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06 November 2015

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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.

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