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25 January 2016


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Babak Makkinejad

I addressed this to you because in a much earlier thread of conversation regarding ISIS I raised the same question.

That is, the NATO states have failed to paint a positive view of the future - just war and more war - in my opinion.



Once the Borganism enters the bloodstream the recipient becomes a myopic champion of the Global Domination Dream or,simply put, brain dead.



On a visit to Iran, I would hike up to this place.



PB: Thanks for another wonderful post.

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts about (1) Syria's manpower reserve and how that number will (possibly) increase with more victories; (2) does Assad have any "day after" plans with Russia and China and any idea of what type of rebuilding Syria needs/can accomplish on 2-3 year timeline; and (3) what type of political reorganization will come with an Assad victory. Frankly, a lot of Syrian families have lost children fighting for the government and you would expect would envision benefits to being an SAA veteran in a post-rebellion Syria. And what about the rebels and their families?

I have no answers to any of these questions.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Maybe The Caliphs guys can make a smokescreen by burning all that Saudi money so their minions can skitter back across the Turkish frontier? Or better still burn all that low cost oil they're furiously pumping to break Russia's oil sector. I don't think that stale 1980s trick is going to work this go round.



It appears that Russia's economy has been up the last two quarters?? pl

Patrick Bahzad

Think about Chechnya !


" a lot of Syrian families have lost children fighting for the government and you would expect would envision benefits to being an SAA veteran in a post-rebellion Syria. And what about the rebels and their families?"

Now there's the $64 question. I asked the opposite of some of my more politically active friends. They seemed to think that the children of SAA veterans and children of rebels would all get along just fine when the war was won. Asking them just what was going to happen after the rebel victory when the former started a “Sons of the Syrian Army veterans” group - like sons of confederate veterans did here over 100 years ago. The looks were rather priceless. Sadly I didn’t even get ask how soon we could bring some of those rebels here to teach the usual suspects that groups (and symbols) from our past were just “heritage not hate” and that there should be no political opportunism or animosity from defeat (or victory) after more than a century.

Chris Chuba

Does Putin / Assad 'care' about the Kurds?
I don't know but Putin, Assad, and the Kurds definitely need each other and that is the glue that binds them together. As some statesmen have said, 'countries don't have friends they have interests'.

Putin and Assad strike me as pragmatic, I see no reason why they would not continue to work with the Kurds. Giving the Kurds a reasonable amount of autonomy under the umbrella of a Syrian state would be beneficial to both if the Kurds can accept that then why not?

In this multi-sided conflict I cannot find two more natural allies than Putin/Assad and the Kurds. Turkey, the Turkish backed rebels, and ISIS have thrown them together.


The headlines in Saudi scream of patriotic fervour for their boys in Yemen. Operation Decisive Storm (yes, some US PR company came up with that) has now transcribed itself into "The Decisive King". Saudis are actually feeling their nation has accomplished something.

The problem for them is that as the public buy into all this crap the leadership themselves will believe they are doing a good job and so the cycle reinforces itself until reality bites them hard.

Chris Chuba

I thought he presented the factions and the Russian military strategy in a very coherent manner. I was so impressed that I book marked it. Not being a military guy, I'm not the person to very all of his facts but I'd send this to anyone who wanted to know why Russia didn't just bomb ISIS like they said they would.

1. They never said they would only bomb ISIS, that's an urban myth. Just look at the transcript of Charlie Rose's 60 minutes interview the week before. I don't know how this lie has any legs.

2. As the link you provided explains, sure, you can ignore the non-ISIS rebels if you want Damascus to starve and risk most of your large population centers. If you are willing to do that then you can start with an all out campaign against ISIS or you can secure your primary access to the populated portions of Syria.

One of the facts that the 'Assad only controls 18% of Syria' crowd ignores is that Assad actually governs over 62% of the population. He has to protect them first. I hate the Borg.
Propping up Assad and fighting ISIS are not mutually exclusive.


now that the Chinese have proclaimed love for the Arab Middle East
how many refugees are they willing to take in? Sounds more like a
love affair with Light Sweet Crude to me.


Here's an essay by Israel Shamir, which inter alia discusses the Syrian military situation. It is only cautiously optimistic.

'At the last Lavrov-Kerry meeting, the American State Secretary six times implored his Russian counterpart to keep hands off the Azaz corridor. The Americans do not want to see Russian victory; besides, the Turks threaten to invade if the corridor is blocked. The Kurds could help the Army cut the corridor, but they do not rush to enter such a bloody and dangerous confrontation. They prefer to sit tight and wait for somebody else to do the job.
The Kurds are afraid of the Turks just across the border and do not want to upset them too much. They do not feel they have much to gain from President Assad’s victory. Syrian Christians told me the Kurds go into their territory and shoot at the Daesh forces, thus causing Daesh’s ferocious retort to the Christians. This is the sectarian reality of Syria, where only the Syrian Army fights for the whole country....
The Russians say that the Syrian soldiers are tired, and they do not want to fight hard. The Syrian Mukhabarat (Intelligence Services), a very important independent player, believe that Russia and Iran are committed to preserving Syria, so let them fight. This attitude seeps into the Syrian army. They, like the Kurds, prefer to sit tight and wait. Young men in danger of being drafted prefer to go to Germany or Sweden – this is the first war in history where such an option exists.
In some places the Russian specnaz (airborne, special troops and marines) dislodged the rebels, took their positions and transferred them to the Syrian Army, but the army failed to hold the positions and retreated at the first enemy shelling.
An Iranian brigade made a try and suffered very heavy losses. Some Iranian units were decimated, and since then the Iranians prefer to act as military advisers. They still have many casualties, including high-ranking ones.....
The Russians and the Americans do not fight Daesh too much, as if they are afraid to destroy the force they used to justify their involvement. The Syrian army attempts to advance in Palmyra were repelled by Daesh. The Daesh counteroffensive in Deir al Zour has been accompanied by a mass slaughter of civilians; the army stopped it but could not advance. So the political solution seems to be imperative for conclusion of the war....
I have met with a Russian representative who concluded his tour of duty meeting the rebel commanders. He told me that the rebels trust Bashar Assad but do not trust his officers and intelligence agents. There is much bad blood between the rebels and the Army officers. The rebels ask for Russian intermediaries and even for Russian officers to accompany them. Otherwise, they say, Assad forces will renege on promises. They often ask for money to change their allegiance. It seems that (aside from the Islamist fanatics) the rebels look for a way out of the war.'


"There is much bad blood between the rebels and the Army officers. The rebels ask for Russian intermediaries and even for Russian officers to accompany them. Otherwise, they say, Assad forces will renege on promises. They often ask for money to change their allegiance. It seems that (aside from the Islamist fanatics) the rebels look for a way out of the war.'"

No surprise there is bad blood, given insurgents' - "rebels' - tendency to just kill their prisoners of war outright.

That aside...so they are ready to drop their grand revolution for money? How very mercenary of them! Of course, this also shows that there are those among them who aren't entirely lost to jihadi teachings, which will make things easier.

That aside, a very pessimistic outlook, true. Even so, I don't think the man quite grasps the wider developments. The campaign in north Lattakia handily showed who's more "tired" between the warring parties. There definitely is fight left within the SAA.

And as regards war weariness in general within Syria, is this truly any surprise after close to half a decade of fighting? I very much doubt that most protesters who went out on the street in 2011 asked for any of this.


Ah yes, people should be wary of what they ask for. They may get more than they expected. It's said that most of those in the crowds cheering for war in 1914 were killed by it.

Considering the deeds and threats of the terrorists, they are right to fear falling into vengeful hands. The Syrian Perspective blog, which always emphasizes government success, has pointed out that unless the regular army stops them, the local self defence units are very likely to torture all captives to death. It's them and their families who have suffered from the brutality and depravity of the terrorists, and it's hard to blame them for trying to prevent a recurrence. Also, 'Prisoners of war', Geneva conventions and suchlike seem to be quaint western concepts losing ground even there.


Mr. Bahzad

This article notes that Russian special forces with artillery and Lebanese Hezbollah have played a significant role in the military success in Latakia.


From some stories that I gave read recently it seems that R+6 is positioning to seal the supply lines from Turkey in both Latakia and Aleppo, just as you and Col. Lang noted some time ago.

The Beaver

@ elaine

Why do you think China has planned and built her "string of pearls" connecting the Port of Sudan via the ME and South Asia to China


It looks like things are underway southwest of Kinsabba.


Mizzin stormed this morning and control of Duwayrikah consolidated. Also a large number of airstrikes on Kinsabba.

The terrain obstacles in front of Kinsabba from that direction look significant, but having the high ground in front of Duwayrikah and Ara would be advantageous for any forces attacking southeast of Kinsabba.




Greatly appreciate your effort in keeping us apprised of the tactical situation. pl



Syrian Kurdish officials will not be invited to peace talks in Geneva, where negotiations for the opposition will be led by a Saudi-backed opposition group, France's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Laurent Fabius said United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura told him the Kurdish PYD party would not attend the talks, which are expected to start on Friday.

"The PYD group was causing the most problems, and Mr de Mistura told me he had not sent them an invitation letter," Laurent Fabius told France Culture radio.

De Mistura, who sent invitations on Tuesday without confirming the names, planned to make a statement on invitees later on Wednesday or on Thursday and would not comment beforehand, a spokeswoman for the UN official said.

Jim Trevorrow

The SAA has retaken the Keweres airbase and looks to be ready to take Al-Bab, a major concentration point for Isl. the SDF is less than 10 kilometers south of Manbij, the other major ISL concentration point in that part of Aleppo Province south of the main ISL border crossing with Turkey at Jarabulus. If SDF or SAA take and hold the m4 between those two points ISL communication lines with turkey will be severely constrained. What will happen if SDF moves on Jarabulus? Will Turkey invade Syria to prevent the Kurds from taking Jarabulus? The Russians are reportedly in discussions with the Kurds to lend them air support for a campaign from the Afrin canton to take Azaz. The Kurds want to take the border area between Jarabulus and Azaz to connect the Afrin and Kobani Cantons. This is a major red line with the Turks. Would Turkey risk confrontation with both Russia and the U.S alliance who are supplying air cover to the SDF south of Manbij? There are reports of U.S. troops embedded with the SDF coordinating air strikes. Would Turkey risk killins U.S. soldiers to thwart the Kurds?



An article on the strategy of R+6. Previously forecast here by Col.Lang and Mr.Bahzad.



The PYD might have a big rejoinder.



You've just given some very important reasons why Turkey can't do much other than make noise.

Medicine Man

Thirdeye: I've heard some chatter here and there that the dropping oil prices are partly a product of KSA meddling, as they hope to bankrupt alternate oil producers (oilsand extraction, etc.). Do you think this is credible at all?

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