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12 January 2016

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b

Russian bombing and artillery make all the difference.

Each line is now broken into only after preparation through indirect fire. Meanwhile the rear areas, logistics and headquarters of the terrorists get hit too. Before Russia's arrival Syria lacked the logistic train to use that tactic. It causes massive casualties on the terrorist and there have been calls for additional manpower by IS Baghdadi, by Jabhat al-Nusra scholars and by the Chechen's in Latakia.

The Russians are likely to reinforce such success with more of it. I therefore expect an even more extensive air and artillery campaign.

YT

Amen...

Barish

Worrying development in Qamishli, in north-eastern Hasakah province:

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/ypg-attacks-the-gozarto-protection-forces-in-al-qamishli/

http://www.assyriatv.org/2016/01/funeral-assyrian-martyr-gabriel-henry-david/

Latter link showing a video of the one killed Assyrian militia member's funeral procession.

I hope YPG isn't for real losing it here? Or could this be some Turkish MIT action to intentionally sow discord?

LeaNder

Now that's odd, only Google's Chrome does not somehow block the link.

Jack

Sir

I've read reports of continued massing of forces for attacks south and south west of Aleppo. As you and Mr.Bahzad have forecast the big battle around Idlib continues to form. I am surprised the jihadists gave up Salma without much of a fight compared to the fight in Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa.

It seems the Russians are intimately involved in the Latakia battles as these photos and video apparently show Russian general viewing battle of Salma.

https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/status/686873615221059584

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FOJo_cRtQ3U

Nightsticker

Col Lang,PB,TTG

Been sitting here on the beach in
FL for 5 weeks, Cuba Libre in hand,
feet in water. have been reading
a collection of the non Canonical
scriptures. WiFi is a bit dodgy but
I check into SST daily.
Will there be a map updating the current
R+6 activity and the situation on the ground?
Are any prisoners being taken by R+6? What
is their treatment? Is there anything like
a Chieu Hoi program to encourage Jihadist
ralliers?

Nightsticker
USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

Tel

Just reviewing my comment from "Jihadi Apocalypse Turn 2", the presumption was:


Russian personnel strength in Syria now is 20,000 organized in a provisional Motorized Rifle Division (-), a regiment of the 7th Guards Airborne Division, artillery units, headquarters, base support troops and two RuAF Regiments.


... to which I responded ...


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.


I think this shows that the local boys (mostly Syrian, but no doubt with some Hizbullah in the mix) are doing pretty well on their home turf. Russia has not committed large numbers of ground troops, because (like I said) Russia cannot afford it.

It also shows that any army gets a huge boost from some tactical leadership (no doubt Russia has supplied at least a few special ops to help with that) plus decent equipment, plus air support.

Finally, a lot of the game suggestions were along the lines of much more aggressive Turkish involvement, but we haven't seen that (yet). Indeed it looks like Putin's propaganda war against Erdogan has successfully rattled the Turkish leadership and made them a bit cautious.

Possibly it's also rattled the US leadership, but then it's very difficult to figure out what the US leaders are even attempting to do in the Middle East, so hard to say whether they are achieving their objectives.

Anonymous

Five weeks Cuba Libre in hand and feet in water? Your feet must be looking like Samuel Beckett!

turcopolier

tel

My god but you are clever! My failure is appalling. Should I withdraw from the blog? I am looking for an opportunity. I prostrate myself before your genius. Actually, I think I projected an ultimate Russian end strength IN THE GAME as 20,000. Perhaps you should take over the blog? pl

rakesh wahi

can you explain how Syrians ended up so far behind (until recently)

turcopolier

rakesh wahl

Behind what? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Russia is farsighted, she is preparing for the implosion to come in Central Asia by making sure the Jihadist threat reservoir is destroyed in the Levant.

Here is a perspective on US policy in the Middle East by Ambassador Chas Freeman:

http://lobelog.com/saudi-disillusionment-with-the-u-s-started-with-bush/

Nightsticker

Anon
Feet and liver doing nicely.
I appreciate your concern.
Warmest regards.

rakesh wahi

strategically and terrestrially.

turcopolier

rakesh wahl

Russia obviously. pl

Thirdeye

....and in other news from Al-Masdar, the SAA Tiger Force is advancing in the direction of Al Bab north of Kuweires. Losing Al Bab would be a huge blow to Daesh.

Ishmael Zechariah

Tel,
You might wish to rethink your statement "Putin's propaganda war against Erdogan has successfully rattled the Turkish leadership". Ponder on the phrases "Turkish leadership", "propaganda war", and "against erdogan", and see if they contain any internal contradictions which may lead to fallacious conclusions.
Ishmael Zechariah

OIFVet

"Finally, a lot of the game suggestions were along the lines of much more aggressive Turkish involvement, but we haven't seen that (yet). Indeed it looks like Putin's propaganda war against Erdogan has successfully rattled the Turkish leadership and made them a bit cautious."

I don't know how hardware such as the S-400 and air-to-air armed Sukhois qualifies as propaganda, but ok...

kooshy

IMO the tune of this interview was heavily biased on side of the Saudis. Not even mentioning any KSA support for the terror, sectarianism? who cares if all they are doing is over reacting for their internal fears , or they feel they are neglected, WTF the rest of the world has to pay for their fear of their own internal illegitimacy?

Origin

All
AL-Masdar news is new to me. Who is it and what are its biases? Does anyone know its sources?

Chris Chuba

Babak, I read the link you posted but I find the explanation of Saudi Arabia's behavior unconvincing. It basically attributes their behavior to insecurity because of a loss of confidence from losing the U.S. as a protector. Rather than refute that position, I'll mention Scott Ritter's explanation more convincing. His thesis is that the Royal family is both sympathetic to Wahhabism and threatened by it. So their biggest source of insecurity is internal rather than external. The KSA will fund Salafists abroad to get the crazies out of their own country and to please the remaining Salfists at home.

I find Ritter's explanation a better fit for the KSA's actions. For example, in Syria, letting Assad stay in power is at best a very marginal threat to the KSA, so lack of U.S. support doesn't fit very well. However, consistent with Ritter's approach, it is an excellent opportunity to support Jihad externally. The same can be said for Yemen. It would explain why the Saudi's are vicious towards the Houthi's but totally avoid bombing Al Qaeda / ISIS. Ritter's theory also explains why the Saudi's viciously execute Al Qaeda IN Saudi Arabia while supporting them abroad. The Al Qaeda types who stir up trouble inside the country are breaking the social contract and threatening the Royal family's survival.

In short, I see great continuity in how the KSA behaves and I don't see it ever changing. However, with all of these well trained Silafist fighters that they are assisting in other countries being created they are creating a future problem for themselves. At some point the chickens will come home to roost. I don't know what the U.S. can do to help, we are bad at suppressing internal rebellions.

Chris Chuba

The Al Bab is a really interesting offensive because there seems to be some coordination with the Kurds which really pleases me and helps both the SAA and the YPG (or aka SDF Syrian Democratic Forces).
The Kurds have been driving towards Manbij. So the obvious objective is for the SAA to take both cities respectively and then meet along the east / west road M4 to slice ISIS in half and isolate most of ISIS from the Turkish and rebel territory. This has been discussed before.

The interesting thing to me is how coordinated this offensive might be. ISIS obviously sees this as a big threat to contain and will send some reinforcements. However, with both the SAA and YPG acting in concert ISIS will have to split their attention so both advances help each other. Also, I noticed that the YPG/SDF took a stab south towards Rakka while the SAA made their recent advance towards Al Bab, was this meant to tie up ISIS for the SAA?

The YPG/SDF has been stationary after their recent gains near Manbij. If the YPG/SDF renews their advance towards Manbij, perhaps the SAA might attack east from Kuweires to tie down ISIS. If something like that does happens then it could be a sign of some type of coordination or opportunism.

In any case, it's exciting to see the bad guys on their heels. It's been a while.

Valissa

Agree with both kooshy & Chris. Typically I am very impressed with Freeman's foreign policy insights and have learned much from his speeches which get posted online.

But I found myself quite underwhelmed and unconvinced by his responses and explanations about Saudi behavior in this interview. Looks like I have to chalk that up to his pro-Saudi bias.

Two sentences in the last section in particular struck me as cluelessly Borgian and nonsensical/illogical:

[CF] "We have a habit of creating moral hazard in the region by enabling self-destructive behavior by countries regardless of their interests or ultimately our own."

"We need to change our foreign policy game to encourage others to act in their own self-interest."

These "others" are always already acting in their self interest, as all countries do. I smell the strong scent of imperialistic hubris in these statements. As well as false assignment of responsibility.

Personally, I have NEVER been a fan of Saudi Arabia and while I wish it's people no harm, I harbor this fantasy that NED, and the various NGOs (Soros, et al) that are causing trouble in Ukraine and being pushed out of Russia would shift to focusing their efforts at democracy promotion and regime change (with help from the CIA and State Dept too) in Saudi Arabia. Maybe we could sic come Christian missionaries on them as well.

Barish

Regarding Syria and Yemen, it's rather outspoken against the Jihadi and their sponsor kings' agenda. It preceded SANA website's reported announcement of the capture of Salma by quite a few hours, for example:

http://sana.sy/en/?p=66436

Interestingly enough, whereas SANA limits itself to producing daily, somewhat clunky progress reports by the SAA and allies, al-Masdar also features occasional reporting on gains by the Jihadis:

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/isis-recaptures-al-dawa-east-homs/

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/jabhat-al-nusra-recaptures-dadaan-in-northern-latakia/

as well as the tensions between indepedent Assyrian GPF militia and YPG I mentioned above (Assyrian TV Video link popped up via Google). I do hope this issue won't become worse, as it's the last thing needed as of now.

The Beaver

@ Origin

"Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi (The Arab Source) is dedicated to providing the latest news and analysis from the Arab world.

Launched in August 2014, Al-Masdar News is an independent media service free from any political or corporate funding, sponsorship or association. This allows us to report on current events free of any bias or prejudice.

With ground sources in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere across the globe, Al-Masdar News is dedicated to providing breaking news as they happen directly from the location.

Al-Masdar News provides an alternative worldview on events unfolding in the Middle East and missed by the mainstream media.
http://www.almasdarnews.com/about/

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