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28 October 2015


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@Pat "BTW it is IS and not Nusra involved on the attack on the Syrian LOC. OK. They hold some points on the LOC. "

No. Both were involved in a seemingly coordinated attack on the LOC to Aleppo.

IS came from the east and Nusra from the west at exactly the same time and at the same point of the LOC. That is why they succeeded cutting the line.

The question is who coordinated this. Turkey?

Another question is if this will lead some deeper cooperation of AQ and IS or even, in the end, in a united front and organization.


MK Bhadrakumar on... What it means to invite Iran to key Syria talks http://atimes.com/2015/10/what-it-means-to-invite-iran-to-key-syria-talks/
In the regional context, Iran’s inclusion in the Syrian peace process becomes yet another political and diplomatic setback for Israel (on top of its dismal failure to kill the Iran nuclear deal). Israel is now the only major country in the Middle East that stands outside the tent looking in – although it has big stakes in the Syrian settlement. The time has come for Israel to seriously introspect how it is missing the plot all over again.

Indeed, it comes as a double blow for Israel that earlier today Russia also conducted is first air attacks on targets in southern Syria near the Golan Heights. Notably, this is an unambiguous signal to Israel to stay off the Syrian skies. Israel has been insinuating so far – without Moscow contesting – that it has an understanding with Russia in regard of its operations in Syria’s southern skies. That apparently is not the case, as today’s Russian air attacks near Golan Heights signal.

Russia now effectively operates a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria, which strips Israel of access points to not only targets in Syria but also in Lebanon. Meanwhile, according to reports, Russia is dispatching to the Eastern Mediterranean a massive guided missile carrier, Moskva, equipped with an estimated sixty-four S-300 missile defence systems.

Some more info on Russia's recent air strikes near Golan...

Russian air strikes in south Syria 'raise potential for friction' with Israel http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Russian-air-strikes-in-south-Syria-raise-potential-for-friction-with-Israel-430455
Although Israel and Russia have set up a joint working group to create a deconfliction mechanism, to prevent inadvertent fire incidents in the air, sea, and the electromagnetic spectrum, Assael cautioned that human error could undermine such efforts.

...Assael, 64, who took up his post as CEO of the Fisher Institute in June, is highly experienced in aviation and defense, and is a former air force base commander. A former squadron commander, he has thousands of flight hours behind him.

He told the Post that the closer proximity of Russian air operations, compared to past strikes in northern Syria in and around Latakia and Hama, "should worry us more."

... In an ideal situation, Assael said, Russia would use its joint deconfliction mechanism with Israel to warn the IAF of impending strikes in Daraa. "But let's remember that Russia perceives itself as a very influential power in the region. Additionally, things that are agreed upon do not always head down [the chain of command to the operational level]. This increases the potential for friction."

He noted that details of the joint Russian-Israeli deconfliction mechanism remain unknown.

Will Israel try to play nice with the Russians in order to get invited to the Syrian peace talks?


Col: The ISW graphic seems to contradict its headline. See http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2015/10/isis-contests-regime-supply-line-to.html

Do you know if the Assad forces have created a cauldron around Homs?



OK. Good for them. Let's see if they can hold the LOC closed or prevent another being opened. pl



I would think it more likely that those attacks have been organized & led by former Iraqi military who are
working with the jihadis than that these reported successes are due to the help of Western special forces. Some of those former Iraqi military undoubtedly know shit from shinola, & are competent enough to account for these developments. My guess anyway.

Abu Sinan

From what I have heard, they have taken very little ground and are already being rolled back in the small areas they took in places like Al-Safira. They seemed to have been stopped on the northern outskirts of the city. Involved in reinforcing Syrian army troops were elements of Liwaa al Quds, a pro Assad Palestinian group. It would seem at this point that they were repulsed and are not in the city. Given that elements of the IRGC are in the city, I dont think there was any real threat.

Abu Sinan

Until the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, Damascus was the destination of choice for monied Gulf men looking to take advantage of the Iraqi refugee issue and the subsequent surge in prostitution from said refugees.

J Villain

Wow. Compared to where he was a week or two ago that is like unconditional surrender from Kerry. The combination of Putin going off script, the Europeans clogging up his in box and the American people wondering "WTF???" must be having the desired effect. I doubt that Qatar, KSA and Turkey have had their come to Jesus moment yet, but this is promising.


Great article:

Too Weak, Too Strong
Patrick Cockburn on the state of the Syrian war




I don't think it is going to be so easy for the Russians, bombs and artillery or not. By this time, every conceivable tactic for both sides has surely been anticipated. The Iranians are losing high-level officers, first time in the war for a series of such in any army.



Oh! Baloney! I read the Cockburn article like you did and neither of you civilians knows anything about war. Cockburn's only whine is that it might be hard. Sob! pl



More rubbish. He has no idea of war. pl


Lew and Lisa

The thing about Iranian senior officer casualties is particularly funny. Dead generals are always good for morale. 1- More headroom at the top and 2- they show that the old bastards were taking their share of the chances. pl


On the dead Iranian generals one should keep in mind that
- their death is a sign that they are leading from the front not from some headquarter hundreds of miles away as U.S. generals tend to do
- it is the IRGC Quds force which has a martyrdom tradition and death in the field is seen as an honor
- the corps does not have a lack of competent officers


AS: I measure the rebel's progress by evaluating the "silence" of their supporters on social media. Whenever they have actual success, the FSA Youtube army goes into full production mode.



"from some headquarter hundreds of miles away as U.S. generals tend to do..." Unkind. This depends on the echelon of command. We had a number of generals killed in VN. A division commander is generally up front. Was Manstein in the trenches every day? pl


Well, JV... he was speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which undoubtedly effected his tone on Syria. Even so, it's encouraging to hear a new tune from Kerry. It remains to be seen if the US will make productive use of the Syrian peace talks and how far it will cut back on the proxy war.


Dear Colonel,

Apparently they could not.


Meanwhile, same source, reports progress on several other fronts.


Col; Along that line, this was very moving in person. See http://toursblogqa.com/etus/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/General-Theodore-Roosevelt.jpg

The wonderful upkeep of the cemetery is also a fitting tribute to the men buried there.


My source was speculating that they were assassinated (by whom?) rather than being killed at the front. Either way it seems to have stopped.


OK, I accept your judgement that it will be easy, although I had interpreted the death of Iranian generals and evidence of wide-spread booby-trapping of everything as contrary to that.

How long to conquering Alleppo? Simple engineer that I am, I like numbers.

Of course, at least some of you, in your professional surveying of the scene, also anticipated the Russian moves? Or at least your active-duty brethern?

Why did you not tell the State Department?




I didn't say it would be "easy." Anyone with experience of combat knows it will not be easy. Simple minded engineers seldom understand anything that involves humans. My "active duty brethren?" Why would I bother? Their testicles have been crushed by people like you. Have you not read this blog? If you had you would know that we did predict Russian intervention. . The State department is inhabited by fools like you. Where were you trained as hasbara? Go away and send in your next agent. pl

alba etie

After BiBi's conniption fit trying to kill the Iranian deal I am pretty sure that the BHO administration will do everything possible to keep Israel out of the Syrian Peace Talks . And even more importantly AIPAC seems to be neutralized so far in this national election cycle in These United States . I think we are seeing some evidence of the breaking apart of the neocon / Borg hegemony in our USA's comity . In an odd way Putin's action is Syria seems to be giving the non Borg a little more room to push back against the Clean Breakers writ large. Micheal Ledeen and the other usual suspects must be pretty unhappy about now. Mrs Greenspan actually had the Syrian Ambassador on her air a few weeks back - with the Ambassador saying that the Chechen terrorist that bombed the Boston Marathon were no different then Chechen terrorist fighting in Syria. Aleppo was in the same danger by the same actors that attacked Boston - dear Andrea didn't have a comment or retort for that .
We shall see...


I freely admit that I have no idea of war, but I thought Cockburn's idea of visiting military hospitals as a way of gathering relatively unfiltered information is clever. It reminded me of the trick that the OSS used of collating death notices in German newspapers collected in neutral countries (German families were required to pubish death notices of relatives killed in action in local papers) as a way to compile accurate statistics on German battle casualties.


"it was a miracle that the producers and this journalist managed to have as much non-Borg material in the film"

That's what I was thinking.

Between the Frontline doc and the Congresswoman / Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard interview on CNN, I was amazed. We haven't seen these views on MSM, well pretty much ever, during this Syrian war.

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