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10 December 2015

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BabelFish

Pat, where did Hezbollah go in all this? Are they still focused on the Syrian/Lebanese border areas?

turcopolier

Babelfish

It appears that some are in Lattakia Province as part of R+6 there but the main Hizbullah force is defending the line of the Anti-Lebanon to try to keep the crazies out of Lebanon while the politicians argue over garbage collection contracts in Beirut. pl

Bill Herschel

OT (maybe). So Jeb Bush etc. declare that we are in a battle of civilizations and blame Obama for not recognizing the fact. Then, after a terrorist attack in California by batsh*t nuts Islamic terrorists, one of whom has immigrated from... you guessed it, Saudi Arabia (doesn't that ring a bell?), Donald Trump respectfully suggests that we take a time-out on Muslim immigration, and the very same people who say it's a battle of civilizations say that he is not an American.

You gotta feel sorry for Sheldon Adelson. He had a direct line to GWB. Hell, you gotta feel sorry for Robert Mercer, probably the richest hedge fund guy out there, who owns Ted Cruz. Or the guy who owns Rubio. This is really not working out for them.

Does David Cameron or Angela Merkel or François Hollande know more about American foreign and domestic policy than the American people? It is possible.

Do Poroshenko, Erdogan, and the King of Saudi Arabia know more about American foreign and domestic policy than the American people? It is probable.

In essence, how does removing Assad help the American people? I would like to know.

Trey N

Colonel,

From what I've read, the garbage issue was supposed to be the fuse for yet another Arab Spring Color Revolution, a la Maidan in Kiev -- but it failed to ignite as the planners hoped it would (thank God).
It was supposed to cause enough trouble in Lebanon that the Hezbollah forces fighting in Syria would have to come back to defend their home turf.

Chalk up yet another failure for the neocon warmongers in the ME. They seem to be on a roll of very bad luck there lately, and we can only hope that it will continue....

turcopolier

Trey N

Nothing is more important in Lebanon than making money. pl

Emad

Colonel,

How do you assess the likelihood of Russia's backing down in Syria, if presented with an offer they cannot refuse in Ukraine?

Put differently, do you judge it likely (a) that R+6's battlefield success in Syria will compel BHO to offer Russia an enticing concession in Ukraine in return for their agreeing to some form of Assad's ouster? (b) that Russia will accept such an offer?

Jack

Sir

As you have suggested it seems a call for reinforcements has gone out to assist the jihadists attempting to hold the M5 highway. Hezbollah is involved in this action south of Aleppo.

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/hezbollah-and-the-syrian-army-advance-in-southern-aleppo-as-the-islamist-rebels-issue-a-cry-for-help/

mbrenner

There are several reports today from the Pentagon that Iran is rapidly drawing down most of its forces in Syria. The cited as remaining in country is 700.

Any confirmation or explanation?

Will

Walid al-Jumblatt is the fly in the garbage ointment, from what i read. He's refusing access to the existing dump while the new landfill is being built?

The Druze leader is friendly with the Israelis (thru a backchannel with the Israeli Druze) and the Wahhabiya although he is a quasi-Shiite Kefir. The wikileaks shows he is financed by Saudi and Gulfies. If ISIS gets in Lebanon, his head would be first to come off. Plays all ends toward the middle?

He is called the weathervane. When he tilts back to the Syrian Government, then the handwriting will be on the wall.

Babak Makkinejad

That is why "Greed is Good" will destroy Civic Virtue.

turcopolier

mbrenner

DoD is a center of fantasy development in support of the WH. pl

turcopolier

Emad

I think Russia will not back down. You have obviously bought into the Borgist belief that the revolt in Eastern Ukraine is a Russian effort rather than local. pl

Ecmike

I wonder when push comes to shove, who will the Syrian Kurds back?

Valissa

Emad, here are some recent articles on US actions in Ukraine. Looks like the US is working overtime to "contain" Russia. There is no benefit for Russia to back down either in Syria or the Ukraine. The US and NATO will go after Russia regardless of what it does to try and make nice.

West Ukraine is now a permanent playground for NATO forces http://newcoldwar.org/west-ukraine-is-now-a-permanent-playground-for-nato-forces/

In Ukraine, U.S. vice president announces more U.S. money and intervention in Ukraine http://newcoldwar.org/in-ukraine-u-s-vice-president-announces-more-u-s-money-and-intervention-in-ukraine/

Kooshy

Emad said...
IMO Russia to be considers a world power will needs to have a warm water port in Mediterranean Sea, and that only could be where it is now, without Syrian port Russia may as well send his Black Sea flotilla for scrap metal. This whole fighting, IMO is about this, to keep the Mediterranean a NATO sea, economically the most strategic body of water on the planet.

Matthew

Col: And at this point, I imagine the President has zero credibility with President Putin.

bth

What could Obama possibly offer Putin at this time? Putin has gained hard fought victories in Syria and the Ukraine isn't going anywhere without him. It will be there where he left it for an indefinite period of time. Even a reduction in sanctions against Russia which Obama might offer now would do little to increase O&G prices which is what Russia really needs right now on the home front. Ironically US shale industry has about the same breakeven price points per barrel as Russia's government deficit point ~$85/bbl.

bth

On a related note, this CNN report says Arab countries stopped bombing IS months ago. http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/10/middleeast/isis-what-arab-states-are-doing/index.html

Kooshy

IMO the reason Russia is using expensive long range cruise missiles to hit Daesh is for this reason, basically sending a message to NATO, saying we have other means to attack targets in Mediterranean sea as far as 1500 KM away. From what I can tell I think the message was received. In the eastern Mediterranean theater, now days everybody is walking on a thin rope, just hope god saves the world.

Chris Chuba

For your amusement here is one of those press releases
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-12-10/western-officials-iran-retreating-from-syria-fight

1. As Brennan mentioned they claim that the Iranians are cutting their losses, that their presence is down to 700 from a height of 2,000 or more if you count their hires.

2. The Brookings Institution claims that the original plan was to capture Idlib within 3 months of the start of the Russian bombing campaign. There is no explanation of how the derived this.

3. And there is the standard claim that Russia cannot maintain their bombing campaign despite the fact that they have steadily increased and maintained it for two months. They started out at 40 sorties a day and have now at least doubled it to 80 day I believe.

I don't believe it but I am just posting the story because it is topical and it is what the Administration is saying.

Babak Makkinejad

Russian leaders do not require US permission or assistance to carry out their long-term plan of restoring their position in Ukraine.

turcopolier

Chris Chuba

Yes, they are creating their own shared reality. I do not know what they think that will accomplish. pl

Alexey

Putin's political modus operandi has always been moderation and compromise while not crossing few red lines that he drew. So in theory face saving compromise everywhere is still possible and will be possible right until this little shoot out which is coming in Syria.
The problem is that present US government and any government that could be in the next 9 years (except Trump possibly but he is not winning) will never agree to anything less than full Russian submission.
Funny thing is that if Putin was as aggressive as he routinely painted in MSM or Obama as peace loving as was expected we wouldn't have find ourselves in the current mess. In first case confrontation would have started earlier and would have happened on safe distance from Russian red lines, in second everybody would have reached a deal loooong time ago.
Alas that is not to be. All is left is to try to relax and enjoy the spectacle.

J

Colonel,

Syria is now flooded with false passports according to U.S. reports. They range in price from $200 to $400. Couple this with terrorists in Europe surfacing with Syrian passports (two of the Paris suicide bombers), does not bode well. In addition to U.S. reports, Russian Security says that passport tools and forms were seized in Deir ez-Zor and in Raqqa, and that the terror organization LIH may have equipment in their possession for the production of Syrian passports.

Fred

Emad,

As Rahm Emanuel is learning in Chicago you never apologize, especially when you've been the one covering things up and otherwise making a huge mess. Putin wouldn't trust that "offer" any more than the mob in Chicago trust's Rahm's.

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