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18 February 2016


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Bill Herschel

Colonel Lang,

Am I correct in saying that the entire foundation of United States "Foreign Policy" has been fundamentally altered since the Russian Aerospace (their term) intervention in Syria? I only ask the question, because I think it's a question worth thinking about.

And of course if it is completely off topic, please ignore it.

The Beaver

To all

From the Boston Globe, an opinion piece:

"Washington-based reporters tell us that one potent force in Syria, al-Nusra, is made up of “rebels” or “moderates,” not that it is the local al-Qaeda franchise. Saudi Arabia is portrayed as aiding freedom fighters when in fact it is a prime sponsor of ISIS. Turkey has for years been running a “rat line” for foreign fighters wanting to join terror groups in Syria, but because the United States wants to stay on Turkey’s good side, we hear little about it. Nor are we often reminded that although we want to support the secular and battle-hardened Kurds, Turkey wants to kill them. Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington."

Fortunately, we have a good community on SST where actual facts are written and then debated. My BP goes up whenever I watch Holly Williams speaks about the dictator or regime (!!!) with her disclamer that the videos she is showing can't be verified. Experiencing the same thing on the CBC.


Bill Herschel

That's a fair question. IMO the foundation should be changed in the presence of a demonstration of the continuing efficacy of military force as more than the symbolic concept that the R2Pers want to think it. They think that diplomacy and scheming can be used to pressure people into surrender to "The New World Order." They are wrong in that belief but they cling to it. pl


Amir's "Westoxicated" is the Persian "gharbzadeh", is it not? It used to be translated "West-struck", perhaps better "dazzled by the West", into abandoning everything Persian. They used to accuse the Shah and his circles of being that. Your explanation rather mushes the meaning.



IMO you are thinking of Berbers rather than Bedu. Bedu are tribal Arabs who are generally at least semi-nomadic. They exist everywhere in the Arab World.



That is very helpful although I don't see the elevations. I see the landforms but not the numbers. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The problematic was ill-defined and ill-understood. Millennia of living within a profoundly religious culture cannot be and will not be altered without an equally rigorous assessment of one's own place in the scheme of things.

Put another way, even if one is from Hell, the first order of business is to accept and acknowledge who one is and what one's heritage and culture are - before a rational attempt at adaptation of alien ideas could be attempted.

The fairly mundane and - I would hope - non-controversial subject of Aesthetics, to my knowledge, has never been explored within Islamic Thought to the present day.

The single useful text on the subject, in my opinion, "Islamic Art and Spirituality" was written by Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr - a Shia Iranian (father of Dr. Seyyed Vali Nasr) who himself received his post-graduate education abroad and now lives in US.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for correcting me; I was wrong.

I should have used "Nomad" in lieu of "Bedu".


ISR--Intelligence, Surveillance, Recon are crucial factors of any operation, they are also critical for targeting. Russia brought to the table here the same what it did in Donbas--a complete situational (I know where my enemy is) and tactical (I know what my enemy is going to do) awareness. There are only two nations in the world, USA and Russia, who possess full spectrum intel capabilities (from the ground, including human intel, up into space) which can provide for the most effective planning and decision making, both on tactical and operational levels. I can not emphasize enough the importance of that. Embedding military advisers from Russia also helped to optimize the internalization and use of C4ISR through massive tactical and operational experience those advisers brought to the table. By no means trying to diminish those abilities of the Syrian Army, but Russia here is a totally different weight category. Much, and I mean much-much, heavier.

As per weapons. Stand off capability, no doubt, is important and so is advantage in Precision Guided Munitions which Russia realizes in Syria through both Air Force, primarily, and other branches, in secondary fashion, including supply of such weapons as T-90 MBTs, which are largely immune to ATGMs. The improvement of performance is, in a large part, due to the factors I briefly listed but also due to undeniably improved fighting spirit of Assad's army, which now, is being much more ably led. It is never one thing, it is a complex combination of those which may, very often, produce a synergistic effect.


Bill Hershel:
Yes, I believe that you and COL Lang are correct, and the Russian intervention should have completely changed US strategy/policy towards Syria, even for those R2Pers and Neocons who remained in denial that the Iranians were always "All In" for both Syria and Iraq, and there was never any possibility that they would allow the Asad regime to fall or for the sectarian Shia religious parties under Iranian influence to lose control in Iraq.

The Twisted Genius

Bill Herschel,

The military question of building/assisting foreign military forces is also worth thinking about. The R+6 success over the last few months cannot be chalked up to just Russian airpower. The effectiveness of the R+6 ground forces stands in stark contrast to the multiyear US effort to rebuild the Iraqi army. The effectiveness of the ragtag SDF/YPG also should be examined. I think a lessons learned series of books is called for. The series the US Army did after WW II are magnificent.


"And it is necessary to win consensus among oligarchs - perhaps the most jaded people on the planet"

While there is no doubt that Putin and "siloviki" consider "oligarchy", they, oligarchs, are by far not the most important factor in Kremlin's decisions. The stakes are too high and any failure in geopolitical game can, and, most likely will, bring, Putin's downfall with oligarchs mostly occupying the lamp posts along some of the main Moscow arteries. Putin understands that. In Russia historically geopolitics and internal politics are tightly interconnected. Oligarchs also have an understanding that the only factor which keeps them from hanging by the neck from lamp posts is said Putin.


Should read Lavrov was pretty clear about his priorities; a solution in Syria, a negotiated resolution in the Ukraine and prompt removal of sanctions.


True, but only to a degree. I am always very cautious with historical analogies.


I was referring To Arab desert folks Bedouin


Bob early on in Syrian uprising back in 2011 I remember then president ahamdinijad in an interview was saying that we (Iran) do not believe the Syrian goverment and her Presiden will fall.


Click on the menu (three horizontal bars) next to the search box and select "terrain." It needs to be zoomed in for the contours and numbers to be visible. I don't know why Google doesn't include the contours in the version that toggles on from the lower left.

Or you can use this version with some extra gizmos and goodies. It's a little slower.



Zoroastrians are well represented in academia and culture in Iran.


I think it started with the Iran deal, but events in Syria continue this process.

Whether its down to the new pope, El Nino, or the millions of victims of the Borg in all its forms at last deciding they've had enough, things are certainly changing at lightning speed on the ground.

In Syria events are happening so fast in the collapse of the Borg House of Cards that one can only watch open-mouthed.

And the beauty of it is at the exact same time, in a classic pincer movement, the Borg is also being surrounded and destroyed in their own capital - Washington. Trump to the right of them, Sanders to the left, and all the unicorn candidates in between shivering into non-existence.

I never thought I'd witness the Plains of Zama.


The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) take responsibility for the attack.



Also the tools menu has a flight simulator which I find very useful to get a feel for the terrain. Flying around Latika gave a real sense of the difficulty of the terrain. and usefulness of the high ground.


after thought.
Also if you have a google account and select 'my maps' you get a few additional tools inc. the ability to easily change between views and a tape measure which is hand for measuring runway lengths etc.
I used all these features heavily while planning my moves in the recent SST war game.


Only a flesh wound?


The East Aleppo pocket is closed. 800 ISIS members to presumably decided to stay and die. Its been a bad week for ISIS.



IS could also be on the way to loss quite a few warriors. The pocket north-east of Aleppo may have been closed.


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