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20 October 2015

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b

There is a Russian Lieutenant General in the Baghdad 4+1 Intelligence & Ops Center. There is a sub-center in Damascus also with some higher Russian staff. I suspect that the Russians are leading the overall operation but will keep a local general and Assad as the public face. They have need to brag. That local is not Suleiman who screwed up a bit in Iraq when he infuriated Abadi by being too public and trying to hand out orders over Abadi's head. Suleiman, as far as I can tell, is leading the Shia forces paid by Iran - those are the IRGC troops and the various Khatibs from Iran, Iraq and of Afghan expats in Iran. I am not sure about Hizbullah but assume they have their own command but defer to Damascus for the larger operations.

ISL

Dear Colonel,

Actually its worse, the article claims that (based on a quote from an Iranian militia person) the SAA will not really be involved. Seems improbable.

Certainly consistent with spotlighting Iran as a source of trouble to the US.

My suspicion is that the Russian military performance has caught many in the pentagon by surprise, and they would rather not highlight that aspect. The arrival of Russian EW and departure of all use aircraft carriers from the area is highly indicative, and perhaps the removal of the patriot missiles from Turkey, too.

IMO if the brass wanted this to be a wake-up call to redirect development and acquisition programs, we would see the "threat" of being "behind" emphasized. However, status-quo (aka CYA) seems to be what we are observing.

the saker had an interesting analysis comparing US and Russian tanks and IFV. The US ones seem to remain designed for the plains of eastern Europe, while the Russian ones for fighting such as in Chechnya and Georgia (and Syria), while attempting to meet the needs of the actual wars the US if fighting with upgraded jeeps (hummers) that ended up looking like something from Mad max instead of an intelligent design.

Design by consensus committee doesn't work well, either

robt willmann

Who is in command of the R+5 effort?
My guess is--
Ground operations: Gen. Soleimani.
Airplanes, helicopters, and electronic warfare: a Russian general, high up on the totem pole.
Logistics: a Russian general.
They could probably make it work together.

Or, if there is to be one commander who resolves differences of opinion, has veto power, or gives final approval, it will be a Russian general.

Russia has the most to lose in Syria, has been there the longest, is now spending the largest amount of money, and without its air force, electronic, and logistics capabilities, the Syrian government and Iran will not be able to succeed.

Bandolero

Pat Lang

I'ld note that this article is not an original from Stars & Stripes, but just a reprint from the Washington Post.

"By Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim
The Washington Post"

Loveday Morris is Beirut/Baghdad correspondent for the WaPo and Mustafa Salim her Baghdad assistent.

My opninion: Like usual, this WaPo article follows the zionist script of trying to further incite sectarian Sunni/Shia tensions. That what the lines of Iran/Shia militia leading the effort to liberate "Sunni" Aleppo is good for. And of course, Phillip Smyth from WINEP/AIPAC is also quoted to lend that claim designed to stoke the flames of sectarianism credentials. But when looking at the claimed numbers of Iraqi militia fighters involved, a 1000 here and 500 there, it seems not so many troops.

So, who do I think is leading the fight? I think the Syrian army is, and the Syrian army is in command. That seems to mean DM General Fahd al-Freij is in charge, though he was not present in the public in recent days. Instead the Syrian media chose to present Chief of Staff Lt Gen Ali Abdullah Ayyoub as public face of the recent offensive operations.

However, it may well be that Qassem Suleimani is currently responsible for one, some or all fronts in and near Aleppo. AFAIK, Suleimani and his bands of volunteers are credited by many in Syria for having saved Aleppo in spring 2013 from completely falling in the hands of rebels. So, I think, Suleimani has a good understanding of the battle of Aleppo.

turcopolier

Bandolero

After some thought it seems likely that Freij, a Sunni, is the man in charge. pl

bth

Col. have we seen any stats on SAA manpower levels or desertion rates? I can't help but wonder if there isn't a link between the EU refugees and SAA manpower levels. So many of the refugees look like healthy draft age men.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Newspapers in Iran every day are carrying news of funerals of soldiers who have died in Syria in the latest offensive.

walrus

Off topic but as predicted by Col. Lang, America and Russia have signed an MOU regarding de-confliction in Syrian airspace.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-21/russia-us-sign-memorandum-on-air-safety-over-syria/6871348

turcopolier

walrus

I helped negotiate one of these between the US and Iraq after the USS Stark incident. It works quite well. pl

Jack

Babak

How is this playing out in terms of sentiment and social/political outlook? How are those in power and those opposed to them characterizing it?

Pirouz

Expect Russian command at Syria roughly comparable to U.S. command at Iraq, with exceptions such as fielding JTAC equivalents in Syria and level of cooperation with Iraq (where correspondingly U.S. does not with Syria).

Soleimani is something of an Iranian Giap.

Addressing comment made by "b", it wasn't a "screw-up." There is a current power struggle taking place in Iraq between U.S.-backed Abadi ,and elements of Iraqi that are pro-Iran that include ranking Iraqi military figures.

Related, Russia has an agreement with Iraq (and Iran) maintaining the logistical air bridge through Iraqi air space into Syria. It's reported Iraqi military figures agreed to this, over the head--sort of speak--of Abadi. Also, Abadi lost out in attempting to pick military figures (including Shia militia reps) for joint Russia-Iraq-Iran-Syria intelligence center. Politically, U.S.-backed Abadi now needs success at Ramadi to match or exceed Iran-backed success at Baiji.

IMHO, these parallel efforts against AQ, AQ-aligned armed groups, and ISIL make for inefficient approach towards defeating these forces. But politics are what they are.

Will

an animated cartoon explanation of unity of command in the emergency services incident command system. After 9.11, the emergency and police services learned something from the military command model.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iWqNV0j2IE

Valissa

Good news, but this bit surprised me... "The US is leading a 60-plus member coalition". 60+ members? I wonder how they are getting to this number.

Bandolero

bth

From what I hear here in Germany the recent Syrian migrant wave is indeed mostly young man of fighting age - and almost all of them seem to be rebels or rebel sympathizers. It's largely "moderate" rebels and their social base who come to Germany, many of them from camps in Turkey. Many of them say they lost all hope for their "revolution" after 1. the Iran deal, 2. Al Qaeda's takeover of Idlib and Aleppo and 3. the failed offensive of the southern front. I understand that all what refugees - who want a legal status as refugee - say, must be taken carefully, but in one point the picture is very clear here: living as a government supporter among Syrian refugees in Germany would be very dangerous, because the overwelming majority of the Syrian refugees here in Germany hates the Syrian government.

Amir

They are REAL volunteers who go to fight there. No government pressure, overtly.

Babak Makkinejad

I cannot tell you since I do not know.

A few photographs of General Hamadani's funeral showed genuine emotional reaction from those in attendance - these are a mixture of public military and civilian ceremonies.

The moderated comments that I read uniformly express deep hatred for ISIS, Wahabis, and Saudi Arabia.

bth

So their choice is to be conscripted by one side or another, live in a Turkish refugee camp or roll the dice and make a break for the EU.

the Unready

bandolero & bth,

I hear such sentiments from Syrians regularly.

turcopolier

Bandolero

I would like to know more about the character of the people in refugee stream. pl

J Villain

>"About the claims which were made at the last EU summit that President al-Assad is responsible for the refugees crisis in Europe, the Czech President mocked these allegations, saying that if they were true, then that would mean that President al-Assad is a global leader with great influence over the world, because refugees are coming from Pakistan, Sudan, Senegal, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries, not only Syria."

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/czech-president-syrian-president-to-step-down-constitute-interference-in-syrian-internal-affairs/

SAC Brat

Consortium News has articles by Chas Freeman and Robert Parry that may interest some here.
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/20/a-plea-for-mideast-policy-realism/
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/20/mh-17-case-old-journalism-vs-new/

Chas Freeman strikes me as the type of person I would want representing my interests in Washington DC. The Robert Parry article is interesting but I lack the resources to determine if he is presenting the truth or counter-balonium.

Fred

Bandolero,

So they all want "freedom", however defined, as long as someone else provides it?

charly

I know that Syrian refugees who came in the past to Holland had a much higher percentage of Christians than the average Syrian population so i wouldn't assume that the Syrians who already live in Europe are pro-rebels.

SAC Brat

Whoops, I didn't see that confusedponderer linked to the Chas Freeman article on his "Musings on Turkey" thread yesterday before posting.

Bandolero

Pat Lang

Of course the Syrian refugees in Germany are a mixed bag. Just think about the US government saying 800k people may come. Of course, lot's of different people from third world countries would come, and not all of them had anything political in mind. In Germany, a country of similar wealth, that's similar. The refugess hate being stuck in safe, but poor countries like Greece or Hungary.

Having said that:

1st. People I know and trust who were at the train stations in the summer told me the Syrian refugees coming to Germany were almost all young men. There were some women and children, but these were exceptions, though the mass media liked to picture them. The official German BAMF ministry says in it's statistics that (more or less) about half of the Syrian refugee seekers are young men, while the rest are more or less children, women and elderly. News said many of the young refugee men do seek to get their families to Germany after they came. So while I'm not sure where the discrepancy between observable facts at train stations (almost all yung men) and official statistics (young men only 50% of asylum seekers) come from, but it may be that young men come to seek refugee status by train and then come their wifes and children by plane. However it may be, anyway young men make the bulk.

2nd. A lot of my friends are friendly to or have good feelings for the Syrian government. Some of them thought to get help in actions like demonstrations, online media or whatever from Syrian refugees. It turned out that that seems to be impossible. The refugees hate Assad. They won't join any action pro Assad, they are just the opposite. However the pro-Israel crowds in Germany championing "Syrian revolution" were not happy with the refugees neither as many of them said they hate Assad because he collaborates with Israel. Stupid as it may sound, it hints to me that weapons of mass deception had great impact in Syria.

3rd. That many of the Syrian refugees come from Turkish camps I have heard and read and I find it credible, but I don't know for sure. I also read that many, hundreds of thousands, people from camps in Jordan would like to go to Germany, if they could afford it, and I find it plausible, but that I have only from media.

I hope this comment clarifies my views on Syrian refugees in Germany a bit.

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