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11 October 2015


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Will et al

There is a pattern common to troll attacks; first you have a series of very reasonable sounding comments, then you have increasingly strident comments then at the last if you have not caved in to the point of view expressed you have an all out ad hominem attack in which the attacker writes everything that can be thought of to wound and intimidate. This technique is actually taught by the Israeli foreign ministry's hasbara branch. Often the identity of the attacker is disguised. "Abuabdullah" is located in Canada in a university city there is often an element of mockery involved. I don't for a minute believe all that crap about his being a French Canadian patriot or a Zaydi Shia. That was IMO there to mock me because he had studied my interests and knew those were among them. When all that failed he began to express the belief that my stupidity was the result of old ae and that hopefully I would die soon of a disease of the elderly. The patter was complete. I spared you the worst of the messages at the end. pl

Bill Herschel

The only good jihadi is a dead jihadi is also a paraphrase of Lavrov.



Saw that the other day. I'm sure the neocons are busy dusting off the "stinger" supply idea one more time. Wonder how smart that will look when ISIS downs an Airbus on landing approach to Heathrow with one?



Damned straight. Now if only the PHD crowd in D.C. could come to such a sensible conclusion we'd all be better off.


I still doubt that the Kurds would go for Raqqa as the U.S. wishes. There is nothing to win for them in those deeply Arab lands.

As for the Arabs in the Euphrates Volcano the VOA recently wrote about them. Thieves and loons. They will sell there weapons to IS and leave.


The "Turkmen" are an interesting mix. There are only a few from Syria. What is sold as "Turkmen" are mercenaries from Turkey or even Central Asia. These are Erdogan's personal tools. They were supposed to take the corridor to Aleppo so Erdogan could later claim that to be "Turkish" and annex it.


"Russian blowing up GWL in Iraq & Syra will mainly radicalize other GWL, who are pretty radical to start with"

These folks are cannon fodder, and if they meet their end at Russian hands, since the US appear unwilling to (because they are, tacitly allied with the moderate head-chopping liver-eaters), that is jot a great loss. The US killed them in scores in Iraq, so the Russians will have some catching up to do. Did the World's muslims rise up against the US in response? No. Why would they do in response to Russia doing the same?

Because the Saudis will throw their weight behind it overtly, wheras they suppotrted the Jihadis in Iraq against the US only tacitly?

No, while the revivalist fervour of ISIS and the Salafist is a concern, what concerns me more deeply is what the petulant spiteful children and hard men in the US, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are up to in response. And I am under no illusion that they are not up to mischief. These nuts are all to clever by half.

If Brennan just encouraged the Saudis to ship more TOW to have the Russians 'meet another Afghanistan', that suggests indeed that the US are in the CIA program de facto supprters of the Jihadis, and are entering proxy war mode against Russia. The Saudis, likewise, cold have come with that on their own in their paranoid lashing out at anything Shia, and now against Russia.

Reportedly, Saudi Prince Bandar directly threatened Putin over Sochi with Jihadi terror if he wouldn't change his Syria policy, which then apparently cost him his job. Still, things of that nature are a distinct possibility as nutty Saudis may try to double down as they their achievement and investment in Syria at risk.

The Gulfies may also pump even more money into Chechnya and Muslim regions in Russian Central Asia than they already do, and may double down by training and sending Jihadis down there to make trouble. It is already apparent that tzhere is an inclination athere to re-.ruin the old templates from the Afghanistan war. The Saudis have the connections, money, structure and know how to redo this in a big way.

This would be bad for Russia, and likely destabilise that region. It is a distinct prossibility that the prometheans like Brezinskis would look at such a scheme favourably.

And given the extent to which the CIA under politial orders facilitated the moderate"head-chopping liver-eaters, I do not assume that they take Russia decimating their investments lightly. To these folks, Putin is likely be seen as ruining everything, again!

A risk I see is a US attitude that holds that Puutin's unfathomable uppitiness is indicative of his evil character and must not be tolerated and that he must be put in his place. They will search for some way to retaliate. They will present 'options' to the Obama people, and it is well known that they have an animus towards Russia anyway, so they may inclined to do such things.

Turkey, likewise, is a wild card. What will Erdogan do? Send troops into that buffer zone the Turks unilaterally declared at Syria's expense? That's be an(other) act of war, however territiorially limited, and a direct and overt violation of Syrian sovereignty. What will the army do? What will the Kemalists do? What will the Kurds do? Erdogan has brought Turkey to the brink of civil war.

And will Turkey do something about the extensive facilitative pro-Jihadi networks that exist in Turkey? Hardly. Rumour has it that Erdogan's daughter is running a hostpital that treats Jihadis from Syria. I may read too much into it, but if correct, that suggests to me a degree of emotional attachment to the idea of Sunni-izing Syria on the part of Erdogan.


And with Turkey, you get NATO into play. What the East-European and Atlanticist nuts are up to is clear, they want to confront Russia out of paranoid principle and probably see continuity between Ukraine and Syria and act on their preconceived paranoid notions about "Russian agression". Can they be restrained?

And then there is Israel, always capable of surprisingly (stupid) action.

Another point is the general level of inspiration, or activation of Jihadis so to speak, that would be the result if ISIS would be allowed to fester.

This is a powederkeg with burning fuzes attached.

IMO the Jihadis are not the factors that may drag us all into WW-III. That'll is the domain of states.

But then, WW-I was started by the provocation of a Serbian nationalist terrorist with the help of Servbian authorities. The war then, was led by states, and brought down three empires, and crippled a fourth.

WW-III may just start over the proviocation of a Jihadi terrorist sponsored by Saudi Arabia or Turkey.


There will surely be some Russian commanders in the field but the general ground operation it seems will be more under Syrian/Iranian command than Russian. The fighting will be on three fronts. It is therefore difficult to envision a Russian ground element that could be everywhere.

Russia is preparing another airfield and will ramp up the sorties to 200-300 per day plus helo flights.


original source here:

Rough English translation:

On personal:

There are new forces prepared to support the Syrian troops. These include about 7,000 fighters distributed as follows: Al-haydareyeen Iraqis Forces (2000 fighters), the Fatimids Afghan forces (2000 fighters), the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps ( 2,000 fighters) and the elite of Hezbollah (1000 fighter), These have not yet been pushed into the battle of reef Idlib, awaiting for the Russian Air Force to increase their sorties.

There are more where those come from ... The Hizb armored brigade is not ready yet.

There are rumors that the Russians want to integrate the local defense groups the Iranians created in Syria into the Syrian army. Good thing to do before those groups turn into local warlords. But it will take a while.

If all personal is ready and has good equipment (Russian Shora anti-TOW systems are said to be coming) the force should be strong enough to recover most land that is now occupied by terrorists. As the last few days have shown the Russian air cover really makes a difference.

A destroyed Switchblade killer drone (loitering munition) was found in south Syria some 40 km away from the border. The operating radius of such drones is 10 km. The U.S. Army is the only known buyer/user. We can thereby guess that U.S. spec force are operating on Syrian land.


The Houthis claim that Saudi Navy ship 902 Boraida was destroyed in Bab Al Mandab last week - can anyone confirm?



Some terms:

- Strategy. The over all method by which a country seeks to accomplish some adopted national purpose. In this case, Russia and allies under Russian leadership would seek to destroy the jihadi movements in North Arabia beginning with Syria and then proceeding to Iraq and places further afield from the initial Russian base area on the Syrian coast.

- Operational art. This is the level of the campaign at which major forces are employed to accomplish the essential goals of the strategy. An example in history would be the allies campaign across France in 1944.

- Tactics. This is the art of conducting a battle through fire and maneuver. Think Gettysburg or Waterloo.

- Minor tactics. This is the art of conducting an engagement with the troops immediately at hand. An engagement at battalion or company level (look it up) in pursuit, defense of a small position, ambush, etc.

What I gave you was a CAMPAIGH PLAN. do not expect me to tell you what would develop in each of a long series of engagements in the course of the campaign. How would the R+5 deal with fleeing jihadis? That is a tactical question. I would suggest that Russian tactical air would be a major problem for jihadis seeking to flee. In addition to that these jihadis want to hold ground to creates their various visions of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a great convenience. pl

Andrey Subbotin

Putin said no ground component, and going back on his word will incur considerable domestic political cost. People here are uneasy about Syria becoming another Afghanistan.



"will be more under Syrian/Iranian command than Russian." that sounds good politically but would be terrible mistake in the field. All these Arab and Kurdish leaders are inferior in skill (except n minor tactics) to the Russian military which has developed them in the excellent military schools systems as well as in Chechniya and Georgia. IMO over all operational control must be established with the Russians in charge. Without unity of command these groups will not operate together with any real purpose or cohesion. the US made the mistake at the beginning of our war in VN to decline offered operational control of SVN forces. What a mess that created. In essence several different armies fought separate wars. As for Iranian troops in this campaign, fine bring them on. pl



Far too many of you think that the conduct of war is a political process. that is not the case. A serious fight must be conducted within the boundaries of national policy but without other political interference. pl


Andrey Subbotin

Political leaders say a lot of things to the public that end by not being true. If there is not s ground task force, you will probably lose. Use professionals. "volunteers" pl


An interesting post over at Naked C


Gordon Wilson

Bravo Col. Lang!

I have been coming here, for I would guess, the last 10 years, to be informed on matters of national security. As a liberal, I also think it is important to add I'm not too shy of Larry's blog either. I prefer the signal to noise ratio here, especially in the comments, but don't find the noise to be too distracting in either case. I suppose the same could be said for Stonekettle Station as well, although the noise is generally in the other ear.

I have nothing to say, or to add for that matter, to the current discussion, but I did want to stop in and say my occasional thank you for putting your country first, and informing the rest of us with what has been over the years accurate and intelligent analysis of national defense matters. I can't imagine why you're not one of the more popular people in DC ;-/.

Best wishes to your better half in her recovery.

Ishmael Zechariah

Is it time to war-game this one?
Ishmael Zechariah


Yes, this is the "problem area", nutty politicians on every side.
The Syria battles as harsh as they may be are only a concern for the unfortunate locals. Russians, Chinese, Europeans and even homeland US may be in for nasty surprises even without WWIII.



“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”

― Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


I have been searching for some insight on Turkish dispositions from Hatay to Hakkari. If anyone can point me to something, I would be grateful.



The more important stories on that site (for domestic US consumption) is the news that even the NYT realizes Obamacare is hurting Americans and second up, on immigration, how Cuba is helping its citizens and fixing its budget by exporting their old, tired and medically needy to the USA. Mariel 2, the geriatric version. US taxpayers foot the bill for both social welfare projects.


CNN: U.S. delivers 50 tons of ammunition to Syria rebel groups

Sorry folks, our government is officially on the side of the jihadis. It's scary to be part of a civilization that now sides with monsters who are working to destroy that very civilization. You could write it off as a form of civilizational paranoid-schizophrenia, but I'm inclined to believe there is a metaphysical explanation. War, knighthood, and chivalry are intimately connected. Chesterton pointed out that chivalry came with the rise of the veneration of the Virgin Mary in the early Middle Ages. This chivalry spurred the rise of Western civilization which then fought against barbarians (non-Christians) who did not have the same respect for womanhood. We now find ourselves siding with those who seek to enslave women and denigrate them. You see the British showing insane bellicosity towards the Russians for attacking jihadis. Meanwhile we didn't see even a fraction of that outrage for the Pakistani Muslims in Rotherham who traded a couple thousand pre-teen English girls in sex slavery. No, that was cowardly hushed up. A civilization that does not protect its own women, its girls, is no longer the same civilization which Chesterton wrote about in "A Short History of England". And anyone who sides or assists the jihadis is not only the antithesis of chivalrous, he is an enemy of Western civilization.

muzaffar Ali Tirmizey

A buffer zone for Erdogan’s Turkic settlements in Syria? By Dr Lin
She is the author of “The New Silk Road: China’s Energy Strategy in the Greater Middle East”

Pertinent to today's discussion!



Part of Russia's military campaign on the home front... here's an example of their latest militaristic patriotism promotion :)

Great Russian Song - Our weapon is love and humanity https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=4&v=CEaMhjYrYTw

I expect we'll see more efforts like this as part of keeping Putin's poll numbers up, and Russian military enthusiasm high. Even though I knew I was watching a form of propaganda, I have to admit I got a bit teary in some parts, admiring their pride and remembering how I used to think such things about the US once upon a time (before I became a snarky old cynic).



I would have no idea what the Arab phrase for "oh s**t" is, but I imagine it was in there somewhere.



Putin and the Saudi DM had a meeting.


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I prefer Katyusha. PL

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