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06 November 2015

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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.

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