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20 February 2016


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different clue

The Twisted Genius,

And all the other alphabet jihadis and rebels along with them. And their ground disinfected, irradiated and politically bio-remediated as well. The original "selfie-video liver eater" was not ISIS, after all. He was one of the Moderate Rebels.



R2P seems completely entrenched in DC in both parties and more so in the FP "professional class." I recall when Obama, after a walk in the garden, acceded to Putin's agreement with Assad to remove the gas WMDs. It caught SoS and virtually everyone I followed by complete surprise and they were beside themselves having looked forward to intensive bombing and removal of Assad. I was shocked at how overwhelming the reaction was amongst the R2P crowd. And, of course, the neocon side was even more livid.

Bush had the same opportunity in late 2002 and early 2003 but he was fully onboard with the painted vision of a new Middle East with Iraq being the shining light of Democracy.

I credit Obama with a move that was certainly against perhaps almost all advisors outside of a few braver military people. Too me, Obama usually takes the easy road and that wasn't easy. Now he's facing nearly unanimous pressure to confront the Russians with a no fly zone to protect the so-called moderate islamists not to mention pressure from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and most of the domestic elites. They hope to draw the US in and so far they have failed.


Two big developments.

1) Israel openly siding with Syrian rebels and is calling for renewed effort by the west with a new "third force" of "less extreme" Sunni rebels and Kurds against Assad. They're also not happy that the Syrian govt is recapturing the border area of the Golan. Might this explain the sudden reversal by Obama/Kerry last weekend? Is there any relation between this and the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel? Are they referring to the YPG Kurds or some other Kurdish "militias"?

2) Reports of Iranian air force flying in Syria. Wondering if that airbase near Palmyra that Elijah Magnier reported on in December is now operational (and was publicly denied by the Russians along with some insults toward Magnier)


different clue

The cease fire would not apply to the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or its affiliates. It would eliminate the possibility of a Turkish/Saudi invasion. This would allow negotiations for some sort of federation and a regional peace treaty. With every ethnic group armed and combat experienced, re-establishing strong man governments in Damascus or Baghdad is a pipe dream. The alternative, a Sunni alliance invasion of Syria or resurrecting the Shiite Crescent is a recipe for an escalating world war.

Ghost ship

Aleppo is both a city and the capital of the Aleppo Governorate.


The complete lack of public support for military intervention factored into Obama's decision making process. Courage had nothing to do with it. Obama should get down on his knees and give thanks to Putin every day for stopping Obama from stumbling into another quagmire.


Obama had no chance but to climb down and take Putin's offer to remove Syria's strategic weapon.

- The UK parliament had voted against bombing Syria
- The U.S. people demanded a vote by Congress
- Congress and everyone else was dead set against another war
- If Obama would have started bombing on his own he would have faced impeachment

It wasn't strategic thinking or magnanimity that let him take the offer, it was political necessity.


Nuff Sed

I was interested to observe that there is a hamlet right next to Dabiq (of the Daesh publication fame) in eastern Aleppo province called Sauron [the Necromancer]. Its coordinates? Directly North-West, of course. Nuff Sed.


Yes. You are more right than I was. The Google map distance indicator deceived me badly.

Still - just a few towns and hamlets, two of which were liberated an hour ago.
The 'Nimr' Tiger @Souria4Syrians
Reports SAA captured *Tel Riman and *Tel Fa'uri in East Aleppo pic.twitter.com/xZ2GRqSKCe

Mark Logan


That "salts the ground" against IS, certainly. Getting those folks lives back to normal ASAP could be the best thing one could do.

I also harbor suspicions of Obama riding the tiger of the Borg. He's an old street-baller, it's a game of deception, but how much he's been fooled and how much he is fooling in this one is an open question. Nevertheless our actions in this theater of operations has not matched our rhetoric, and in this the Borg appear to hold him in the same abject contempt everybody else does. Either he's the most incompetent leader they've ever had or he's been punking them, at least occasionally.

Nuff Sed

Col. Lang et al,

I have searched high and low for a decent map of Syria to which I can refer when news feeds talk about this-village and that-village having been liberated or taken, to no avail. If such a map exists, kindly point me to it; if not, is it not high time for the best analysis site on the web to put one out? From my perspective, it should have the following features:

1. High definition
2. Detailed to the smallest village
3. It should show all roads and if possible some topographical information
4. County (or province) demarcation lines
5. Spheres of control
6. Spheres of influence
7. Population density (somehow incorporated, perhaps by color coding or sizing dots fro cities, towns, villages, hamlets).

Thank you in advance, and thanks for your ongoing efforts at getting at the truth of what is going on in the world.

Old Microbiologist

In the Russian news yesterday the US has reneged on the UNSC agreement completely. Whether this gives Turkey the go ahead for an invasion is hard to determine. I believe the threat of theater nukes in defense of Russian forces is a valid one and not to be discounted. Erdogan today has demanded that the US declare the Kurds terrorists or else. So, it seems to me the Obama administration is in a serious quandary. Erdogan will force the US to leave Incirlik if Obama doesn't drop all support to the Kurds. So, things are getting very interesting.


The 800 ISIS terrorists have no outlet to retreat and they have no available supply lines; this means, they will either surrender to the Syrian Armed Forces or fight till the death.

I doubt they will see kindness should they choose to surrender, but fighting to the death is not their style. Stealth and slinking out of there in the shadows is a more likely strategy. Transformation from an overt fighting force into a covert Mafiosi style underground movement, based on threats and bribes.

After the first wave of military victory must come the second wave of civilian police work: interviewing witnesses, following the evidence, arresting suspects, going to trial and finding the guilty. That's hard and painstaking work, not so heroic.


Here is an interesting Piece on the town of Azaz,as well as Aleppo. The article casts doubt on the 900 rebel fighters that Turkey purportedly let cross the border into Syria. Also the Saudis sending fighter jets to southern Turkey is also questioned.



It looks like my guestimate of 8 to 80 IS still there was too high.

The pocket collapsed and the al-Safira plain was now declared to be completely liberated.


It is on to al-Bab to cut off IS from the border. The progress of the SDF in the east is also impressive. IS seems to have some motivation problems recently. Since they cut payment again those who fought for money seem to drop out. The true believers are too few to hold large areas.



"The true believers are too few to hold large areas." If that is true the caliphate will fold up like an accordion. pl


FWIW on the PetoLucem twitter feed there is a report that the IS pocket has now been liquidated. It's not clear whether the IS fighters were killed or escaped, but the numbers were much smaller than 800.


nuf sed

I lack the resources to create such a map. Perhaps someone will find one. If so, I will make it a post. pl


Guess the Syrian govt. feline teams - Qawat al-Nimr, "Forces of the Tiger" and Cheetah Team - called ISIL agitprop's bluff here that "hundreds of our finest will fight to the death against the godless Nusayris"*. Serves them right that the few dozens they in fact left behind as bait and shuhadah to satisfy their cult's demands for blood didn't make a stand all that tenacious.

Meanwhile, sadly, reports are coming in of another suicide bombing in Homs city. Recent ones there were claimed by ISIL itself, but I am wondering: there is still the Nusra-pocket north of the city. Would it be too unlikely to assume that, between Nusra and their wayward ISIL-brothers, Nusra in fact carries these out and leaves it up to ISIL to take public credit?

*I make it a point not to trawl through their propaganda-claptrap, but wouldn't be entirely surprised if it's along these lines on and on and on again.


Only for 1, 2, 3 & 4 :-)

robt willmann

Old Microbiologist,

You mention above that Russian news, probably on 19 or 20 February, said that the U.S. has reneged completely on the UN Security Council agreement regarding Syria. Is there a citation and translation of the story or stories?


Congress became "dead set against another war" when their switchboards lit up 99-1 against intervention.


"…the US and France refuse to allow a UN Resolution which would reaffirm the sovereignty of Syria…The US and France apparently think that the UN Charter (which affirms the sovereignty of all countries) does not apply to Syria.”
Perhaps Turkey survival depends on her proximity to Israel, otherwise the DC deciders would have already initiated a full-blown war with Russia over Syria.
Here is another jewel of the State Dept.: "Ukraine open to military cooperation with Turkey in Black Sea, Ukrainian FM says." http://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2016/02/01/ukraine-open-to-military-cooperation-with-turkey-in-black-sea-ukrainian-fm-says

William Fitzgerald

Also the House of Commons, which said "No way Jose" to Cameron and by extension to Obama and the neo con apparatus.



This one has everything you ask for except population density which is difficult to ascertain on a realtime basis in a war where 50% of the population is displaced. Rough estimates can be gotten from comparing to pre-war maps showing population density


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