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15 February 2016


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Swami Bhut Jolokia

"...this SAA force reminds me of the Africa Korps..."

Fear not, the Saudi Rommel, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman will overcome the SAA. Because Yemen.

robt willmann

TTG, sillybill,

The Tabqa dam story from the Wall Street Journal is mentioned in this article--


A person quoted in the article, Aaron Wolf, is at Oregon State University studying water resources, and his website has a link to an informative paper about the Tigris and Euphrates river basin. Written for a master's thesis in Ireland by Patrick MacQuarrie (a good Irish name), it discusses the Tabqa dam and history regarding it and Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, including the PKK--


According to the paper, the Tabqa dam created Lake Assad in Syria. It also relates a quote by Henry Kissinger that Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father, was "the type of man who would go into a poker game with a pair of twos and threes and come out scooping the pot".


Replay the Dambusters, perhaps? Then bill the Saudis for a new dam!


Ekranoplans as patrol boats. Both Russia and Iran have them so just fly them in.

Somewhat more serious the way to get patrol boats there is just truck them in because for the weight of a tank you get a seriously big boat


Another development that drew my attention is this:


"A very strange reversal of the situation: after a short Rebel intermezzo, Govt. allows SDF intervention, Feb. 15" note at Kafr Naya.

I read this as a cover-up to hush up that the govt. troops up and left the place for SDF's use. After all, there is no telling what outrage in MSM there would be should it be overtly known that US-sponsored SDF directly cooperate with Damascus.
SDF progress is coming along nicely as far as reaching the town Mare' - sometimes also called Marea - is concerned, which Mr Warren in the recent presser in Baghdad announced to be the first step on the way to Jarablus. One place which just so happens to be not far from Marea on that line to Jarablus is Dabiq, namesake of ISIL's propaganda-leaflet. The SDF manage to take that out of ISIL's hands without Allah's wrath coming down upon creation, they score a big moral win against the lot.

It's also encouraging to read that not just US-officials, but French and EU ones too called on Turkey to cease firing on SDF in the Azaz-strip. Hope his Excellency, Mr Obama, finally steps up and calls on Padişah Erdoğan to cease and desist hindering the actual fight against ISIL getting started.

Interesting times ahead, at any rate.

robt willmann

The paper I cited above -- Water Security in the Middle East, Growing Conflict Over Development in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin -- confirms that the Tabqa dam was designed by Russia, at that time the former Soviet Union. Somewhere in the archives from 45-50 years ago would be the plans for it and construction details, and some engineers, young at that time, might still be alive.



Any intelligence on the SF process supporting the Kurds? This appears from a distance to be the only effective US play against ISIS and other jihadis in Iraq & Syria.

Also the Kurdish initiatives appear to be effectively coordinated (at least strategically) with R+6, but maybe this just reflects the obvious opportunities.

The Twisted Genius


I've seen nothing about the SF in Rojava and that's exactly as it should be. It might be 10th Group teams in there since they have a history with Kurds, but that's just a guess on my part. The 10th has always been masters of the art of STFU. During one deployment from Fort Devens, the Post Commander had no idea the Group was gone until it returned.

The Twisted Genius


I think we are all getting ahead of ourselves with our thoughts on the taking of the Tabaqa Dam. The airbase and the town of Tabaqa stand in the way. Looking at the area in Google Maps, I see it could be a tough fight. The objective of cutting the Turkey-Raqqa LOC can also be accomplished by reaching the shore of Lake Assad just to the west of Tabaqa.


There's no need to " crack the nut dam " just surround it and starve them out.
"Not worth the bones of a single Pomerania guard".
To be franck, the dam is not a military objective and due to the SAA lack of manpower, (a dead soldier is always useless ) roads and crossroads a more important.
And airbase.
That's why Al Tabqah Airbase may be a HVT. Not only for airplaine but also for MI24 so far as logistical problems are solved.


I thought blowing up dams was a war crime - assuming anybody cares about international laws anymore.


Looking at Google earth, the Tabqah airbase would also be good site for artillery, Highway 4 in heavy mortar range (< 5km) and Tabqah in artillery range. Rocket systems as well as aircraft (fixed wing and rotor) could easily reach Raqqa. Terrain surrounding airbase is flat, so defense may be easy. Airstrip is near 3km long, google image shows plane revetments and Mig 21s on base as of Sept. 2014. Don't know Russian cargo plane runway needs.

But then I am not trained in any of these martial arts, so a WAG.


TTG: The operational tempo must be increasing because the whining tempo has gone full soprano. See https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/699235947938877440

And Merkel was squawking about a "no fly zone" today? The Russian "quagmire" suddenly has developed the viscosity of water.


Bill Herschel and all,

A reader over at Naked Capitalism pointed to this link found referred to within Sachs' Huffington Post article that lays out a brief history of the dodgy financial dealings between the CIA and Saudi Arabia:


Worthy of a read for the parallax that it supplies when assessing their undertakings in Syria. With this stratagem, dependence on a "black budget" for funding is overcome. Who needs oversight? There's work to be done, and they don't need meddlesome elected officials to get in the way, eh? If something goes south, or there is blowback, well, bucko, this is what{{im}}plausible deniability is for, after all.

How republics die...

Peter in Toronto

Lots of progress today by R+6.

Aleppo power plant taken after literally vaporizing the few ISIS stragglers left to defend it.

Kurds are moving to close the pocket between Turkey and ISIS in the northern Aleppo plains, but hindered by punitive Turkish artillery hurled against them in Afrin and Tal Rifat. Azaz is being pincer'd.

Mop-up operations in Latakia.



Thank you for your reply on the other tread, since it's related to Syrian war, if PL wouldn't mind, I would like to reply on this current tread.
Firstly I didn't try to downgrade or disrespect any of the fighting forces including Russian and Iranian IRGC volunteers. I said the only ranked military ground forces fighting are SAA.
That is true since Russia supposedly/ officially has no military ground force in combat in Syrian theater. Same is true for IRGC they are officially there as military advisers, the Iranian martyrs god bless them are supposedly volunteers who are defending the holly (Shia) shrines, mostly fighting with NDF or the Iraqi/ Afghani volunteer militia under Iranian/ Iraqi Shia commanders. IMO this formulation should and will make sense, since declared Iranian Shia force deployment with their own bases in Syria would have alienate and tilt a lot more benign sunnies toward KSA/IS/ALQ/ Turkey position and would have been declared as an occupation of an Arab land.
A few weeks back I wrote here that IMO in Syrian theater there are 4 states and 4 militias fighting. Out of these 4 supporting sates only one state rightfully and IMO by design, has it's armed forces on the ground, which is SAA, they belong there and they are defending their homeland. Officially the other three, Russia is supporting by air, Iran has advisory position on ground, and Iraq is only supporting by allowing air passage through it's territory to Russians and Iranians. There are 4 militias that are not any state ranked military which are Hizbollah, Kurds, Syrian NDF, and various Iraq/afghani / Iranian Shia volunteers fighting to save the holly shrine of prophet' granddaughter.
On second point this war in Western Asia, Eastern Europe, is all about trade roads and access control to Mediterranean Sea, which is the easiest, most neutral ( no passage tariff) and least expensive way to Europe and Africa, IMO it always was, even during the crusades.
FYI, today for the first time, the first chines container rail train with 40 long containers arrived in Tehran, in old days that road from China to Ray continued to Halab and then to Venice. I don't see how Chines, Iranians and Russian can accept this ancient access road passing through their territories can be at the behests of someone in DC. I thank you again for your informative contributions here on this forum.

Chris Chuba

I have been reading of regular shelling of Kurdish held territory and occasionally SAA forces by Turkish artillery from http://militarymaps.info/ including civilian casualties. I am past the point of wondering why this is not being covered by the MSM or talked about by our politicians as they basically ignored Turkish air strikes in Syria and Iraq on the Kurds.

Is there a way for the Syrians, with Russian help to accurately target the source of Turkish artillery fire?
I recall reading that during the Iraq war that we could plot the source of Iraqi artillery using radar to track its ballistic missile trajectory but I might be misstating what I read because this was over a decade ago.


Chris Chuba

counter battery radar has been around a long, long time. pl


Chris, Pat,

Using counter battery artillery against Turkish artillery would probably give Turkey the excuse it needs to invade. Russia and Syria are probably being patient and trying not to give Turkey the excuse it wants.


The Twisted Genius


You are absolutely right. Russia will not take these taunts.



I must say I am so happy that R+6 have the battlefield initiative.

Am I alone in believing the saudis/turks are the principal antagonists in this equation, and that their Syria campaign, after 5 long years, is failing?

Or, are we about to enter an even more insane phase of the saudi/turk folly in Syria, drawing in NATO?

What does the JCS think of all this madness?

A penny for your thoughts Sir...


The Syrian Army would have to be the actor using counter-battery fire. If Russia was involved, then them firing into Turkey would be cause to close the straits. Were Turkey to close the Straits, then the escalation ladder would eventually trigger nukes.

Hood Canal Gardner

FWIW: In State/DOD it still goes something like this: Amerika ne griješe.

The Twisted Genius


I'd bet the Russians are advising the Syrians to be patient and stick to the plan.


Yes i agree, in this war everybody has political limitations except the SAA which is defending home.

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