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09 November 2015

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Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel,
I apologize for not playing. I was looking forward to this war game but the situation in post-election Turkey is consuming all of my processing power. I still think that TSK will not get involved w/ Syria. Here are a few observations:
1-TSK considers YPG an organic ally of the PKK.
2-TSK will use air power to stop YPG from crossing the Euphrates.
3-TSK will not engage Russian aircraft, nor commit ground forces into Syria.
Putin has been putting the screws on tayyip where it counts: trade and energy. tayyip has no realistic countermoves; his deal with Merkel is insufficient. I expect the situation in Turkey to continue deteriorating for another six months to a year-at which time anything can happen. We are all waiting to see the "deals" the tayyiban will field to realize the "presidential" aspirations of tayyip. It will be interesting to watch.
Ishmael Zechariah

Will

when i served in vietnam on the dmz with the 1st bde 5th mech, the "fng" (LeAnder ng stands for new guy) was rotated thru the most unpleasant jobs. Carrying the heavy M60 machine gun on patrols, the dangerous radio operator carrier (the antenna had to be a 4 foot tall b/c it was a quarter wave 10 meter antenna), walking point (unpleasant but they wouldn't put you out there until you got a little experience). Then later you got the cushy job like operating the 50 cal. machine gun on the APC (armored personnel carrier), driving the track. 50 cal was the heaviest weapon on the APC, the 50 caliber (12.7 mm). Oh yeah, we had a 90 mm recoiless rifle. that was impressive but took awhile to set up and you had to be careful of the backwash.

Now compare this to the armament on the German Puma_(IFV) (Infantry fighting vehicle= I guess that would be the modern equivalent of Stonewall Jackson's mounted infantry while the the tanks would be the cavalry)
"Main
armament
30 mm MK30-2/ABM autocannon
400 rounds
Secondary
armament
5.56 mm HK MG4 machine gun
2,000 rounds
Spike LR anti-tank guided missile;
6-shot 76 mm grenade launcher"

That much firepower is impressive. But there are other features and attributes that make the PUMA a remarkable machine, ractive armor option for one. The Germans are back!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puma_(IFV)

now if the Syrian Arab Army and associated militas could get their hands on a couple of hundreds of these, mutti Merkel's refugee problems would be over.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

In my first decade of the four working for the US government, I decided learning acronyms was 50% of the job. Your Turn 3 post is astonishing. This is way beyond my skill set.

By June 2016 will shall see if the Western predatory manipulations have drawn Russia into a long slog that replays Afghanistan again or are Islamic States remnants holed up in the desolation of Aleppo and Raqqa? The crucial benchmark will be if the summer flow of Muslims refugees hits the projected 3 million mark or have they been stopped and returning home. Active groups of thousands of Islamists is a security nightmare that will close borders and rip the Eurozone apart.

turcopolier

VV

The concepts and abbreviations used by me in this post are primitive. pl

turcopolier

will

I thought you were a marine. pl

Will

i was drafted, although i understand some poor blokes were drafted into the USMC too. I should have been a marine because of living next to Cherry Point Naval Air Station and half an hour drive from Camp LeJeune. I had the ignominy of taking Basic Training at Ft. Bragg. It just never ceases to amaze me why the US Army would name one of its premier forts after Braxton Bragg, the most incompetent or most unlucky Confederate commanders (I guess the other one would be Hood). There certainly were other competent Confederate commanders from NC who served with distinction for whom they could have named the Cumberland County Hacienda.

mike

Samnite maniple? or did the Romans modify and improve the formation for their legions?

The Twisted Genius

As the remaining pockets of SNC forces in northern Syria are reduced, R+6 forces turn their attention to the Damascus environs and the Golan border area. Russian forces operate immediately along the border of the occupied Golan Heights thus denying the Israelis a direct shot at SAA, Hezbollah or Iranian forces. The Russian air defense/area denial umbrella extends over this area and, as a simple consequence of geography, over most of southern Lebanon. Israel’s ability to surveil this area is greatly impaired and they call up all Reserves for duty. The Russian-Israeli air coordination center is still active and Russia assures Israel that their present border will not be violated by R+6 forces. They also advise Israel that sovereign territory and airspace are not to be violated. On the ground, minor incidents continue to occur resulting in a few IDF injuries and deaths. Several Israeli UAVs are lost and the IAF looses an F-16 due to "mechanical failure." The Russians "rescue" the pilot and return him to Israel. These incidents are kept quiet. Netanyahu decides that evidence of Israel's lose of invincibility is a greater threat than the losses themselves.

Netanyahu is more concerned about the closure of Lebanese and Syrian airspace to IAF overflight than the lose of a few IDF soldiers. He turns to his allies in the US Congress, who dutifully pass a resolution condemning Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah for threatening Israel. Additional sanctions are passed and the demands for Obama to do something grow louder. Obama refuses to more than to declare his support for the special relationship between the US and Israel. Understandably, Hezbollah does take advantage of the situation to quietly upgrade their defenses in southern Lebanon.

Kerry and Lavrov are in near constant contact and are working feverishly to prevent any missteps over Netanyahu’s hysteria. By the end of November, Lavrov and Putin quietly convince Obama that “Assad must go” is a moot point. Rather than crow about this developing victory, Putin offers a face saving measure for Obama. They make a joint declaration to finish off IS and leave the decision on who will lead Syria to the Syrians.

Fred

jld,

This is a sign of the lack of US influence. Now we throw a tantrum and us what influence we have to ban a FIFA event from being staged in Russia. It's almost as bad as Jimmy Carter's Olympic boycott. On a bright note it frees up a couple billion dollars of money for Russian efforts in crushing the jihadis.

Fred

Will,

I was too young for that war but one thing I did learn on those SSNs (LeAnder SSN stands for Super Secret Navy) I sailed on you better be on the ass of the other guy's SSBN (that stands for submerged torpedo magnet) before the shooting starts or Major Kong will have his short fun ride and St. Peter will be a busy, busy man about 20 minutes after someone does something real stupid. I sure hope nobody is following the banshee/neocon (Power+Slaughter+Nuland/Bush 43 advisors) advice in regards to relations with the R+6.

elkern

I'd expect Israel to do something(s) clever & dangerous under the table.

- give some "interesting" toys to al Nusra?
- target more high-ranking Iranians?
- same, only moreso, for Hezbolah?
- help "Khalif" al-Baghdadi decamp safely to...where? Libya? SA?
- help liver-eaters (covertly, of course) plan & execute a spectacular & bloody attack in a major Russian city?

Arrogant as they are, they probably know better than to kill Russians directly. But they'd be glad to help someone else do it.

Their motivation would be the usual: destroy all technically competent (regional?) competition. That's why we (USA) had to smash Iraq, then Syria, then Iran, isn't it?

OTOH, Israel may judge that Syria has been damaged so seriously (permanent outflow of educated people?) that they could live with Russia gluing Syria back together.

But the current leadership appears so arrogant & spiteful that it's easier to imagine they'd rather [try to?] teach Russia a lesson (don't play in our sandbox).


However, I'm a little late to the game here. The tricks above would have been more likely in Round 1 or 2.

Valissa

OK, here's my attempt at Round 3... focusing on Pax Americana and extrapolating based on current trends.

Right now the US seems to have a multipronged "strategy" (or a collection of competing tactics run by different gov orgs) for showing off it's "exceptional" military prowess and ability to project power around the globe, in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

1. Green Berets embedded with Syrian Kurds, which has been discussed elsewhere and is mentioned indirectly below.

2. The US ups it's airstrikes against ISIS, triggered by Russia's actions.

US-led airstrikes intensify in Syria after White House shifts Isis strategy http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/08/us-led-airstrikes-intensify-isis-syria-russia
The jump in air and rocket strikes in Syria coincided with Washington’s shift in approach to the conflict after efforts to train Syrian rebels to fight Isis collapsed. Russia also deployed warplanes to Syria, adding pressure on Washington to take more effective action. The White House confirmed on 30 October it would deploy dozens of special operations forces to Syria to advise and assist a coalition of rebels already on the ground. Defense Secretary Ash Carter also signaled his intent to intensify the air campaign.

3. Via the CIA, the US is still supporting and arming so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria (see WSJ article I posted in Round 2). In the Guardian quote above "after efforts to train Syrian rebels to fight Isis collapsed" refers to the Pentagon's efforts to train rebels, not the CIA's pet unicorns.

4. US still making efforts to train the Iraqis to fight ISIS, which may be paying off. The timing of the Iraqi efforts in Ramadi may have something to do with recent Iraqi gov't interest in asking Russia for more assistance. The US doesn't want that.

82nd Airborne trains Iraqis to take on ISIS in Ramadi http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/11/05/82nd-airborne-trains-iraqis-take-isis-ramadi/75231230/

5. US diplomacy efforts at Vienna talks

6. The US military is still actively involved in the Ukraine despite Minsk agreements, which US is not party to. I expect this escalation is retaliation against Russia for getting involved in Syria. First heard about this via STRATFOR…

US to Start Training Six Ukrainian Battalions in November http://sputniknews.com/europe/20151107/1029749879/us-training-ukrainian-battalions.html

7. US not happy about China's increasing naval power. What's an empire to do when it's perceived subjects refuse it's authority? Here's the always snarky and ever sharp Fred on Everything commenting on the naval situation with China.

China Sea Blues: A Thing Not to Do http://fredoneverything.org/china-sea-blues-a-thing-not-to-do/
It appears that Washington, ever a seething cauldron of bright ideas, is looking for a shooting war with China, or perhaps trying to make the Chinese kowtow and back down, the pretext being some rocks in the Pacific in which the United States cannot possibly have a vital national interest. Or, really, any interest. And if the Chinese do not back down?

... The Navy has not been in a war for seventy years. It has sat off various shores and launched aircraft, but the fleet has not been engaged. Over decades of inaction, complacency sets in. Unfortunately, wars regularly turn out to be otherwise than expected. Further, the American military’s standard approach to a war is to underestimate the enemy (there is probably a manual on this).

HINTS OF THE FUTURE

Ash Carter wants the world to know the US is still the big cheese, and will defend it's title as such...
Carter: US must prepare for challenges from Russia, China http://www.stripes.com/news/us/carter-us-must-prepare-for-challenges-from-russia-china-1.377771

While the rest of world is starting to realize the US has become rather cheesy...
The world sees Uncle Sam in a hospital gown http://atimes.com/2015/11/the-world-sees-uncle-sam-in-a-hospital-gown/

And how are US politicians responding beyond the rhetoric?
Congress dodging war powers despite U.S. mission in Syria http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/11/08/congress-dodging-war-powers-despite-us-mission-in-syria/75412192/

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD Jun 2 - Nov 1, 2016?

This period is the height of the US presidential campaign season. The primaries finish up in early June and then the Dem & Repub national conventions are in July. Lots of war hysteria will be whipped up and drums of war will beat hotly. But most voters will be turned off by this. Call it "the boy who cried wolf syndrome." The which the media will downplay this reality as it gets more attention when the drama is high.

I expect heightened smack talk about what to do about the uppityness of Russia and China. The pressure of the campaign season will push Congress to vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, despite the concerns expressed in the Military Times article above.

Because the policy elites read articles like "hospital gown" one, they feel the need to act tough to prove that the US us not really on the decline.

At the same time, I think the realists - as represented by the air time given by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at CNN, and by the increase in realist oriented articles in policy journals - will be on the ascent. The more the public gets a chance to hear from realists, the more I think they will support that. But the campaign season pressure will outweigh this trend for the time frame of this turn.

The pressure to act decisively will trigger the gov't to do even more stupid shit. This will overshadow the positive efforts made by the sane folks in the gov't. Will there be a major naval dustup or mishap next summer re: China? Could happen.

US will put extra pressure on Russia in the Ukraine next summer as well.

I predict that there will be breakthroughs at the Vienna peace talks on Syria, but since the US gov't does not have a centralized strategy and different US players are at cross purposes, follow through on the proposed diplomatic solutions will be lacking, at least until the campaign season is over.

More progress will be made in the fight against ISIS in Syria, and though the US is working with Russia on this in some ways and of course it was on Russia's initiative, this aspect is downplayed in the media propaganda and US prowess will get the big stories. The US will remain committed to removing Assad overall, even if some depts are willing to be more realistic.

There will be disarray in the inner circles of policy elites on how to best handle the Syria situation.

Bandolero

My turn 3, game projection up to Nov 1, 2016

As of June 1st, 2016, the whole situation with the jihady apocalypse, worldwide in general, and in Syria specifically, will be very much overshadowed by the upcoming US elections. The main question is: what will the next commander in chief order?

On June 7th, 2016, Trump and Clinton have won the nominations for the Presidential elections. At that time, regarding the policies to the ME and Syria, both promise to continue bombing ISIS, both rule out "boots on the ground" and both promise to "review" with open result the decision to embed some US Special Forces with the YPG/SDF. However, Clinton promises to "do more" to help the Syrian people "defend itself" against genocide committed by "dictator Assad" and his Iranian and Russian fellows on "expansion tour in the ME", while Trump promises to "do more" to eliminate "Islamist terrorists" who pose a threat to US security. Clinton promises to work closer together with "US allies" in the region, especially "Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey," where the alliances have become strained to to wrong policies by Obama, while Trump promises to work, besides Israel, of course, "our best and most valuable ally" from all, especially closer with Jordan and Egypt, a "US ally" neglected by Obama which happens to be the largest nation in the region. While these are stark egopolitical differences, the US electorate doesn't care much about such foreign policy nuances and most US voters are much more interested in the economy, taxes, immigration rules, abortion laws and healthcare in the US. Polls see the Presidential race as a close call and the result seems unpredictable.

Regarding the strategy of warfare on the ground in Syria by the R+6 the unpredictable situation in the US has the implication that the R+6 do everything they can to make it impossible for the US to start a new, even tougher round of proxy warfare against the Syrian government should the next US president want to do so. The aim of the R+6 is to completely eliminate the SNC and the non IS jihadi Sunnis until the next US president takes office in January 2017, so that there is no basis for whatever potential US-led attempt to regroup and re-energize the non IS jihadi Sunnis. ISIS is not seen as so time critical, because both potential next US presidents have committed themselves to fight ISIS instead of aligning the US with ISIS. Therefore defeating ISIS can wait until 2017. For Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel the situation is just the opposite. They bet the next US president will serve them better as Obama regarding the war on Syria, they therefore try to keep the war open and they do everything in their power to delay any solution and obstruct any conclusion.

These calculations translate on the ground in Syria into the following: the R+6 further concentrate on completely securing the border with Turkey, and by applying heavy firepower they manage that finally even NE of Aleppo at the end of August. Similarly, with the help of the Russian air force, which Israel not dares to target, the line of separation with Israel and the non-ISIS-controlled border with Jordan is secured. Furthermore the R+6 pound every stronghold of the non IS jihadi Sunnis, and go with huge force even into urban centers hold by the non IS jihadi Sunnis. Aleppo is declared secure, as is Daraa, every town and district in Western Syria flies the Syrian flag by end of September 2016. However, though frontline combat ended in Western Syria, in the underground, a bloody guerilla insurgency is still active in many parts of western Syria. The main weapon of the insurgency has become IEDs, buried at night somewhere and exploded when a target rolls closeby, and criminal acts of murder. Daily several bodies of murdered people are found in the streets of towns in Syria.

The diplomatic front stalled. Any substantial progress in Vienna is blocked by Turkish and Saudi obstrction. Obama and Putin, who largely agree on the solution, therefore aimed bypassing the Vienna talks by moving the process to the UN security council, but there France, successfully lobbied by Israel and the Gulfies, stalls any meaningful resolution in the UN security council.

Fred

Jihadi Apocalypse - Turn 3

R+6 - Sealift secured the Russians increase air and ground forces in country. A combination of negotiations and siege succeeds in reducing SNC forces in Aleppo by the end of August. Reinforced by additional Iranian volunteers and stiffened by additional Russian mechanized units the R+6 further tightens the border area to Turkey. Additional SAA troops are released to clear areas close to Damascus along the M-5 corridor Northward to Homs and Hama and Aleppo. Second line elements move South clearing areas near Daraa and towards the Jordanian border. Offers of amnesty and aid being the key weapons of pacification in the South.

Jordan - the Unicorn Front Southern supply lines are effectively sealed after FSA members attack Jordanian border police.

Turkey - Economic conditions decline as Russian pressure mounts. US pressure is brought to bear due to (US) domestic demands for actions for killing US troops in air attacks on the YPG. Internal pressure mounts as Erdogan sees opportunity to remove more senior officers due to their “failures to counter PKK operations.”. Risk of a coup increase as public support wains from the electioneering propaganda efforts from October 2015 fade along with the economy.

Saudi Arabia - the increasing successes of Shia Iran are maddening to the current government. Low oil prices continue to pressure the budget. Security forces succeed in stopping terror attacks in Mecca and Riyadh but forces in Yemen still unable to advance. In late October the King suffers a stroke.

Refugee front - Tragedy in Yemen finally breaks into world attention as the death toll of war and famine increase. Gulf States still accept no refugees and will not cease funding of ISIS or stop the war in Yemen. Open hostility in many EU countries due to continued mass influx of refugees. Sporadic burnings of refugee centers continues throughout the summer. Conservative candidates sweep many local and state offices in September elections due to anti-immigrant backlash.

ISIS - Terror offensive opens at the start of Ramadan. Multiple attacks throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt. Though many attacks are stopped or limited ISIS efforts conclude with a successful attack at the Selena Gomez concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee on June 29. ISIS utilizes the tight security perimeter bottlenecks by staging a car ramming attack and shootings at multiple entry gates. Thirty minutes later the second wave bomb attack is delivered in a gas and explosive packed ambulance stolen earlier in the day. The tragic scene is broadcast world wide.

This does not succeed in stopping the R+6 but does have the unintended consequence of influencing the American presidential campaign. Anti-ISIS/Jihadi candidate skyrockets in national polls while the Obama administration …..

In Iraq, utilizing the anti-ISIS focus of attention in Syria and continued perceived weakness of Iraqi forces, ISIS stages multiple car bomb attacks in Baghdad and attacks on the international airport.

Iraqi - Prime Minister Al-Abadi praises President Putin’s efforts to help crush the wahhabist jihadists. Government forces, backed by Iranian advisors, volunteers, and Russian flown air support, finally move North in an attempt to capture the refinery at Baiji in late October.

Iran - further volunteer reinforcements for Iraq and Syria are moved into the region. Iran opens nuclear facilities for inspection under the terms of their agreement with the P5+1.

Israel - further violence in Gaza and the West Bank. IDF AF makes additional attempts to interdict Russian supplied aid to Hezbollah being driven openly across the Syrian - Lebanon border but are driven off by RU AF aircraft. Prime Minister Netanyahu openly denounces American betrayal of Israel’s security.

Ukraine - Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republic forces elements easily hold territory from the demoralized, under paid and poorly led forces of the central government.

US - election fever heats up along with racial tensions on college campuses, anti-immigration movements on the right and a backlash against the Obama administration foreign policy after the ISIS Ramadan offensive in June and July kills many American.

Cuba - Havana based entrepreneurs tap into easing relations with America and emerging capitalism by opening the Cuba-Syrian development fund. Many investors from South America are courted. Numerous Chinese investors are seen in the city during a visit by Foreign MinisterWang Yi.

LondonBob

2022 WC was supposed to go to the US, but Qatar 'out-bribed' the US. Kissinger and Clinton were very involved in the US bid, so it was a very public humiliation for them and that is what initiated the FBI investigation. Again corruption is endemic at FIFA but the media focus is on Russia.

Similarly doping is endemic in athletics, many other sports too, those who don't dope just don't make the team. Again the focus has been on Russia when it could be any nation or anyone.

Russians don't help themselves though, terrible at the PR. Assuming they get a fair hearing in the Western MSM, a big if, they should just admit their guilt, sack the Sports minister, say everyone does it but they will seek to mend their ways now whilst calling on others to follow suit. Always react with denial and hostility, need to be smarter.

D

Col. Lang: I have always thought that ISIS - both its ultimate aims and the reasons for its funding by KSA - were about Saudi Arabia. As others have mentioned here, ISIS always seems to talk about Mecca and Medina and never about Jerusalem. Ever since the takeover of the Grand Mosque in 1979, it has seemed that a great deal of effort and money have been put forth to offshore the young wahhabi militants, Saudi and otherwise, to the extent that is possible: Afghanistan, the US, Iraq and Syria - anywhere so that their war against heathens, backsliders, polytheists, the insufficiently fervent and the like stays away from Saudi Arabia itself. How could a politico-religious entity call itself the Caliphate and not yearn for Mecca and Medina?

But the wahhabi militant waves are lapping closer to Saudi Arabia itself. I think the royal family knows that ISIS is aimed ultimately at them and that they need to get rid of distractions and concentrate on making that policy succeed. I propose therefore that your majlis ash shura deposes King Salman and puts in his younger brother Prince Ahmed, the California political scientist, as King, who removes Mohammad b. Salman as Foreign Minister and Crown Prince, and quickly and quietly brings the messy and potentially disastrous attack on Yemen to a close.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3287779/Growing-princes-revolt-bring-Saudi-Arabian-king-sons-former-king-fear-replacement-leading-country-ruin.html

johnf

This post assumes that the ru+6 continues to advance in Syria and the tide turns their way.

I asked in the previous timeframe, half-jokingly, about whether Israel would change sides. It wouldn't have to be open or admitted - after all, Israel still wants its $50b - but could circumstances change so that it would at least be to their advantage to quietly back both sides.

There are a million or so Russians in Israel - so to an extent, I would imagine, Israel's spying and military establishments have been penetrated by Russia. Israel has never been hostile towards Russia in the same way as the West has. (In its early years it was much closer to the USSR than to the USA). It happily sold on Pollard's secrets to Russia.

With a superpower suddenly sat right on its borders - an entirely novel experience for it - I should think that an understanding, even a quid pro quo, would be important. It will have been watching Syria closely for years and should have a lot of first rate intelligence to offer on the jihadis, both through its own contacts in the Golan and its closeness to the jihadi backers of KSA and the Gulf. Maybe including electronic and software information on the American weaponry being passed on to the jihadis through KSA, the Gulfies and Turkey.

If this scenario is at all plausible, what would the Israelis get in return? I shouldn't imagine the Russians are that concerned about the fate of the Palestinians.

LeaNder

sorry, Pat, for my comments in this and earlier threads. I feel slightly guilty for my babbling distractions in this war-game-context.

I hope that some, who I may have irritated, will continue to contribute. And sorry to any single one of them. Bandolero comes to mind, but I am sure there were others.

****
concerning acronyms, I understand how important a message's shortness is in the military. They are really only the peak of the iceberg in my case.

LeaNder

"where it counts: trade and energy."

Seems, German delegations in the hope of the lifting of sanctions, especially apparently an interrupted gas deal were--officially denied "official status"--already in Russia too. Including the German minister of financial affairs, Sigmar Gabriel.

Seems too, they are getting ready for the lifting of the sanctions in January, based on the Kiev-Moscow deal, or more precisely the fulfillment of obligations on both sides.

"his deal with Merkel is insufficient"

There are rumors that the EU withheld its latest report on Turkey (et al? maybe) due to upcoming elections. It seems to centrally concern growing democracy deficits.

Merkel's delegation of responsibility in the refugee crisis, on the ground to a rather high degree handled by volunteers are pretty bad too. We use "kalt getroffen", hit while still cold, and not warmed up for matters. That's obvious, and has a long political history. ...

Which reminds me a bit of complaints about Obama, apparently she gives dissenters way too much space instead of putting her foot down. Allowing them to open distractive new discussion themes instead of taking care that earlier measures already decided on in the coalition are rapidly implanted.

turcopolier

Will

Did you know LTC Jack Swaren in VN? He was in that brigade of the 5th Mech Division in VN. He was my faculty adviser at the staff college in '73. Interestingly he was a nephew of some kind of General der Panzertruppen Graf von Schwerin who commanded the regiment that eventually grew to become Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutchland. Swaren talked about this relative occasionally. Seems to me he told me that
Schwerin was Adenauer's military adviser after the war. pl

Chris Chuba

Okay, now I think it is time for my beloved scenario to finally bear out (and I do have something new) ...
Syria:
After securing Aleppo, R+6 is able to use the newly acquired Kuweires air base to support a drive to capture both Al-bab and Manbidj from ISIS. The area is under govt authority but turns some administration and occupation over to Kurdish forces, the Russians provide some S400's to protect the Kurds from Turkish air strikes and this politically establishes an alliance between the SAA and the Kurds.

With ISIS now cut off from the Turkish border and the FSA / Islamic front territories, ISIS experiences a shortage of supplies and the ability to sell oil. The SAA is well positioned to roll them up from west to east towards Raqqa and eventually to the Iraq border.

The U.S. takes advantage of ISIS's new weakness to use embedded forces with the Kurdish dominated SAC to attempt to capture Raqqa in order to gain new prestige. Whether this signals cooperation with the SAA or is a blocking maneuver remains to be seen.

KSA:
Saudi Arabia is alarmed by these developments and cuts oil production both for economic reasons and being politically savvy in an attempt to help Hawks win primaries in U.S. elections. They try to time their production cuts with some event to make it look like Putin pressured them into it or perhaps with talk of an arms deal with Putin to counter any good press he might get with the now obvious reversal for ISIS.

turcopolier

Chris Chuba

"SAC?" pl

William R. Cumming

And if the Russians place two full divisions in Western Syria and essentially make Assad a puppet what then?

William R. Cumming

Russians and Israelies execute secret agreement to protect the Northern Borders of Israel in return for no Israeli intervention in Russia's new Syrian [western Syria only] Protectorate. No consultation with US on this agreement by either signature party.

Both parties agree to language protecting Lebanon independence and complete demilitarization.

Posture of Iran on this agreement unknown since still a secret. Or UN!

Will

yep, it's a boomer giving Los Angeles a light show just after sunset.

"SSBN (aka Boomers) - Hull classification symbol for ballistic missile submarine. The SS denotes submarine, the B denotes ballistic missiles, and the N denotes nuclear-powered."

did not realize there's wiki articles for abbreviations
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Navy_acronyms

likewise
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._government_and_military_acronyms
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Marine_Corps_acronyms_and_expressions
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Air_Force_acronyms_and_expressions
the article for the US Army had been played around with and deleted.

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