« When will we see Hillary's Bat Mitzvah? | Main | "Drinking the Koolaid." W. Patrick Lang »

06 November 2015

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Babak Makkinejad

China will do nothing overt or covert to help anyone - they have no dog in that fight and find it an excellent distraction for NATO States, the Russian Federation, Iran, Arabs (and Muslims in general).

Israelis will do nothing but try to extract more out of NATO states.

Valissa

The proxy war via the CIA continues... despite recent new articles indicating otherwise, US still invested in supporting "moderate rebels".

U.S., Allies to Boost Aid to Syria Rebels - Shipments of arms, supplies are aimed at pressuring Assad while countering Russia, Iran http://www.wsj.com/article_email/u-s-allies-to-boost-aid-to-syria-rebels-1446682624-lMyQjAxMTI1NTAxNTgwMTUxWj?alg=y
The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said. The deliveries from the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia and other allied spy services deepen the fight between the forces battling in Syria, despite President Barack Obama’s public pledge to not let the conflict become a U.S.-Russia proxy war.

U.S. officials said the Obama administration is pursuing what amounts to a dual-track strategy, which aims to maintain military pressure on Mr. Assad and his Russian and Iranian supporters while U.S. diplomats see if they can ease him from power through negotiations. U.S. officials said the pressure track was meant to complement the diplomatic track by giving the U.S. leverage at the negotiating table. Saudi and Turkish officials say the level of U.S. support for rebel groups remains insufficient, despite the latest U.S. promise to do more. Pledges to expand the weapons pipeline came as Washington sought support from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other allies in the region for a new diplomatic track that includes Russia and Iran, diplomats in the region said.

… In the past month of intensifying Russian airstrikes, the CIA and its partners have increased the flow of military supplies to rebels in northern Syria, including of U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles, these officials said. Those supplies will continue to increase in coming weeks, replenishing stocks depleted by the regime’s expanded military offensive. An Obama administration official said the military pressure is needed to push Mr. Assad from power.
-----------------

turcopolier

Valissa

The bleating and shipments of the US nuts, the Saudis and the turks won't mean anything if the rebels and IS are defeated on the ground. pl

LeaNder

"and find it an excellent distraction ..."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Iran_relations#China.2C_Iran_and_the_UN

AEL

Foodstocks being exhausted and with the naval blockade remaining in place, famine sinks its teeth into Yemen. Pictures of starving babies are largely absent from western media but are common in Arabic social media.

Meanwhile, the cholera outbreak in Iraq and Syria continues to escalate. It looks to dwarf the last great outbreak of 1998 where 200,000 were afflicted.

jld

When they started the Russians announced a limited action of 3 to 4 months, this does not seem congruent with what happens currently on the ground, so:
- Was this just propaganda/maskirovka?
- Do they actually run in difficulties they did not expect?
- Do they *really* mean to have limited objectives?

turcopolier

jld

Have three to four months passed? The campaign is progressing well. Their "limited objectives" are the destruction of the jihadis, all of them. pl

Babak Makkinejad

During the time-period - 1954 until 1979 - Iran was a semi-sovereign state - a vassal of US. She recognized PRC only when US told the Shah that he could do so.

turcopolier

Babak
Anti-colonial and anti-American rubbish. That's the crap Khamenai and friends dish out in Tehran. Is Germany a satellite of the US? I think not. pl

Babak Makkinejad

We will have to differ on this.

Another example: Ali Amini, the Prime Minister that Kennedy imposed on the Shah to carry out limited reforms lest there be a peasant war in Iran as well.

Germany is definitely a semi-sovereign state, just like Japan - in my opinion.

turcopolier

Babak

Your desire for hostility is evident. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think it will be useful to have a dialogue on this issue; since this is very much an ingrained understanding among large numbers of people in Iran.

In fact, that the Shah was a traitor, or a puppet, or a man under undue influence by US is almost an article of faith in Iran.

I think it will be a good idea if you could articulate why you dissent from that view point - not just for myself but for many other Iranians who likely are reading this weblog.

(I read a few years ago in an Iranian paper I read an interview with the Russian Ambassador to Iran in which he fielded accusations regarding Russia's duplicity and foot-dragging on the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor project.

While I did not find all his responses satisfactory, I think that ambassador did a good job of putting to rest certain innuendos and insinuations.

Perhaps we could do likewise here.)

turcopolier

Babak

It is unreasonable for you or any other Iranian to expect me to prove the negative of a false narrative. If you had been in US government in those days and had experienced the stubborn resistance of the Shah's government to the wishes of the US, you would know the truth. Do you think the Saudis or Israelis are US puppets? pl

JJackson

R+6
Having secured their strategic objectives of control of the M4 and M5 corridors to Saraqib and replacement of the training jets at Kuweires with RuAF jets they begin to take advantage of their manoeuver and technological advantage. In the west a push north from Latakia clears the triangle bordered by the Med. to the west, M4 to the east and Turkish border to the north tidying up and shortening the frontlines. Jihadis in this area flee north over the border but without most of their weapons due to constant aerial harassment. The area east of this section of the M4 is also cleared as far as the Latakia governorate boundary which runs along the peaks overlooking the 50 by 10km fertile north-south section of the plane. Likewise an air and airborne assault on strategic high ground near Shahranaz leaves forces in the plane and surrounding area in the unenviable position of being overlooked by satellite, AWACS, drones and these observation and artillery positions. In addition the increased airbases and planes make for very short sortie response times and the motorways can now allow for the rapid deployment of ground forces and interdiction of anything trying to enter or leave these pockets, or just putting their heads above ground. The Assad government badly want this highly productive agricultural land, but with as little damage as possible, (ditto for the Aleppo industrial base) so while it may not be retaken in this time period it will be denied outside aid, as far as possible, and when targets present themselves they will be swatted aided by probing attacks aimed at exposing their positions.
North of Saraqib the M5 to Aleppo is also secured as another supply route but Idlib is approached but not taken in this period. North of Aleppo Menagh airbase is retaken and used as strong point/supply base and for Helicopters, I am not sure the runways are long enough for RuAF jets and there are no hardened shelters.
The Kurds approach the R+6, as the US seem unable to contain Turkey, and the RuAF agree to extend them air cover. The US are told that Turkish incursions into Syrian air space will not be tolerated and make it clear to Turkey that any losses incurred in Syrian air space will not bring aid from NATO. After their jets have been painted and run off a couple of times they get the message. The Kurds now get looped into the R+6 intel network and are aided by CAS, intelligence and some weapons. They begin to make better progress securing the border.
Hezbollah are having a similar problem with Israel and ask for similar assurances, the Russians are still mulling that one by the end of this period as shooting down IAF jets could produce some less predictable consequences.
IS are still not a main focus some interdiction of supply lines and targets of opportunity but for this period the priority is still degrading JaN+Unicorns. IS may make some moral boosting offensive in Iraq.
The US. By the end of this period it is clear that JaN+U are never going to overthrow Assad and begin a serious discussion on cooperation with the end game with IS. They abandon any remaining FSA as a lost cause.
KSA+Gulf are hopping mad with the US as it abandons its pipedream of installing a post Assad Chalabi wannabe and claim it was always primarily about getting rid of IS.
China take a R+6 diplomatic stance and get engaged in diplomatic negotiations but not militarily, their eyes are on reconstruction and future trade opportunities.
(I have omitted the last part of your comment as not applying to Turn 2 -pl)

Babak Makkinejad

I was not asking you to prove a negative.

You have, in fact, supplied a response which is along the lines of what I had in mind:

"...If you had been in US government in those days and had experienced the stubborn resistance of the Shah's government to the wishes of the US, you would know the truth."

I think that is a discussion-starter and one could begin then - through such a discussion - establish the boundaries of historical truth in case of the Shah.

The historical truth must be somewhere between "Shah was a US puppet" and "Shah was a sovereign monarch.".

No I do not think that Saudi Arabia and Israel are US puppets.

My model of the relationship of US to members of her alliance structure is that of "Primus entre pares". I think of Western Diocletian states and their derivatives - for the most part - as the "pares" in this context.

But I do not have a good way of thinking of Saudi Arabia or Israel but they are not core to the "Primus" or the Pares.

turcopolier

Babak

""Shah was a US puppet" and "Shah was a sovereign monarch."" He was no more our puppet than the head of state/government of any of the NATO countries. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think that is good then since one of the concerns of Iranian leaders - always expressed publicly over the years - has been that US aims to regain power over Iran that she enjoyed under the Shah.

US diplomats can then reassure Iranian leaders that such was never the case and not even with the Shah.

turcopolier

Babak

But would they believe it? pl

different clue

In the past war-game set of comments, someone noted that most of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon were/are passive Assad-SAR supporters, but not to the extent of fighting against the rebellion. The issue of carrot and stick to get them physically involved was raised.

The Assad/SAR government has been thinking about this also. They have announced the following carrot and stick. Any pro-government fighting-age refugees in Lebanon who come back to fight for the government will be allowed back in with their families and given every assistance to rebuild their lives, property, etc. if the government wins. Those who don't come back to help fight while the fighting continues . . . will never ever be allowed to return if the SARgov wins without their help anyway, and they will enforce that permanent ban on re-entry by any and all means convenient.

Matthew

different clue: That's genius, actually. During our War of Independence, it's stunning how many people sat on the sidelines--and sold goods to both the Continentals and the British Army--while Colonel Lang's ancestors were actually putting their lives on the line to birth a new country.

Since the Jihadis will literally murder the secular Syrians, darn right the refugees should be barred return if they won't fight.

Ken Roberts

I have not the expertise to contribute to this game overall. However there are a couple of aspects which perhaps someone might consider in their scenario...

From PL's context: "The Russians have reached the limits of their available naval sea lift and air lift for reinforcement and supply." Presumably this is forseen already, hence actions to deal with bottleneck are already under prep? Might those start to appear in "turn two" timeframe.

Turkey seems potentially ambivalent. The prospect of becoming an energy conduit country, Russia --> Europe, must be appealing. What carrots can/should be offer?

charly

Was Romania in the 80's a satellite of the USSR? They did condemn the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 68.

charly

What do you think Lebanon's answer would be to such a proposition? Or Hezbollah's answer to changing the demographics from Lebanon from majority Shia to Sunni?

My war game contribution would be in this case 10 days later the second complete cabinet re-suffle in which only Assad survives.

Will

i made a boo boo in that post. It's SAA for Syrian Arab Army. don't know where i got the SAR from. but once it's posted it's gone.

alba etie

All
The EU decides to admit Turkey provisionally as a member if it meets the following criteria:
1) immediately enacts a cease fire with all Kurds factions it is fighting ,
2)agrees to allow US Special Forces to operate and other USG assets to operate unimpeded from Turkish territory - to defeat ISIS-Daesh
3)Erdogan disavows all support for ISIS Daesh period full stop , and takes full responsibility for the dead SF killed in the Turkish air raids on the YPG .

charly

If there was a link up between Aleppo and the Kurdish area you could truck it in through Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan & Syrian Kurdistan.

Babak Makkinejad

They were and the directive to remove Ceausescu came from Moscow. The so-called Romanian Revolution was a sham.

different clue

Matthew,

Thank you for the kind words. I'm afraid it would only be genius if the SAR has people reading this blog who see it, like it and suggest it to their government. Which then likes it enough to declare it in public for all the Syrian refugees in Lebanon to hear. And thereby raises enough soldiers to help the SAR to serious victory. Otherwise, it will remain just a thought. Still . . . thank you. And here's hoping the SARgov does it with or withOUT reading this thread.

different clue

Is it worth considering for the purposes of this game what would happen if North Korea and/or China begin distracting America's attention from the Syria theater with nasty behavior in the Western Pacific?

If it would be worth considering . . . here goes. There was not one mention of North Korea in the whole Round One post or thread. North Korea is very hurt and offended by this lack of even a mention and begins screaming and throwing its toys out of the crib to get some attention. When China thinks America is sufficiently distracted by Baby Kim's tantrums, China decides to provoke some incidents and tensions regarding competing claims between China and Philippines and Japan. Since Philippines and Japan are American allies, America will have to pivot some attention from Syria to whatever incidents China is manufacturing against Philippines and/or Japan. Because America cannot be seen to neglect acute concerns which genuine allies want attended to.

So if NorKor/ China give us these two hotfoots, how would the R + 6 take advantage of our distraction to surge ahead even faster?

Bandolero

My turn 2, game projection up to June 1, 2016

Given the surprisingly rapid development of the situation since turn 1, my projection is that it will continue up to June 1, 2016. In the northwest of Syria, the R+6 smash the jihadis, all of them, causing lot's of casulties among jihadis and rapidly winning back more territory. Russia calls on moderate opposition forces to come to their senses, align themselves with the R+6 and stop sleeping in bed with terrorists, so they won't be targeted. Some of the "rebels" in Syria follow that call, grudgingly, but seeing no alternative as a crushing defeat looms. Nevertheless, some jihadis adapt to the situation and concentrate on IED attacks on the R+6 forces behind the lines, ie acting as guerilla inside already liberated territory, and due to the high speed of R+6 ops causing much collateral damage, they have some popular support there. Their attacks are supported with propaganda from Turkey, Gulfies, HRW and AI who claim, the R+6 are committing a "genocide against Sunnis" in Syria. US government criticizes the R+6 attacks on the jihadis as "too heavy handed" and therefore counterproductive.

Regarding the seven casualties of US Army Green Berets embedded with the Kurds caused by Turkish air strikes opinion among US presidential candidates is split about who should get most blame for this. While many "good friends of Israel", most Congress Republicans, Ben Carson, who narrowly won Iowa and NH against Trump, Clinton and Sanders blame Obama for putting US troops in harms way by supporting dictator Assad and his reckless Shia genocide against Sunnis supported by Iranian, Russian and communist Kurds, Trump puts most blame on reckless Turkey, blaming Obama for not taking decisive action against the "Erdogan's islamist war on America."

YPG has their main base for their operations from Kobani westwards over the Euphrates towards Afrin near the Tishreen dam, on the eastern side of the Euphrates. As the Tishrin dam is the most critical piece of infrastructure, potentially killing thousands over thousands of people when it would be destroyed, and at the same time a main bridge over the Euphrates needed for the LOC, it's logical to have the main base there. The spokesman of the US-backed SDF, who happens to be the former YPG-Kurd spokesman, lauds the US special forces embedded with the YPG in highest tunes, calling them true heroes, who sacrificed much, but make a huge difference on the ground, claiming the YPG recent successes against Turkish-backed ISIS terrorists had only been possible due to the wise battleship leadership of the US special forces.

UN brokered peace talks and Vienna talks on Syria broke down in disagreement. Russia guards the Kweiris airbase with a layered Syrian defense reaching several km into the perimeter of the air base, a very robust Russian guard closer to the base, and lot's of air defense systems of various types.

On February, 15, 2016, Saudi foreign minister Jubair visits Erdogan in Turkey. Claiming that the US and Russia support Iran and dictator Assad committing a Shia-led "genocide against the Sunnis" in Syria, they declare their unlimited support for all Sunnis in Syria, noting that while Russia and the US support the "terrorist groups" Hezbollah and PKK committing genocide, "nobody has the right" to question them, whether they support Sunni Al Qaeda fighters or Sunni ISIS fighters defending the Sunnis in Syria from a "Shia-led genocide" or not. Erdogan also calls US president Barack Obama to stop supporting the PKK with special forces in Syria, so that they are not in harms way, saying that as this is a case of genocide he can't take into much consideration the craziness of a US president, who in his last days insist to embed some US forces into units of PKK terrorists. Obama should not wonder when US forces die in Syria as long as he embeds them with terrorists, and Jubair adds, the Russians should vanish from their bases in Syria together with their Iranian buddies, or not wonder when they will be once again surprised by the superiority of US made fighter jets, and suffer, when these fighter jets bomb "other targets" then ISIS. Erdogan says he agrees with the Saudi foreign minister.

The Russian defense ministry responds by objecting to the threat against it's airbases in Syria and displays, that the air defense of their airbases in Syria, including Kweiris, is even heavier than many thought, and that it also includes modern S-400 missile systems with several hundred km reach. Russia declares de facto a no fly zone, saying any aircraft violating Syrian airpsace in the range of their missiles may be shot down without warning. Russia calls onto the US to make it clear to the allies in their coalition, that they must repsect the US-Russian-deconflictation agreement. Western mass media and defense experts call into question that the Russians have S-400 in Kweiris and say it looks like Russia bluffs. The US confirms anyway, it has once again made clear to all partners in their anti-ISIS-coalition, that the deconflictation agreement with Russia needs to be respected.

Two days after the Saudi visit to Erdogan a video on social media appears. It shows a well-guarded facility, with a well-to-be-seen US flag on top, in front of it some US military vehicles can be seen, and in the background the Tishrin dam can be seen. The title is: Exposed: the secret US special forces HQ in Syria. Some YPG sources confirm inofficially that that video really shows the HQ of the US special forces in Syria, saying the well-visible flag on the roof is good because some new SDF/YPG fighters will then show more respect for neccessary security procedures when they come closer to the building. The internet laughs, and Obama's opponents in the US, laugh too. Secret US special forces have a US flag on their HQ. When questioned about the video, a visible uncomfortable Pentagon spox says he doesn't comment on social media, which contains notoriously unreliable information.

On Feb 20, 2016, the Russian defense ministry issues a statement: minutes ago, Russian air defense systems installed at Kweiris airbase took out two unidentified low and fast flying objects, which crossed into Syria from Turkey at the Euphrates, flew about 50 km into Syrian airspace and appears to have been fighter jets on a combat mission to attack ground targets in Syria. As these aircraft were operating outside the US-Russian deconflictation agreement they were taken out.

Five hours later, US president Obama goes in front of TV to make an announcement. He declares, the HQ of US forces in Syria suffered a heavy air attack by two fighter jets coming from Turkey. The US has evidence that this was a atack from Turkey on a US HQ, which was clearly marked by a US flag, and well-known. Obama further declares that the US has strong evidence that the attack was ordered by Erdogan personally, and was meant to support the terrorist organization ISIS. As the HQ was "accidentially" empty in the moment of the attack, luckily there were no US casualties. On their way back to Turkey these jets were shot down by Russian air defense systems. Obama thanked Russia for their efforts to defend US forces from an attack by Turkey, and declares that this attack from Turkey - which has become a rogue state under Erdogan who turned from a moderate islamic politician into an islamist dictator - on US forces will have grave consequences for Turkey.

A day later the US introduces a resolution into the UN security council putting Turkey under an international arms ban for the Turkish support for terrorism. It's adopted 15-0-0. Erdogan is upset, but doesn't give in says he will further continue to defend the Sunni brethren in Syria with all means possible. US foreign minister Kerry says in the security council should Turkey further support terrorism the US may feel it neccessary to introduce a resolution with harsh economic sanctions against Turkey, too. Other terrorism sponsoring states who the US consider allies and who consider the US their ally should take note of this. The US is willing to take action against so-called allies when they become rogue states. A day after the resolution is done, Obama gives an interview on TV saying in effect Saudi Arabia has 14 days to stop supporting terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, to accept US-backed diplomatic solutions for Syria and Yemen, to put an acceptable leadership at the head of their state, or to get the same treatment as Turkey. The Saudis have heated arguments inside the royal family, but king Salman doesn't comply. 11 days after Obama made the ultimatum the US circulates a draft resolution in the UN SC, containing an arms ban against Saudi Arabia, and also economic sanctions. 2 days later, the Saudi TV says King Salman suddenly died from a heart attack. Many observers understand he was killed, likely by someone from his own family. The crown prince and the deputy crown prince, under heavy pressure from the US and parts of the royal family, decline to take the crown. The Royal Saudi Council which is tasked with the search for a successor, quietly decides to send an emissary to the US embassy to ask who from the Saudi family would be acceptable to the US. The US makes it's pick and the Saudis comply. The main task of the new ruler is to end the support for terrorism and the Saudi spread of sectarian hatred. Regarding Syria and Yemen, the new Saudi king assures the US he will sign into any solution the US deems acceptable. The US pulls their sanctions draft against the Saudis from the UN SC. Seeing the Saudi example of submission under US primacy the smaller Gulfies follow.

As of May, 2016, the US and Russia have largely outlined deals for ending the wars in Syria and Yemen. In Syria the solution says everyone not complying to a general ceasefire and still fighting against the Syrian army will be dealt with by common force, while the future president will be determined by internationally monitored elections. Most think, Assad will win them. Assad and the SDF, of whom most now speak as THE Syrian opposition, backs this solution, while the Turkish-based SNC is declared irrelevant and unhelpful. For Yemen the solution says, that the current rulers of Sanaa shall lead the country until internationally monitored elections where the Yemenis will determine their leader themselves. Most think, Ali Saleh's son will win.

At 1st of June, Turkey still supports the jihadis in Syria, but the prospects for them are grim and they are further loosing steam. The missing Gulfie support has a huge impact. Turkey's international situation looks more and more like that of Iran after the Islamic revolution.
Obama put Erdogan on note, that he needs to change course, or face economic sanctions. Erdogan still doesn't comply. In the US, Donald Trump now leads the Republican primary pack. He, like much of the US public, lauded Obama's efforts to finally reign into the terrorism supporting allies, albeit criticizing Obama's actions against Turkey and Saudi Arabia as much too late. Trump promises to go harshly after so-called allies which turned rogue states if he would be elected president.

b

The "Russians" did not announce 3-4 month. Some Russian parliamentarian who is not part of the executive said 3-4 month.
"Western" media then claimed that that was a Kremlin statement which it was not. The Kremlin has to my knowledge given no timeframe but at one point suggested at least a year of engagement if not much longer.

turcopolier

Bandolero

"Secret US special forces have a US flag on their HQ." A minor point but there is nothing very secret about the USSF contingent with the YPG Kurds. pl

Macgupta123

As Syria/Iraq become more deadly, some of ISIS begins to seek accommodation in Afghanistan, others in Somalia.

Bandolero

PL

For not leaving game time, let me add here to my turn 2, that on May, 31st, 2016, Seymour Hersh publishs a piece on that fateful Turkish attack on the US HQ in Syria. He writes:

"As seven Green Berets were killed by Turkish airstrikes some in the DoD suspected these were no accidents caused by reckless Turkish behaviour, but planned and targeted attacks by Turkey on US forces in Syria. Before acting on that suspicion Obama wanted more clarity. To get clarity on that question, US military suggested Obama to test Turkey. Other may call it a trap. A US special forces HQ with an American flag on top was made in Syria, a video showing it was taken and published, intentionally showing it's location. The HQ was equipped, but US forces were not to stay there, because a Turkish air attack was expected. Only very few foreigners knew what it was. Mr. Putin was one of them. Before the HQ was built in Syria Mr. Obama called Mr. Putin to explain the trap, and ask Mr. Putin, to order his forces not to down Turkish planes on the way to attack the facility because Mr. Obama wanted definite proof of Turkey's behaviour. Mr. Putin agreed and so the events turned out like they turned out...."

Tony Papert

The Col. is precisely right about the character of the Russians' deadline. It is not "three or four months." See:

KUALA LUMPUR, November 4. /TASS/. Russia’s Aerospace Forces will continue the operation as long as the Syrian army carries out its offensive against terrorists, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Wednesday.

"The operation is limited by the timeframe of the offensive by the Syrian forces against terrorists," Antonov said at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense ministers and dialogue partners.

Babak Makkinejad

That is truly a fantasy.

Babak Makkinejad

Some will and some won't.

Will

The escalation ladder, who controls it?

Syria-Turkey
Turkey supplies more anti tank weapons, continues to intimidate the Kurds from crossing the Euphrates

Ultimate Syrian move would be to recognize a Kurdish state and guarantee them access to the med.

Russia-Turkey
Turkey starts messing around with Russian passage through the Straits. What could Russia do? Cut off the natural gas? If anything, Putin is a businessman and doesn't like to screw up business relationships. Take out some of the Turkish fleet and threaten to take out more? what would NATO do? The Bosporus is so narrow!

Russia-Israel
Plainly, the Russian fighter planes are for force protection and not a general no fly zone. Israel will continue to bomb with impunity. That is until they cross some red line. What could Russia do then? Take out an Israeli jet? Heck, if the US suffered the USS Liberty disgrace in silence, wouldn't the Russians take the same path? What would they have to lose, all the Victoria Nulands and Charles Krauthammers are already against them? Plus, there's a million Russian voters in Israel. Putin is in a hard place, and Israel controls the escalation. Ultimate card, Pollard gave them the targeting information to nuke Moscow. Russia recognizes a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.

Where will it be at the end of the six months?
Russian will find the ISIS oil pipeline/truck route to Turkey and interdict it. As the SAA gets closer to the Turkish border, they will interdict ISIS's logistical train. Russian will airdrop some bad meth, or get it in the supply chain. The Jihadists live on speed, and it may kill them. Dr. al-Assad may be in a strong enough position to call an election for the SAR (Syrian Arab Republic), with observors, by midhalf 2016.

turcopolier

Will

Israel controls the escalation ladder? If that is so, then the world is doomed. As jdledell explained they are filled with contempt and disregard for us all. pl

different clue

Charly,

I think Hezbollah would strongly encourage Lebanon's Syrian refugees to go back and fight. If Syria demonstrated it could win the war by winning it, and it indeed refused to let a single wouldn't-help-us-fight refugee to return to Syria after the victory was won; then Syria wouldn't need to care a bit what Hezbollah thinks about that. Lebanon and Hezbollah would have zero power to do anything about it, so their opinions would not matter from a Syrian standpoint.

Syria might be gracious enough to let some very carefully vetted and handpicked Syrian refugees return. Syria would be very picky-choosy about which refugees would be permitted to return. As to the rest, Lebanon and Hezbollah would get used to having a permanent "Syriastinian" population living in their country. Perhaps Lebanon and Hezbollah would persecute and terrorise the "Syriastinians" enough to get them to emigrate to other countries. Or at least give it a try.

charly

Why would China want to provoke an incident now. Every year they wait they get stronger. What is true is that there will be a big incident in East Asia but it will be Taiwan and provoked by the US.

The train wreck, Taiwan's declaration of independence, has been put on rails by the Americans for years and will happen just after the January elections.

different clue

Macgupta123

They would be visible in Afghanistan and very visible in Somalia. This would be an opportunity to kill them on sight, since they would stand out especially in Somalia.

different clue

Will,

Perhaps Russia could put just enough heroin or fentanyl or other slowdown-agent in the meth to render the jihadis unable to fight well or respond well to anything at all. Then they would be easy to counter.

Or, as you say, poison the meth. After a few meth deaths the other jihadis would become too paranoid and demoralized to take their meth, and might slow down enough to be easily handled.

LeaNder

Babak, I decided to not respond with a longer response concerning this: "Germany is definitely a semi-sovereign".

In spite of all we saw in recent years, EU-Nato-Russia, I don't see it that way.

Item: Schroeder, never mind that I do not like him for maybe the wrong reasons, did not join the "coalition of the willing".

jld

How nice we are back to Machiavelli's times, only with bio-weapons, drones and nukes...

LeaNder

I have a vague knowledge concerning earlier Russian and/or British interest in Iran. ... No doubt German ones too.

But why 1954, not 1953? explain? Because Mohammad Mosaddegh was slightly too early, not yet religious enough? whatever that means.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat

I have to admit, that I discovered that among the books that have been pushed into the second row, turning invisible, are some by Iranian friend, but I suspect he would laugh your bigger theses away.

Anyway, I'll read them now.

charly

The voters that back Hezbollah would in the US vote Trump (poorer, rural, more anti immigrants). They want them out. Preferably fighting for the Loyalist but even fighting for the rebels is seen as an improvement.

charly

Doesn't work that way with drug addicts. They would stop using the blue pills but still pop the red ones

Valissa

This Syria situation is way too complex for me to make useful forecasts. And I don’t have any military background to predict territorial acquisitions and losses. Instead, I will offer the view of the spækona as per my ancestry.

“Urdhr answered ‘Ragnarok’ when Odin asked what the future would be.”

Syria is currently the VORTEX of a multi-dimensional nested cluster of “unsolvable” conflicts
conflicts of influence & power
conflicts of civilization
conflicts of culture
conflicts of religion
conflicts of economic interests
conflicts of allegiance
conflicts of “identity” (at the level of nation/state - nations have “identities of a sort” reflected in their self-narratives and relations with allies)
forces of Order vs. forces of Chaos

For the time being Chaos reigns. (thru 6/1/16) With it’s dual track of diplomacy and limited war, and its direct messaging Russian actions make some very small headway towards Order (nudging other players towards order, attempting to herd cats). However, achieving any type of Order is hard when most of the “players” are at cross purposes even within themselves.

The initially stated goal of the War Game is:
“the subject of the downfall of the current weller of jihadists in the context of the seemingly never ending sine curves of Sunni revivalism over the centuries.”

On that simpler question I predict that by June 1, 2016, enthusiasm for joining the jihadis and creating a caliphate will be on the wane, primarily due to Russian actions pushing back on that. But even if there is corresponding diminishment of extremist religious enthusiasm, that’s not going to have much effect on the other conflicts involved.

Bandolero

LeaNder

Well, yes.

Schroeder declined to take part in the Bush war on Iraq, and 3 years later his government was no more.

Westerwelle abstained together with the BRIC on US-led war on Libya, and 3 years later his party was no more in German parliament.

So, yes, Germany is very sovereign today, just when any German politician tries to act based on this fact or thesis, he'll be out soon.

Chris Chuba

R+6 is able to use the newly acquired Kuweires air base to support a drive to capture both Al-bab and Manbidj.
This accomplishes multiple goals.
1. It shores up Russian credibility as fighting ISIS as these cities are in ISIS territory.
2. It separates ISIS from both FSA (Islamic Front) Territory as well as the Turkish border drying up their supply lines.
3. It eliminates the need for the Kurds to cross the Turkish red line.
4. It satisfies Russia's domestic population's need to see progress against ISIS after the downing of the airline from Egypt.

At this point R+6 starts a campaign to drive towards Raqqa but in a methodical manner knowing that time is now on their side since ISIS is now going to experience shortage and the FSA / Islamic front groups are now contained.

The U.S. turns its attention on getting its own Syrian Arab Coalition forces to capture Raqqa with a rapidly weakening ISIS in order for Obama to regain prestige both domestically and internationally in his final year in office.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Six months is too far in the future for me to predict. I have problems planning tomorrow.

There are constants that will not change unless the neo-cons and neo-libs are routed out of DC:

What Israel wants Israel gets. Islam will devolve into warring tribes from Lebanon to Pakistan. Muslims will be on the move either to fight in the wars or to safety.

The oligarchs want war profits. They will get richer.

Americans will be poorer and die sooner.

The White House and Congress are on a path to World War III with Russia and China. The only question is will it start in the next six months or not. The first battle of a World at War will start when Turkey invades Syria to quash the Kurds and to rescue fellow Islamists under Russian and Iranian attack.

There is no planning or strategy to end the wars and to bring peace to the world.

turcopolier

VV Nah! Israel does not call the shots with Putin and Assad. Maybe you should convert and get on the winning side. pl

Bandolero

All

For clarity, let me add on short sentence to my projection:

Change: "US military suggested Obama to test Turkey. Other may call it a trap."

Into: "US military suggested Obama to test Turkey. The FBI would call it a sting operation. Others may call it a trap."

And just for the sake of discussion - or phantasy, let me add one more idea to my fictive report by Seymour Hersh:

"Besides Mr. Putin, Mr. Netanyahu also played a big role in nailing Erdogan. The key question is here; why did Mr. Erdogan think the US will pull out there 50 special forces when they were hit by Turkey another time? The answer is that Obama leaked false information to Netanyahu regarding his policy intentions. Obama made Netanyahu believe with leaking false classied information he will pull out of Syria and leave Syria to his successor, when there were more US casualties. Obama was betting that Netanyahu would pass that classified information, though Netanyahu was told it's not to pass to anyone, to Erdogan. And Netanyahu did it, not knowing he was setting up his buddy Erdogan by doing this. And Netanyahu also fed Carson and Clinton with this false information which he received under the premise of confidentiality. Mr. Obama was truely shocked when he learned that Mr. Netanyahu did this with the information he received as a close ally of the US..."

Tel

Agree with the general sentiment. A few details though.

Clearly the primary target of the CIA at this stage is getting Asaad out, but by Feb 2016 is this still realistically achievable? How do you think the Americans are internally evaluating their chance of success?

Of course there will be delivery of increasingly powerful weapons, including MANPAD and TOW and probably others, there is no downside to the USA in supplying these... if they work they work, and if they fail at least we have valuable test data. Deny anything and everything, even with direct evidence just keep denying (seems to be accepted methodology).

Question remains, will these weapons be effective?

Tel

My general comment on ground troops. I would expect fewer from Russia, and more from Iran and Lebanese Hizbullah. My logic is that Russia does not want to spend the money on long term occupation, they can't afford it, and they cannot benefit from occupation.

On the other hand, the Shiite forces have a strong incentive to be occupying the ground and they are better suited to the task, having better local knowledge and beffer acclimatization to the conditions.

Russia's rewards in this are all medium/long term:
* Maintain a naval base
* Trade routes via the Middle East, maybe into Asia, etc.
* Discourage the jihadis from stirring up Muslims inside Russia
* Client state in Syria ruled by Asaad
* General Russian feeling of nationalism and global significance.

turcopolier

Tel

Tel what, Aviv? I disagree. With some exceptions the R+6 coalition troops lack the firm discipline and internal structural cohesion to be useful in really sustained combat. For that reason Russian troops, support and staff are essential. Many of you want to see this contest in essentially political and economic terms. I suppose that is because you are militarily ignorant and victims of the poly sci psychosis. I will say again, first you have to win on the battlefield. pl

Nuff Sed?

Ah, you forgot Good vs. Evil.

johnf

>Chinese???

>The Russians have reached the limits of their available naval sea lift and air lift for reinforcement and supply.

1/ I'm not sure if this means they've run out of port or airfield capabilities in Syria or they don't have the military and commercial shipping and aircraft to support more of their forces in Syria. If the second, then why not China? (Maybe chartering extremely obscure merchant shipping companies in Liberia who owe them).

If Russia scares would-be predators away from Syria for military reasons, China could do it for commercial, financial and economic reasons. (For example, Britain's desperation to curry favour with the Chinese was recently embarassinglty illustrated by the entire British Establishment (except Prince Charles) doing the full kowtow to visiting Xi Jinping). And China would be able to show its clear support of the R+6 without using military force.

2/ At what point are the Israelis going to change sides???

Chris Chuba

I believe that the deliver of MANPADS would incur a very violent reaction by the Russians because it would put Russian personnel directly at risk. I don't know if they have sent any kind of message to Washington over this or how they would respond but it will not be pleasant. The Russians have accepted the unpleasant and unfortunate presence of TOWs but I believe that MANPADs are their own 'red line' of sorts.

Chris Chuba

Another reason the R+6 would like to launch an offensive that targets ISIS territory (to capture Al-bab and Manbidj) especially if it displays an alliance with the Kurds would be to influence U.S. elections and shut the hawks up.

U.S. public opinion would finally see that the previous attacks on the Unicorns were a necessary pre-cursor to setup the destruction of ISIS, not a punitive measure to eliminate moderates. This woulds shame every neocon commentator and Presidential candidate and favor Donald Trump in the primaries.

Valissa

I'm pretty tired of the whole good vs evil, good guys vs bad guys, narratives. Doesn't explain anything, though it does simplify things for people whose brains can't deal with the ambiguous nature of reality.

Feel free to submit your own narrative or forecast for this Round. I'm curious as to how you'll handle the complexity of it.

Chris Chuba

After R+6 captures Al-bab and Manbidj, they will allow the YPG (Kurds) to occupy those cities and all native Kurdish areas on the border with Turkey to free up Syrian Army manpower for their drive onto Raqqa. The Kurds will be protected from the Turks for two reasons.
1. The area is technically under control and protection of the Syrian govt, so an attack by Turkey would be an act of war.
2. Russian S300 batteries, already present in Syria will be deployed in the newly captured areas and used against the Turkish air force creating air cover for the Kurds. It would be next to impossible for the West to protest such a move as the Kurds are popular here. The combination of Assad working with the Kurds and attacking ISIS territory will put diplomatic and political pressure against the FSA / Islamic Front forces supported by the West to resume offensive operations against Assad's forces.

Thomas

"Of course there will be delivery of increasingly powerful weapons, including MANPAD and TOW and probably others, there is no downside to the USA in supplying these..."

Have you been following the news lately? What happens when a Moderate Jihadi sells his MANPAD to an Islamic State Intelligence Specialist for dowry cash and ISIS pops a commercial airliner?
Won't that be a real special news conference "who could have known this would have happened?" bleats a spokesperson.

Nuff Sed?

If there is no good and no evil, then it cannot matter. By definition. Thus, that matter must be settled first, ie, in the logical sequence.

different clue

charly,

I'm not saying that Syria "shouldn't" care about how Lebanon and Hezbollah would feel about such a scenario playing out in Lebanon and Hezbollahstan. I am only saying that Lebanon and Hezbollah would not have to power to MAKE Syria care about how Lebanon and Hezbollah would feel about it.

different clue

charly,

You raise a fair question. If my guess as to what North Korea and/or China will do during the War Game period gets somewhat reflected by actual NorKor and/or Chinese actions over the next year or less, then my intuitional feeling will be validated by just that much. If neither NorKor nor China does anything distracting in their areas over the next year or less, that would show just how wrong my feeling about those two has turned out to be in this context. And I would have to try revising my intuition-grid. We shall see . . .

different clue

jld,

If we get Machiavellian with ISIS and the other cannibal liver-eathers . . . well . . . they had it coming. (Or if Russia does it with no help from us, then it will be the Russians who will have chosen to bear the moral burden of re-Machiavellization, for good or for ill. And if the Russians do no such thing, then they too will have remained pure and above Machiavelli).

And even if we or somebody get Machiavellian with the Rebels, as long as neither we nor somebody get Machiavellian with eachother, then we are just that much not-Machiavellian-yet.

Maybe Russia will find a kinder and gentler Machiavellian approach to spiking the headchoppers' meth supply. Put some tetrahydrocannabinol and LSD and psilocybin in their meth supplies and the rebels will be too mellowed-out and confused to do anymore fighting. Then they can be rounded up and collected in a non violent manner.

Daidalos

I'm going to try to stay a little more focused on the actual theater this time, though I do think as this goes on, we're approaching inflection points for Russian influence in Orthodox Europe and Iranian influence in Catholic Latin America. And the latter will start subtly influencing American policy in the Mideast as US politicians triangulate to grab more Catholic and Hispanic voters, who also don't tend to be as sentimental about Israel.

China: will stick to quietly financing the R+6 through this whole mess and asking for special attention to any Uighur militants. AFAIK the Chinese economy is still merely slowing down, not in recession (the "investors' perspective" of Western news tends to reflect free-moving capital's tendency to flee the instant something ceases to provide the highest rate of return). Even then, as the Chinese economy re-balances by scrapping and selling off excess capital, some of those funds can be diverted to foreign projects. Chinese military and intel will stay focused on gaining more leverage over its neighbors in South Asia and the Pacific.

Israel: The Israelis and Palestinians will still remain mostly focused on their Troubles, and I do think the Likud will still have a hold on the Knesset in June, but it will be as tenuous as ever. Some Jewish and Arab parties on the Left will continue looking less-and-less like European labor parties and begin merging into a moderate, pan-Semitic version of the Muslim Brotherhood (socially conservative, religious, but economically populist). Although it won't lead to any diplomacy yet and anger over mistreatment of the Palestinians is still strong as ever, Muslim governments (outside of the oil-sheikdoms) start seeing the upcoming coalition as someone they can potentially work with, even if only through back-channels.

Syria: while I might be less sanguine about the speed of R+6 gains, the fundamental difference between the R+6's direct assertion of materiel, manpower, and willpower will keep grinding down the "hire-a-jihadi" approach of the US/Gulf coalition. I think a huge mistake of the US/Gulf coalition is they see this is a repeat of Afghanistan 2.0. Besides the fact that the terrain is effectively very different, I'd say the Salafi forces are actually the ones analogous to the Soviets in this case. The Gulf is trying to prop up a failed revolution that (regardless of what it stood for in the beginning) has morphed into an attempt to remake the Levant in the Nejd's image. Plus they are trying to do it in the face of a probable majority of the Syrian people and support from every corner of the globe (whatever support English-speaking governments have given to the JaN-affiliated forces, it looks like it's about to be swamped by aid to the YPG).

Turkey: After managing to irrevocably tick-off the R+6, Europe, the US, and Israel, Erdogan has summoned his own downfall from on high. The US and Europe decide to play good cop, bad cop on Turkey, and the PKK is the phone-book that the European bad cop will beat the Turkish state with. Within a single week, European governments universally de-list the PKK as a terrorist organization, then France (at Germany's private request) submits a resolution in the UN demanding international involvement in protecting Kurdish rights within Turkey. Several protests & riots by ethnic Turks (local media plays up refugee involvement) erupt throughout European cities, but are suppressed with surprising brutality, including police allowing right-wing gangs to attack protesters.

The US privately tells the Turkish government that it wants to veto the measure but can only abstain for political reasons. However, to keep Incirlik open, the US (sincerely) promises to help Turkey dilute the measure in implementation and prevent PKK attacks. All the while, the US massively increases assistance to Gulen's Cemaat and acts as a go-between for disgruntled AKP members, military, and civil officials.

Iraq: The continued success of the PMUs against ISIS, along with their growing restraint and cooperation with the Sunnis, begins to eat away at the Sunni vs. Shia narrative. Inspired by this (and somewhat in line with Babak's Seljuk idea), Hanafi scholars in Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and at Al-Azhar, and Twelver scholars in Najaf and Qom begin to discuss the "fundamental unity and common longing for wise interpretation" in their schools. The Hanbali Gulf states don't catch on yet, but the "Sunni global majority" is transforming into a different sort of majority aligned against them.

Jordan: On top of the germinating Hanafi resurgence, Jordanian intelligence begins receiving clearer and clearer evidence that the Gulf coalition in Yemen is actively targeting Yemeni Hashemites. This is the last straw for King Abdullah, who holds private audiences with the Syrian and Iraqi governments, Arab representatives of the YPG/SDF, and elders of major tribes driven from the peninsula by the Saud (e.g. Ash-Shammar & Ar-Rashidi). While the Gulf coalition's paranoia about Shia and Iranian plots leads it to sink further into Yemen and crack down harder on Bahrain, the Eastern Province, and Najran, the overthrow of the House of Saud is being quietly planned by Sunnis in Amman.

To PL and Babak: I thought your discussion over the history between the US and Iran and whether Germany is entirely sovereign was interesting. I could be wrong, but as an American citizen that's also a bit Persianized (long story), I get the feeling you have fundamentally different notions of what "sovereignty" looks like. In much of the West and America especially, I think independence is intuitively seen as how smoothly you move towards your interests, i.e. it's about the ends. I think in Iran (and actually all the countries that survived the Mongols, including Russia and China), it's more about the means. Sovereignty there is about being able to organize and mobilize your own people and resources, even if it's to shoot yourself in the foot (e.g. Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, etc.)

Valissa

"People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind."
--William Butler Yeats

annamaria

Besides, if Obama ever begins making sensible decisions that could upset financial-miitary complex (joined at the hip with Israel), then he will be "Lincolned" (or Kennedyed") in no time.

turcopolier

All

From Fred S

"R+6

Increased sea lift for major supply efforts for more than 20,000 troops, soon to be reinforced to upwards of twice that number, is the major logistics effort of the R+6 coalition. Agreements with multiple commercial carriers based in both EU and Far Eastern nations by the end of March. This allows reinforcements of transportation units, additional mechanized, armor and artillery units as well as aircraft and helicopters with their attached maintenance and repair units. Additional ground troops for base defense are also seen arriving in theater during late winter.

Consolidation of Aleppo area is completed by June 1. A May “offensive” follows up on repeated deep raids and daily air attacks by RuAF units. This drive continues towards the NW in an attempt to link up with the Kurds. One drive deep into ISIS controlled territory liberates Palmyra. Symbolic in action due to the destruction wrought by ISIS, this does secure an additional air field for RuAF use against ISIS line of supply to the East and South.

Asia Times reports that a former Russian military advisor from the former USSR period was seen in Sunni areas of Iraq and was possibly meeting with former Saddam era military officers who are reportedly advising ISIS. There is no further confirmation of this report.

Turkey - continued air attacks on YPG units severely damages US-Turkey relations. Unrest grows in military ranks at the actions of Erdogan’s government.

Kurds - punished by Turkish airpower they turn their newly acquired man pads onto the next Turkish AF sortie, downing one attack aircraft. USSF renew their training and liaison efforts but deny supplying any anti air craft missiles.

Jordan - effectively closes their border with the unicorn front as the R+6, having mauled ISIS forces in the cauldron, release second line units, backed by a portion of newly arrived Russian forces, to the South to pressure a disintegrating US backed force. Offers of amnesty by the SAR succeed in peeling off some of these rebel forces.

Iraq - Government forces, stiffened by Iranian advisors and air support continue to fight ISIS but remains ineffective in major offensive operations.

Yemen - Saudi and UAE forces bogged down in mountains. Famine spreads due to blockade. Gulf States continue funding of various jihadis “rebels”.

Saudi Arabia -low oil prices continue to reduce government income. KSA budget is further strained due to the ongoing expenses of a war in Yemen, funding to ISIS and social welfare programs and profligate spending amongst the extended royal family.

China - economy continues to slide due to world wide economic slow down.

Africa - Boka Haram still active against the Nigerian government whose troops continue to be incapable of securing a defeat of the terror group.

US - “Coordination” of anti ISIS efforts increases as efforts between US and RU counterparts is aided significantly though unofficially by the Turkish actions which recently killed 7 US Army Green Berets. US election rhetoric heats up as many on the Right now openly denounce NATO ally Turkey for killing US soldiers fighting ISIS and for being an instigator of the refugee “crisis” which many now brand an “invasion”.
Advisors to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov. Public statements are still noncommittal. Lavrov publicly repeats the that Russian Federation’s objective is to defeat the jihadists. President Obama simply states US objectives are unchanged. One noticeable omission is that this time he does not say “Assad must go”.

Refugee front - civil unrest is seen in cities in multiple former Warsaw Pact Countries and in parts of Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Burning of refugee centers throughout parts of these same countries is sporadic but increasing. Right leaning politicians demand to know why the German Navy can send ten frigates and support vessels to stop Somali “pirates” but they can’t defend the national borders of Nato allies. Similar questions are heard in Italy, Austria and Greece regarding their navies.

Terror front - ISIS operatives attempt bombings in multiple cities in Europe. Effective police and intelligence operations prevent almost all attacks. The downing of Egyptian airliner is still claimed by ISIS and but a bombing is denied by the Egyptian and Russian governments." pl

The Twisted Genius

In Rojava, the Arab tribal militias are beginning to carry their weight as effective allies of the still predominantly Kurdish SDF (Syrian Democratic forces) thanks to the efforts of the embedded Special Forces teams. SDF units are much more successful at thwarting IS surprise assaults and VBIEDs and are now holding a line extending from the dam at the north end of Lake Assad
east to Ain Issa, further east to the dam 15 miles south of Hasakah, to Al Hawl and the Iraqi border. SDF recon patrols, led by Special Forces 10s, are active south to the Euphrates spotting for A-10 and AC-130 sorties flying out of Incirlik and, more frequently, Erbil. Between R+6 near total control of northern Syria from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and the SDF/SF predations on IS supply lines, IS forces in Iraq are now experiencing ammunition and personnel replacement shortages.

Raqqa has lost its military value after the surprise February raid by the Russian men in green who were anything but polite. It is believed that the core of the raiding force was the 45th Detached Reconnaissance Regiment. The results were reminiscent of the Soviet entry into Kabul back in December 1979… shocking, brutal and efficient. No one connected to IS or sympathetic to IS was left alive in Raqqa. Several key IS leaders may have been captured alive, but their whereabouts are unknown. All infrastructure was destroyed. All done in the name of Russia’s sons and daughters murdered in the Sinai. Only the dam over the Euphrates remains.

Predictably, the Gulfies, Erdogan and Borgistas condemned this as a heinous atrocity and war crime. They called for UN condemnation and action against Russia. However, UN action has been thwarted by widespread public support for Russia’s strike against IS. Western politicians are stymied and are left to stew in their impotent rage against Putin and the Russians.

The Twisted Genius

Chris Chuba,

"After R+6 captures Al-bab and Manbidj, they will allow the YPG (Kurds) to occupy those cities and all native Kurdish areas on the border with Turkey to free up Syrian Army manpower for their drive onto Raqqa."

That makes perfect sense to me. I've also submitted some input that would make a R+6 drive on Raqqa somewhat OBE.

Babak Makkinejad

I find it hard to envision EU permitting any concrete help to R+6 via her commercial airlines.

Chinese might help.

LeaNder

Bandolero,

Schroeder's objection to the planned war was one big reason for his reelection in late 2002.

He lost his "job" due to his ill-guided belief in gambling with an early re-elections before his term ended in 2005. I forget, but the context where completely based on interior troubles, the SPD had lost its majority in the Bundesrat, due to some states turning black (CDU/CSU) versus red (SPD) and not least due to the reactions to his huge social spending cuts reform agenda. Agenda 2010, Hartz Reform. The Green Party his coalition partner also lost.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_2005#Results

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundesrat_of_Germany#Composition

LeaNder

Centrally, concerning your initial comment, cp.

International law, and legal restrictions to the right to return to the country you were born in? What would be the UN's take on it?

Besides, if you offer this "special treatment" to refugees in Lebanon, what about Jordan, Turkey, Europe?

Over here the hawks are in the process of discussion a limited status for Syrian refugees. What legal consequences would a limited offer by the Assad regime in Lebanon have on refugees elsewhere? I am sure Assad has a legal adviser that is aware of UN statues.

******
What will the Assad regime's funds once the war ended look like? Will they still be high enough for your group special re-compensation scheme?

What if the government is somewhat modified to integrate one way or another the former fighting parties, would they honor such a contract? ...

"given every assistance to rebuild their lives, property, etc. if the government wins."

LeaNder

Looked like an Ebay script interfered, at least that's what it looked like, sparing you a longer comment ...

But yes, in a nutshell, the European union is in its most serious crisis for a series of reasons, not least the flow of refugees recently. No good times for bold decisions, like provisional membership.

There surely could be a demand for a cease fire addressing both sides, as far as 1) is concerned. ;) But the rest looks way to hopeful considering the interests in the US led combined task force.

****

The rest of my comment concerned analogous high hopes put in Europe concerning Israel/Palestine.

Europe has limited means in this context, based on its associated state treaty with Israel in its "neighborhood program":

One is its position on products produced in the occupied territories, or Judea and Samaria, or land up for grabs based on a terra nullius argument from the hawkish pro-Israel side:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93European_Union_relations#Dispute_on_preferential_treatment_for_Israeli_products_originating_in_Palestinian_territories


LeaNder

Why would you want to bring in Seymour Hersh? Beyond putting words into his mouth? Wouldn't have an anonymous profession journalist or prominent citizen journalist been quite enough?

I can see you are able to set your imagination free easily. Impressive.

*****
not important, but associatively on my mind now:

Ages ago, I discovered software that apparently seems to be able to compare writing styles. If I am not hallucinating, of course. Joke. No doubt within limits it would be possible to compare your supposed article by Seymour Hersh with other likely professional journalists maybe even some prominent citizen journalists on linguistics grounds and filter out lower versus higher chances. ;)

LeaNder

Ok, rat-line/red line association.

http://www.utpsyc.org/synch/

I like Seymour too, by the way. But the Turkish influence, its prominence and agency in our larger context feels to be a bit too hyped around here lately. This is a purely aesthetic grasp of matters.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

June 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            
Blog powered by Typepad