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14 February 2016


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Intersecting sources reported to the activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Aleppo that about 350 fighters of a rebel faction armed with light and heavy weapons, entered through Atamah military border crossing in the northern countryside of Aleppo, and some of them reached the town of Tall Rifaat accompanied by modern weapon, the sources confirmed to the observatory that the Turkish authorities allowed them to pass and oversaw their transition process from the countryside of Idlib to the northern countryside of Aleppo through its territory.

The Turks fighting Assad down to the last "rebel" ...


Let me then recommend MK Bahdrakumar's blog with the insights from a retired Indian diplomat.


He has been writing for years now (Asia Times Online of old) and is especially good at interpreting the diplomatic notes and talks, translating them into real life language.

His recent take on Kerry and Lavrov and "cessation of fire" was spot on.

His India and China stuff is also excellent.


I was wondering the very same thing. If the objective is to sever the IS to Turkey oil and supply lines then doing it against the Lake and river would seem far less risky than moving into Turkish artillery range. Tanker trucks can't swim and they need pretty good roads to move fast. Just blowing some overpasses would be enough to clog the flow I would think if the river and lake were used as natural barriers. Then that would leave travel through Iraq and the smuggling trade through the Kurdish territories. Turkey by the way gets far more oil from dealing with the Kurds in Iraq than it gets from IS.


Who said that President Hopey-Changey is against DAESH victory? Apparently new longer range misses are being shipped to DAESH and co: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0VL278


What are the chances that tacit approval by the US is part of a changing of alliances in the ME? Is there any reasonable chance that the US wants to draw the Turks/Saudis/Qataris into a regional conflict only to stand by and watch them get dismantled in a direct confrontation with Russia? Is there any chance of that, or are is this just a thought I should only have while sleeping.

Chris Rogers

Colonel Sir,

In response to your answer to VietnamVet on Sunday at 5.16PM, it is apparent on a number of UK blogs that I visit that are frequented by a concerned citizenry that a growing fear of a nuclear exchange between the USA and Russia is palpable. One has tried to assuage fears, influenced in part by SST, that despite the Borg mentality prevalent within the US political establishment and many of its Western Allies, the US military, or at least sections contained therein, possess more sanity and rationality than the neocons rampaging across Washington and much of your media, and that in NATO member states.

Whilst I understand the President is the Commander-in-Chief, and Congress alone has the authority to wage war, lines have become blurred since 9/11 witnessed by a plethora of overseas adventures that stigmatise the US military and undermine democracy and the Constitution itself.

As such, and given the chain of command, can we be certain that those with their finger actually on the button, and I don't mean the President, would engage in the folly of utilising nuclear weapons on a battlefield if no existential threat to the USA existed?

I make this request because I still firmly believe that honourable men still exist within your military structure and are more responsible and informed than the neocon Borg in Washington and at the end of the day see their duty as protecting the USA population, rather than propagating idiotic policies on behalf of those who have made a mockery of the Republic and its Constitution of late?



This Reuters article http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0VL278 has nothing to do with IS (Daesh). It concerns the non IS rebel factions fighting R+6 in the Aleppo area. pl

William R. Cumming

A CIA charlatan if ever there was one IMO!

William R. Cumming

Perhaps slightly off thread:

1. What power projection capability does the KSA have right now?

2. It appears Turkey feels free to ignore the US but not the Russians. Am I correct at least in part?

3. Could Russian strategy be largely a naval one with ultimate control of the Bosphorus at stake?

4. How exactly are the straits between the Black Sea and Mediterranean defended by Turkey and NATO?


1. Zero. They can send a few aircraft to Incirlik but they will be dependent there on US or Turkish maintenance and supply. On the ground their forces are based on their home stations and have no ability to maintain themselves beyond the length of a "tether" that ties them to those stations. 2. Yes. they have successfully manipulated the US thus far and think they can continue to do so. 3. An interesting thought. 4. The straits are pretty much undefended except by existing Turkish naval ad air capability. pl


3. Could Russian strategy be largely a naval one with ultimate control of the Bosphorus at stake?

Seamus Padraig

Veterans Today is always full of "spectacular allegations". About once a month, for example, they run a story about how Israel has just detonated a neutron bomb somewhere in the ME. It always turns out to be false, of course. VT should not be taken seriously. Gordon Duff especially gives us conspiracy theorists a bad name.

Seamus Padraig

Starting a nuclear exchange would be the president's decision alone. Unless they feel like starting a coup, the uniformed commanders of the military have to obey him.


Amir, I am sure at the right time Pres Obama would be happy for DAESH to disappear. I was referring to direct Turkish involvement, which could very very easily grow to a NATO-Russia confrontation.

Ishmael Zechariah

SST, Col. Lang;

"Merkel says supports some kind of no-fly zone in Syria"

I do not know if this item is correct but, if so, this is bad news. As long as Frau Dr. "Brunhilde" Merkel plays shield-maiden to tayyip "Siegfried" erdogan, uncertainty at the border will continue. I'd appreciate comments from any Germans who know what might be going on.

Ishmael Zechariah

William R. Cumming

Thanks P.L.!

William R. Cumming

My understanding is that over 100 subs of various nations are on patrol in the Med and Black Sea! Is this estimate any near correct?


The willfully blind woman made that statement in some newspaper, and it's been picked up by German license fee - read: state - broadcasters.

Then again, for some time now it's been high tide for quite far as her "leadership" is concerned, particularly when it comes to her not-really-all-that-honest "charitable act" of "welcoming" refugees into the country - without providing them the direct means to get there.
So, hopefully, the woman's soon to be gone as it would not be her first error of judgement.


My understanding is that over 100 subs of various nations are on patrol in the Med and Black Sea! Is this estimate any near correct?

If to count Russian subs, both SS(G)N projects 971 (Akula)and, possibly, 671 RTMK (Victor III)--possibly about 3-4. Add here couple of Kilo-class SSKs, so you are looking at about 5-6. It also depends how many project 949A (Oscar-II) are ready for deployment. Theoretically you may add 1-2 of those. How many NATO navies are going to stuff into Med? I don't know, all in all, it shouldn't be more than 50 from all parties involved. As per Black Sea--this is a trick question. Turkey has some SSKs there, but their deployment there, against ASW (Patrol) Aviation of the Black Sea Fleet could be very uncomfortable ones.



Merkel has some bigger problems than a NFZ in Syria:


"So, hopefully, the woman's soon to be gone as it would not be her first error of judgement."

That is quite unrealistic wish. The next federal election is in autum 2017 and the SPD has trouble to find an own profile. As the AfD gets voters from both, the SPD and CDU, making a SPD/Greens or CDU/FDP government almost impossible, a new version of the current SPD/CDU government is most likely, the CDU candidate for Kanzler will very likely be Merkel. As long as we do not see really substantial gains of the SPD, i.e. becoming the stronger party, I see Merkel as Kanzler 2018-2021.

"all-that-honest "charitable act" of "welcoming" refugees into the country - without providing them the direct means to get there. "

Here you should be more careful: Around 1.3 million refugees had already entered the EU when Merkel made her statement. You can not discuss this fact away. The more substantial critique would be IMHO that she tolerated for too long that some countries did not their job.

William R. Cumming

Thanks SmoothieX12!


My pleasure. I just want to clarify--not all parties "involved", but rather all possible submarines, including those of Maghreb navies.

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