a native patriote and a sunni irredentist, given the bridge between the two I don't think that they are as of yet mutually exclusive.

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