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05 October 2015


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Could you have a look on those 2 bits of info from a war-maniac nutcase on Twitter who nevertheless seem to have interesting sources.
1) Turkish troops getting close to the northwest Syria border:
For internal anti-Kurdish use or interference in Syria?
2) Propaganda leaflets warning of imminent offensive:

Patrick Bahzad

I've been monitoring social media nutcases all day long, so guess one more won't make a difference !

1) All I see is around 80 guys getting into a plane ...

2) leaflets look more genuine, but doesn't mean anything imminent coming up - would be surprised if there was more than minor engagements at this point.

Possibly a way of luring their enemies out of their hideouts ... easier targets for airstrikes. Also for intel purposes, as the Russians have plenty of "eyes" on the area, so any reaction or move would possibly be registered, analysed and turned into "actionable" intel

Ishmael Zechariah


1-Turkish troops or air assets will not enter combat against Russians. No way, no how. Issuing such an order will cause unintended consequences. Forget the bloviating by the "prime-minister".
2-The displaced Jihadis are moving northwest and will try to regroup inside Turkey. This might result in hot pursuit by Russian air, or it might not. We will live and see.
3-The likelihood of a joint Hizbullah/Iranian/SAA infantry mop-up of the area and associated cross-border raids is also a possibility. Our kids, unfortunately, will have to be there.

The current regime in Turkey is in panic. It is fun to watch them.

Ishmael Zechariah



With all the talk I hear from John Kasich, Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, John McCain, et al., about confronting Russia militarily and imposing a no-fly zone in Syria, I have added a few things to my daily routine and wanted to get your take on it.

I bought a heat-reflecting emergency blanket and keep it with me at all times.
I have studied this film closely: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=89od_W8lMtA
I try to practice what I've learned in this instructional video. It is from the fifties and only addresses atomic (fission) bombs. Nonetheless, I will routinely drill with the moves I've learned in the video and will randomly dive behind a wall or against a building and cover myself with the reflective blanket.

Anyway, do you think this is an effective nuke survival technique or am I being roughed up needlessly by the Boston PD?


The "Southern Front" failed several times to take Deraa and was recalled. They were allegedly cut off by some of their sponsors after they disregarded orders from the Military Command Room in Jordan. The north-south pincer on Damascus failed with them.

Since the Jordan king visited Moscow it is really quiet on that front. Jordan did not sign the preposterous U.S./F/GB/G/SA/QT statement telling Russia to only bomb IS.

I currently assume that Jordan, and the southern front, are either completely out of the regime change business or in a long reorganization phase. There is also the Al Aqsa trouble that keeps Jordan busy.



"The current regime in Turkey is in panic."

Could you elaborate more?


b & PB

King Abdullah is a sensible man as his father was and I suspect that he has decided that he doesn't want a jihadi state on his northern border. The Russians probably sweetened the deal somehow to make it easier for him to change course. pl


thanks, interesting.

There was a time during my stay in Northern Ireland when the citizen of the little town wanted me to leave the cottage. I tried to convince them, that whatever it was, I would simply "duck and cover" beneath the big table nearby.

Didn't help, but then it was a fake alarm. ;)

But then, they surely didn't expect, whatever it was they expected, a nuke attack.

Patrick Bahzad

that would be my guess too.


PB; I wonder if the WH has considered the real "domino" threat here. If Russia succeeds in Syria, then what happens when they ask Lebanon if maybe they want their airspace protected too?

Patrick Bahzad

I don't think any domino effect of that sort is likely, as Lebanon is not exactly on the Russian side, despite having Hezbollah as an indirect ally.

Besides, what would the Lebanese airspace be protected from ? Israeli incursions ? Not worth all that money the Russians are spending ! Nothing to gain there.

The only possible domino effect is if Syria falls to the Jihadis and their so-called moderate friends. Lebanon would be next in line, with Jordan just behind.


I think Iraq is next in line ... ;-)



Do you think the Russians promised him some of the more modern military hardware that the US has denied selling him?


The natural gas pipeline routes needed to supply electricity to regime areas would be a logical path of advancement. http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=60316



I would bet on that. maybe Jordan doesn't need us any longer. IMO the Russian forces have been badly underestimated. pl


Col: And Putin probably doesn't lecture Egyptians and Jordanians about Israel, either.

FB Ali

The Saudis and their Arab stooges have threatened to provide military support to "their" rebels. This probably means weapons (AA or AT); the likely route would be through Lebanon.

Any chance of such things getting through?

Patrick Bahzad

Difficult at the moment. No direct land route, which leaves the following entry points:
* Kleyate Airport in Tripoli
* maritime route, again most likely through Tripoli.
The major problem would be getting deliveries through the border. Since the fall of Qusayr to Hezbollah/SAA, the main road into rebel controlled areas in Syria has been cut off.
With the Russians taking control of the Allawi heartland, this could be a potentially dangerous development for Northern Lebanon, as it might be used as a launch-pad for a counter offensive in an area that is currently not a focal point of interest for the Russian/Syrian forces.
With Hezbollah possibly tied up elsewhere, and not very popular anyway in this part of Lebanon, there is a risk here, even if it seems quite remote at this point.



Your facts on the ground are priceless.

All I can go on is the past but I am convinced that Russia has kicked a hornet’s nest. Vladimir Putin may have had no choice with the economic sanctions placed on them by the West, the Ukraine Civil War next door and the European refugee crisis. Russia will cut out an enclave defended by Syrian Army and the minority militias but they are now in a total war with militant Sunni Islam. America is covertly supporting Sunnis in Syria in an attempt to replay Afghanistan once more to destabilize Russia.

The Western European Refugee Crisis started when Turkey freed the millions of refugees in their camps with the start of the war against the America’s ally, the Kurds. Greece stopped border enforcement due to austerity placed on them by the Eurozone. A way to trek to Germany and England was opened if one has enough money to pay the smugglers.

We are now in a bi-polar world, a tottering American Empire against Russia and China. If Iranian forces infiltrate Syria to support the Shiite militias, it is not a civil war anymore. It is a regional religious war with all three monotheists religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam as active participants.

The only way to stop the Sunni Shiite Jihad from escalating into World War III is for America to back down. Fat Chance with Clinton, Bush, Fiorina and Kasich all supporting imposing a no fly zone over Syria which means an air and sea battle with nuclear armed Russia.



That ECM suite sseems to have impressed the hell out of you, and rightfully so. Have you had to revise your own position on the state of the Russian military?

Do you think the Russians deliberately underplayed their hand and the actual state of their armies to spring this surprise down? This entire op does not look like a thing that was undertaken at a whim, but an expeditionary force deployed by professionals used to doing it.

Ishmael Zechariah

I will try to write a summary worthy of this site, but this will take me a while. In the meantime perhaps the following will suffice:
1-The entire foreign policy of the regime was predicated on winning in Syria (http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/26/erdogans-syria-frustrations/ )
-As the issue started to drag on, he became weaker: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/25/erdogan-s-foreign-policy-reset.html
-The PKK fight (another part of the ISIS gambit, in our opinion) has flared again and we are losing soldiers. This is not playing well with the population.
-If the ISIS militants regroup in Turkey and start fighting with our forces, with resultant military and civilian casualties, tayyip will have lost and existential bet.
Yesterday davutoglu said that they will engage any and all Russian aircraft that ventures into Turkish airspace. Today there was a second incursion. Nothing happened except yet another protest at the Russian Embassy. tayyip is trying to meet Putin. Perhaps he will fare better than Mileikowsky, but he has nothing to bargain with, not even an army which will fight at his command. Let us see him give the order. This is fun to watch.
Ishmael Zechariah
P.s: I hope committee members Kodlu and Kunuri would also comment.

FB Ali

I don't think Putin has kicked over a "hornet's nest". I believe it is a well thought out move. He could not afford to let the Syrian regime collapse, which was looking increasingly likely (from external pressure and internal loss of morale and hope). He will not let this escalate into a war with the US.

In the broader picture, both China and Russia are carving out their sphere of the world to withstand the pressure that the US is exerting on both of them. This sphere is likely to be the Eurasian continent (Mackinder's Heartland). What we are seeing now are the battles for control of the fringe countries; as you say this is turning into a Sunni-Shia tussle in the ME, supported respectively by the US and Russia.

My hope that this will not escalate into WW3 (as you fear) lies in Putin. (He plays chess, unlike the bumbling braggarts on the other side).

FB Ali

Thank you, Patrick.

Your posts on the situation in the ME are invaluable. Based as they are on your intimate knowledge of the area, and your balanced assessment of the developing situation.

Babak Makkinejad

It has been a religious war for a while.

But, I would suggest that it is Protestantism that is on one side of this war and the Catholic and the Orthodox that are on the other side.

Patrick Bahzad

You're very welcome. It's a pleasure and an honour to exchange views with you. PB

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