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24 May 2016


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Russian MoD did set a dead-line for tomorrow, May 25, a few days back for resumption of air ops against the unicorns' supply lines into Turkey, as per this AP-piece:


"Shoigu warned that Moscow reserves the right to unilaterally strike militants refusing to respect the cease-fire, as well as weapons and militants crossing into Syria from Turkey, starting from May 25.

Russia long has accused Turkey of serving as a conduit for weapons and supplies flowing to the Islamic State and the Nusra Front — claims which Ankara has denied."

And if we look at the insurgent side of things, Russia playing ball on the negotiatery side of things for a couple months couldn't net them too much of any capital out of that.

How much - rather, little - of a "success" Kerry earned here can also be garnered from this here piece issued by the US Embassy to Syria "to Armed Syrian Factions":


Also issued in Arabic, as it happens:


Javier G.

Russian Helicopters Reportedly Destroyed In Attack On Syrian Base


It sickens me to see that the US, Turkey and their gulf allies are so close to successfully tearing apart such a culturally rich and beautiful country. They are literally carving out terrorist safe havens.

What do people on this forum consider to be the actual goal of establishing salafist entities permanently in Syria? Excuse for military presence in the future? Neutering yet another enemy of Israel?

It's clear what they are doing, but why?



That, especially the term "strategic error" used by USEmbassySyria fits neatly into this piece of Fars News, quote:

Military Sources: Russia to Give Crushing Response to Terrorists' Ceasefire Violation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia is preparing to give a highly crushing response to the opposition and terrorist groups' warning that they would break the UN-brokered truce in Syria.

... Now military officials say that the terrorist groups' threats which means non-commitment to the ceasefire will give Russia a pretext to intensify its attacks against the militants' positions.

"Russia is now preparing for a crushing response," they add.



Whatever happens when the "rebels" abondon the CoH, they cannot complain that they haven't been warned.


Khan Touman was a tactically minor show where a green Iranian unit bunched up and got surprised by a well targeted artillery barrage from Nusra. Some three square kilometer of minor importance changed hand. The Iranians made a lot of noise about it for a moment but in the end will learn to behave better on the battlefield. It was a good and well needed lesson to them.

There was some grumbling between the allies when the Russians decided to go with the ceasefire scam. I believe that has mostly cleared up. See here:

The Russians succeeded in making the "moderate rebels"-alQaeda "intermingling" public. The State Department spokesperson had to acknowledge that several times. What will the propaganda do now when Russia targets Nusra now? Blame the State Department?

Also the U.S. promised to "deliver" its allies to the ceasefire. That has obviously not happened. The Saudis and Turks continue to stoke the fire. Lavrov will be able to use that with Kerry.

I believe that the full Russian airpower and other assets will be back in Syria quite soon.


It seems so:
(and in case it's paywalled:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi__Mm8mfPMAhUnJ8AKHU7DBPUQFggiMAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stratfor.com%2Fsample%2Fanalysis%2Fdiscerning-damage-crucial-syrian-air-base&usg=AFQjCNGSklDwV7cvbWxx0SkRZW4m4aKs_A&sig2=iLHRRVnIx-G12frJk2vBFA )

What I find "strange" is the accuracy of the hits, how/where did IS got the precise coordinates of the helos and which expertise do they have in artillery?

Javier G.

Tying to understand the rationale behind this is like the frog trying to understand the scorpion's reasons. On the micro level it is consanguineous low-IQed jihadists. On the macro level it is neoconservatism, Salafism, Islamism, et al. On the eternal/spiritual level it is the demonic.



I sure do hope you are right. I suppose we will see soon of Russia will re-enter the war in a big way. pl


This has been debunked today by Russian MOD. As per STRATFOR--how to put it politely, this is not a reliable source of information, to put it mildly. This is what Konashenkov said:


"авторство слухов об уничтожении подразделения российских боевых вертолетов и двух десятков грузовиков принадлежит пропагандистам ИГИЛ (прежнее название запрещенной в РФ группировки "Исламское государство"), которые безуспешно пытались "продать" эту якобы "новость" около десяти дней назад".

"Что касается фотоснимков сирийской авиабазы, то сожженная авиа- и автомобильная техника, а также многочисленные воронки от разрыва реактивных снарядов присутствуют там уже не первый месяц. Это результат упорных боев за данный аэродром сирийских правительственных войск и боевиков террористических формирований"

Google translate will be sufficient to convey the gist. In simpler words, STRATFOR peddles IS misinformation. But it is expected of them, especially by those who observed their "analysis" for some time.


"That Moscow and Teheran are now pursuing different objectives with regard to Syria"

Moscow and Tehran had different objectives from the get go and at some point, with growing (inevitably) Russian political clout in Syria the emergence of frictions with Tehran was inevitable. I posted on MOA next post recently, I think it is very relevant:

First. General things which are taught in any military academy of any militarily competent nation in the introductory course of military history (usually first year): Victory in a war is defined by attaining political objectives of that war. For those who suddenly lost their memory I may remind that main reason for Russia's involvement in Syria was a series of major military setbacks of Assad's troops and its allies, such as....and anyone may fill in who those allies were and are. In layman's parlance--Russia intervened when it became clear that Assad was nearing the edge. Main political objective of Russia was to prevent Assad government's collapse and everything this collapse would entail.

Second. Based on widely known knowledge (knowledge is NOT an information, two are, actually, not the same) of motives for Russia's involvement, which, as it is clear was a desperate state of Syria and her government, it seems quite funny to discuss dissatisfaction of Hizbullah's or of Iranian forces in Syria by the fact that Russia's negotiations with the US "held" their offensives which were "making a difference" when the reason those offensives were "making a difference" is precisely Russia's involvement which made a huge difference for those "offensives" in the first place. Those "offensives", evidently, WERE NOT making a difference prior to Russia's involvement, because Syria and her forces were, in fact, in a desperate state.

Third. Whatever local commentators write here about Hizbullah, Iran etc. One constant which lacks in their analysis is the factor of scale and force multipliers. It was, and still is, Russia's Air-Space Forces and an operational tempo of its assets, which, accidentally, stunned Pentagon (Google, Google, dive, dive) which made all this difference by completely changing the dynamics of the conflict and ensuring the survival of Assad's government as a foundation for future developments. See "First", for Russia's main political objective of the war. Military scale--is one thing, but then comes the Big Power Politics which is, as any power politics, cynical and sees a diplomacy, to paraphrase Clausewitz, as continuation of the war by other means. Russia is paying for the music, so Russia is dancing, so to speak, a girl. Whether local "specialists" (all of them, I assume with really close ties to Main Operational Directorate (GOU) and GRU of Russian General Staff, or Vladimir Putin himself) in operations like it or not, Russia has a much larger game to play, in which Syria, while very important, is just a small piece of the colossal global puzzle, where even Iran is not even the first tier player politically, let alone militarily.

Fourth. Russian Armed Forces, Intelligence Services, all other assets which are currently making a decisive strategic difference have loyalty first and foremost to peoples, majority of them ethnic Russians, of Russia. They, those people, their welfare and security are their foremost responsibility. Syria, being Soviet and Russia's ally for many decades is one of those cases where Russian people and their state, that is Russian Federation, are ready to bear the costs of defending it. How it was and will be done was already shown to a devastating effect but, as I already stated, Russian military professionals need Syrian Armed Forces battle of order to be configured to Russia's extremely high standards, not to somebody else'.

Fifth. Per problems with Arab militaries with combined arms warfare--it is a separate and a very large issue. With Russia's military involvement comes the enormous political clout in Syria. This IS bound and is already creating frictions within, as Colonel Lang puts it R+6. Guess what R stands for and why it is a separate letter. What Russia's vision for the future of Syria? Who knows. I can only speculate, but what do I know.

different clue

I have to wonder what the RussiaGov thinks a political settlement will settle. Any such settlement will establish permanent jihadi emirates, including ISIStan, in large parts of Syria; including along the Euphrates River able to cut off some of the water flow to Shia Iraq. These Jihadistans will of course train Muslims from Russian Federation and China to go back to those countries for violent activities. Wahhabi Arabia will of course use these places to plan terror attacks all over the world (if they feel confident they can keep their fingerprints off it better than they have kept their fingerprints off 9/11, apparently).

Does the RussiaGov think the DC FedRegime, the Borg and the Global Axis of Jihad will be content to see a smaller Syrian Arab Republic survive in Western Coastal Syria? If Clinton gets elected President, she will resume the push for massive aid to the Jihadistans for a final conquest of remaining Syria. Does the RussiaGov not expect that would happen?

matt b

Sorry for posting on a tangential matter, but I think most people here would be interested in reading this new academic article in International Security on NATO expansion and US broken promises to Gorbachev.


The article draws on the James Baker (and other) archives to show that US leaders offered multiple assurances on NATO expansion to the Soviets, and that US officials simultaneously were planning for a US power-projection in Europe via NATO. As a result, the author says that the Russian interpretation of the Cold War settlement is largely correct, and that recent Russian foreign policy actions have to be reinterpreted along defensive realist lines.

Academics often (rightly) get a hard rap on this site, but this article is an example of real, critical scholarship that goes against the grain of BORGIST thinking.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree with the following:


Russia cannot win without infantry supplied by Iran and her allies.

I read an unattributed commentary online in Persian in which the writer was adamantly reminding the reader of the criticality of the infantry troops by Iran and her allies to the survival of SAR.

I also read commentary in Persian complaining about the US-Russia ceasefire deals.

I think Iranians are unhappy and they are reminding Russia and SAR that they (Russia & SAR) cannot fly with a single wing.

I think in practice that means that Iran will continue the war in Syria with or without Russia.



I never use STRATFOR as a source. p

Seamus Padraig

Among other things, they want to build pipelines up from KSA and Qatar through Syria and into Turkey. They are looking to ween Europe off of Russian oil/natgas, so they need more from the middle east.


Russia's surprise reduction in force, at a moment when all seemed to be collapsing before the R+6 onslaught, is beginning to look hasty. Did they think they had broken the back of the problem and, wrongly, assessed that the +6 could finish the job with minimal additional support? As b suggest should we now expect a more hands-on approach with a return to close to their previous level of commitment at least until the train is securely back on the tracks? I found the force reduction's timing strange as I had not expected any draw-down until a lot more of the 'pockets' had been cleared and main IS supply lines in the N & W broken or at least made very dangerous.


"A recent Reuters report reveals how Russia allowed—and even encouraged—militants and radicals from the North Caucasus to go and fight in Syria in 2013, in an effort to divert them away from potential domestic terrorist attacks ahead of the February 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics"

I pretty much stopped reading after that. Reuters and Brookings in the same sentence should be a red flag. As per infantry: it is Syrian's Army fight, first and foremost. There are factions in it, with some in military and intelligence brass gravitating towards Iran. And while Iran's and Hizballah's role in Syria is significant this role is entirely dependent on how Russia and Syrian Armed Forces go about business. Again, I need to underscore the self-evident fact: Russia's involvement happened because of a desperate state of Syria, which already had Iran and Hizballah fighting there. For some--it is chicken and egg problem, for others a clear strategic and operational reality. Iran cannot air drop in Syria Pskov and Ivanovo Divisions, Russia can and it is not going to be "another Afghanistan" or whatever beaten to death cliche many "analysts" will use. Will Russia do it? We'll see but it is a definite possibility.


"I never use STRATFOR as a source. p"

Colonel, it is STRATFOR which should be begging people of your caliber to go and work for them and use you as a source. But then again, integrity and competence is not their motto, I guess. So, no real professionals for them. We all are happy that you are doing what you are doing on your own.


some statistics:
"Russia killed 28,000 militants in Syria, third of all ISIS forces – Russian deputy security chief"


My guess is that since the Izzies have said they want failed states on their borders, the NCA is glad to help. I read the "failed states" comment on the web, which attributed the statement to an Israeli military source. The Gulfies would be overjoyed to have such an outcome, since their armies are worthless, and Uncle Sugar dances to their tune.



So Kerry's diplomacy gives "one or more salafi emirates ..." Whose side is he on?

The Beaver


Dr Brenner wrote a good one on STRATFOR back in 2012:



"Did they think they had broken the back of the problem and, wrongly, assessed that the +6 could finish the job with minimal additional support?"

Maybe it was a move by a prominent player at the Global Gametable to enforce an attitude adjustment on its allies about the real ways of the world (see Smoothie's remarks on who can and can't airdrop a couple of combat divisions onto the field).

Also, tomorrow is the day to allow them to get back into the action, the State Dept told the unicorns it recommends it pull its cranium from its colon, while this weekend starts the summer holiday season here in the US when most of the Borganism will be on the beach.

Interesting times ahead?


Living in a world of Plan B's. There are a few areas the US and Russia find common interest now and in private before the end of the Obama administration and the uncertainty that entails.

First, a willingness to negotiate a political solution in Syria that prevents a massacre of minorities, protects coastal areas important to Russia in exchange for Kurdish semi-autonomy and a general reduction of foreign extremists in the east of Syria/West of Iraq with minimum ground troop presence but coordinated air attacks. Assad may not be a part of that equation, but a political equation it will be short of decisive military victory by any party.

Second coordinated negotiated solutions before Obama's term is up and perhaps before Russian elections that would resolve Ukraine in some manner, ease sanctions on Russia and solidify the eastern boundaries of NATO/Russia.

Third that there might be some benefit in a coordinated/synchronized action - in time, not space- against IS in Fallujah by Iraq army, by US/Kurds/Tribes against Raqqa, and Syrian government in Aleppo on the theory that IS can't be in all places at once.

Fourth the geographic containment of Sunni extremism below Russia's southern border, cooperation in Afghanistan, containment in Libya and eastern Syria.

Six the general agreement to fight blatant terrorist attacks against the US, Europe or Russian spheres by IS or al Qaeda wherever it is located.

These are achievable, shared Plan B objectives for Russia and the US in a period of conflict by attrition whereby Plan A's went out the window.

Food for thought.


BM: Iran is a huge country. I'm surprised they can't field 30,000 troops to defeat ISIS, even if the Iranians serve as "volunteers" for the SAA.

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