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16 October 2015


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I think you are underrating the effect of the Russian airpower and overestimating the ability of the rebels to blunt any mechanized response.

Any TOW gunner is taking his life in his hands when he pops up and fires a missile. The Russians own the skies - if you're going to hand wave that advantage away, the rest of your analysis is lmbo.



I'd like to think GEN Dempsey would have the good sense to know better than to taunt the Russians but who knows? The men we expected to be realists towed the globalist line in the end.

I don't think the low testosterone males and harridans running State and Defense are going to be satisfied with nanny shaming language though, and it's going to get a lot of people killed when they think that their half ass usage of force will revert things to the status quo.


Perhaps it's the Syrian Air Force which is responsible for supporting the Aleppo offensive?

Will Smith

BTW. Very LOW flying Mi 24 Helicopters in action today near Talbiseh (Homs)


I wonder if Chechen "SF" might be sent in as well. I remember Ramzan Kadyrov stating he saw fighting IS as his religious duty. He also would have a clear interest in eliminating the Chechen Jihadi units operating in Syria.
It certainly is going to be interesting to see how this whole wider operation plays out.
And Patrick: thanks a lot for your contributions!


I am not yet sure that an attrition phase is a decisive part of the plan.

All these various fronts smell of maskirovka. The well publicized moves of Suleiman and the south-western part of that Aleppo attack are probably shiny objects to keep our eyes and minds away from a buildup elsewhere.

Some Russian planes are moving to Latakia city airport. (Which also explains the current lack of sorties.) They seem to build up well though and nearly ready to go - vid: https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/646409945210974208/pu/vid/318x180/Wu0qDRwGGDjvbe1f.mp4 :o)

But where are all those inserted forces that came in - some 10,000 in total I have so far heard of? And where is the hezb armor brigade?

While the plans we discuss here make sense, they are also the plans that someone wanted us to know and speculate about. It does not mean that these are the real plans.


what are those coloured bands that the troops in the briefing at 2:12 min wear at the shoulder about?


Zerohedge paints a bleak picture for IS fighters.


Patrick Bahzad

Could be as well but there were confirmed RuAF strikes over Aleppo, and the risk involved in case of an encounter with Coalition aircraft is lower for the Russian planes.

Patrick Bahzad

We were talking of airmobile/airborne option in relation to control of border areas to turkey, not for Aleppo operation. Guess they could also carry Hezbollah or whatever local assets in Russian helos and drop them on a ridge overlooking border posts

Patrick Bahzad

Kadyrov says lots of things ...

Patrick Bahzad

Company colors

Patrick Bahzad

You could be right of course, wait and see ...

Patrick Bahzad

Agree about the battle for this airbase having potentially significant implications.

On the topic of ISIS, it is the by-product of very ill advised US policies and years of catastrophic COIN tactics devised by people who willfully ignored the long term consequences of such warfare. Combined with sectarian and repressive domestic policies of the Iraqi government, you get something like the so called Islamic State.

However it is not the product of a deliberate startegy. That is total nonsense. Besides, nobody among those who have been in charge would have been clever enough to get something like ISIS going, even if they had wanted to.

This is just one more of those conspiracy theories that the ME is full off.

Patrick Bahzad

I disagree. Most of what has happened was very clearly articulated by the R+5, including the airstrikes which targeted logistics and arms depots of the rebels. Same could be said about reinforcements sent into Aleppo, creating a further headache for rebel "operations room". Their lack of a unified CC system will cost them.

Attrition is a principle of war, it can take many shapes and forms. Principles are adjusted to the environment and adversary that you're fighting. Attrition doesn't mean Verdun or Stalingrad.

As far as the Russian build up is concerned, nobody at SST is surprised about it I guess. It's been stated time and again that they need to bring in more gear if they are serious about going into Aleppo.

Besides, syria is not eastern Ukraine. There's plenty of info coming through, using various means and there's isn't much that is unknown about troops buildup in the area.


Excuse me but I don't find "humorous" videos quite appropriate, they add nothing to the discussion and are wasting everybody's time.

Patrick Bahzad

Try and see the irony of this one: b considers the Russians to be the good guys, but he sends a link to movie vid showing the bad guys, who get beaten in the end by the rebels .... Besides, humour is all that we have left at the end of the day. Carpe diem :-)


"nobody among those who have been in charge would have been clever enough to get something like ISIS going, even if they had wanted to"

OK, that's a strong argument :-) but OTOH what about the oil smuggling business of ISIS which is certainly one of their decisive assets?
It seem improbable that it couldn't have been suppressed one way or another if there were not some tacit support of *some* of the players, though I am not suggesting whom, only that there is some support and NO counter action on this.

Patrick Bahzad

You know the oil smuggling in Iraq is something that goes back decades, back to the oil for food programme. What ISIS did, was to reactivate networks their ex Baathist members had set up in the 1990s already, and these guys know that trade inside out.
Of course, they have people in several neighboring countries who are in on it. But such is the Middle East, it is complicated ... ISIS has sold oil to Iran, going through Kurdish areas. They've sold some to Assad. They've sold a lot in Turkey.
I wouldn't read too much into it, in terms of ISIS being deliberately supported by any of the neighboring governments. This is a game of give and take, hoping in the end your side will have outsmarted the other. Look at it as some kind of bartering at the local suqh.


I'm very interested in knowing how the Obama administration will react.
Can they really allow Russia to succeed without putting up a fight?

If Obama came to you asking for a fallback position, what advice would you give him? Of course, I am assuming that Obama wants regime change and the rebels are helping him achieve that goal.



I would advise him to abandon regime change in Syria as a short term goal and accept a situation of cooperation with Russia in destroying jihadi movements. pl


what is wrong with our civilian and military leaders? What can be clearer than these two simple facts:
1. if not the Assad' government, than there will be a terrorist state ruled by Al Qaida.
2. if Russia (invited by the legitimate head of state) must leave Syria, than the US and Saudis and Turkey must leave as well. And then what? Point No1?
The Point No 1 - creating Al Qaida state instead of the functioning Iraq, Libya, and Syria- would be the gravest insult to the memory of the fallen during the so-called war on terror. The war profiteers suddenly found themselves completely naked. The financial and political ruin of the US in the name of "security" has achieved a unique goal: the fulfillment of ben Laden' dream.


In that case, I hope you will consider running for public office.
We could use more of that thinking in Washington.


Patrick Bahzad, do you think the Russians will consider an airborne/airmobile operation because of its publicity value and as another force projection message, as they did with Hazar cruise missiles? After all, didn't they pull a stunt like that during the Balkan war, and got to an important airport before NATO forces? I mean, could the publicity value be the tip over point as they consider their cost/benefit options?


I believe it in much the same way as the CIA, Charlie Wilson, et al., helped give rise to and support Al Qaeda (mujahideen) in Afghanistan. The U.S. strategy in general was to promote/support radical Islam in Central Asia to weaken Soviet influence. Actions have consequences. If you start a fire to burn some brush in your back yard and start a forest fire, you are the cause of and responsible for the forest fire, even if you never intended it. Neocons have controlled U.S. foreign policy for decades. For at least the last 14 years there has been the explicit goal of the destruction of, and/or regime change in, Syria ("Clean Break", "The Ledeen Doctrine", et al.). Many attempts have been made to accomplish this. E.g., Judith Miller's fabricated intel in NYT that Iraq's WMDs had been moved to Syria, the Khan al-Assal chemical attack incident facilitated/fabricated by Turkish/U.S./Western intelligence, etc. The Benghazi incident was the first time U.S. support for rebels (i.e., jihadis) in Syria became public knowledge. At that time it was just working with Turkey to funnel arms to the jihadis. Since then it has been, at best, been cognitive dissonance between the desire for bringing down the Assad government and continued support for the jihad. But I have reason to believe there is a hardcore/psychopathic core which believe it wouldn't be bad for radical Islamists to destroy and take over Syria. And some of them make up the majority of candidates for President.

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