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05 March 2016


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Indeed, Colonel, let us hope that it is so. I find in general that maps are very generous to the Kurds. That may be why ISW suggest that future operations may be further to the west, ignoring the Kurdish enclave in Northern Aleppo, which is so close to the government lines further north.


Colonel, TTG,

It seems that President Putin has suspended the transfer of the S300 defense systems to Iran. Iran has promised Russia it wouldn't transfer specified armaments to the Hizbollah, however it appears that Iran tried to do a hide and sneak with the Russians and got caught with their pants down. It appears that the Russians (thanks to Mossad, and Russian AF and Intel) had the hard evidence that Iran broke its promise to Russia and transferred SA22s to the Hizbollah. Russian AF assets were able to obtain SIGINT of EXACTLY where the Hizbollah has hidden them down to the micrometer.

Looks like a DUH moment for Tehran.

Ghost ship

I think the important peace discussions are taking place at the Khmeimim air base in Syria - Geneva has probably become irrelevant.
"Kuralenko also said that Russian representatives have held 23 meeting with opposition forces since opening the Russian Reconciliation Center at the Khmeimim air base last week.
Meanwhile a number of Syrian opposition factions proposed that a group be created to work on a draft constitution during a Saturday meeting held at the base. The meeting included members of the movement For Democratic Syria, leader of the National Conference and religious leaders from various groups, according to TASS news agency.
Participants of the meeting agreed that according to a new constitution Syria should be a sovereign and secular state."
And the jihadists have turned on the moderates who have signed up for the ceasefire and Russia is trying to protect them.
A number of Syrian opposition groups are seeking Russian protection from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists who are on the hunt for those who signed the ceasefire deal, according to the Russian military.


Ghost Ship et al
I will say again that you must win on the battlefield before the negotiating position has meaning. If the French had not lost at DBP the outcome at Geneva would have been different. The hope for that is why Cogny was ordered by Paris to roll the dice at DBP. pl


Do you have any link to this story?


Can't help but wonder how many civilian hostages ISIS has within that circle.
Does anyone have an estimate?


DBP=Dien Bien Phu, I suppose.



That would a very important development if true but I've got severe difficulties believing a story that, as far as I can tell, was published in one single solitary Kuwaiti newspaper (Al Jarida) that subsequently got picked up by the Jerusalem Post and then Reddit. You'd think that by now other newspapers would have got wind of it.

Unless it's suddenly dramatically changed Al Jarida is like every other gulfie newspaper and I see no evidence that it has changed.

The purpose of Kuwaiti, Qatari, and above all Saudi media is to act as propaganda organs for factions within their governments first and foremost with being kite fliers as an important secondary function and providing reliable and accurate news coming very far down on the list of things a newspaper is meant to do.


Martin Chulov, a journo for the Guardian and not Assad friendly, has been to "rebel" held Aleppo city some 10 times.

Last spring he estimated 40,000 civilians being left in there.


I regard that as the most accurate number we have.

The government held parts of Aleppo city house about 2,000,000+ people.




JPost "claims" it but if you do a simple google search, you will see it's a claim that's been floating around since 2013, and Bibi has claimed that Hezboallah already has them.






You had never heard of the battle of Dien Bien Phu? pl


Thank you for the J Post link, by their account Iran already have the A bomb since 1990s, IMO they are not the best source for Iran issues.


Colonel, if you think this is unrelated to current topic please feel free not to post.

“Turkish opposition newspaper turns pro-government after state takeover”

Many times governments including Iran’ have closed various newspapers, but overnight to turn them a pro-government is new and only Erdo’ can do it. IMO Turkey is edging to become a corrupt party dictatorship, like old Mexican PRI party.

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

I have a comment and a question. Dien Bien Phu was an intelligence failure, as in "Where did all those howitzers come from?". Do you think that, had the French established an impregnable bastion at Dien Bien Phu, the end result of the war would have been different?

I kept track of the battle daily in the Philadelphia Inquirer and recall a nurse, the "angel of Dien Bien Phu" and strong points named after (no doubt) lovey French girls.




The French government of the day forced the command in Indochina to seek a decisive battle that would affect the outcome of negotiations with the Vietminh. General Cogny the commander in Tonkin told Arnaud de Borchgrave on the day of Operation Castor (the airborne seizure of the Valley of the Nam Dong River (DBP)) that he had been forced into this battle on terms that he knew would cause his defeat. De Borchgrave told me that himself. The French command knew how many troops the Vietminh had. They knew how they were organized. They knew how many artillery pieces they had. They knew the positions of the major formations. In spite of that the overall commander in Saigon (Navarre) ordered Cogny to carry out this operation. The model he evidently had in mind was the successful defense of a fortified airhead at Na San the previous year. The Vietminh had failed to capture Na San and had lost a great many men. The big difference between the Na San and DBP battles was that Na San was much closer to the delta of the Red River. The French held that area more or less securely and their airfields were there. Air power flying off those airfields as well as carrier aviation from ships in the Gulf of Tonkin made French success at Na San possible even though the place was isolated like DBP. DBP was farther away and the airpower needed to hold the place could not be maintained at those ranges. The French command believed that it would be impossible for the Vietminh to move the mass of artillery they possessed across the great distances and roadless jungled mountains involved from their known positions to DBP. In the event the Vietminh built camouflaged roads across the mountains to reach the battlefield with their artillery. I guess you can call this error in judgment on the part of Navarre and his staff an "intelligence failure." I prefer to call it an error in command judgment. pl


Re: Aleppo seizure

I am fine with keeping the bottleneck to east Aleppo city open for now. The Kurds can harass it all they want to keep the Jihadis there busy. No one will criticizes them for doing so. But would the Syrian army close it a lot of the interventionist would cry out loud and launch a new campaign about "besieged Aleppo". The Russians would also receive new criticism.

Right now the Syrian army and the Russians are preparing for major campaigns. That is a lot of work and needs its time. The Russian ship transports through the Isthmus are said to have doubled. A lot of new tanks, trucks and artillery are arriving. This summer the Russian aircraft carrier will be near the Syrian coast. More planes will come.

Why bother with Aleppo now? Cease-fire talks are far off and even if successful would not solve any problem with the Jihadists.



I obviously agree with almost all of that. IMO the Kurds in the Aleppo gateway pocket and the SAA people across the way in the industrial area would not need much reinforcement to do the job and the propaganda value of the "fall of Aleppo" would be lovely. pl

Babak Makkinejad

That type of wishful thinking seems to have been rather common; in the defense of Singapore, in the faith in Maginot line, etc. - always dismissing the enemy's ability or willingness to attempt the unthinkable.

It reminds me of my school experience: "That won't be on the exam, don't worry about it." followed by "that" item being on the exam, nevertheless.


Sir; I am wondering if a better use of the Aleppo Pocket would be as a drain on Jihadi manpower. The propaganda value would be high, especially inside Syria I would surmise, but shouldn't the degradation of IS capabilities take precedence? To the East, IS could have a chance as a plain old guerrilla force. Airpower isn't going to get everyone. However, being pinned in a defensive position in Aleppo almost guarantees destruction.
As far as the Kurds are concerned, their long running battle with the Turks is legendary. However, what about the Kurds and Iran? There are lots of Kurds in Iran I've read, and the Iranians have had their own 'problems' with them. (Non assimilation problems?) What have the Iranians said, if anything, about their views on the idea of a de facto Kurdistan?
Thank you for an excellent site.


40,000 civilians...I wonder how many have Stockholm syndrome or real sympathies. I recently saw something on tv about a large shipment of "IS uniforms" being confiscated, since when do these jihadis have uniforms? How would an invading force be able to
identify the sheep from the wolves or would this just be a massive



Seal the pocket off and negotiate from that position of strength. "Sotckholm Syndrome?" You are fantasizing. p


Genevieve de Gallard;
I have met her long time ago and even if she was a non-commissioned officer, all generals were calling her " Madame".


Looking at the map seems that a lot of " moderate rebels " north of Hama have joined the truce. Could help SAA to move faster to Idlib ?
Seems also that the SAA is preparing a large military operation to liberate Al Tabqua.
Any information about that ?


If I was the Israelis I would be a whole lot more worried about the T-90 tanks that have already been seen in Hezbollah's possession:


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