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13 January 2016


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"Western Borgist media are doing a great job in their task of ignoring R+6 progress."

My take from the SOTU speech is that Borg in Chief is ignoring R+6 progress also.

The Twisted Genius

The jihadis haven't put up much of a fight at a number of places of strategic importance. They gave up the Tal Abyad border crossing without much of a fight. The same with Tishrin. My guess is that the shellacking they took trying to take Kobani has soured them on fixed battles.


He’ yet to even recognize, that there is a R+6 coalition, so far all he ever has recognized is “Russian efforts in Syria” is not going to succeed, and is going to make things worse.
From what I read in Iranian and English Russian media all in all it looks like the R+6 have given up on a favorable western media exposure, even though in the beaning they cared and hoped for a little for a little pat on the back, but now days you don’t read any complaints or care on their part for western media negativity on their efforts, more and more it looks they are focused to go on their way with any positive exposure from west for their efforts on fighting the IS.


The Russian military briefing linked in the previous Salma post had some good information.

The sentence at 4:13 in the video jumped out at me the most:
"Today, the Russian aircraft are performing strikes in the interests of 11 units of the democratic opposition, which is staffed with more than 7,000 people."

I wonder if I am interpreting this correctly. He refers to the R?+1 coalition as the "patriotic forces". So are the "democratic opposition" he is referring to here the rebel groups and/or FSA groups that Russia has previously claimed they made agreements with and are now cooperating with?

7,000 is a significant number of fighters in this war, especially if those 7,000 can be considered former moderate opposition. How many moderate opposition would remain?

Also, again I was impressed by their briefings. No frills and packed with information. I especially appreciated the animated maps that showed territory gains. I think they worked hard on these things to make sure a broad audience could understand them. The video has almost 75K views in the past 2 days.


Meanwhile, the US have been looking for the "mechanisms of containment" for the Russian Federation.
"...in NATO countries bordering Russia, "During this year the aircraft contingent has increased eight times, and the number of military personnel by 13 times". To the borders of the Russian Federation "300 tanks and Infantry vehicles were additionally deployed and missile defense systems by Aegis Ashore. In varying degrees of completeness are 310 aircraft-carriers capable of carrying about 200 U.S. nuclear bombs."
"Moscow is worried about the bellicose attitude of Poland. This country has already approached NATO with a request to place nuclear weapons on its territory. According to the Deputy Minister of Defence of Poland, Tomasz Siemoniak, the Alliance has a program in which NATO members can have nuclear weapons in the country-ally. This is highly likely, and not only in Poland or Lithuania, but also in other countries of Eastern Europe. This unequivocally was made clear recently by the Supreme commander of the allied NATO forces, General of the U.S. air force, Philip Breedlove. He said that, in regards to Russia, it is time for "tough measures".


What will Turkey do if the Syrian Army keep advancing? Do they allow ISIS to retreat over the border?



Thanks for the updates. If R+6 succeed in closing the border crossing and isolating the rebels to the south this would be a punch to the gut. With the rebels crumbling and cut off from supplies, Russia’s base would be secure. Turkey will have to decide whether to ignore it or invade. With price of oil briefly below $30 and western sanctions, Russia doesn’t have a lot of time to play with. Vladimir Putin has taken a huge risk but to date he has been right on target. He is acting as if Russia’s existence is on the line. On the other hand, the West has collapsed into incoherence from being unable to deal with the flood of refugees to the sudden unexplained closing of the US Ethiopian drone airbase.


Sorry if this may not be related to the topic this thread

Re: Ambassador Freeman' analysis of Saudi behavior and FP, IMO here is a much more realistic and more unbiased, logical analysis of Saudi’ troubled domestic and FP posture since the Arab spring, hope ambassador Freeman, whom I have read and have a lot of respect for his opinions, will read and comment.



Mon colonel, you asked for the video of the stone throwing jihadists, and here it is.
Their logistics and control appear to be crumbling.


Maybe they are reverting back towards guerrilla tactics and hoping recent economic trends will eventually weaken their enemies and get Russian and US airpower off their backs, or at a minimum, significantly reduce outside support for their enemies.

Jihadists definitely know a thing or two about economic warfare and long term conflicts. Where this one goes though, I don't know.


In reply to kooshy 13 January 2016 at 11:09 PM

"By illegally arresting, convicting, and executing al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia is sending a clear message that it intends to silence the voices of Arab pro-democracy dissidents"

In which parallel universe can somebody whose ideal of governance was a hybridisation of Majlis Ash-Shura and Wilayat al Faqih be described as "pro-democracy"?

I agree that he was illegally arrested, convicted by a court so twisted that to describe it as a kangaroo court would be far too kind, and that he was therefore illegally put to death. But a democrat - oh please?

I remember reading his book (A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World ) and being very far from convinced by it. OUTSIDE of the Middle East and Pakistan it's possible that his contention that the majority of Muslims want greater engagement with the US and are open to democratic mores. I know so little about Malaysia and Indonesia for example that anything I say comes under the heading of uninformed.

But in the Middle East where I did much of my growing up the concept of "loyal opposition" has no resonance. Middle Eastern governance is all zero sum. I hate to say this but given the tensions and the hatreds and the now systematic attempts to eliminate all minorities whether they be Christians, or Yazhidis, or Sabean Mandians, or Allawites, perhaps government by strong man - strong enough and ruthless enough to do what Assad père did to the Ikhwanis is what the region needs.

What neither we nor they need is yet another attempt to falsely portray yet another sort of Islamist as being some sort of Middle Eastern Tom Paine.

Old Microbiologist

I agree with your assessment. Russia is running out of time and with oil prices heading further south and Iran just about to have their sanctions lifted the price will go dramatically lower as it is in Iran's interest to tank the Saudis with even lower prices. Iran has nothing to lose having been deprived of income for so long they can play this out for a long time.

The only way out for both the US and Russia who are suffering (unequally but devastatingly in both cases) would be a large war between Iran and Saudi Arabia or to topple the KSA and put some other (any) power in charge. I think everyone would like to avoid a direct Iran/KSA confrontation.

I can see one thing rarely mentioned which is to herd ISIS towards KSA by cutting off their retreat into Turkey. ISIS hates the Saudi royal family perhaps even more than anyone else in their long list of hatreds. Is this perhaps the goal of the R+6 to push the jihadists out of Syria and Iraq into Saudi Arabia?

Chris Chuba

The Aleppo / Latakia fighting is certainly the highest priority for R+6 but they are also keeping the iron hot in the Kuweires airport area against ISIS in their drive towards Al Bab. They had taken Ayisa yesterday and now there are reports of fighting at Aran which is only 4km from Al Bab. It will be great once R+6 can finally tame the Unicorns and concentrate on ISIS. Too bad the Syrians have such a huge foreign legion to contend with while Iraq basically only has one force and the U.S. constantly bad mouths their efforts.


Old Microbiologist

I do not think Russia is "running out of time." Russia is a big country. The forces committed to Syria are not large and would be in service whether they are in Syria or not. The incremental costs of maintaining their expeditionary force in Syria amount to fuel and munitions. Thus far they have lost two men and one obsolescent aircraft. pl


According to Putin's last QA session in December all the costs for Syrian campaign are covered from money already allocated to be spend on military exercises. So in theory there is no additional strain on Russian budget.


Col: Did you see the 60 Minutes segment on Syria this past Sunday? Apparently, the correspondent had convinced himself that this campaign was Putin's Dien Bien Phu.

Babak Makkinejad

If someone tells me that he is going into making wines right outside of Herat that would be comparable to the best of the Burgundy region of France and further, that he would accomplish that in less than 30 years; well, then, I would be extremely skeptical of the feasibility of that project and perhaps the sanity of that person.

As wine-making goes so does constitutionalism etc.

In reality, no state outside of those to the West of Diocletian line (not counting Sweden & Norway) are democratic in the sense that is understood by Western people.

But you have to start from somewhere.

In the Arab Middle East, we have had regression, however, over the last 60 years and not progression. That has been the real catastrophe, in my opinion.



"... all the costs for Syrian campaign are covered from money already allocated to be spend on military exercises." Thank you for the information. This is key. pl

alba etie

60 Minutes can bite my a--s , they are completely subsumed to the neocons these days ..

alba etie

Would other invested World Powers such as the People's Republic of China step up and help Putin to finish off the Liver Eaters in the Levant if it were needed ? My own WAG is that given the growing list of disparate players pledging allegiance to al Baghdadi that are then acting on those pledges ( today for instance in Jakarta- ) it would IMO not be a difficult for Russia to get extra help if needed - that is if the allocated funds run out before Putin exterminates the Liver Eaters in the Levant . God Speed to the R + 6 forces !

The Beaver


You are so right - I was fuming watching it and then after the IS terrorist blew himself in IST, the reporter, who is so biased , kept mentioning about the PKK and the porous border without even mentioning that karma may have come back to bite the Sultan in that proverbial place.


Kooshy- you must mean this article


Charles Michael

and to Old Microbiologist

Concerning "Russia running out of time"
If I had not read your previous comments before, if I didn't knew you better, I would call you Wellwishers. No Time is on the side of Russia, up to the end of Obama administration at least.
The Russian intervention in Syria is extraordinary cost effective, US estimates place it between 1 or 2 billions $ / year.
Sanctions is costing a lot to the agricultural sector in all Europe, but not in Russia. And not only food products; the yeraly trade between Russia and Germany had reached over 80 billions $ in the pre-Kiev coup. It had fallen now by half.
Still Merkel has signed a contract for a second North Stream gazoduc operating starting in 2019. Poland, Baltics and Balkans + Austria and Italy are yelling blue meurder.

About Oil prices:
US Oil business is surely suffering, specially the companies involved in the ex-booming fracking; but not USA. In fact USA is still importing close to 6 millions barel per day (mbd) at an extraordinary low price. This means at least 360 millions $ per day. And still the deficit in international trade is increasing, wwonder why ?
Russia production cost are very much comparable to the RKA's, with not to be forgotten costs payment made in devaluated rubles. Iran will enter more on the market, with some delay due to investments necessary. China's money should arbiter the balance between Russia and Iran.

Iran/ Saoudia:
I don't remember these two sharing some land frontier, so its either air and/or sea. The recently acquired S-300 enhanced version will shelter Iran from air, remain the sea menace of the Princes luxury yacht; or proxy war. Pakistan and Egypt have already answered No thank you for real military involvement in Yemen, don't see them going gun-ho against Iran.

Yes Europe is collapsing in front of our eyes and in real time. The revolt is mounting in the EU (Poland and Hungary openly but Danmark, Sweeden, Austria following closely)
Refugees, economics, terrorism, and a deep doubt about any future. Let's hope that old demons will not be reborn again.
Obviously they had only one eye wide shut.


In reply to Babak Makkinejad 14 January 2016 at 11:09 AM

I certainly agree with your last paragraph and catastrophic is putting it mildly.


AE: The segment was truly awful. Aren't you glad we can come to this site and actually learn something about military strategy instead of just being fed misinformation? I am.

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