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06 February 2016


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William R. Cumming

Apparently the refugee flow to the EU is largely military age men from Syria! Will any settlement stem the flow?



If 2 of the 3 brigades of the 101st Airborne are embarking for the Middle East as you posted earlier; it can only be in conjunction with Turkey’s and Hillary Clinton’s no fly refuge in the current ISIS and rebel held territory in the gap between YPG Kurd’s homeland in Northern Syria. Secure airports are required for the thousands of troops plus artillery, transport and close air support. This has to be in Turkey. Kuwait or Saudi Arabia are a desert too far. Hezbollah and Iraq Shiite militias are members of R+6. An Invasion from Israel or Lebanon is unthinkable.

Unless there is an agreement with Russia, the first troops invading Syria from Turkey will trigger a World War. Maybe, this is a “Mad Man” negotiating plan to splinter Syria in the peace talks; otherwise, the world is on the brink.



If they want to do that they will have to construct a lot of logistical base infrastructure in Turkey, maybe at Batman or Diyarbakir. Oops, there is a lot of fighting in Diyarbakir today between the YPG Kurds and Turkish forces. pl pl

Rob Waddell

Thanks for adding the links to "principles of War". One item that piqued my interest was the US Armies FM 3-0 Nine Principles of War or by its mnemonic "MOSS MOUSE". All well and fine except now they have added 3 more (2011 -Wikipedia). This appears to contradict MOSS MOUSE rule No.9 Simplicity.
Now a small test for you and others; If you were only allowed maximum 6 POW rules; what would you choose?

Rob(hairy-face) Occam


I think that the most likely possibility is that the administration is planning to take Mosul. Turkish forces would lead, supported by a small number of American forces and by American air power. I imagine that they are deeply concerned that Russia and Iran will soon be ready to move on Iraq . I think they will try to prevent the Shia militias from taking Mosul at all costs, and that they need to secure American interests in Kurdistan. And the administration certainly dorsn't want Russia to become the dominant power in the Middle East. I assume that the President would not send ground troops into Mosul or Fallujah unless they had cut a deal with the tribes (Dexter Filkins told Charlie Rose that they had cut a deal with the tribes to take Ramadi). But I have to say that I'm very apprehensive about this, because their judgement has been so poor in the past. ISW reported earlier that Shia militias had kidnapped some Americans. I hope this won't be "back to the future", if Obama does in fact put boots on the ground in Iraq.


For those complaining about the coverage of Syria that you're getting in the USA. It's quite as bad on this side of the Atlantic for example:

"The battle for Aleppo has fuelled opposition suspicions that the Syrian regime and its allies are more interested in securing a military victory over the rebels than negotiating a settlement."

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/battle-for-aleppo-who-is-fighting-why-is-it-significant-what-are-the-long-term-consequences-a6857606.html

Yah don't say! Who'd a thought it. Well I never. Etc.

Patrick Bahzad

Glad to see that the ISW has finally left its geostationary orbite and has landed on planet earth ! been a long way from "marginal Russian gains" to realization of their total failure to analyze events realistically.



I didn't see: color revolution (agitating for Western-style democracy and rights), covert support for extremists, false flag terr0r, or propaganda in the Principles of War that you linked to.

It wasn't a war until Russia intervened?

I ask because our traditional view of war is armed conflict with a certain start (declaration of war!) and end (signed peace treaty). The Borg seems to be running a different kind of war. One that is continuous and mostly covert. The 'enemy' is everyone that has not yet been 'assimilated'.



Most of the things you mention are not real war although they can be thought to exist somewhere on the spectrum of conflict. None of the things you have mentioned in that list have led to a decisive result in the last two administrations. You are going to see a decisive result in Syria. "Decisive" in this sense does not mean eternal but it will mean a non-jihadi Syria for an extended period. BTW, the three "principles" added in 2011 to the US list are IMO just self-soothing for generals unable to cope with their own failures in the post 9/11 world. "Persistance?" "Restraint?" "Legitimacy?" Oh, come on! These all have to do with national purpose. A field commander, even a very highly placed field commander waging a war, should receive guidance from the national command authority (in our case the White House and Congress) within which he designs his campaign plan. he should not be looking at what he does every day in terms of these essentially political things. If he has to do that he will be endlessly distracted from fighting and winning the war. Was this a war in Syria before Russia intervened? Yes, but it was a war in which the Syrian government and its allies lacked the resources needed to plan a campaign based on the classic principles of war and designed to be decisive in the face of the madcap R2P and neocon obsession with forcing the Syrian government into dissolution. pl


Here's someone who agrees that Counter Insurgency warfare has been unsucessful.

'For Clausewitz, the primary aim of war was the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces, and there was only one sure method of achieving this objective: combat. In recent years, however, Western military forces have attempted to do what Clausewitz warned against – defeat the enemy ‘without too much bloodshed’. Following the failure of initial counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq, counterinsurgency theorists convinced NATO leaders that the key to victory in Afghanistan was a ‘whole of government’ approach. Military force would be combined with humanitarian aid and economic development projects, which would win the ‘hearts and minds’ of Aghans and persuade them to support the Afghan government and NATO rather than the Taliban. NATO would win not by killing people but by being nice to them.
How has this theory worked out in practice?
Not very well, is the answer.
Since 2003, USAID has spent at least $2.3 billion on stability programs in Afghanistan. The findings of a USAID-contracted, third-party evaluation program on the impacts of its stabilization projects raise worrying questions. The MISTI [Measuring Impacts of Stabilization Initiatives] program reported, for example, that villages receiving USAID stability projects scored lower on stability—an aggregate measure of whether the projects strengthened perceptions of good governance and effective service delivery—than similar villages that received no such assistance. And some villages reportedly under Taliban control that received USAID stability projects subsequently showed greater pro-Taliban support.'

The Twisted Genius

Ah, yes. MOSS MOUSE. We studied that in military science 101 in ROTC and kept studying it for the next four years. We studied many battles and campaigns in the context of those principals of war. It was a good beginning to my military education. I am in total agreement with Colonel Lang on the worthlessness of those three principles added in 2011. Total political bullshit brought about by wishful thinking and aimless wandering in pursuit of some focus group tested objective. Reminds me of the poem "The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup."



It seems that the jihadists are now sending kids to the north Aleppo battle zone due to manpower constraints.

As you have noted sometime ago, the grind will lead to ultimate collapse. We should expect the R2P harpies out in force to try to win what is being lost on the battlefield.




Yes, the little boys battalion is a sign of imminent collapse. It reminds me of Hitler out patting the Volksturm boys on the cheek. pl



People don't seem to understand that the PoW are basic planning principles applicable at all levels of command. pl



You may be correct that rather than a Syrian no fly refuge the West’s intent is to liberate Mosul. Iraq and Iran would never agree to a Turkish army incursion and would force Russia to take action to prevent it or break up the R+6. Baghdad perhaps would agree to the 101st Airborne intervention but the troopers would have to enter the devastation of Mosul by themselves, kill the last of the dead enders, fight off any Shiite militias, and avoid tangling with the Russians. This would be final nail in the coffin of Barrack Obama’s legacy.

The third possibility is that the 101st Airborne is headed to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. There the brigades would serve as comforters for the Gulf Oil Sheiks afraid of having their heads chopped off.

Russia is in the lead. The West is tottering. To survive the European Union has to figure out how to secure its borders, end the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and return the refugees home.

Bill Herschel

After reading the comments and considerable thought, the question I would like to ask is, "If Turkey sends ground troops into Syria, will Russia bomb them?"

Pro: Russia has been invited into Syria by the Syrian government to assist it in repelling, largely foreign, troops attempting to overthrow the government. Turkish troops would be no different than ISIS under this rubric.

Con: An attack on Turkish troops by Russia would be an attack on NATO by Russia and would trigger a NATO response against Russia.

I believe The Saker (who would be a lot more relevant if he would drop all the Saker/Anglo-Zionist nonsense and stick to what he knows) says that a Turkish incursion would, in the first instance, trigger a call by Russia for a meeting of the Security Council. In other words, they would not immediately bomb Turkish troops.

I completely share Vietnam Vet's implicit fear that the next seven days could be apocalyptic.


Bill Herschel

I don't think Turkey will confront Russia. I really don't want SST to be a bulletin board for Saker posts, or Juan Cole posts or anyone else's posts. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Rather doubtful.


Sir, in your opinion, if the Turks are ill-advised enough to attack into Syria do you think the Russians will counter-attack. Would the Russian theatre commander already have his orders to do so?



I think Russia would fight the Turks in Syria while going to the UN just to make noise. pl

Bill Herschel


FB Ali

Col Lang,

A long time ago I wrote a paper on the Principles of War that was published in the Royal United Service Institution (UK) journal. In it I argued that the principles, as generally accepted at that time, needed a hard look as to their practical application. I also suggested how they might be made more applicable in real life as opposed to theoretical discussion. One way of achieving this was to rationalise their application to the various spheres of the art of war.



FB Ali

IMO the R+6 campaign in Syria to date is an excellent rationalization of the application of the PoW to reality. pl


I read the passage Col Lang posted with a lot of 'mental marking up', to wit:
"The full encirclement of Aleppo City would fuel a humanitarian catastrophe, shatter opposition morale, fundamentally challenge Turkish strategic ambitions, and deny the opposition its most valuable bargaining chip before the international community."

ISW wants us all to be distressed that we might shatter the morale of ISIS liver-eaters and head-chopping ideologues...?!

ISW believes we're not supposed to question anything that Turkey does...?

Is the ISW honestly making a case that people who put prisoners in cages, eat livers, rape, pillage, and create massive refugee problems merit 'bargaining chips' with the international community...?!

This is Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs lunacy.
Did I misread...?


You mean PKK, Albayim, though current regime considers the PKK and YPG one and the same. I disagree, PKK is a pure terrorist organization with little support among the majority of Turkey Kurds, a Marksist organization in a land where communist ideology just runs against the national grain, including the Kurds and other minorities. PKK gave little wanted and symbolic help to YPG during the rescue of Kobani. Barzani is no fan of PKK either, though YPG owes him a big one for sending in a couple of battalions of Peshmerge irregulars through Turkey to help during the siege.

PKK has played an immature hand by starting an all out insurgency through out the southwest, which galvanized resistence on the nationalistic front, and most certainly made Erdogan even more ruthless and determined to wipe out the PKK in the southeast and force them on the battlefield to disarm. Army and the security forces have taken a lot of casualties in the last 8 months, it now turned into a revenge match, attritional urban warfare by all means, and a fight till death. PKK will lose, and perhaps also lose its stronghold over HDP, conciliatory political Kurdish party, which is led by charismatic and pragmatic Mehmet Demirtas, who can actually negotiate civilly for the Kurds of Turkey and their legitimate demands.

Also, regardless of fighting between the PKK and the Army within the cities, infrastructure to facilitate large numbers of troops and equipment will be little effected, but I am hoping it will not come to that. There is pure war over there, and if there is anyone who makes his decisions based upon ideology, rather than basic principals of war and conflict, its RTE. I will be open to any other nominee in this regard to consider. Even Netanyahu and Hizbullah are more practical, Putin and Lavrov leading the pragmatic pack of course.

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