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20 January 2016


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Babak Makkinejad


What do French news sources report?

To your point about quantity over quality - critical comments of Rene Guenon apply:

"Regne de la quantite et les signes des temps"


"For one thing, the long awaited offensive of the "Southern Front" never took place and, as a matter of fact, the moderates in the South are basically dead in the water."

A campaign took place, the Southern Storm, and it was target directly at Daraa and failed. The Operation Center in Jordan was upset because they had rejected an attack on Daraa and had preferred an attack on the supply line to Daraa. That led to a temporary end of support.

But there is now a new show going on:

"The Amman-based Military Operations Center (MOC) directed Southern Front factions to focus their efforts against Al-Nusra Front."

These people were promised new weapons and resources to exclusively attack Nusra and ISIS.

Indeed in this recent music video(!) of the Southern Front lots of fresh weapons can be seen including tanks and TOWs.

Here is the problem: In the past the Southern Front "leaked" a lot of weapons to Nusra and to IS. The people simply sell the stuff they get to the highest bidder. This weapon load is likely to also end up with Nusra instead of being used against it.

Even some neo-cons find this weaponizing of Nusra through the backdoor that has been going with U.S. knowledge for years a bit concerning.


"With the CIA doubling down on its support for Syrian rebels, it is now more important than ever to have a candid and vigorous public debate about the agency’s program. Put simply, such an about-face in U.S. policy—backing groups that help al Qaeda to make advances, after spending a decade and a half fighting the jihadist group—should not occur without a public debate that helps Americans understand why such drastic changes in U.S. policy have occurred."


Patrick: This will be the last stand. See https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/689719257874206721

As the rebels collapse, expect to hear of an "emergency" need to protect "civilians" in rebel areas. And by civilians, I mean women, children, and armed rebels.

We will be told that we "failed" Syria just like we "failed" Rwanda.

Patrick Bahzad

Agree with your points.

Southern Storm was part of what was in stock in the south. Rebels in the South wanted to do as their counterparts and take a large city (and basically a border=post), just as had been done earlier in Idlib, Jisr=al=Shugourand Sukhna.

The Jordanians anyway are way past the "Southern Front" and won't agree to anything they're not comfortable with. AQ is way too close to home in their mind.

Regarding that video, I don't think it is very recent. If you've been to Jordan recently, you'll knwo they are very touchy about anything crossing into or out of Jordan.



Thanks for your continued most informative analysis.

In your opinion what can the jihadists do militarily to counter the steady strangulation and destruction by R+6 forces? How do you see the clashes in Deir Ezzor in the larger perspective of military operations?

One thing that has surprised me from my limited viewing of the videos from the battle fronts is the extent of small arms close combat in built up areas. I would have expected the Russians to introduce much more quantity of heavy artillery weapons to assist R+6 frontline forces.


PB et al

"That is the beauty of military strategy and logic. There is nothing linear about it." Ainsi soit-il. I lived through the whiz-kid era in the 60's and early seventies when MacNamara and his obnoxious creatures infested the Pentagon. This "Operations research/systems analysis" (ORSA) crowd were, IMO largely responsible for our strategic loss in VN. They were absolutely sure that men meant nothing and math meant everything. They made all kinds of judgments that simply ignored the truth that war is a human social process. You are correct. The ORSA geniuses made a big study in 1965 and decided that NVN would throw in the towel in 1967. People who have not experienced war close up should not be taken seriously when they prognosticate about it. "Grinding" continues. The rout is coming. pl

Patrick Bahzad

absolutely and then the NFZ and "humanitarian intervention" crowd will raise their voices again ... to no avail, unless the Russians see an adavantage in it.


Matthew, the "emergency" need to protect women and children is already trumpeting. Here is the URL of a serial writer about "starving children", I won't post any of the stories, they are all the same. You can read them here:


Following up on some of the names quoted leads you straight into academic R2P land.



Patrick Bahzad


Indeed René Guénon was ahead of his time !

French sources haven't been any better for a long long time. There had been a slight change following the January attacks in Paris and this has been amplified now with the November 13 events.
French foreign policy has already toned down its anti-Assad rethoric, but they want to do it step by step so as not to look like the turn coats they are.


Turks to the rescue. See http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160120/1033456296/turkey-jarablus.html

What comes next?

Patrick Bahzad

They can try and cling onto as much border areas as they can, so as not to be cut off their logistical bases in Turkey. They can try and retreat into Turkey and stage operations from there (meaning they would become factually Turkish proxies) or they can try bridge the gap with ISIS, and some of them definitely will, and join ranks with Baghdadi's troops in the Syrian desert.

Deir ez Zor is a sideshow, the only area where ISIS is currently able to launch a significant counter=attack and try and "conquer" a new city, making up for the severe losses they've taken recently. I don't think Deir ez Zor will fall though.

Regarding Urban combat, as previously stated, it is not a priority currently for the R+6. They want to defeat the rebels in the depth of their territory and avoid long, and publicized sieges.


Col. Lang, the "Game Theory" academics who currently infest economics and politics are just as bad as the previous operations research fools.


Many of these people say that they are using numbers and "statistics," but they ignore the fundamental principle of statistics: every statistic is "wrong." The beauty of quantification is that you can evaluate how "wrong" your numbers are and plan accordingly. The problem is that if your argument is predicated on your supposedly "unique" understanding of the truth, you can't say that your numbers are "wrong." Thus continues the bastardization and abuse of statistics, in the name of statistics.


Not all "previous" operation research was in vain. I do agree, however, with your statement on present day "Game Theory" academics.



Baloney! Tell me what beside the antisubmarine battle of the Atlantic was seriously affected by this nonsense. pl


I read OEG's 51st Report. Post-war, a superb systematization of naval warfare issues. Modern navies grow from that. From ASW to search theory. Effectiveness criteria, which is usually a probability, is impossible to ignore when planning. Tactical and Operational Manuals are written based on both practical (combat) and theoretical (said operations research)findings. In the end, it is not only that, it is training of the staff level officer to operate within non-linear (and chaotic) environments. And then, there is an issue of calculating a required force (in Russian it is Naryad Sil) and it was done as early as 1930s, based precisely on the methods which are OR, in essence.


Do I recall correctly that Stalingrad represented less than 0,6 % of the Soviet Union's territory?

Patrick Bahzad

Operational and tactical manuals should be based on principles of warfare, not on modelisation of theoretical constructs.
The human factor, which is hard to bring down to figures and numbers, trumps most other !


every statistic is "wrong."

If that were true, Nazi Germany should have won WW II. We also wouldn't have aerospace and automotive industry, among many other things. Denying the obvious statistical fact that life expectancy grew massively in last few decades sounds a bit too far fetched to me.


Operational and tactical manuals (including combat manuals) ARE based on principles of warfare. I never encountered one not based on those.



Ah, you are a navy guy. That explains it. your thing is about operating large complex machines. I can see how you would be wedded to such things as OR. Humanity plays less and less of a role in maritime warfare. pl


In reply to walrus 20 January 2016 at 03:26 PM

And then there are the ravening hordes of MBAs and the institutions that spawn them ... ... ...

Not saying a good grasp of for example accounting or marketing isn't a damned useful thing to have but to think that any syllabus automatically makes you an expert manager is the route to that vice that the KJV warns us about:

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." http://tinyurl.com/jfr8jq3

I do agree with the economists in one respect which is that when these people wreck the firms that employ them (micro economics) that the economy and society as a whole suffer (macro economics). If you're ever in need of some schadenfreude you could try mentioning to an economist or (God help us all) a business operations analyst that perhaps they should study what happened to phrenology and sit back and watch the show as they fume and boil and rant and rave and demand that all heretics be burnt.

Apparently "There Is No Alternative" - now where did I hear that one before ?


Much appreciations to all, this is fascinating. Can someone please clarify Turkey's recent publicized military involvement described in Stratfor article and others cited here whereby it appears they are going after ISIS militarily, but harboring/helping "jihadists" on their side of the border and in ways described here at this website extesively over that last months...it is confusing as to what there motives/goals are

Patrick Bahzad


Sounds like you're quite the expert in field manuals. Better stick to them then. Just don't forget to tell the enemy he's got to stick to your books as well !

By the way, what was FM 3/24 if not a construct based on misguided theories designed some 40 years earlier ? Any insights into that ?


I had some runs with the ground too. And I don't mean running aground.

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