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23 February 2016

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Matt

In my opinion, the US should be allied with the Russians in defeating ISIS. We should be allies, not adversaries.

Why does the US keep pushing Russia's buttons? Why do they keep moving NATO east toward their border?

The Russians lost 25-27 MILLION people during WWII. There is still living memory of this, I'm sure, in Russia. How does the US expect the Russians to act when they pull shenanigans in Ukraine?

How would the US act if the Russians moved back into Cuba?

Where are the sane people running foreign policy in America?

Enough with the BS, already.


Jack

Sir

The open question is if R+6 will be bamboozled by this diplomatic ploy and allow the jihadi coalition to snatch survival & the ability to fight another day from the jaws of annihilation. Or will R+6 press their hard fought battlefield advantage and destroy the jihadists in the Idlib kesselschlacht?

How this question resolves will be indicative of the steeliness of Putin and I suppose Assad, Khamenei and Nasrallah.

Barish

I raised another place to make a thrust towards before, but how useful an objective would the air base directly east of Abd al-Duhur be? Looking at this map here:

http://www.edmaps.com/Northwestern_Syria_October_24_26.png

securing an alternate more major land-route could also be part of such an operation.

Joe100

It appears that the Khanassar operations may be mostly about eliminating lots of jihadis. Sixty Russian airstrikes today are reported by AMN, noting that:

"The Khanasser Plain is an air force’s dream, thanks in large part to its relatively flat land that provides little cover for their intended targets; it is also one of the reason’s why the Syrian Armed Forces have concentrated on bombarding the ISIS terrorists, rather than storming their defenses right away."

As I recall, Col. Lang recently suggested that the R+6 should "bring on" such ISIS attacks as an efficient way to reduce ISIS numbers..

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/tiger-forces-launch-counter-offensive-against-isis-in-southeast-aleppo/ | Al-Masdar News

turcopolier

Joe100

"Col. Lang recently suggested that the R+6 should "bring on" such ISIS attacks as an efficient way to reduce ISIS numbers." Absolutely! but the air attrition should not distract from what IMO should be the goal of crushing the rebels in the Idlib Pocket and connecting Aleppo to the south in a dependable basis. pl

Kooshy

Col. LANG
M. K. Bhadradkumar has an article on Turkey' Pakistanization because of Erdo' policies. This is a terminology is supposedly used by a Turk opposition politician comparing what is happening to Turkey today with regard to her policy of supporting Syrian opposition jahadies, to what Pakistan did back in 80' with supporting Afghan jahadi opposition. It's an interesting analysis that I didn't thought before. I was wondering if you had seen it, and what your thoughts are, since you know both these countries well.
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2016/02/21/turkey-can-still-avoid-pakistanisation/

Cortes

Is the date in the first sentence correct?

turcopolier

Cortes

Yes. pl

Bill Herschel

I watched Putin's statement in its entirety (~5min).

https://youtu.be/thwbo2qrFxE

I have also read the lead editorial in the NYTImes. I quote:

"However weak the West’s hand in Syria, Mr. Putin should not be allowed to believe that he can parlay support for a murderous dictator into respect for his power or acceptance of his cynical games in Ukraine."

I cannot express how despicable this editorial is. The NYTimes supports Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel in Syria. In other words, Al Qaeda. And, in fact, their goal is to remove Mr. Putin from power so that he can no longer challenge Al Qaeda or neo-Nazi's in Ukraine.

I do not expect to see the editorial board of the Times take up arms, go to Syria, and fight shoulder to shoulder with Al Qaeda. Nor do I expect Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Israel to do likewise. But I do expect them to insist that American citizens get wounded and killed to further their aims, just as they have been doing since Bush's war in Iraq.

So the question becomes, "Who controls the political process in the United States?" Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, or the American people? One candidate seems to be his own man. Donald Trump. Let us hope the American people realize they will be electing someone who holds their interest first and make him President. Unless he, too, is a bought and paid for liar.

Cortes

Thank you!

MRW

Great map. Beginning to understand all this stuff. ;-)

Jackrabbit

This may help:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

LJ

Here's an article from The Guardian portraying the RF/US cease fire as one in which Russia will have to step up or face sanctions. Question: the cease fire seems strange from any angle I can see.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/23/john-kerry-partition-syria-peace-talks?CMP=share_btn_tw

SmoothieX12

IS and al-Nusra will be annihilated no matter what. Basically cease-fire's formula is next:

1. Lay down the arms, you have the chance. If not, well...
2. IS and al-Nusra (see the beginning of the post).
3. We don't know what real geopolitical cards are in play, behind the scene. I wish I knew, but we may not know for a while. Today's activation of hostilities around Donetsk may give some hint.

SmoothieX12

"Where are the sane people running foreign policy in America?"

Those who are sane--they are blogging. Sadly, only insane are in the position of power and influence.

BB

Americans have two choices. A guy who has said the Iraq War was a mistake, says the U.S. should be allies with Russia, and says we should bomb ISIS and the jihadis in Syria. The other is a woman who gave us the Arab Spring, the regime change in Libya, and promises to arm and defend all jihadists fighting Assad. Oh, and declare no-fly zones and confront Russia.

I met both of these individuals in my last job in D.C. One was very respectful and nice to little people who came up to him. The other always acted like Leona Helmsley on the rag, was unfriendly to people she came in contact with (separated by 2 large DSS & USSS security details), and treated people like sh*t.

Bill Herschel

A lot depends on whether Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich drop out. I don't think Cruz is dropping out. He has really, really big money behind him provided by true believers. Rubio is the "Establishment" (read Adelson) poodle. And Kasich is going to wait for the mid-west primaries. Maybe that's all wishful thinking, but if it happens, Trump is the nominee.

Thirdeye

Still some hilly country between the SAA positions in Latakia and Jisr as-Shugour, but there is a broad advance underway north and east of Kinsabba and it's not going through a terrain fortress like the approach to Kinsabba. It has penetrated as far east as Barza Takhtani, about 5 km west of the slope overlooking the Al Ghab Plain and about 3 km north of Kibana.

elaine

Appreciate the map however it's from Oct 2015; are the territories
under influence &/or occupation still relevant?

Big Mike

Could it be the Silk Road and a Eurasian alliance?

johnf

From that Kerry/Guardian article:

"John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said he will move towards a plan B that could involve a partition of Syria if a planned ceasefire due to start in the next few days does not materialise, or if a genuine shift to a transitional government does not take place in the coming months."

How many boots on the ground is Kerry going to need to impose a partition? Forgetting the unlikely event of a Turkish and/or Saudi invasion, I suppose he is talking about the Kurdish/SDF forces in the North East, which are at the moment advancing with some success on Deir Ezzor.

The SDF might be amenable to an American protectorate but the Kurds? They are far more interested in linking up with their brothers in the West, an outcome bitterly opposed by America's ally Turkey. I think a partition would be politically impossible for America and is a mere bluff, probably to shut Congress (at which Kerry was speaking) up.

Mark Pyruz

For reference purposes, the following URL and thread provides a number of street-level photo views of Syrian highways as they appeared shortly before initiation of hostilities:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=993201

Old Microbiolgist

Well said.

Dmcna

ISIS have kindly moved a large number of troops out of the defence of the Maskaneh plain to undertake this symbolic attack. Given this and the favourable terrain it would seem rude not to advance to Maskaneh and sever the Aleppo To Raqqa connection for ISIS. The rush to Raqqa seems to be diminished by diplomacy but delivering such a blow to ISIS now would still have numerous benefits.

LondonBob

http://www.unz.com/ishamir/russians-ride-fast/

Israel Shamir, whose works I have known of for years and whose quality of sources must be acknowledged, tips Palmyra up next. Israel was the first to break the news of the Russian intervention in Syria, before even this website.

The last few days before the cessation of hostilities will allow Assad’s army to gain some ground in Aleppo area and to switch to the Southern front. I’d expect them to take Palmyra in the course of next few days (consider it a tip).

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