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02 November 2015


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The Beaver


Have you read the latest:

"We must remain committed to preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon, and to vigorously enforcing the new nuclear agreement. I would move to step up our partnership to confront Iran and its proxies across the region, and make sure dangerous Russian and Iranian weapons don’t end up in Hezbollah’s hands or threaten Israel."

When will she fight for her American people?



I agree. Here's some confirmation of excess shipping capacity:

Kyle Pearson

I think you are mis-reading the recent economic unrest in Chinese bourses.

This was hailed by the West as a dire indicator of the weakness of Chinese markets; the Chinese response was to crack down rather precisely on clearly defined tools of key players and continue moving forward.

The Chinese economy has weaknesses, but those weaknesses are strictly internal and extremely elastic to outside interference.

China is re-directing its "excess capacity" towards internal development, and it has been explicitly and transparently declaring this to the world-at-large for the last 15 to 20 years.

A "deflationary spiral" is something the Chinese leadership is anticipating, and prepared for. They are not wed to "free market" rhetoric and tactics.

Kyle Pearson

Jordan has a strong history of absorbing refugees and allowing them a humane and honorable status within the kingdom. The era when the Hashemites were viewed as greedy sellouts is *mostly* past - locals are willing to forego relatively ancient enmities, and recognize that the kingdom is stranded between a rock and a hard place. Most locals are willing to support the kingdom, rather than undermine it, in that regard.

Or to put it another way: there are a lot of people who will be fully willing to finger Jihadis, at the border - and sympathetic refugees are a powerful support.

The current Jordanian king has overcome his status as "The Nintendo King" and earned regional respect. Everyone fleeing there who is not FSA (and remember: Jordan was the first country to publicly and loudly pull out of the supposed "FSA" alliance) or ISIS will be working to guarantee their own safety against the head-choppers.


I like the idea, below is how I would spin it:
Saudi / Yemen:

o Saudi bombs Taiz killing hundreds of civilians.
o Houthis attack King Khalid Air Base with extensive Scud launch killing many Saudi / UAE military and several American ‘technicians’ manning patriot missile installation.
o US Congress blows a gasket demanding where was authorization to participate in a campaign that is “grossly negligent or intentionally targeting civilians.”
o UAE experiences ‘anti-draft’ domestic pressure and withdraws support for Saudi actions in Yemen.

o Saudis execute and crucify the Al-Nimurs. Al Hasa shia rampage, Daesh sleepers fire on Interior Ministry Police making it appear to be the shia. Police and Sunni populace respond with massacre. Police must stomp on all parties. Minister of Interior, Mohammed bin Nayef’s 'copy book is blotted'(though I did like the viagra scenario).

o To support embattled son (MBS), Salman attempts to fold National Guard into Ministry of Defence. Minister for SANG, Mutaib bin Abdullah, refuses to comply and with UAE and family support ‘deposes’ Salman and his son, Minister of Defense. Army supports Mutaib.

Kyle Pearson

I only suggested preparations - which i think are attested by the propaganda coming out of Iran and Russia.

I don't think these preparations will be called upon except in a worst-case scenario, but i am sure the PLA is on alert, if not "full alert".

Kyle Pearson

RE: China -


And i would also point out that this is consistent with Wyoming's outline, above.

In their way, China's leadership is prepared for the worst of this.

Neil R


"It's not clear to me, based on what I (think I) know, it is not clear to me that Russia has enough room to "surge." My understanding has been, for a number of years, that Russia lacks sufficient expeditionary capability to deploy and maintain a large number of troops far away from its borders. Swatting Georgia, on its borders, or supporting insurgents in Ukraine, again on its borders, is one thing. Deploying anything larger than an airborne division equivalent, a few dozen aircraft, some artillery units, and some capable support elements (all of which, as far as I can tell, have been tapped already) in Syria for an extended period seems to me beyond the capability of the Russian military even now. "

It seems to me a full division equivalent (Other than the Taman and Kantemir the GFRF has transitioned to brigade as their "unit of action.") might even be too much. Just based on a back-of-an-envelope estimation, they have 19 landing ships with 7 of those with the Black Sea Fleet. Even if one generously assumes that 40 percent availability of organic transports, that would be enough to insert two combined arms brigades. (The last thing the Russians would want is something like GTS Katie in 2009 and wouldn't rely on commercial shipping for this task obviously.)

Transport of high priority cargo through air transport is possible as the Russian still this capability. However once you introduce substantial ground forces, the tonnage requirement would increase rapidly as soon as they engage in medium intensity combat. They would have to rely on commercial shipping for the sustainment of their own forces.

For comparison 95 percent of all equipment and supplies were sealifted during Desert Shield. 80 percent of the supplies were delivered by commercial ships. And 25 years ago the Military Sealift Command had vast resources including the use of US flagged vessels under the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement. The Russians do not have comparable capability. I would be impressed if they were capable of sustaining a force of 20,000 for an extended period let alone 100,000.

Neil R


"Should China need, they have one of their carriers Liaoning-CV-16 based close to the Syrian AOR."

The PLAN has one "operational" carrier. Liaoning is their USS Langley (CV-1). If they deploy Liaoning it will be for a goodwill tour. You need to be able to launch and recover aircrafts routinely during daytime before learning how to do it in darkness. And then you add the element of bad weather, etc. The PLAN knows how tough the learning process is. The Navy has lost thousands of aviators and crew in peacetime since the days of Langley. Perhaps the PLAN will pay a much cheaper price that the early pioneers. But be assured they will have to do just that as every navy that operated carriers has done in history. You don't just order up competent carrier aviation off a menu. If it were that easy the Soviets would've done it in 1975 when Gorshkov was puffing on and on about overtaking the USN.

The PLAN has laid the keel of their first domestically built-carrier (Type 001A) and perhaps will launch it on Mao's birthday. But as Britain and France have come to grips with the cost and technical difficulties of carrier construction and operation, it takes enormous resources to develop and maintain a viable carrier force.


No flask. Rye though (Michter's). To your health!


The Osmanli Sultan exults at the success of the false flag bombing action of rally attenders. That event allowed him to campaign on law and order and swung the election his way. His hubris advances him to rasher actions.

He decides to close the Bosporus to Russian shipping, claiming they are arming the "terrorist" al-Assad regime. Russia responds by taking out a third of his naval assets using cruise missles and threatens to take out the rest unless he changes course. He backs down, but then a week later a Russian freighter hits a mine. Then what?


Do you think it is possible that the Russians will decide to bomb Raqqa heavily WWII style with old bombers and lots of conventional bombs?


What will happen between 2 November, 2015 and 1 February 2016?
Syria –
The R+6 lift the siege of Aleppo and make gains in Idlib province. Rapid progress seems unlikely as winter rains slow the pace of their advance.
Diplomatic efforts at Vienna likewise stall as patrons wait for an elusive battlefield advantage.
The binary choice of Asad-lead Syria vs ISIS/Jihadis becomes clearer.
Key drivers
· Turk decisions regarding allowing foreign fighter flows into Syria
· Ability of Syrian government to secure and extend governance into regained territory
Turkey – Erdogan faces a critical choice: policy retreat in Syria vs crushing the coalescing Kurdish nation. He chooses the latter.
Key Drivers
· Russian leverage points
· Turkey’s Economic performance
· ISIS decision whether to escalate Turkish front
Iraq - Abadi government has marginal success against ISIS
Key drivers
· Abadi’s ability to shave off Sunni support for ISIS and implement sufficient political reforms to isolate the movement.
Israel – The Arab Spring comes to Israel. Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates with numerous low level clashes indicating a breakdown of state control on radicals from both sides.
Iran – Assessing that the Wahhabi/ISIS tide has been stemmed, Tehran wrestles with a key question. How far to push the envelope on Saudi stability in a way that will not prompt a US response, yet take advantage of a US regional retreat before it can be reversed by a new administration.
Key Drivers
· How does Iranian leadership view this: Is time on Tehran’s side or a historic window of opportunity closing?

Gulfies - Slow grind in Syria is acceptable, but military situation in Yemen deteriorates. Rifts emerge in Royal family. Wahhabi discontent over Saudi Arabia’s failure to lead Sunni world gathers steam.
Key Driver: Is Saudi domestic and foreign policy capacity up to the challenge?

US – Obama wants to push Mideast off the table to set up HRC for 2016 but cannot come to grasp the contradictions in its policy. Seeks all-party truce in Syria while Vienna political process tries to solve crisis.
Key Driver: If R+6 military progress is rapid, the US eventually recognizes it has set up circumstances that dupes Russia into fighting America’s war against ISIS.
Russia – Military progress does not translate into a political settlement in Syria. Fissures emerge between Russian, Iranian and SARG emerge over end state in Syria and whether to squeeze Turkey over foreign fighter issue. Putin does have an advantage: strategic patience.
Ukraine – No significant change
Afghanistan – Stalemate. Obama “succeeds” in putting an Afghan policy on autopilot for the next administration and wonders why he can’t do the same in Syria.
World Economy – Sluggish with no traction
China – Embraces Napoleon’s maxim: Don’t interrupt your enemies while they are making a mistake.

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