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03 October 2015


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There are rumors of Chinese warships in the Med and in Syrian ports, but they are unsubstantiated so far. The rumors of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning have been dismissed as merely rumors. The ship had not been spotted in transit through the Indian Ocean. The Chinese do have a task force in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy patrol. Other rumors have Chinese advisers being transported to Syria via naval ships. Purportedly the Chinese will be targeting Uighur jihadis in Syria.

FB Ali

I doubt if the Israeli military is crazy enough to try an attack on the Russian base. What they were probably doing is testing the Russians to see if they'd let the Israelis intrude into Syrian airspace.

If they'd gotten away with it, next would have been flights over Syrian land instead of the sea.


It does sound interesting, colonel, but it sounds too good to be true.

Out of curiosity I decided to check out the Daily Star of Beruit to see if they had anything. There's a slew of news about the Russian air attacks but I afraid nothing about this. Still, one can dream...

My own belief is when Netanyahu went to see Putin that contrary to what Netanyahu wants Americans to think that Putin told to him to cut the crap with these overflights and bombing runs they've done in the past. Between the Russian fighters and their ADA systems they brought they've established their own defacto no fly zone. someone should tell Hillary and the other fools that Putin has beaten them to the punch.

Something I wonder if is still the case does the US still send most of its supplies to Afghanistan through Russian as well? This was the case in the past.

Outrage Beyond

If it really happened, I suspect it was a "probe" attempt to test the Russian reaction time. Another reason might be a surveillance mission to detect the Russian radar installations.

So if it happened, Bibi knows the Russians aren't joking.

So how about it? Six Su-30 vs. 4 F-15; who wins? Does the Su-30 generally have AA missiles with greater standoff range than the F-15? Some forum discussion: https://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/29-35.aspx#startofcomments

Re: Chinese ships, a couple articles have appeared saying the Chinese have their aircraft carrier off the coast.


Col. Lang,

DEBKA reported on the Chinese ships last week and I found this today.

Yes. Watch Fail Safe again.


Neil R

"There are rumors of Chinese warships in the Med and in Syrian ports, but they are unsubstantiated so far. The rumors of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning have been dismissed as merely rumors. The ship had not been spotted in transit through the Indian Ocean. The Chinese do have a task force in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy patrol. Other rumors have Chinese advisers being transported to Syria via naval ships. Purportedly the Chinese will be targeting Uighur jihadis in Syria."

There is a PLAN task force composed of two Type 054A frigates (Yueyang and Sanya) plus a supply ship operating in the Gulf of Aden. As for Liaoning, they're still busy trying to learn how to launch and recover aircraft without having too many people killed in the South China Sea. They tried to impress the JMSDF without much success earlier this year. Without air operational capability, all Liaoning is just a giant target with noisy submarine escort.

Neil R

To all:

Didn't the IAF shoot down Soviet flown Mig-21s during the War of Attrition?

Neil R

"Are these MIG-21s?"

Dear Col. Lang,

No, they're not. However the Israelis were operating F-4s and Mirage IIIs which were hardly superior to MIG-21s in ACM. An Indian Air Force squadron of Su-30Ks surprised USAF during Cope India 2004. Are current F-15Cs in the Israeli inventory that inferior to Su-30s in BVR engagement? USAF seem to have done better in subsequent Cope India exercises. Are Russian fighter pilots better trained than Israeli counterparts today?

Bill Herschel


This this the reason there are SU-30's in Syria:

"Mrs. Clinton made her frustration with the current approach clear on Thursday in interviews with Boston television stations. “I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air,” she told WHDH-TV. The White House has rejected a no-fly zone for years and repeated its position this week. “It raises a whole set of logistical questions about how exactly — what would be enforced, what sort of resources would be used to actually protect that area,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary. “So that’s why, at this point, we’ve indicated that that’s not something that we’re considering right now.”

So, in other words, no matter who is elected, they will create a no-fly zone over Syria. Or they would have if Putin had not put SU-30's there, SU-30's that may have already proven that they will fight. He does not want to fight Chechnya 3 (or WWIII). Whatever ISIL is and whoever's client it is, Putin has decided that he will meet it with force. Let us hope he succeeds.


A hypothesis says Syria is really about oil/gas, that Qatar and Saudi Arabia wanted to build a pipeline through Syria to Turkey, beating Russia, and somehow were able to pull strings to get America involved. In this case it's actually about economics, and the sectarian "rescue" story's then a cover. This would affect staying-power estimates on American politicians.

decent Sept '15 elucidation by Mnar Muhawesh of Mint:
following Aug '13 Dr. Nafeez Ahmed:
Sept '15 Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog on ZH, cites AUMF:

This could explain the U.S. "no fly zone" balloon. The story of "Assad is evil" simply doesn't weigh enough to explain continuing US exertions against, IMHO. What do more-informed people think of this?


The stakes are through the roof but this is pure war porn.


Col. Indian media last week had reported Chinese ships headed to Med via Suez and Chinese had responded that they were preplanned maneuvers. Sorry don't have original source at fingertips.


Then comes this curious article about the trial in Turkey regarding the munitions for Syrian rebels truck case. http://national.bgnnews.com/turkeys-trucks-to-syria-case-goes-top-secret-fear-of-cover-up-mounts-haberi/9880


And there is this article about the rebel withdrawal of tanks in the Ukraine and hostilities all but stopped. http://www.dw.com/en/ukraines-pro-russian-rebels-say-tanks-withdrawn/a-18759171 I would just note that the amateur Turkish naval observer we noted a few days ago had commented that the vehicles he spotted on passing Russian ships matched those that had been seen in the Ukraine though it wasn't clear if he meant Crimea or eastern Ukraine. And this article that says Syria has transferred dozens of Soviet era tanks to Hezbollah which seems particularly generous under the circumstances. http://www.timesofisrael.com/report-syria-arming-hezbollah-with-75-soviet-era-tanks/



Good question. Consider the numbers, plus the fact the Su30s were the more advanced SM variant with a 2012 era load out. I'd also think it's likely that the pilots had live air to air experience in Georgia.

I think the F15s would have had a bad time of it.


I think this article is BS, at least based on the translation. The Russians are in the middle of a naval exercise right off the coast of Syria. The Syrians have a decent air defense network in the areas they control to include the coast, particularly around Latakia and Tartus. Not only that, but Gen. Breedlove (SACEUR), stated several days ago that Russia had moved its own "sophisticated" air defense systems into Syria along with all the aircraft and other assets. None of this is mentioned in the article, yet it would all be well known to Israel, so to believe this article we have to believe that the Israeli's are dumb enough to overfly a bunch of highly-capable Russian ships with air defense capabilities in the middle of an exercise, then violate Syrian airspace, penetrate the Syrian SAM MEZ around Latakia and/or Tartus and then overly advanced Russian SAMs, the Syrian AD network only to be "surprised" by Russian Su-30's (aircraft that everyone knows was deployed to Syria, so how could it be surprise) - all for what purpose exactly? It doesn't make any sense.

Even absent the Russian forces, this would be a high-risk mission with no clear objective. Historically, Israel only penetrated the Syrian air defense network to conduct specific, planned strikes against known, static targets (There was the Palestinian camp near Damascus in 2003 which is the only example I can think of (and even there the Israelis probably used long-range weapons and thus didn't penetrate Syrian airspace) - the attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 was outside of most of Syria's air defenses which are concentrated in the west.

I can see...maybe...Israel flying aircraft over Lebanon and/or over the Med (in international waters) in order to gauge the Russian reaction or collect intel, or whatever, but to fly over the Med, then turn into Syrian airspace and into known threats for no apparent strategic or tactical purpose only to be "surprised" by Su-30's simply doesn't make any sense.

William R. Cumming

IMO control of air space matches ground border control as central to definition of a modern nation-state. I have assumed that Israel allows NO overflights of its territory without permission. Is this the practice for the rest of MENA? Lebanon in particular?


The story sounds like bullshit.

There are only 6 Su-30M so far flying in Syria. (There will likely soon be more). They run cover for the Su-24/25/34 which are bombing near the Turkish border. The Su-30M were photographed equipped each with ECM pod, 4 medium-long range AA missiles (R-27)(~120km range) and 2 short range AA missiles (R-60)(~6km range). They always fly in pairs. The Su-24 and 34 are also capable of air-to-air fights with medium (R-73)(~30km) and short range (R60) AA missiles.

The Syrian coast is not only defended by the Syrian AA system but by long range radar and several Pantsyr S1 medium-short range air defense system (truck mounted and track mounted) under Russian control.

Next to the coast sits the Russia guided missile cruiser Moskwa with 64 S-300PMU long range air defense missiles ready to launch plus various medium-short range systems. There are several minor ships around which also have air defense systems.

One Chinese frigate was reported to have crossed into the Mediterranean last week but I have yet to see confirmation of this. The "carrier passed Suez" stuff was obvious nonsense.

The Russians have reserved air space near Syria for several weeks of maneuvers. I'd expect some Chinese component to take part in these just like they did last time.

The Israelis would be crazy to go in along the coast against the above air defense. The F-15s would be toast in that surrounding.


Maybe they were there on a humanitarian mission to air drop a load of cherry tomatoes.

robt willmann

This past week, Russia got inside the OODA loop of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Britain, France, Qatar, and the UAE. Israel tried to play catch-up with Netanyahu and two IDF generals going to Moscow, but they were apparently told, "no dice".

One of the several odd things about the sudden, organized appearance of ISIS was the big convoy of new looking, cream-colored Toyota pickup trucks, cruising along in broad open daylight with the occupants wearing their black outfits with black flags. Nobody seems capable of talking about which Toyota dealership or factory the trucks came from, and who paid for them and delivered them. Regardless of those unknown but relevant details, it is highly unlikely that any such convoys will be parading around anytime soon, with the Russian air force, informed by drones, doing attacks from the air. The Russian military stated that it has drones checking out the militants and that it responds right away to actionable information by its planes attacking at any time of the day or night.

It will be interesting to see how the Russian activity proceeds. A man I knew learned Russian in the U.S. military and worked for the No Such Agency from its inception, and for its precursor, back when that agency actually did its job, which was collecting information on foreign capabilities and intentions. He was involved in the Cuban missile situation and other matters regarding the former Soviet Union because of his language ability. He told me that when it came to certain aspects of using force, the Russians did not fool around. Those were the Soviets, but Putin and the Boyz are related to that old school.

There are also rumors of men from Iraq, probably from Shiite militia-type groups, showing up in Syria, as well as Iranian soldiers. If true, ground actions against the groups opposing the Syrian government, coordinated with the Russian air force, may occur in a real effort to knock them down. This means that a campaign to eradicate ISIS, et. al., may be underway, instead of the Russian air force trying to "stabilize" the situation enough for a quick deal to be made for an official partition of Syria and a determination of the status of Assad himself.

The Chinese are not happy about what the U.S. and others did to their oil and gas operations in Libya and how they were tricked by the U.S. lawyers regarding the language in the United Nations resolution about Libya. They may help Syria and Assad, but in classic Chinese fashion, in this situation their assistance may not be very obvious.


The tanks were not withdrawn from the Donbas, they were pulled back from the ceasefire line as stipulated in the Minsk2 accord.

Ghost ship


I seem to recall this has been linked to here previously.

The Ruskies probably just "painted" the Israel aircraft. The IAF is so used to having its own way - the Syrian Air Force has more important things to do than lose aircraft needlessly - that being confronted by modern attack aircraft must be pretty scary.

Will the Russians establish an artillery base south of Damascus?

Are the Israelis going anywhere near Iran any time soon?

Ghost ship

Is the Israeli government sane?
The IAF and IDF do this sort of thing because they can and it burnishes their images in Washington. If Israel can't act as sheriff in the Middle East, why spend billions arming it.


Correction to my earlier comment on the Russian ships.

The Moskva is classified as a cruiser with a displacement of 11,500 tons not as a frigate. There are also one Russian guided missile destroyer (Smetlivy) and two frigates (Pytlivy and Ladny) near the Syrian coast. I'd suspect a Russian sub or two being there too.

Several landing ships per week travel between the Black Sea and Syria and are bringing in weapons and ammunition.


the electronics and the air to air missles make up for the under performance of the airframe. interestingly, the Indians, may be on the way to the gold standard for avionics due to their software prowess. Russian air frames married to Indian information technology.

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