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25 January 2016


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Patrick Bahzad

I can't see Turkey expanding operations beyond border posts and villages. Artillery shelling possibly, airstrikes maybe (but Russians are waiting for any Turkish mistake in that regard). Anything else seems out of the question.

Medicine Man


Two rebel delegations, with all of the hardcore salafists isolated in one of them is a potentially positive pre-condition for the peace talks, is it not? Couldn't this facilitate some settlement with those groups that are Syrian in origin while making the jihadi adventurers go pound sand? I wouldn't cry over that outcome.



The Saudis have so little comprehension of military science and art that they are shielded from their own ignorance by their accompanying arrogance. pl


Mr. Bahzad

Apologies if my question was not clear. What I recall reading was the US army taking a lot of casualties and injuries dealing with the Iraqi insurgency after Saddam's army was dismissed. Are there any new military approaches to deal with terrorist and insurgency tactics that the jihadists may deploy after this attritional phase is concluded?

Patrick Bahzad


ignorance and arrogance, two faults that might easily get ppl killed ... Even more so when someone combines both of them !


Off-topic: RIP Henry Worsley--his final voyage to raise support for "the Endeavour Fund, a charity founded to help the recovery of injured servicemen and women.": http://shackletonsolo.org/bio/

Patrick Bahzad


You gave the answer to your own question ! The US took casualties in Iraq after they disbanded the Iraqi army and police. I would seriously doubt anybody among the R+6 entertains the idea of disbanding the SAA !!!

Babak Makkinejad

They could seek to create an incident with Iran in order to get US committed on their side.

Babak Makkinejad


As I explained before; the second wife is trying to get the attention of wavering (suspected)) husband.


If the jihadists want to move to more of a terrorist and insurgency style of attacks they need support. Remember Mao and the guerrilla fish that swims within the population? I doubt that Nusra and others have enough support to not be snitched out to the various Syrian police services. They would be troublesome as guerrilla but would not survive for long.



Patrick Bahzad

The foreign fighters, if any remain in government controled territory, would not prevail sure. On the other hand, I fully expect JaN and AaS (both with a Syrian base and leadership) to maintain at least a certain presence for some time to come, even if extensively beaten militarily ...



I agree with that. After all that has passed I doubt that that there will be a lot of "fish" welcome in the sea of Syria. Those that there are should be rooted out regardless of the sensibilities of Western liberals. pl


After a time lag there seems to be a correlation between the military situation and the diplomatic and propaganda actions. When the terrorists began to come under pressure a few weeks ago the Turks made threatening gestures, the Saudis vowed more money, the Americans tried to co-opt the Kurds (and committed another act of war against Syria by occupying one of its abandoned airfields)and started to talk about peace talks. That isn't saving the terrorists. What and when will be the next diplomatic/propaganda onslaught? Have the sponsors of the terrorists accepted that they are losing and will they cut their losses and turn elsewhere, or will they continue to reinforce failure?


It is not just Kagans. Nor will it end when Kagans, hopefully soon, will be gone. The problem is systemic. When Hans Morgenthau delivered his Spruance Lecture in 1957 in Naval War College, neocons were not running US foreign policy.


"This had been perfectly demonstrated in their war of aggression against poor pathetic Yemen"

Col. Lang,

They don't seem to understand the limits of what their money can buy.

- Eliot

Chris Chuba

"AS The Borg Turns" - I love the title :-)
Regarding your links, if the Kagan's now believe that Al Nusra is even a bigger threat than ISIS than why aren't they messaging Putin's shoulders and encouraging us to join him in propping up Assad since he and the Kurds are the only force fighting both of those forces in Syria? I do not understand the thinking process of some people.

Chris Chuba

I was wondering of ISIS's recent assaults on Deyr-Ezzor was an attempt to siphon off SAA resources from Kuweires and any drive towards Al Bab. In a way I hope that's the case because it would mean that it's a forced attack and potentially vulnerable to heavy losses. However, I doubt that the SAA has that much in the manner of heavy weapons in that neighborhood because it looks like it is in a pocket that can only be supplied by air. Any comments on this would be appreciated.



Thanks again for the real time reality checks. I can only caution against underestimating the Sunni opposition. They are fanatics who are fighting for the true god against demonic infidels. They will not go quietly. All territory seized by R+6 has to be combed clean and secured to insure it is not re-infested. Returnees have to be vetted together with a new Marshall plan to rebuild Syria. Neo-Cons, Multinational Arms Dealers and Israel will do anything to keep the Sunni Shiite holy war on going. Turkey and the Gulf Monarchies are the linchpins. If Turkey seals its border and the flow of oil money stops, the Syrian Sunni rebels will wither on the vine.

Any realists left in the US government have to be pushing for a negotiated settlement in Geneva to avoid the possible escalation to a world war. But, with so many factions pushing here and there, as Colonel Lang says; right now the Syrian civil war will be settled on the battlefield not in Switzerland.

Perhaps, a crash of the global economy, the European refugee crisis, or an American electoral revolt electing Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders will overtake events in the Middle East and force a peace settlement.


Who controls Azaz?
I recall from one of your earlier Sitrep maps you colour coded the major towns - dark green for AQ & light green for other (non-Kurdish) rebel groups. Almost every city was half'n'half but not Azaz it was light green only and yet not Kurdish. I wondered about it at the time as given its location the controllers must be powerful enough to hold off both JaN and the Kurds, I assumed they had Turkish backers. Many thanks for the sitreps.


Thomas: Compared to the Saudis, Kaiser Wilhelm II was a foreign policy genius.

Chris Chuba

According to http://militarymaps.info/
Azaz ...
"Under the control of a brigade "Northern Storm" in 2012. Previously belonged to the FSA, 2014 - part of the Islamic Front."

Azaz is definitely NOT controlled by either ISIS or the Kurds.
Just eye balling it from the map, it is about 5km from Kurdish territory and about 14km from the ISIS held city of Kafra. In this map, the white dotted line in rebel area is the demarcation point between the ISIS and non-ISIS area.

Doug Colwell

Patrick, a minor point perhaps, but credit is due to Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie for "When the Levee Breaks", not Led Zeppelin.

Bill Herschel

Slightly off topic. This article from the NYTimes summarizes the public record on the relationship between the CIA and the KSA. The real relationship must be much closer. I think one has to at least ask the question what is the relationship between ISIS and the CIA. If it only a wink and a nod, it is a relationship. Why did the U.S. never bomb the oil trucks? ISIS needs ammunition and arms, lots of ammunition and arms. Where does it get them? The KSA? You read articles about how the KSA is "afraid of ISIS". How can that be? Their beliefs are completely congruent. Their techniques are congruent. Where's the conflict?



I have compiled a whole bunch of reports on the battle. Interestingly DierEzzor24 news service had several reports around the 12/1/16 regarding ISIS being short of troops, imposing conscription etc; then the attack came. ISIS seems to have lucked out with the sandstorm blocking most air support and managed to over run several areas including the Ayash arms depot on the north west side of the base. This was probably a major objective of theirs given their developing supply line problems. If ISIS has the resources I'm sure they would love to overrun the entire base or at least the urban area south of the river. Seems to be at a stalemate at present given the lack of updates.

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