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07 January 2016


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Jag Pop

They won't be missed.

Except by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and the CIA.


Jag Pop
CIA does not support IS. You know that. pl


Where has Turkey's "red line" been moved to?



At their border. pl


IS apparently made a feint by sending people across the river at Qere Qozaq, the site of the destroyed dam 20 miles or so north of Tishrin. Stopped by the Kurdish People's/Women's Defense Units, who are "continuing the effort to expel the terrorists".

(Source is a YPG news service, I believe. I have little sense of it's reliability, though it seems unlikely they'd make up an engagement that they hadn't yet won.)

I wonder how they got across the river. For all I know, you can wade it at various points. I've photos of rivers in north Syria that would be called creeks where I come from.


Strategically, isn't the issue more cutting Raqqa off from Turkey, rather than cutting off the IS enclave in northern Aleppo from Raqqa? There is lots of chatter about taking Manbij, "Kurds only 12 km from Manbij" but it seems like the bigger issue is that the Kurds are only 6 km from Rte. 216. A checkpoint on 216 at that point due west of Abu Qelqel, supported by artillery on the mountains that flank it, would really start to shut down the Turkey-Raqqa traffic. Of course, as others have pointed out, the Kurds already have a long, slender salient to defend, so extending a perimeter to the 216 is dangerous.

Likewise if I was SAA, I'd probably be driving for Deir Hafir and the Jirah airbase. Again to complete the isolation of Raqqa.


Another interesting development is the accession of the Sheitat tribe to the SDF alliance. This is a Sunni Arab group from Deir Ez-Zor. They've been sheltering in Tel Abyad under YPG control, so maybe not so surprising, but it's interesting. They had not previously affiliated.



IMO what is needed in dealing with IS is to achieve its isolation from its Turkish sanctuary and LOC. Raqqa is a political symbol that will fall of its own weight if IS is weakened enough. pl

Charles Michael

To All,
I don't know what to make of that, does anyone ?




The Twisted Genius

Found this video of fighting in the Tishrin bridgehead. The lightly armed and unburdened YPG/SDF fighters are well suited for this terrain. I admire their fire discipline, something very necessary for such light fighters. The female PKM gunner is quite impressive in her trigger control. I've only seen this in machine-gun marksmanship matches.


Back in early December, Al Akhbar reported rumors of a 2,500 meter airstrip under construction for the last month and a half by American technicians (probably SF engineers) at a former crop dusting strip near Hasakah. The die is cast, indeed.



The Saker has just speculated that Turkey, backed by KSA, may escalate the Syrian conflict by advancing some way into Syria to allegedly establish a "Safe Space" for refugees. The real purpose being to keep a logistics corridor to ISIS.

Perhaps this might have tacit support from the Obama Administration? What might a Russian/Syrian reaction look like?



Right now R+6 have got the jihadists on their back foot across many fronts. From a military strategy viewpoint what do you believe would be the best plan that R+6 could execute to cause the collapse of morale and psychology that reduces their will to fight and causes command disintegration?



They should continue what they are doing. pl


Off topic (sort of, Brad Hoff lived in Syria, so he's a great person to read for that reason too) but I'd like to recommend Brad Hoff's latest post on The Levant Report: "New Hillary Emails Reveal Propaganda, Executions, Coveting Libyan Oil and Gold"

I don't usually care much about the Hillary emails but I care a lot about the Libya regime change and the things in this New Year's Eve email dump are things (via Blumenthal/Hillary exchanges) everyone should know. In some cases we knew bits of it but did not have this confirmation and it was downplayed in US media.


My Concern is now that the Bait Fish (IS) Have Attracted the Different Sharks with All The Bloody Waters..Especially Around Iraq And Syria..and Changed the Strategic Landscape all over The Gulf and Northern Africa...How Long before The Sharks kill them All...And Then Start Fighting Each Other..Whos going to Have the Upper Hand Then..? What Happens With Turkey..? Whos going to Support Iran Against Saudi Arabia..? What if there is a Coup In Saudi Arabia...How will the Kings Nephew React..? Would Obama pull Our Fleet Out of Bahrain..? How will The Gulf States Respond..More Coups..? I Doubt He would support The Saudis..He has been Supporting Iran all Along...Interesting Developments Indeed..



It is an imperfect world and there are always unintended consequences. What would you do, nothing? perhaps as pl

different clue


Would the Obama Administration be so evil and immoral as to support Erdostan in conquering such a supply corridor for its beloved ISIS? Is Obama really that consumed with wounded narcissist rage at Putin?


Pat...Thanks for your response..The Consequenses For The United States Have Been A Long List Failed Foreign Policys and Interventions By Our Presidents and Advisors In Viet Nam ,Then In Afghanistn Then Iraq With Tremendous Loss of Life and resources..I Agreed with You and Larry and others on Where Those Bush/Cheney Policys were headed with The Consequenses of Destabilizing the Whole Middle East as they have..Now we Have The Obama/Clinton "LIberation" Policys that supported All "Rebel" Activitys in Other areas in The Region..i/e Supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Overthrowing President Mubarak in Egypt..leading to an Attack by the Liberated On Our Embassy in Egypt During the Arab Spring...The Consequences of Obama /Clinton of Liberating the "Rebels' in Lybia..Creating a Safe Haven for the IS there..and Then Leaving Our Ambassor Unprotected while Rebels were Already Attacking Our Embassy In Egympt..Much Bigger and better Fortified and Guarded..Thn should have given Clinton a Clue about Lybia being an easier Target for IS there..Nope..Didnt Happen. .They were already Busy trying to "Liberate The "Rebels" in Syria..But They didn't..Creating another Opening for IS there..That Failed Policy and Lack of Action...Allowed Russia and Iran to move In..Forming the Iran..Iraq..Syria Russia Axis.... The United States has been Strategically Weakened..I don't know diplomatically What can be Done now..We Have a Lame duck President still Determined to "Fundamentally Change America" to The Last day of His Abuse of Power..I cant rebuild Our Military...Or Use Threats or Sanctions to Change the situation..We need a stronger Military..Our Vets need care and support..We are Facing economic Chaos..and Hugh Domestic Problems...I'm Not Smart enough or Qualified to Suggest Strtegic Responses..to The Middle East Situation..

Bill Herschel

What a very interesting article in WINEP. Fabrice Balanche, to put it mildly, seems very out of place in The Washington Institute which seems to be a sort of pantheon of stupid neocons. His knowledge of demographics and geography does credit to the University of Tours. How on earth did The Washington Institute find this man and permit him to publish?


"I have little sense of it's reliability, though it seems unlikely they'd make up an engagement that they hadn't yet won."

Rather a strange logic. People claim victories they haven't won all the time. Either there was no victory at all, or someone else won it. I don't see why the Kurds should be excused from this basic rule.


The only minor problem with that video is that there are no mountains like that round Tishrin. The video must be taken the other side of the border in Turkey. The fighter is in any case talking Turkish, as would be expected with a Turkish Kurdish news agency (ANHA).


"If that happens, IS will have to break this encirclement or withdraw their force north of the encirclement into Turkey."

In that circumstance, I think they would be more likely to withdraw east into Iraq, to Mosul, as many of the principals are Iraqi. The same aims of maintaining contact with Turkey could be achieved there, as the affair of the Turkish base near Mosul showed. Barzani is not about to drop his alliance with Turkey.



In the event of an encirclement north of a line Kuweires-Tishriin the encircled forces would have to break out to the east to withdraw into Iraq. That is what I wrote. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Here is a more optimistic view:


The Twisted Genius


You could be right. It wouldn't be the first time a video was from another time and place. Google Maps shows shows mostly cultivated land and orchards in that area, but also a few isolated elevated areas. These small elevated areas would be militarily significant. The video could be from one of those areas.

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