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08 October 2015


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It's gonna be funny to watch the Next President, (guaranteed if it's not Bernie), put boots on the ground to protect the valiant fighters of Al Quida, against the nasty Russians.


This is a bet I’d rather lose. Remind me in two years that Turkey’s armed forces stayed out of Syria and I will toast a salute to your knowledge and to the TSK.


My interest would be if the jihadis will be given MANPADS by their foreign supporters which should be useful against Russian Mi-24's. But the risk of a repeat of the 2002 Mombasa attack is an unpleasant side effect of such a weapons transfer.

Can the US stop any such transfer?


I also find it curious that detractors of Iran liked to point out the alleged Jewishness of their respective nemeses of the day. So Ahmadinejad is supposedly Jewish and so is Soleimani?

Israel and their propagandists are playing on Muslim and Arab antisemitism to discredit people they accuse, among things, of antisemitism? Ahmadeinejad, of Jewis roots, wants to wipe Israel off the map, because he is an antisemite?

One has to assume that the point of the argument is similar with Soleimani. They can't point to a specech he made but to deeds that were comitted under his direction.

The folks who create such memes appear unbothered that this feeds something ugly and baleful that supposedly is in the Jewis interest to see disapear.

And there idiots in Tehran have nothing better to do than hold holocaust conferences every odd year (when apparently their problem is Israel's exploitation of the holocaust as a fit all excuse for everything they do to today - which, if they think so, they seem incapable of expressing coherently) and invite denialists, like that loon David Irving and hand the Israelis on a golden platter a propaganda theme that couldn't be worse for Iran's image since it feeds the narrative that the iranians are intent and keen on wiping Israel off the map - and do they not cry death to America a lot - and cannot be trusted, ever.

For the Israelis that sort of stupid is a gift that keeps on giving. Their pragmatic and cynical take is apparently that, since they are all implacable enemies anyway, and antisemites: Why bother and not try to use their vices and turn them on themselves?

On the westermn front, there is a whole cottage industry in Israel and the US around which, implausibly, tries to link Islam with Nazism, for instance because the Nazis tried to instrumentalise Haj Amin al-Husseini (who tried to use them for his own ends - Arab independence, and opposition to a Jewsish state) to effect a Muslim uprising in the Middle East in Britain's back, or because there were muslim auxiliaries fighting with Germany, and they were subordinated to the SS (just like the Danes, Norwegians, French, Belgians, Russians, Ukrainians who fought with Germany). Proof positive of Islamofacism's not just existence but continuity? Hardly. It is more ambuiguous than that.

Patrick Bahzad

First of all, what does it mean of "Jewish" origin ? Does he have a great-great-grand-father who was Jewish ?
Second, Iranian Jews were and still are mostly living in cities, they're not farmers, as far as I know.
Third, "they" (who ever that is) also claimed that OBL's mother was an Alawi ... Actually, I heard a well-known US journalist make that claim recently. I doubt h' has ever set foot in the village where OBL's mother came from, but whatever. I guess he was coached well by Prince Bandar's cronies who gave him a full bio of OBL.

Bottomline: could be true, could be false (about Suleimani), and most likely it is BS. Just as it was about OBL. Part of trying to discredit your enemy. Mind games are nothing new in this business, but in these cases they are just ridiculously obvious. Amateurs at work ...

Patrick Bahzad

@ Degringolade,

If you're looking for regular updates on latest events like car bombs, attacks of X and Y, counter-offensives by pro- or anti-government forces, etc., ISW is the place to go. This kind of info they're giving is very accurate, no doubt about it. They're also able to give reasonably good short term forecasts regarding COAs of groups like ISIS, JaN.

On the other hand, their strategic analysis in terms of policy options is deeply flawed by their ideological bias. They rely basically on the same argument, with slight variations, both regarding Syria and Iraq, which is to solve these things by launching a new "Surge" with coalition aircraft as close air support (or NFZ or "safe zones" in the case of Syria).
This is where their lack of cultural, linguistic and religious knowledge shows: they got no native Arab speaker among their senior staff, they don't even have reasonably good Arab speakers among their young (but talented) analysts and this is a shortcoming that is really affecting some of their prospective analysis. They got no clue about certain realities on the ground in Syria and, instead, they use mostly English speaking or translated social media to get an insight into certain groups they're studying.

For decision making purposes, they are a deceptive bunch, as their products are a mix of "intel report" and idelogically tainted policy options. That being said, if you want to know what has happened in the last week or so, which group is where, etc., the information they offer is good and nicely packaged.

Ghost ship

Most explosives require a shockwave rather than just heat to detonate properly.

Ghost ship

Some one in Washington could be lying - it happens very frequently, something about "creating a new reality". RT are reporting the claim but saying that the Russians are denying it and the people making the claim have produced no evidence so far. Now the Iranians are denying it as well. As for the claims that Russian cruise missiles don't have the range, Wikipedia reports that the 3M-14T Klub, (shipborne VLS launched - look at the pictures) has a range of 2,500 kms, enough to hit just about anywhere n the Middle East from the Caspian Sea(so much for the USN being the most powerful navy in the world).


Have you seen this jab at America by this Russian?

The first bit of extreme silliness surfaced when Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, told a Senate panel that only a very small number of Syrian fighters trained by the United States remained in the fight—perhaps as few as five.

The tab for training and equipping them was $500 million. That's $100 million per fighter, but that's OK, because it's all good as long as the military contractors are getting paid. Things got even sillier when it later turned out that even these few fighters got car-jacked by ISIS/al Qaeda in Syria (whatever they are currently calling themselves) and got their vehicles and weapons taken away from them.

General Austin's previous role as as Lt. General Casey in Tim Burton's film Mars Attacks! It was already a very silly role, but his current role is a definite career advancement, both in terms of rank and in terms of silliness level.

End quote.


i always thought that cruise missles hugged the terrain according to a map stored in an onboard digital memory, but apparently some do use satellites.

from the wiki
"Guidance systems also vary greatly. Low-cost systems use a radar altimeter, barometric altimeter and clock to navigate a digital strip map. More advanced systems use inertial guidance, satellite guidance and terrain contour matching (TERCOM). Use of an automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithm/device in the guidance system increases accuracy of the missile. The Standoff Land Attack Missile features an ATR unit ... "


"Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels

LONDON — The Obama administration has ended the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, administration officials said on Friday, in an acknowledgment that the beleaguered program had failed to produce any kind of ground combat forces capable of taking on the Islamic State in Syria.
A senior Defense Department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there would no longer be any more recruiting of so-called moderate Syrian rebels to go through training programs in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Instead, a much smaller training center would be set up in Turkey, where a small group of “enablers” — mostly leaders of opposition groups — would be taught operational maneuvers like how to call in airstrikes."


Interesting, and the last part sounds even halfway reasonable if they weren't so late to the party. So they are going to bomb ISIS after all, and accept that aerial sensors have limits? Like in earnest, for a change?

Also, who are they going to train? Since it is in Turkey, they are not going to train Kurds. So, who else? Turkomans? Yet more moderates?

And, as interesting: Who are they thinking will be doing the airstriking part? The US? Russia? US and Russia? So they will deconflict, or will they?


Maybe this is nothing but...

SecDef Carter's presser yesterday:

"So there is a NATO view that it can compliment the EU-led mission in the Mediterranean. We're discussing exactly how we can do that, but I think the fundamental strategy is to align ourselves with the EU strategy and to bring military instruments where they can appropriately compliment that strategy to strengthen and reinforce it."


Notorious neocon hawks Rogin & Lake column in Bloomberg today:

"If Assad is staying and there’s no political process in sight, this argument goes, the U.S. might as well focus on alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people and mitigate the growing refugee crisis."


So is the latest hawk proposal to convince Obama to put ships in the Med to "mitigate the refugee crisis" when their location would presumably also happen to be in the path of the Russian supply ships traveling from the Black Sea to Tartus through the Bosphorous?

The questions at Carter's press conference did not seem to be random. His staff was selecting the journalists. This question came from Jane's and it was related to NATO "strategy for the south". I've been paying attention to NATO's press releases and NATO has been hyper-focused on their "eastern strategy" and their "rapid response" force for a couple of years. The "south strategy" and the refugee crisis didn't seem to become a priority until the incident with the Turkish airspace.

Patrick Bahzad


SST already gave that info about two weeks ago ! Guess we're at the forefront of news when it comes to Syria .. Think SST (PL) was also one of the first to publish anything about the Russian troops build-up.

The current Russian/SAA offensives were also first announced here, including the areas where they're taking place right now.

Got to take credit where credit is due :-)


One Russian video clip showed what appeared to be a CBU strike. However, from the look of the bomblet impacts the canister had opened too high for the ordnance to be effective. I'm waiting for the MSM cries of war crimes, forgetting that Israel used ICM's (artillery delivered cluster munitions) against Palestinian camps in Beruit years ago.

CBU's are a great piece of ordinance. As a VN FAC I often requested them; but, never got them. It took extreme circumstances to get approval to used them in VN (they were restricted to Laos & NVN) because of the high dud rate of the bomblets & the danger to friendly troops moving through area of the strike.

An EOD friend said that his longest night was after an A-6 with a load of mixed CBU's (contact, motion & magnetic fuses) ran off the runway a Danang & scattered bomblets around. The call went out for EOD men with no metal implants or filled teeth to report in their underwear to clean up the site.

Great ordnance for killing the crews of AA & arty sites. Should reduce the TOW threat.


Well it looks like this version of “The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming” isn’t as humorous to the politicians as the Hollywood original. I’m sure the Caliph isn’t laughing. I wonder if they title his daily briefing memo the “Tora, Tora,Tora” report since this has to be a complete surprise; or maybe that’s the title of the one Clapper is giving Obama since it is the US that seems completely shocked that the Russian Federation has an expeditionary force capability beyond what is in action (allegedly) in Ukraine and that they would move it into place and then combat with this speed.

What does this say about the capabilities of the US intelligence services in their analysis of the armed forces and political leadership of one of the world’s major nuclear armed powers. (One we have been provoking at least since the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the financial rape of the social safety net of the former members of the Warsaw Pact states.) Or is this just a case of denial by the collective doctors of political science?


That cat is probably out of the bag.

MANPDADs are abound, despite US efforts to limit their spread (that said, things would be far worse without their effort). An overview can be found at the State Department, with a timeline on attacks on aircraft with MANPADs:


This somewhat dated article is also interesting in the context of MANPADs and Syria:


It will be interesting if the Gulfies or Turkey, in light of the Russian air strikes will arm up their pet Jihadis. On the US side, congressional nutters (and some of the more demented presidential contenders) have always looked at the idea of finally giving lethal aid (tough! action!) to the rebels, and them being so dumb, must rejoice at the prospect of seeing such arms used against Russians, evil Russians.

In pursuit of the objective of limiting the spread of such weapons, the looting of Ghaddafi's arsenals probably did not help, as did the destruction of government control in Libya and 'liberated Syria' generally.

Overriding priorities and conflicting policies resulted in that undesired and undesirable side effect. Regime change comes first and the non-proliferation folks are to cease protesting and to get in line.



What I find amusing about the people who never miss an opportunity to bring up al-Husseini ignore all the Muslim colonial troops the British and the French had in their armies. When they bring up al-Husseini it is inevitably in the form of a blanket smear.


Funny how these worthies are raising Cain over this alleged violation of Turkish airspace but won't way anything about not only Israel's violations of Syrian airspace but engaging in bombing attacks as well. Talk about a violation of sovereignty.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think Iranians were stupid; the Cult of Shoah underpins NATO states' policy towards Israel.

They were undermining a religion when George Bush was threatening them with death and destruction.

As I have said before, unless one follows the advice of Confucius and calls things by their true names, order cannot be restored.

Babak Makkinejad

It is part of the religious war.


"Got to take credit where credit is due :-)"

Deservedly so :)

ex-PFC Chuck

Are we ever going to find out if the recent attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz was called in by a US trained "enabler?" And if not by whom?

Bill Herschel

"If either of them makes so much as a nervous twitch towards the Syrian frontier, the oil price will return to the level Russia wants, and needs."

Since June, the price of gasoline at the pump has plummeted by a third (fourth?). Exxon's earnings have taken a beating.

But... but the price of Exxon stock has been steadily climbing for a couple of weeks.

I freely admit that I know absolutely nothing about what is going on in the Middle East. But Saudi Arabia has been getting a lot of bad news recently. The temptation for them to turn some of that deluxe hardware they've bought from the US toward Syria must be great. They get to bomb Yemen but not Syria? Or are they already bombing Syria but want to bomb Russians... against whom they have declared a holy war. What's a holy war if you can't fight it?

FB Ali

I don't know, but my sense is that an Afghan SF team asked their buddies in an accompanying US SF team for the strike, who then passed it to the AC-130 overhead, and probably 'painted' the target for it.



Yeah, they failed, no other explanation needed. Governments like to act like these things are infallible. They're not. Ours misfire and miss their targets too. The Danes once shot one into one of their own residential neighborhoods. The person who is most likely exaggerating is the Russian general who says they all hit their targets, but that's to be expected.

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