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02 November 2015

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Tyler

Fred,

I think HRC took it pretty hard in the shorts this time around.

Tyler

Babak,

Wait till you read "Putin in Constantinople".

Akira

Major Battlefield Events-

Aleppo is slowly liberated by the SAA in a savage urban rattenkrieg with high casualties on all sides. By the end of December the core urban areas of Aleppo have been completely cleared, as well as the areas around the Kuweires Military Airbase and Jabboul Lake, and the door of the trap has been shut by linking up with the Kurdish canton via HWY 214 and cutting the northern supply line to the Army of Conquest.

While the SAA/NDF conducts methodical frontal assaults with maximum firepower, the IRGC/Hezbollah forces wage highly mobile urban commando warfare with a little help from some little green men in Hind helicopters. The Jihadis fight to the death from fortifications with extensive underground tunnel systems, but the Russian 43mm thermobaric grenade launchers prove to be the perfect weapon for clearing tunnels, while the TOR-1 systems level entire city blocks.

The Turkish/GCC "Army of Conquest" in Syria begins to collapse as the "five star Jihad" tourists and assorted mercenaries flee the thermobaric onslaught in NW Syria. Shipments of ATWs and MANPADs are accelerated to Nusra and the Islamic State under heavy Russian air interdiction of the Turkish border crossings. Large formations of Turkish troops are moved to the Syrian and Iraqi border and Erdogan repeatedly makes open threats of a full scale war.

The HAMA pocket is slowly and systematicly reduced, with all major resistance crushed by the end of the year.

The SAA push north from Latakia captures Al-Shughur by December and is pushing on Idlib by Feb.

By the end of the year a second Russian air strike force is deployed to Damascus, complete with another brigade of naval infantry who conduct a highly active defense of the base in tandem with a SAA/Hezbollah offensive that clears the Damascus area of the remaining Jihadi pockets by February.Two more Air strike groups with naval infantry brigades are set up at the Deir ez-Zor and Qamishli Air Bases. They focus on defense of the local Kurdish forces and a strategic air campaign to paralyze the Islamic State's mobile forces in Syria, sidelining them while the campaign to destroy the Army of Conquest is finished.

The January IRGC/Hezbollah/SAA offensive is launched mainly from Aleppo, which now has another air-strike group and third naval infantry brigade, pushing south into Idlib while the SAA pushes up from Al-Shughur. Meanwhile a combined SAA/YPG/Hezbollah assaults pushes towards Azaz. Fighting continuing into Feb.

Russian supersonic nuclear bombers arrive in Syria by December and begin engaging in simulated high speed attack runs against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other GCC states, while visibly armed with nuclear tipped cruise missiles. Russian electronic warfare units are heavily engaged in constant harassment operations against Turkish ground forces and coalition aircraft. Drones from both sides begin to mysteriously disappear and fall out of the sky.

Country-wide guerrilla operations begin within Turkey against the MIT's Jihadi supply lines into Syria. Large amounts of Semtex and a variety of Russian made weapons are used in these attacks, which are extremely sophisticated and so accurate as to suggest almost real-time intelligence on the targets. These attacks are largely blamed on the Kurds, but the evidence suggests Alevi involvement as well.

Syria-

The Syrian Army has been consistently underestimated from the beginning of this conflict. It was supposed to have collapsed many times over, and it has not. This army was in bad need of a reorganization and complete recapitalization even before the war, it has faced a triple crisis of morale, manpower, and material since the civil war began, and yet it has often fought with unquestionable valor even in the most desperate of conditions. In countless cases small units of this army have fought on tenaciously from lost positions while surrounded on all sides and completely cut off.

Flush with new weapons from Russia and volunteers from the Shiite international and backed by Russian air, staff, intelligence and logistical support, this Army finds its second wind on the battlefield.

The delivery to the SAA of new T-74b tanks, with active armor protection against the TOW missile threat as well as a murky new Russian electronic system that disrupts TOW guidance, works to restore the crucial advantage of armored mobility to the SAA. Close air support, Hind helicopters full of Spetsnaz, and new Russian artillery systems turn the tide on the ground against the Army of Conquest.

Turkey-

The AKP line takes an increasingly deranged tone against the "Russian-American-Gulenist-PKK conspiracy" as large numbers of Erdogan's political enemies and top military commanders are arrested and convicted in absurd Stalinist style show trials. The state operations against kurds, dissidents, and journalists continue with more mysterious bombings (blamed on the PKK) and more arrests and "suicides" of hostile western journalists. The flood of refugees into Europe continues and American operations at the Incirlik airbase grind to a halt due to increasing security "incidents".

By February the extreme polarization of Turkish politics has become so intense that the country is beginning to slide into a communal civil war. Diplomatic relations with Europe, NATO & the US reach an all time low after the PKK is removed from NATO terrorist lists, and NATO (unofficially) makes it completely clear to the Turks that they are on their own in any ground war that starts with Syria.

PKK-

After a secret purge of older top cadre who were still loyal to Öcalan, the decision made is by the new leadership to permanently abandon the "peace process". The party mobilizes for a total war in support of Rojava (with the assistance of some old comrades in Moscow).

Within Turkey negotiations continue with other oppositionists to build a political "united front" against the AKP. The continuing propaganda operation to rebrand the PKK in the west scores a stunning success when Rachel Maddow interviews a lesbian YPG "sniper" about her defense of the women of Rojava against ISIS rape slavers. The cruise missile liberal/Borg narrative begins to turn completely against Erdogan, who is now subjected to an extended demonization campaign (produced mainly by Israeli apparatchiks.)

In Syria the YPG continues spoiling attacks against the Islamic State across the whole front but concentrates its main forces in a combined offensive for Aleppo to prepare for the major offensive to link the Kurdish cantons. By Feb the preparations for this offensive are complete and a series of probing attacks have been launched into the ISIS held areas between the cantons.

American help is welcomed and appreciated by the Kurds, but the real deal is made with the Russians for long term support because of past American treachery and the simple realities of America's alliances with Turkey and the salafist gulfies.

Al Nusra-

While well prepared to defend against a ground attack, Nusra was caught completely off guard by the savage Russian air campaign, and lost most of its front line supply caches and a significant portion of its combat leadership during the initial phases. Russian strikes are both brutal and highly accurate because Russian signals intelligence has owned the twitter Jihadi cell phone networks for years, and the SAA has had a plenty sophisticated human intelligence campaign of its own.

With the rats abandoning the sinking Jihad and pressure increasing on all fronts, the hard core of Nusra digs in to fight to the death in NW Syria, as other factions of the Army of Conquest defect to ISIS or flee into Turkey. Deprived of the initiative and outfought on the operational level, Nusra's veteran fighters still extract a stiff blood price, fighting hard and effectively at the tactical level. Pushed back across the front by the TOR-1 instant martyrdom machine, by Feb they are falling back to make a final stand in Idlib.

Islamic State-

In the face of an increasing Russian air campaign and a revitalized SAA, the decision is made to move most of the Islamic State's forces into Iraq. The remaining ISIS forces in Syria dig into the large urban areas for an apocalyptic fight to the death with chemical weapons. A small but elite mobile force continues to conduct hit and run counter attacks against the threats to the Turkish supply line.

ISIS veterans infiltrated back into Europe via the refugees begin operations. A series of insane atrocities rock Europe during Christmas. Returned veterans of the Ukrainian neo-nazi militias respond with an anti-Muslim terror wave of their own in the style of Breivik, inciting the political crisis over the Syrian refugees into a white heat that threatens to overturn governments across Europe.

AQ-

With the Idlib & Aleppo Emirates under a brutal assault, Zarqawi (and/or the Pakistani ISI) sends every available green foreign fighter west of Iran to fight in Syria, while very quietly as many of the veteran AQ cadres (and TOW missiles) are pulled out of Syria as possible. Some cadre tasked to infiltrate Europe as Refugees, the rest are distributed into Turkey, Egypt, Yemen or Afghanistan.

By Feb, new offensives are launched across the global front, with TOW missiles now appearing in Afghanistan and at least one spectacular terror attack against Egypt, Russia, or the west.

FSA/Unicorn opposition-

As the Army of Conquest disintegrates under fire, some FSA units negotiate deals and come over to the R6+ side, while others abandon their ruse and openly rejoin ISIS. The ones that are still fighting with Nusra by Feb were rebadged Nusra units to begin with.

Russia-

The commander of the anti-Jihadi combined arms front focuses on the destruction of the Army of Conquest in NW Syria while 200,000+ Russian troops in Kazakhstan continue to prepare for a possible deployment into Iraq through Azerbaijan and Iran. The Syrian Express continues to grow as new forces and equipment flow into Syria and new air-bridgeheads are established across the country.

The propaganda exploitation of the terror attack in Egypt begins to turn Russian opinion in favor of sending ground troops into Syria. By Feb the presence of large numbers of Russian ground troops fighting in Syria is no longer even denied by the Kremlin, although they continue to be embedded into SAA units rather than operating independently.

Iran-

The Iran military continues a major upgrade program with the assistance of both Russia and China, and preparations for a planned joint Russian-Iranian ground offensive in Iraq.
The new Shiite international led by Hezbollah in Syria continues to grow, with Ayatollahs Sistani and Khamenei both urging Shiites worldwide to go and fight.

The new Hezbollah armored forces continue secret training and preparations in Iran.

Iraq-

General political failure continues.


An agreement with Russia to provide air support is signed, and a full strike group is in operation by 2016. Secret negotiations continue into Feb over a proposed Russian ground force in Iraq.
The effect on the battlefield is mainly to prevent new ISIS offensives. Iraqi forces hold on to Baji and heavy fighting continues in Anbar And Salahaddin until Feb.

China-

The Chinese contribution to the R6+ coalition consists mainly of: Spies, Diplomats, and Money.

As a crucial contributor to the intelligence war, China's penetration of the top levels of the international Jihad helps to quietly shut down a series of ISIS/AQ terror plots launched in retribution for the intervention, and makes a significant contribution to the strategic planning of the war.

Chinese diplomats work a furious back channel offensive to peel off members of the Turkey/GCC/ISIS coalition and to enlarge and strengthen the R6+ coalition. By Feb Turkey and Saudi Arabia are increasingly isolated as other GCC members begin to jump ship.

Chinese money begins to flow into Syria and major investments are made in long neglected critical infrastructure. With Chinese help the Syrian government prepares a package of economic reforms to stabilize and develop the country after the war.

USA-

After procrastinating as long as possible, Obama is finally forced by events to throw Erdogan under the bus. The resulting US policy remains delusional and incoherent, but the focus of the liberal media demonization machine switches from Assad to Erdogan, who is now portrayed as a "corrupt" power hungry Islamist bent on establishing a dictatorship in Turkey.

The desperate attempt to salvage some kind of proxy in Syria runs aground on the history of America's prior false promises to the Kurds and Obama's unwillingness to do anything significant to assist them. American weapons and advisors are met with smiles and promises of an offensive on Ar Raqqa, but it becomes unmistakably clear that the Kurds have signed up with the Russians.

American support of the FSA/Unicorns becomes increasingly untenable as the "Army of Conquest" disintegrates, but it continues on auto-pilot. The long-standing American policy of backing both sides in a religious war to the death continues, albeit with some cosmetic course corrections.

Daidalos

I've been reading your blog for a while, Colonel; it really is one-of-a-kind. This is my first time posting though so please show me some mercy if I say anything stupid. I really don't have anything to add to what you've all said about the military theaters. I hope it's not considered off-topic, but I think the next half-year could be really interesting on the economic and diplomatic fronts though, especially if China handles its economic slowdown creatively...

Pakistan & Afghanistan
In order to keep a lid on sectarianism, Pakistan starts leaning even further from the Gulf Arabs. China keeps investing in the relationship; the main, up-front price is the ISI is expected to keep the Taliban in line as they continue expanding, and to tamp down on separatist and Islamist proxies in Kashmir. China looks the other way on groups merely looking to annex Jammu-Kashmir to Pakistan as a useful check against India that won't set a precedent for Xinjiang Province. Iran quietly accepts Taliban expansion so long as they demonstrate they don't intend to persecute non-Pashto or Shia.

Greece
As the Greek government continues to kiss the ring of European finance, civil society disintegrates further over the immigration and economic crises. The "three amigos" (Russia, China, & Iran) coordinate to exploit this. Russia takes the diplomatic initiative and pledges aid to help Greeks and refugees alike, emphasizing the Orthodox side of sobornost for conservative audiences and the collectivist for liberals. China bankrolls what the Russians can't, and also begins liquidating some of its physical capital (excess capacity) and injecting it into the Greek economy.

The main condition is China maintains some managerial control over investments; inevitably some friction arises at the ground level between legalistic Chinese tendendencies and anarchical Greek ones, but not enough to stop the project. Iran's support is passive, primarily in the form of trade deals at discounted rates. The end goal is a cultural & economic version of Putin's Novorossiya in the heart of the EU.

Israel
As even previous supporters begin to see Netanyahu's policy as a failure on all fronts, Russia and Iran's admixture of religion and swaraj rekindles a faint memory of old Labor Zionism in the Israeli left. They begin toning down Western-style identity politics and driving hard bargains to moderate some of the religious parties and pull them out of Likud's orbit. The Israeli security apparatus is privately relieved.

A rumor briefly emerges in the Israeli press, quoting an unnamed official, that a party from the Axis of Resistance has proposed a grand-bargain through back-channels. In exchange for decisive action towards a fair-settlement with the Palestinians and recognition of all members' interests, borders, and sovereignty, Hezbollah (and Lebanon), Syria, Iraq, and Iran will all sign peace-treaties and recognize the (no longer technically "Zionist" by their definition) Israeli state. When questioned, all parties vehemently deny this.

South America
The Venezuelan economy continues to go further into free-fall. Buoyed by early signs of success in Greece and a realpolitik need to be seen as a reliable ally, the three amigos try to apply a variation of their Greek strategy to Venezuela. China continues to spin hay into gold by shedding excess capacity and partly re-investing it in the Venezuelan economy, but Iran takes the front-stage this time by mobilizing thousands of Basijian to provide social services. In addition to having the "sandals on the ground," Iran plays up the similarities between Latin-American Catholicism and Twelver Shi'ism in press releases, conferences, etc. Russia takes the back-seat this time, providing mainly technical experts and logistics for any Cuban support.

South America (Knock-on Effects)
US intelligence sees the Persian rug being woven in Venezuela, but in typical fashion, forgets the difference between a rug and a nail. Against his own instincts, Obama agrees to allow more covert operations within Latin America. However, they're ineffective in the beginning and start creating some active blow-back; American influence only erodes further outside of countries already in the US camp (e.g. Chile, Colombia).

Intelligence analysts report that while visiting the neighborhood, high-ranking Chinese, Russian, and Iranian diplomats supposedly hold a meeting including Ollanta Humala, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa. Talk of a unified "Aymara/Quechua-stan" begins popping up in the Latin American press. There are also anecdotes of Mayan & Nahuatl speakers, plus poorer Mestizos, in Central America and Mexico whispering to each other, "And what about us?"

US (Obama's Parthian Shot)
Hemmed in by sclerotic bureaucracies and a dysfunctional (often delusional) legislature, Obama is mostly reduced to defending his social programs and preventing any reckless parties (foreign and domestic) from hijacking foreign policy. Especially after results on Cuba, the TPP, and Iran, diplomacy remains perhaps the only tool that gives him freedom of action (and he feels comfortable using).

Putting aside his personal discomfort with the British empire, he notifies the UK government that the US is interested in joining the Commonwealth under a special status that still recognizes America's hard-won independence. He also privately invites China, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq to do the same. In order to play sponsors off each other, Al-Sisi cannily accepts; Jordan also accepts in order to strengthen ties to the West and force Israel into zugzwang on the Palestinian issue; Israel and China both debate the issue; Iraq says "no" flat out.

ikken

If the gentlemen will allow, I would like to join you. Sorry for English, it's not my native language.

Syria
Russians correctly assessing the possibility of the allied forces to attack . It knows about the vital importance of the Aleppo area for the survival of ISIS, so R+5 run the non-obvious actions. Areas near Kuweirse airbase become the main, the climactic battle, which will be milled couple hundreds of ISIS insurgents, breaking the backbone of the main rebel shock-troops. The main tactic would be binding in the area of ​​the Kuweirse airbase, increasing the threat of the main LOC, provoking ISIS to attack then wipe out reinforcements militants on the march. Widespread use of mine ambushes also follow. At the same time in Latakia create a local cauldrons with systematic scrubbing and squeezing the rebels into the mountains to the border with Turkey. In the Idlib province - offensives towards Jisr al-Shughur and Maarat al-Numaan. In Hama extension of corridors for supplies to Aleppo, the destruction of cauldrons. Homs - operation hold and destroy, tactical advances. In the south of Syria East Guta still local fights between rebels and SAA, Daara liberated, restored control over the border with Jordan to the highway M5 inclusive. In the East, YPG took control of city Ash Shaddadi.

Turkey
Support for jihadists, provocations in the area of ​​Al Qamishli. Enhanced action on the lines of The Turkic Council and TÜRKSOY. Increasing the covert support of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars. Splashes of internal stresses in a number of disorders and manifestations that are brutally suppressed and have no results (except condemnation of Turkish government in cruelty from Germany and several other European countries). Still use Inkerlik as leverage on US, still bombing YPG.

Iraq
Iraq, using Russia as a lever, forcing the coalition to increase the number of sorties. However, it cause no significant changes.

Iran
Stepping up assistance to Syria and Yemen. Alienating Saud, but relations with the US will grow.

Russia
Attempts to react on Turkey's actions in Central Asia and in the Federal states. Extends the special forces in Syria to sabotage on the LOCs and providing intel for new air strikes. Due to the increasing intensity of sorties accident will happen, but no casualties. It almost does not affect number of RuAF's strokes. By using Syria to divert attention, Russians will make a successful minor operation in Eastern Ukraine.

Jordan
Will strengthen borders, demonstrative catching terrorist group, organizes filtration camps

Israel
Attempts to extinguish the tensions in country, so do not undertake serious external actions.

Gulf
Continues to sponsor the formation of jihadists in Syria. Saudis have a series of victories in Yemen in exchange for the heavy losses in the armor. Huthis claim the sinking of several ships.

Egypt
Conduct internal cleansing is not taking serious steps.

United States
Improve relations with Russia, increase the intensity of combat missions, but without visible results on the ground.

Ukraine
The collapse of the economy is gaining momentum. There are spontaneous demonstrations, which are break up, punish and declare as provocation of the FSB. Domestic grievance and disturbing social atmosphere take place on background of foreign policy rhetoric become even rougher and more ignorant. There are some moves of Mejlis's armed supporters on South Ukraine.

Europe
Busy with their internal disturbances. Baltic States and Poland have raised voices about the Russian worldwide aggression. Berlin suddenly attends to Venezuela, simultaneously shaking his finger at Erdogan. Italy, France, beset by internal contradictions. Greece moves on road to the bottom. GB makes a statement about the fundamental possibility of exit from the EU. Grumbling voices complaining about migrant have spreading, in some places people lose tolerance

Terrorists, jihadists and rebels
Try to disrupt government supply lines in Syria. Make some counter-attacks. Try to rose tensions in rearward of R+5. ISIS and JaN make violent acts in Egypt and Lebanon

confusedponderer

*** Syria ***

The R+6 advance slowly as they grind away against enemy opposition, with localized, well timed and placed counterattacks that suggest that JaN and IS have either an excellent reconnaissance of their own or outside support. It is generally being assumed that they are being aided by Turkey.
R+6 still make a breakthrough in northeastern-Syria, ruthlessly exploiting the breaking of rebel formations and pursuing them relentlessly to the Turkish border. Artillery and air strike further decimate fleeing jihadi formations.

Turkey speaks of a “humanitarian disaster” as ragged stragglers, recently shaved, wash up in Southern Turkey only to be whisked away by Turkish authorities for further use. Outside observers still note that, curiously, rather few of them speak Arabic with a Syrian accent and that many have North African, Caucasian and Asian facial features.

On US television Joe Scarborogh, overwhelmed by the unfamiliar sensation of thought, can’t help himself and utters the heretic line “Uhm, don’t look Syrian to me, more like, different!”, only to be scolded sternly by Mika Brzezinski. He's off the air for a week, ill.

*** The US in Syria ***

In an effort to “do something” in face of Borg fulminations and to deny the Russians complete initiative, the US continue to support through Special Forces the Syrian YPG Kurds aka Allied Arab Forces (AAF).

The Turks are getting hysterical as these forces continue to march towards the Euphrates River with only occasional US air strikes.

The Syrian governments protests the US involvement dutifully, and points out that the US are welcome to strike ISIS to their heart's content but are still unwelcome in Syria, certainly for as long as they keep up their demand for regime change, but that’s about it.

The A-10 deployed to Incirlic are merely being kept in readiness to provide air cover should US aircraft be downed or an extraction of US SF be needed if threatened to be overrun by IS. Questions arise whether US SF are being used as human shields to keep the Turks from bombing the Kurds and tom preserve the status quo or whether they are supposed to actually work with them against IS.

*** Turkey ***

Despite Turkish threats the Kurds cross the river, leading to angry Turkish protests and eventually to bombings of YPG positions in the vicinity of the river, coincidentally facilitating ISIS counter attacks.

The Turks deny the US the use of Incirlic air base because of their support for then Kurds, threatening the US SF deployment into northern Syria. US-Turkish relations fray.

=> Possible developments:

(a) With R+6 forces closing in on the Turkish Syrian border, an incident occurs in which a Turkish F16 crosses into Syrian airspace and is being shot down by a Russian SAM.

Trying to get something out of their club membership, Turkey invokes NATO to help defend against “Tunisian aggression” which only the Baltic States, Poland, Bulgaria and the US support. The rest of NATO votes against it, with Britain abstaining. In a fit of anger, Erdogan declares that Turkey is leaving NATO and expels all US forces.

(b) The Turkish air force shoots down a Russian Su-24 attacking an al-Nusra formation in North-eastern Syria. Turkish F-16 and helicopters are being seen in direct close air support of Islamist forces, civilian transports flying out of Turkey are seen dropping ammunition to Islamist forces.

(c) Davutoglu and Erdogan have laid down a red line with their demand that the Kurds in the next country are not to cross the Euphrates River. As Kurds do that irrespective of this command, they are making good on their threats and order air strikes. When these don’t produce the desired Kurdish withdrawal, Erdogan orders the Turkish army to move into Syria. NATO tells Turkey they are on their own.

(aa) The army obeys, leaving Turkey at war with Syria or

(bb) the army rebels and a coup attempt is being launched, but crushed by well-armed gendarmerie forces. Several generals are being arrested, three shot ‚resisting arrest‘. After that, then army goes into Syria.

(cc) The coup is successful, but Turkey descends into severe tension and localised violence short of open civil war.

(d) An IS suicide bomber manages to drive a truck with a 500kg fertilizer bomb into a joint US-Kurdish base, wiping out a SF team.

(e) a Turkish air- or artillery strike kills a number of US SF advisors embedded with them. The Turks had been informed about the fact and deliberately attacked the unit anyway. The idea of using SF as human shields to deter Turkish aggression against US allies against ISIS didn’t work out.

(f) Evidence is being published by Germany’s Der Spiegel, and corrobating evidence leaked in the US, that it was indeed the Turkish MIT, under orders of the president, who supplied Sarin to al-Nusra for the Ghouta attack, and that the US have known it all along.

(g) Turkish opposition takes issue with the fact that the position of the head of the Turkish state in the new constitution is named “Caliph”.

*** Saudi Arabia ***

Saudi Arabia’s adventure in Yemen grinds on, losses in materiel and men mount, and the feisty Houthi rebels score big when they manage to blow up two Saudi, one UAE generals, a Saudi prince and an unspecified number of bystanders in a well-timed and placed IED attack.

Mauritanian and other African mercenaries are not being paid and supplied reliably, as Saudi intermediaries pocket both their pay and their supplies. Things aren’t made any better by Saudi officers ordering them repeatedly into pointless frontal attacks of heavily fortified Houthi mountain strongholds and some mercenary units mutiny. The Saudis put them down brutally and behead and/or crucify mutineers. Images make it to YouTube. So are videos of starving Yemeni children.

The war is getting costly, too, and eats up Saudi savings at an alarming rate. Saudi Arabia takes on more debt.

Mood in the kingdom turns from generally unpleasant to murderous. General dissatisfaction with the embarrassing performance of the Saudi national security team mounts.

The Saudi king suffers a stroke leaving him permanently incapacitated. Inexplicably, the Saudi defense minister, despite his young age and having enjoyed perfectly good health, falls seriously ill and a mysterious ailment quickly renders him permanently incapable of performing his duties. There are rumors of princely younglings going after each other with gold plated Kalashnikovs in the halls of royal palaces.

(a) The new King makes Bandar ibn Sultan the new Foreign minister. And Saudi Arabia doubles down on their campaign in Yemen and increases involvement. Bandar openly speaks of “energizing Muslim resistance against Russian imperialism in central Asia”. They supply Islamist forces in Syria with the latest in Manpads and anti-tank arms. Neocons are smitten and swoon in ecstasy. Yemen starves.

(b) The new king graciously declares victory and that Yemen has now learned its lesson on crossing Saudi Arabia and declares a unilateral ceasefire, allowing food to be delivered into Yemen the first time in half a year. He tries to decrease tensions with Iran, and tries to mend ways with Russia. This is being greeted by Islamist uprisings in several Saudi cities. Parts of the Ulema denounce the King as a “weak sister”.

*** China ***

Turkish support for Uighurs increases, as China tacitly facilitates and supports the R+6 efforts in Syria. Davutoglu accuses China of genocide against Turkeys Muslim “little brothers” in Xinjiang and denounces China’s cooperation with Russia. Uighur veterans of the Syrian war return to China with arms, low key Turkish tutelage, money, combat experience and axes to grind.

Three Islamists with Kalashnikovs and a suicide belts go on a rampage in Ürümqi and kill dozens of civilians and several soldiers before taking hostages and blow themselves up when a Chinese SWAT team tries to overwhelm them.

=> possible developments:

(a) This in turn leads to China employing 50.000 additional troops to Xinjiang and 8000 infantry and 2000 engineers to Syria, calling it two theatres in the same war.

(b) The neocons openly talk about the merits of a “Sunni Shamshir” aimed at the hearts of both China and Russia, and what a glorious idea it would be to instigate Islamist uprisings and insurgencies against Russia and China in the place, undermining China’s and Russia’s grand Silk Straits program that would nullify American control of China’s naval transport arteries.

Islamists are smitten and swoon in ecstasy.

Erdogan jubilates that this is the first bright idea the US have had since George Bush’s idea to invade Iraq. By malevolent fluke of history, Mrs. Lindsay Graham becomes the first female president of the United States. Ties between the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are finally being mended. Bill Kristol says, in an unguarded moment, that, finally, the US has a task again that matches his ego.

(c) China continues to quietly and resolutely support R+6 efforts in Syria.

*** Ukraine ***

The Ukrainian president sullenly tries to adhere to the terms Misk II, to the sound of US moping and outrage of Ukrainian nationalists. Ukrainian nationalists try to test separatist resolution by occasionally shelling separatist towns to try to see if they are able to provoke a reaction.

=> Possible developments:

(a) The Ukrainian president is being toppled by nationalist coup, with rightist militants who have taken their arms home after deactivation marching on the presidential offices.

The new president Michael Saakashvili, immediately endorsed by the US, reaffirms his unrelenting hostility towards Russia and his intent to join NATO and to regains the territories lost by force of arms if necessary. McCain hails him a “Great Statesman”.

(b) Evidence is being published by Germany’s Der Spiegel, and corrobating evidence leaked in the US, that it was indeed Ukrainian units that, by accident shot down MH-17, and that the US have known it all along.

Ulenspiegel

LeaNder,

I do not assume that Gabriel is a good SPD candidate, however, he is at the moment the only one, if we assume a serious attempt to oust Merkel and a election in spring 2016.

Even with another SPD candidate for autum 2017 (who after Steinbrück retired?) the best the SPD can get is a long lasting issue attributed to Merkel.

confusedponderer

"We can safely predict that VBIED attacks will increase as pressure is put on IS controlled areas"

VBIED are a weapon of choice for IS, it is after all a way to get a hefty load of ordinance on target, whether you use it as a bomb in the way of the enemy and walk away or have a jihadi steering it into the target is immaterial.

It's in ISIS use much like a (mine, if left to detonate later) battering ram, a siege gun, or in contemporary US military use, a PGM on a key target. What I want to emphasise is that, just with the barrel bombs, the idea is to use the weapon for a specific goal, to destroy a target.

http://tinyurl.com/qjlw4e5
http://tinyurl.com/ndq8p8z
http://tinyurl.com/p6kvy33
http://tinyurl.com/p94rg26

And actually, I think that barrel bombs are considerably more accurate and less indiscriminate than propaganda has it. With training a pilot can probably drop these things rather accurately. Russian helicpters have used simple dumb bombs successfully and accurately.

http://tinyurl.com/pp2yak6
http://tinyurl.com/pwrtj5g

Russian bombs are also not particularly aerodynamic, but they are subject to the same physical laws of ballistics, wind drift and gravity like the barrel bombs.

confusedponderer

US intelligence (at least from what one can get in the news) appears to suggest that the Russian airliner apparently WAS downed by IS, not by a missile, but apparently with a bomb planted on the aircraft, perhaps as part of the the luggage or cargo.

http://tinyurl.com/p6vsdf3

It is plausible that a detonation would have inflicted severe structureal damage and/or rapid decrompression.

True to form, the spinmeisters in the US already blame this attack on Putin: As Ashton Carter, with barly disguised glee predicted, he has brought terrorist attacks on Russians with his intervention in Syria.

"... the ... spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin ... chided a reporter for asking whether Russia’s intervention in Syria may have served as a motive for an attack on a Russian plane."

http://tinyurl.com/o3n54ka

And rightly so. Russia can plausible argue that Islamists have been butchering Russian civilians by the hundrets for decades - one could think of atrocities like Beslan or the Moscow theatre hostage taking and many more. Today, Chechen Jihadis are fighting in Syria and enjoy Turkish support.

http://tinyurl.com/o4e4jox
http://tinyurl.com/p7ha27l

Chechen jihadis have been recipients of Gulfie largesse for decades.

Or one could think of the Boston bombings, on which the two culprits had been Chechen Jihadis, of which the Russians had warned the US, a warning dismissed because Russia always denounces valiant and righteous freedom fighters as 'terrorists'. Yet another case of the US being incapable to take off their ideological blinkers.

Heretic proposal: Perhaps one should, for a change, propose as a working theory that Salafist Jihadis generally don't differentiate between or express preference for western and eastern flavour of infidel.

http://tinyurl.com/ouhtcbu

One could ask the tough-question-asking western reporter mentioned by the WP about whether the American interventions in Yemen and Iraq have caused terrorist attacks on the US. Or, more specifically, whether the threat of attacks by Al Qaeda should have dissuaded the US from going after Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

For this wargame:
Chechen Jihadis return from Syria and are being funneled with Turkish and Gulfie support back into Russia to cause problems.

Two potentially spectacular Chechen terrorist attacks against a cinema and a hostpital in Russia have ben thwarted by good luck and resolute intervention of security forces. Two more kill several hundred Russian civilians, strengthening Russian resolve. The Russian cheese deprived western opposition blames these terrorist acts on Russian national security organisations.

Ashton Carter and the State Department harpies, to neocon aplause, blame Putin for having provoked this with the intervention in Syria, and ridicules thae notion that there is any need for the US and Russia to cooperate fighting Jihadis, because Russian Jihadis are simply the result of Russia's agression in Chechnia.

confusedponderer

Ulenspiegel,
IMO your take on German politics is by and large accurate.

confusedponderer

IMO the alignment between Erdogan and the Israelis that you paint is unlikely to occur. There is too much bad blood after Erdogan's quite sharp denounciations of Israel.

The point is that Erdogan doesn't do that out of human rights considerations per se but out of a sense of muslim brotherhood (pun nd point delibrate). Just for a taste:

http://tinyurl.com/q8jc66c
http://tinyurl.com/nnbydvj
http://tinyurl.com/ngk3n4w
http://tinyurl.com/q9ykgsl
http://tinyurl.com/nlr6gk8

A common enemy aside, there is much middle ground between Israel and Turkey any time soon.

For all the, especially Israeli, swagger about 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' there is not that much common ground between Bibi and Erdogan, rather some shared interests.

I would expect see something short of an alignment, at best, with quid pro quo, localised and topicalised cooperation. Not much more.

LeaNder

Well, yes, maybe I was fascinated by the way you put. But I guess if you had responded to me instead of DeWitt, your "devil in paradise" setting, for loss of a better way to put it, may have felt a little evasive. ;)

"The Arab man who has worked for this Israeli family for over the 20 years, tells them - one day out of the blue ... waiting for the next Salah al Din."

calm quiet, almost Arcadian, idyllic up to "over the last 20 years", with only a tiny hint of something maybe not quite right "the Arab man" versus the "Israeli family" in the setting.

jld

"The Russian response is a cruise missile attack on Incirlik air base"

I don't think that kind of scenario is plausible.
The Russians are *extremely* cautious, even if Turkey or the US are stupid enough to try to setup a no-fly zone they will surely respond but not with such escalation, not striking inside Turkey (a NATO member) nor directly against US forces, though "accidents" could happen inadvertently :-)

Charles Michael

turcopolier,

I agree about crude arithmetic and air strikes often killing nothing, and we can add sometimes killing civilians. Still with close to 2,000 some trimming should be expected.

My longer comment, I must have expressed myself very poorly. If I well remember the post was starting by precising the time frame: 3 months and fully accepting it and focusing then on only Syria and directly linked developments.

LeaNder

My "little Latin and less Greek" doesn't allow me to speculate about the influence of Greek Koine, or the language spread by Alexander, on Latin. One can assume that Greek wasn't only read by the Church fathers, who read it for the obvious reason.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek#Origins_and_history

Cynic clearly seems to be a Greek loanword. I recognize Kyklos, strictly that would be a word with a high change of being adopted elsewhere in whatever linguistic variation considering the historical context and Greek origin of some people. ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_mathematics

"For instance, Julius Casesar in classical Latin (not Church Latin) was pronounced Yulius Kai-saar" Why double a?

An assumption based on the Greek transcription of the name, it feels. ... Which may be supported by the fact that this already was the transcription e.g. in Old German. Suggesting that they also heard the name and transcribed it the way they thought fit. ... But here we would enter terrain I never felt too comfortable in. Did they read Greek too? ;)

*******
"Volkswagen, the word makes no sense in English till you see that the V is pronounced as an f, similarly Valhalla (hall of the fallen)."

People's car.

Well Volk is simply people. Folk/folks is still the same word. And yes, it's pronounced "f". But Valhalla in German would be Wallhalla. Not in the least related.

"Walhalla is the German form of Old Norse Valhöll, which is commonly anglicized as Valhalla."

People is the Norman French influence, post Norman conquest replaced folk:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=people


******


I had a close Arminian American friend in London, and met some over here. ...

turcopolier

Charles Michael

There is a phenomenon in US table top and computer gaming of people "fighting the problem," that means trying to alter the nature of the game itself. This is inherently unproductive since games and plans exist in a specific imagined universe and if the universes boundaries are altered all the result is wasted. I obviously misunderstood your point. Please re-submit the comment. pl

Ulenspiegel

There is a (huge) excess shipping capacity available for containers and IIRC for oil, longer routes would have only a small economic impact.

BostonB

OT: RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty: U.S. Says Russia Deploys Heavy Artillery In Syrian Battles (Victoria Nuland says immoral)

...Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, also said Moscow's air campaign in Syria was costing between $2 million and $4 million a day, and she described the effort, which has reportedly hit civilian areas, as immoral.

Nuland's comments came on November 4 in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she and another top U.S. diplomat, Anne Patterson, assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, faced at-times withering criticism for the U.S. administration's strategy in Syria.

"Now Russia is fielding its own artillery and other ground assets around Hama and Homs, greatly increasing their soldiers' vulnerability to counterattack," she said.

"Russia is hemorrhaging money in this latest adventure," she said.

[NB: Nuland is advising moving vulnerable assets from Hama and Homs? General Nuland is now providing free military strategy advice to Russian military planners. LMAO!]

turcopolier

All

Comments on Turn One will close at midnight today. pl

BostonB

Sorry forgot link:

U.S. Says Russia Deploys Heavy Artillery In Syrian Battles (Nuland says immoral)

http://www.rferl.mobi/a/syria-russia-us-officials-heavy-artillery/27345610.html

confusedponderer

I think Nuland's response is interesting, since it lays out her thinking.

Nuland states that, when the Russians drop a bomb and fly air strikes, they are hemorrhaging money. It maks clear her paradigm: In contrast, when the US drops a bomb and flies air strikes, they are investing wisely. That money doesn't just go up in smoke but brings sheer goodness! The Russians, not being global or benevolent let alone hegemon don't see as far and don't stand as tall as the indispensable nation does. Thus their efforts in Syria are wasteful, recklessly adventurous and destabilising.

That is of course propaganda, but it also underlines her self-image, and the self image of her audience.

Her concern for the wellbeing of the Russian soldier is beyond comical. If not for Putin, that villain, poor Russian soldiers would not be in peril of being killed by some nutty Jihadi (with a weapon an FSA guy sold him after having gotten it from the US)!

If it was up to Nuland, US soldiers would probably be in Ukraine to be shot at, and they whould have been in Syria to be shot at while overthrowing Assad - and, given the attitude common wwith people like Nuland - why not, have they not volunteered?

What I find more interesting are two other things:

For one that her doctrinaire spin passes as wisdom before the exceptionalist dolts of the echo chamber House Foreign Affairs Committee. I take it that she wasn't challenged on the substance of her characterisations, and why should she be: These folks likely share her views that Russias actions are only explainable by petty spitefulness and Vladimir Putin's personal malice. That I find genuinely disturbing.

Secondly, the subtext of her remarks suggest to me strongly that there is an emerging school of thought amongst the madder men and women in DC, including Nuland, that Russia's Syrian 'adventure' is an opportunity to make Putin look bad, and that losses are a way to do that i.e. they unthinkingly use the the Afghanistan war as a template.

That is likely so because they can't possibly accept Russian or Syrian sovereignty, let alone defeat of their restructuring efforts for Syria - and naturally, because they are not original enough to abandon the idea of regime change in Syria and accept that getting Assad killed will lead to nothing good and that they should abandon the idea because it is frankly quite stupid.

They really need to slay that hobgoblin Assad to feel good about themselves and not lose face. The insistence of the Saudis, Turks and Qataris only adds some external urgency to the matter. To the Nuland people, Obama is to blame for the poor relations with either country, because he, having gotten second thoughts about embracing Jihadis, caved in, thus abandoning his allies, 'failing to show bold leadership'.

This talk, however silly Nuland came across, is to be taken very seriously.

If her school of thought ends up making poolicy, and there is a chance for that, if not under Obama, then under his successor, then expect escalation - in terms of arms deliveries to Jihadis, and then there is still Ukraine to distract Putin on a second front - because there are enough madder men and women in DC dumb enough to relish the thought.

Stueeeeeeeee

Syria – The war will continue to rage. Russian intervention could have been the decisive, but our decision to send special forces to assist the “moderates” will likely prolong the war. I get a sense the Kumbaya coalition is enticed by the prospect of bleeding the Russians.

Turkey –Turkey’s silent majority, the majority that Europeans do not trust, has spoken. Erdogan will continue to push the secularists to act. He will succeed in getting what he wants from parliament. The longer the secularist wait to take action the more entrenched and more acceptable his vision/policies will become. What may be delaying the secularist to act is the ongoing Syrian war. We may not want a rational thinker since we have Erdogan supporting our desire to oust Assad.

Israel – Loves the distractions. Colonization of East Jerusalem is nearly complete. The Palestinian
question is growing more untenable, like a boil. Status quo until the boil bursts.

Iran – Iran’s ascendency is an illusion. It gave up its sovereign right to full nuclear tech by agreeing to the nuclear deal. Its ally, Assad’s Syria, is clinging to power. The Syrian war has revealed its inadequate capacity to project power, but fortunately for Iran, it resides in a neighbor of midgets.

Gulfies – The two faced Gulfies will continue to act as incubators for vile jihadis.

US – Academics and sycophants are the policymakers. I see more interventions and social science experiments. No change in our policies...we are too drunk with power.

Russia – Feeling the noose of Western encirclement and the insulting disregard for its interest, the Russians have retaliated in Syria. The question is for how long. If offered a political solution that satisfies its interests, at the cost of ousting Assad, in Syria, I think the Russians will capitulate. If no offer, the Russians will gradually lessen their involvement in the conflict to only protecting its assets.

Afghanistan – The Taliban and warlords will gradually regain control of the country. Kabul is becoming a besieged island with fewer and fewer foreign shipments of support.

World Economy – Nothing will change until an alternative to the existing financial system is developed. Central Banks will continue to artificially prop up the financial system. I wouldn’t be surprised if Governments helicopter drop cash to create demand.

Mishkilji

Saudi Arabia's Shia will not lead the assault on Saudi rule. Someone else will have to break down the door first.

Tyler

Mr. Ali,

OT or not, I appreciate this link. I wish he had given more shrift to Putin's comments about the moral degredation of the West, but the entire link is well worth a read. One of the most constant and annoying things about the juvenile analysis in the West among the "mainstream" Conservative/cuckservative voices is that they can't get past the the simple paradigm of:

Russia = Communism so Putin = Communist

They cannot or refuse to see that Putin is a conservative/reactionary. My guess is on refuse to because of the forces arrayed by the Borg/Cathedral in upholding the Narrative, so its much easier to pretend Putin is trying to revive the Soviet Union vs. standing strong against the sick moral relativism that infects the West.

Thanks again for sharing.

turcopolier

Daidalos

"please show me some mercy if I say anything stupid." Yes, that's me. "Ming the Merciless." I am reminded of a scene in one of my novels in which Brigadier General August Kautz (a childhood immigrant from Baden)strides as a character in my novel into a group of his officers alongside a railroad track in Virginia SW of Richmond. The time is 1864 and Kautz is leading a cavalry raid (4,000 sabers) to disrupt Confederate railroads. My Kautz looks at them as he approaches and sees apprehension in the faces. He tells himself as he walks that he must not yield to his naturally stern nature and rebuke them for their poor performance of the night before. "If I do that" he tells himself, "they will stop thinking and talking to me, and I cannot have that, cannot have that." He enters the circle of blue coats. "Well gents," he says, "lovely morning don't you think?" The faces and bodies relax and someone hands him a flask with Rye Whiskey in it. Anyone have a flask? pl

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