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09 November 2015

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William R. Cumming

KSA increasing realizes survival of Royal family may be at stake in 2016 USA Presidential election. Therefore will be doing all they can to favor Jeb Bush.

bth

Russia - Domestic government budget is again reduced 10% in the face of public protest. Putin makes an overture to Germany for improved trade relations. It is accepted over the objections of the US and Poland.

Ukraine - Quiet except for gangland disputes over mining concerns.

Yemen - Widespread famine and poverty.

Saudi Arabia - Royal family members begin buying large tracks of land in Arizona and new homes in Switzerland.

Cuba - Castro dies. A new immigration wave into the US emerges. Cubans are entering the US as political refugees via Mexico in the thousands.

Venezuela - Drug smugglers begin to shift cargo to basic modern necessities such as disposable diapers and tampons bound for Venezuela.

Iran - Social expectations of change post embargo meet the reality of their repressive religious government. Internal discontent simmers.

Panama Canal - Opening of new locks in May drives up direct Chinese shipping to Houston and the East Coast causing a general deflation in commodity items in the US. Dumping charges are asserted but not until after the US experiences a series of massive layoffs. Caterpillar files for bankruptcy protection. A freight train loaded with Canadian oil derails and detonates in a small Midwestern town. The debate about pipelines and the environment becomes a campaign wedges issue in the presidential race.

USA - The WikiLeaks released terms of the Pacific trade deal cause great social consternation. There is a rumor that Trump paid the $100K reward for the leak but it is unproven. Gun control becomes a major campaign issue and record month over month gun sales continue. Clinton receives the nomination on July 25th and blasts Trump who has received the republican nomination the week before on foreign policy inexperience. Trump after receiving the Republican nomination and during the Democratic convention Trump flies to Russia at his own expense and meets one on one with Putin. They become good friends in public. Trump returns and questions US policy in Iraq and Syria and suggests we should stop supporting head choppers in Syria while fighting them in Iraq. Drug overdoses continue to exceed gun and motor vehicle deaths in the US. Heroin prices on the east coast are at record lows and cheaper than prescription drugs. Police deaths and gang violence escalate after a multi-decade downward trend. Trump proposes that affirmative action is now obsolete. Democrats are panicking as there is indication of voter apathy and the prospect of a low turnout in the November general election. It may come down to Florida. A teenager named Chad is photographed on the cover of USA Today as a poll watcher in West Palm Beach.

Afghanistan - Gen. Campbell is replaced as evidence of the hospital attack turns up missing. The combat situation continues to deteriorate and becomes a campaign issue in the US. China asserts its commercial rights to Afghan copper resources.

EU - Rising nationalism in the northern nations spread rumors of rising fascism. Italy and Turkey follow Greece into banking instability.

Islamic State - IS reveals that Erdogan's son has negotiated special trucking and oil trade concessions with them. IS brings in the wheat harvest by abducting women and children from rural farms and holding them as hostage for grain. IS recruitment is down

Will

After about six months centered on Con Thien, i got promoted to the General's security platoon in Quang Tri. Much of the previous security platoon had been wiped out by sitting on a booby trapped bench during training. It looked like the easy life, sleeping in a hootch, instead of sandbagged underground bunkers and not having to wear a flak jacket all the time. There was artillery at Con Thien and they traded shots with the Rocketeers on Rocket Ridge around Dong Ha mountain.

But alas, then came Operation Lam Son 719 when the ARVN invaded Laos and the Brigade and HQ company moved west with them. That's when I got to see Khe Sanh and Lang Vei. I had read about those famous battles in high school and darn two years later i was there in person! Lang Vei is where the Special Forces had to defend their camp against 12 NVA tanks!

Did not know the Lt. Col. Saw the brigade general occasionally. There were rumors about a strong odor of Crown Royal about his person, blood shot eyes, and mushmouthed speech.

turcopolier

Will

That was a different army. There was no ban on in-theater drinking. So long as the general was not drunk on duty there was nothing to keep him from drinking. Are you a teetotaler? pl

J

Colonel, TTG,

(Current real world)

Did you see this article in the Daily Beast?:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/09/u-s-spies-root-for-an-isis-russia-war.html

U.S. Spies Root for an ISIS-Russia War


Wonder who they are - the IC individuals the Daily Beast cite who appear to be rooting for ISIS? They're out of their gord IMO and are afflicted with tunnel vision.

Crunching the numbers, it appears that both CIA and State owe us the taxpayers between 1 1/2 to 2 billion for their Syrian fiasco. That money could have been better spent on domestic items like shoring up our nation's electric grid, which it appears D.C. is intent on burying their heads in the sand like ostriches.

It also further makes your case Colonel, where CIA should be relegate to HUMINT collection ONLY and not allowed to delve into anything else.

JJackson

Idlib is taken along with the bulk of the Ghab plain and most of the area in NW (green in PB’s maps) is now blue (R+6). Although there are many pockets few of these have any offensive capacity left and can be contained until forces are available to clear them – or they surrender, Assad is being fairly magnanimous which is increasing the rate of collapse. Further North Azaz is also taken with aid from the Kurds from the Afrin pocket. The Kurds also start moving West again across the Euphrates but this time with greater success due to a push by the Russian MRR from Kuweires (providing air support) along the M4 to Lac Assad at Khirbat 'uglah. The aim being to create a new defacto front line from Al Jaboul Lake to Lake Assad with clearing operations north and south from there. As opportunities arise the whole of NW Syria continues to be made safe so that all available force can eventually be made available to start dismantling IS.

The US, by separate agreements with Turkey and Russia, increase their sortie rate on IS targets in, unacknowledged, cooperation with the RuAF, tacitly accepting the need to clear strikes with Russian air defence. Direct air support of Kurdish forces is quietly dropped, for Turkey’s benefit, but is, just as quietly, performed by RuAF in an agreement the Turks can not influence.

Israel is getting very jittery due to further increases in violence and calls for a 3rd intifada. Lebanon are also talking to the RuAF about reaching some kind of accommodation which would allow them to regain control of their air space. Israel are at a loss in knowing how to deal with an entity that is more militarily powerful than themselves and the Palestinians are taking advantage albeit at the cost of increased oppression.

KSA opt for no change at the top but considerably reduce their actions in Yemen.
The Vienna negotiations drag on but nothing much happens in this time period. The US has largely lost what little they had on the ground in Syria and Assad sees no advantage in settling at this stage. When the SNC are beaten and the focus turns to IS proper it will become clearer how much more of a problem they are going to be to destroy, only then will Assad consider talking but Russia will be no keener than Assad to leave any kind of rump caliphate from which to spread jihad into previously soviet Muslim regions.
Iraq is content for the moment to provide Shia militia to the Syrian front based on assurances that the focus will eventually shift against IS at which time IS in Iraq will be weakened and assistance will be forthcoming from the R+6.

Babak Makkinejad

Not going to happen; Israelis threatening, in effect, to attack Russia?

They are supreme realists, always keep that in mind.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

3 nuclear scientists are assassinated in Iran, government suspends JCOPA and prepares for the resumption of sanctions war.

ex-PFC Chuck

Is there now a ban on drinking in all theaters? Or perhaps in only those in predominantly Moslem areas in deference to their religious sensibilities?

When I went through Army basic training in 1963-64 anyone could buy beer in the PX. By contrast is the experience of the grandson of a close friend who is a recently minted reactor operator on a nuclear sub. He enlisted right out of high school and was told that until he turned 21, which was the drinking age in the states where he trained, it was a one strike and you're out policy. He'd be swabbing the deck on a destroyer for four years and giving back his substantial sign-up and future re-up bonuses instead of getting most of a college level education free and qualifications for a high-paying civilian job.

Will

heck no, used to assist my uncle running the still when i was about 7. used to bartend the tavern when i was 12. the tavern war right in the building where we slept. Mamma used to say, watch the tavern while i go make supper. i"d protest that i was underage. She'd reply "you wanna eat, don't you?"

working on making a still with a glass lined electric water heater and some copper coil.

the best moonshine I ever had was a gift in a mason jar from two special forces guys. It would clear your sinuses as soon as you took a whiff.

Abu Sinan

I wonder, to what extent, this is governed by local laws and customs? When I was working in England in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the airmen at the local bases were allowed to buy and drink alcohol at age 18, which is the local law. This included the multiple different US run clubs on the bases.

Daidalos

Colonel,

As someone without a military background outside of growing up in a somewhat military family, learning more about that side of strategy fascinates me. If you don't mind my asking (other posters too), what do you think the USMC's role should be at this point in history?

Fred

Will,

Bragg was born in North Carolina. Fort Bragg was opened in WWI. Naming it after a native son was undoubtedly thought to influence sentiment in the South towards Wilson's pro-war policy.

Daidalos

Wow, that is pretty pitiful and passive-aggressive... not that it surprises me. Another revealing thing to me about that article is what it says about their intellectual framework.

It reeks of the sort of thinking you see some in the ivory tower, especially economics ("I'm savvy because I have a set of narrow and cynical beliefs, and here's my Rube-Goldberg explanation of how random events will always prove me right in the end. Woe to anyone that strives differently from me.") It's really a bad sign for the state of American thinking.

Fred

WRC,

What makes you think Syria would become a "puppet" of Russia? This isn't Eastern Europe of 1946.

Fred

D,

I think if they are pushed out of Syria and borders with Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon are effectively closed ISIS has no where to go but back into Iraq or into Saudi Arabia. My guess is that the later is more likely because that is where the Wahhabi ideology should be strongest. The realists in the Saudi royal family should see that threat clearly. What they can do about it is another matter entirely.

Fred

bth,

In regards to Cuba, why do you propose an increase of immigration via Mexico? The US is opening relations with that country and moving towards easing (long overdue) the economic embargo.

Origin

USA: Following a series of investigative journalism and Frontline exposes including disclosure of top secret policy papers, it becomes increasingly clear to the broader US citizenry that the U.S. has been supporting all sorts of jihadies and Al Qaeda in Syria with billions and that these are the same people and organizations who took down the Twin Towers and that these people are our enemies to the end.

People just cannot fathom why the U.S. would pay and arm our enemies, ever. This realization that the U.S. is on the Jihadi side of the Syria war stimulates increasing conspiracy theories that 9-11 really was an inside job.

It becomes increasingly clear and generally understood by the People that the foreign policy of the US is not to get peace, but to create chaos and permanent instability in the Mid-East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. This realization is coupled with a clearer understanding of the human cost of the misadventure, both here and abroad. People here and in Europe are now blaming the US policies for the refugee crisis in Europe. Jihadi bombings and killings are now rampant throughout Germany and France. Millions of people continue to migrate towards Europe.

The journalistic exposes have the effect of creating an increasing awareness of the immorality and perfidy of US policy coupled with a general recognition by the American People that they have been used and deceived for false purposes. The meme that GWB is the "murderer of millions" in Iraq catches on as a sign of the People's sense of betrayal.

There is general and public outrage against Obama, Hillary, McCain, the hawks in the Congress, and others who have intentionally operated to further the policy since the beginning of the Bush 43 Administration on both sides of the aisle and who have supported AQ and other Jihadis. McCain becomes a special focus of the outrage and he decides to resign.

Gold Star parents of those killed since 2001 begin demonstrations calling for a full housecleaning of those responsible for the waste of their children's lives lost in support of an immoral and disastrous foreign policy. The military is viewed as a victim and its standing as a locus of honor enhanced.

Others demonstrate for the prosecution of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld as war criminals who have abused their positions of leadership over the military. Hillary is tainted and included within the anger by her involvement in the destabilization of Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and North Africa. Obama is within the scope of the blame. Conspiracy theorists assert that the capture of all of the American weapons by ISIL in Mosul and Ramadi was a planned and intentional action done at the behest of the KSA and Israel.

As the disillusionment has become more general over the last few months of exposes, there is an unfocused, tacit anger arising that cannot be resolved within the time-frame of this game, but is becoming quite nasty. Putin's favorability rating rise within the U.S. as the sole leader who is protecting Western values.

The presidential election contest to be decided on November 2 is vicious. Both the Republican and Democrat candidates are generally viewed as compromised and unacceptable to be the new President. Hillary is the butt of the anger as an author of the horrendous foreign policies and Marco is crippled by his association with the Republican party which is the primary focus of popular anger against the policy of chaos. Marco is simply unable to join the anger against his party's legacy and unwisely defends it, being fully unable to discern the turn of the meme against the Borg. Few in the electorate are excited in support of any candidate and demonstrations and counter-demonstrations at election rallies have been increasing violent. The great majority wants neither one.

The general question circulating among the American People concerning the whole government is "Who gave you all permission to destabilize the whole world in our name and on our dime?" Disillusionment is nearly universal and total. There is an ominous stirring and milling about in the polity.

Daidalos

My suggestions from turns 1 and 2 might have seemed a little out there, and I probably didn't do a good job of respecting the time windows. I do think they'll start coming into play over time though, and especially if something similar to the Turn 3 scenario plays out in reality, this starts becoming less and less about Syria.

Even today in real-world time, Daesh is starting to look more like Germany in late 1944-1945, still dangerous, but from sheer desperation, not momentum. It will be tough-going, but I fully expect the Iraqis and any Syrians (regardless of affiliation) gung-ho enough to keep fighting to mop them up eventually. At this point (in game-time), the real wild cards become Israel vs. the Palestinians, Jordan & the Saudis, and the Kurds vs. Turkey.

I'm still standing by my bet that Israel's relationship with the "axis of resistance" will keep becoming less hostile day-by-day. With the political trends I mentioned before and now (in-game) Russia openly delivering weapons to Hezbollah, I expect most Israelis outside a rump on the right to adapt to the new reality. And with their diplomatic standing and policies towards the Palestinians becoming more untenable all the time, they'll need as few enemies as possible. As for the R+6, as long as they get some concessions for the Palestinians and guarantees that Israel won't attack any of them, or act as a beach-head for the US to do so, I imagine they'll also be happy to have one less front to worry about.

I think Jordan is quietly becoming the nexus of the Middle-East that everyone ignores. I don't know if the Hashemites still hold a grudge against the Saudis for kicking them out of Mecca. Even if they don't, I get the impression that the Jordanian government is furious about everything that's been happening around them since at least the Iraq War, and they blame Gulf intrigues for much of it. I don't know what they might do if they are upset, but with more and more Sunnis mobilizing in Syria and Iraq against the Gulf-backed forces, they won't exactly be hurting for people if they do start planning something.

If things flair up anywhere by November, I expect it will be in Turkey, and not necessarily just among the Kurds. I don't know enough about Turkish politics to lay out a clear scenario, but my gut tells me that Gulen or his followers are going to pull off a major political upset in the coming years (that's mostly based on my understanding of his movement and how it relates to Turkish history). Although the AKP just won back a majority, I wouldn't be surprised if disagreements within the party start having a real influence too.

If there is a "Kurdish surprise," I imagine it will actually be a confrontation in Iraq between Barzani's KDP and a coalition of the other Socialist parties. If that happens, the question for the US is whether it's Cold-War idee fixe will lead it to completely support the KDP (the mistake in my opinion) or whether it can compartmentalize by recognizing the KDP's control around Erbil, while backing the YPG and PUK everywhere else.

turcopolier

Daidalos

As I have said before on SST the USA has four ground "armies" i.e., services. 1 - The US Army 2 - the USMC 3- The Army National Guard. These are really state militia under federal partial subsidy and under the sovereignty of the states. 4 - The SOF hordes under SOCOM. The US does not need that many separate services. I would reduce ground force numbers by about half and merge the Army and USMC into one services equipped and set up for expeditionary employment. Most of the heavy units I would put in the National Guard. I realize that the states would rather have logistical units and MPs but that is not what the country needs. pl

bth

Because it has already begun and if the Castro brother pass on in a year's time I think the trickle will become a flood.
https://news.vice.com/article/theres-a-big-increase-of-cubans-heading-through-mexico-to-the-us

David Habakkuk

Origin,

I would like to think you are right, but fear you may be overoptimistic.

However, opinions are changing, in very odd ways. A few observations on what is happening over here.

You write:

'Putin's favorability rating rise within the U.S. as the sole leader who is protecting Western values.'

It is very clear that Putin's 'favourability rating' has been rising here, since the onset of the Russian military operation in Syria.

What I think is most at issue is not so much 'protecting Western values', but somewhat more primitive – by which I do not mean foolish – impulses. In the wake of the dramatic successes of the 'Islamic State' over the past months, and the migrant crisis, people simply want the jihadists destroyed.

All the talk from Western leaders and officials about the Russians not attacking ISIS goes down like a lump of lead. Continuing to talk about 'moderate insurgents' pushes people towards one of two conclusions.

Either, it is read as indicating that we really are ruled by drivelling dolts, or – the interpretation you suggest people may be inclining towards – that there has been a covert agenda of supporting jihadists. In both cases, those involved are effectively acting as Putin's PR agents.

It seems clear that the British élite simply cannot grasp the blind alley into which they have got themselves. The 'Daily Express' has just put up a report on a soon-to-be-published threat assessment by the British security services, which opens: 'Russia has been named among the most significant threats to British security today – on the same level as the barbaric militants of Islamic State.'

The reactions in the 'comments' were almost uniformly hostile. One of the politer comments opened: 'Absolutely unbelievable hogwash.'

(See http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/617913/Britain-Russia-major-national-security-threat-ISIS .)

Chris Chuba

Syrian Arab Coalition, actually, I should have said SAA, Syrian Arab Alliance. I have heard the Obama Administration use the term 'Syrian Arab Alliance' to refer to the small number of Sunni Rebels in the Raqqa / Kobane region who are working with the Kurds with the encouragement of the U.S.

There is friction of course, because the Kurds are reluctant to advance into Sunni territory which is perfectly understandable and why the neocons are dreaming if they believe that arming the Kurds alone will defeat ISIS but that is a slightly different topic.

ex-PFC Chuck

Ever since the release of its “investigation” report in the fall of 2015, the disgruntled truth-tellers below decks of the SS MH-17 Coverup have been gingerly casting doubt on its interpretation of the evidence and the veracity of its conclusions. In June, 2015, the lumbering ship ran aground and a huge gash was ripped in its hull below the waterline by three revelations within a ten day period. First “Carlos,” the Spanish national who worked in the Kiev air control tower that day and vanished a few hours after the crash, resurfaced after his two year plus disappearance. He had live-tweeted immediately after the crash that the deed was done by Ukraine fighter planes, the pilots mistakenly believing they had shot down Vladimir Putin's jet which was 100+ miles to the north. He was in Cuba and he displayed documentary evidence supporting his earlier assertions.
http://johnhelmer.net/?p=14500
http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/the-strange-case-of-carlos-the-spanish-air-controller/

Three days later a high official of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior who had dropped out of sight several weeks earlier emerged in Moscow at a press conference held by the foreign ministry and confirmed the gist of Carlos's assertions. His evidence included gun camera footage of 30 mm rounds streaking toward the port side of the cockpit. NATO governments, and especially the United States, finding themselves very much on their back feet, grudgingly admitted they all along knew what had happened but claimed it was the work of a handful of neo-Nazi fanatics from western Ukraine who, in the spirit of General Jack Ripper of Dr. Strangelove, initiated the action without the knowledge or approval of the Ukraine government. They stated that the purpose of the coverup was to prevent the information from inflaming the Russian populace to an extent that might lead to nuclear war.

A week to the day after the Moscow press conference a Chinese newspaper known to have close ties with the country's intelligence organs published a front page, above-the-fold, article asserting that the Chinese NSA had hacked Ukrainian diplomatic traffic “several years previously” and had been reading it ever since. In response to the recent revelations they had searched their archives of captured information and found evidence that the shoot down of Putin's plane was planned by senior Ukraine military officers working with people from the US embassy and Washington. US individuals in Kiev specifically identified in the messages included the ambassador and two foreign service officers believed to be CIA agents under cover. The article also said that Washington participants in the plot definitely included Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria (“F**k the EU”) Nuland, and probably Secretary of State John Kerry as well.

A political firestorm broke out in Washington. Bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate quickly voted for a special investigatory commission to determine, in the spirit of the late Senator Howard Baker, “Who Knew What and When Did They Know It.” The Obama administration vetoed the legislation but it was easily overridden by the Congress. The only opponents were the most strident Israel Firsters of both legacy parties – several score in the House and about two dozen in the Senate. The administration then tried to maneuver former Attorney General Eric Holder into the process as Chief Counsel, but that was shot down by a united front of the Republicans who had voted for the investigatory commission and the progressive Democrats. Instead of Holder, erstwhile 2016 presidential candidate Larry Lessig was named Chief Counsel. The Democratic Party had denied the announced candidate a role in the party's debates by moving the goal posts after he'd met the defined criteria. The party officers were afraid that his plausible plan for reforming the dysfunctional electoral system would disrupt the coronation of The Annointed One, Hilary Rodham Clinton. Lessig had considered a presidential run on a third party or independent ticket but decided against it because the obstacles of the present system are too great. “Back bench” members of both parties persuaded him that leading the Commission would be the best way he could serve his country and his cause at this time. Observers attributed the alacrity with which the Congress responded to these revelations on the impact of the best selling book and forthcoming movie based on John Bordne's revelations about how close the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 came to mistakenly igniting a nuclear war.
http://thebulletin.org/okinawa-missiles-october8826

Nuland was fired three days after the Chinese article appeared and she was the first witness called before the “Loose Cannons” Commission, the meme catching on with the public at large after being concocted by journalist Charlie Pierce, currently of Esquire Magazine. In her first appearance before the tribunal she responded to twenty seven questions by citing her Fifth Amendment rights and refusing to answer. Secretary of State Kerry is scheduled to be the next witness. Prominent neo-conservatives, including Nuland's husband Robert Kagan, are complaining to reporters at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal that their phone calls to administration officials are no longer being returned on a timely basis, and in many cases not at all.

By late August US support of the “unicorns” of the Free Syrian Army had ended and progress toward the elimination of ISIS in Syria and western Iraq accelerated. In the November elections the turn-out was abysmal, especially in what in prior years had been Democratic-leaning districts. Almost all Democratic representatives and senators who had voted for assigning “fast-track” status to the three sovereignty surrender (aka trade) agreements lost their seats, as did more than a few Republican supporters of thereof. Donald Trump won the presidential race by a landslide. In December the sovereignty surrender treaties were ratified, with a fat middle finger to the electorate, by the lame duck Congress.

Thomas

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

Bashir tells his mother that since Syria is secure he is retiring from politics to go back into private practice. She still cries and blubbers "You are no Basil" at him.

Elections are held and newly retired from the army, Fahd Jassem al-Freij is elected the new president.

God musters the Black Flag Brigades front and center, tells them that they were gravely wrong about Life and introduces them to their new instructors for the millennium long Remedial Theology course,the Seventy Two Virginal Schoolmarms from Sheol.

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