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08 May 2016

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Kooshy

IMO, with this new inland military base, Russians and their political and military allies including China, Iran, are telling the world we are not giving up Syria, and the access to eastern Mediterranean Sea, they are preparing not to allow a Sunni desert buffer state between SCO and the Mediterranean access. Today again Iran' SL foreign adviser (Velaiati) after his return from Lebanon and Syria said, our red line is Assad.

b

Some Syrian gov followers are miffed that Russia isn't currently doing much against the ceasefire breakers but continues to work with Kerry on some deal. They think Russia has lost the plot.

But the whole show around Palmyra in recent weeks and the base there tell me that Russia is far from leaving the scene and will respond forcefully should it see a need to do so. It may well be preparing some bigger onslaught on the al-Qaeda affiliates right now.

The public showing of the Pansyr in Palmyra is part of a message to the U.S. - stop having stupid ideas ...

Babak Makkinejad

I think all of this and more could have been avoided if Bush II had seized the political cover that the disclosure of US National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 had furnished him.

He could have negotiated something like JCOPA - based on Gareth Evans ideas - before the end of his term.

Imagine SAR being intact, no ISIS, no EU-led economic war against Iran with its negative consequences, and no refugees running to EU and destabilizing her.

In my opinion, that constituted a truly colossal opportunity loss for the entire international system; it led to what we see today, a pernicious and deepening multi-religious war inside and outside of the Near East.

SmoothieX12

"Some Syrian gov followers are miffed that Russia isn't currently doing much against the ceasefire breakers but continues to work with Kerry on some deal. They think Russia has lost the plot"

There are serious indications of, at least some, in Syrian top military brass wanting Russia to do most of heavy lifting. Russia, obviously, is aware of that and is not going (and she didn't) to tolerate this. As per plot--obviously, some grand deal (or attempts at it) negotiations are in progress between Russia and USA. We may only speculate on the scale and content of it but it is larger than Syria's issue alone, in fact, much larger.

BraveNewWorld

I am stuck wondering why Palmyra? Of all the places in Syria that you could stick a base why there? It is almost as far from ar-Raqqa as their existing base. There are far better airbases available for them to pick from. There is a new airbase every 5 feet in Syria.

If it is about controlling the the eastern part of Syria wouldn't something closer to Dier Ez-zur make more sense? Pansyr is a short range system only suitable for protecting the base and the city, so it isn't about access denial. At least not yet. Move some S-400s there and it is a different story. Russia has been moving strike jets out and helicopters in so long distances are more of an issue. The supply lines are long relatively speaking as well.

About the only two things I can see it having going for it is that after the existing base it is probably the safest place in all of Syria and it is close to the oil/gas fields in the region. But there are are already SAA ground forces covering much of that area and once you take care of Daesh there isn't much to protect the fields from. Are they expecting an attack from Jordan/Israel? Worried about some thing coming across the desert from Iraq?

Even from a PR standpoint I don't think it a great move. So I hope that some one here can point out what I am missing.

BraveNewWorld

"Assad had to be gone by June or else" isn't negotiating that is a threat.

SmoothieX12

It is a demand, however detached from the military-political reality, not a threat.

Serge

It is easy from a cursory look at maps/demography to dismiss the empty desert surround Palmyra as just that, but a closer look reveals the innumerable mountains hamlets etc. IMO your talk of dEz is hitching the cart before the horse, it is precisely because of the tenacious control that jihadi elements continue to have over the entire desert regions/mountain that Russia has set up this base. As has been seen in last weeks attacks from Qaryatain to the gas fields, this is something that must be dealt with before any further moves can be made.

Fred

BNW,

Symbols are important and that's what Palmyra is to both sides in this conflict.

ISL

There is a whole lot of empty desert around Palmyra for a long way. I agree its strange. And if the goal was to eventually put in a S400, why not choose a base closer to Damascus or closer to ISIS Raqqa logistical lines to Iraq (or to Turkey)?

Short term, there is to protect the photo op:

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/putin-deploys-orchestra-to-perform-in-palmyra-amphitheater-where-isil-staged-mass-beheadings

kooshy

Maybe is for air support on planed operation for Qaim and Iraqi side' push, without being surrendered and under gun by enemy like Dier Ez-zur is.

Babak Makkinejad

Might be for the purpose of area denial to anyone else; US GB, YPG, Jordanians, who knows.

They are also basically saying that they - the Russian Federation - is there in Syria to stay so "everyone else, don't get no funny notions about us leaving the job unfinished..."

It also introduces an element of uncertainty into the political and military calculations of the other sides (there are many sides in this war).

Lastly, Russia is sending a message of assurance to the leaders of SAR as well as its population - they are here, they will fight to the finish against Jihadists...

I am guessing...

PeterReichard

It looks like a forward base to provide air cover for a major push into eastern Syria. Let's hope it comes soon and is decisive.

Peter

The SAA is having trouble holding on to the gas fields currently so your assumption that there isn't much to protect them from is wrong. The base is probably necessary to achieve that level of security that you described, which they don't have at the moment. Also, we haven't seen the forceful push towards Deir Ezzor that we would expect, and that is probably do to a host of obstacles presented by IS. The base would certainly help with that operation.

robt willmann

Yes! Now, east northeast to the Iraq border and then south below that long line. Or, a little south first, then east to the Iraq border, and after that, push north a little to clear the area around Deir ez Zor. No need to worry about Raqqa right now. Get a grip on the large area to the Iraq border beginning at Jordan, plus the oil fields there.


Medicine Man

That may be the entire point:

http://www.euronews.com/2016/05/05/playing-for-palmyra-russia-holds-a-concert-in-the-ruins/

Medicine Man

I find it interesting that the Russian government has also offered to help fight the Fort McMurray wildfires in my country. Our government is apparently reviewing the offer.

alba etie

Fred
Palmyra is a UN World Heritage for our collective civilizations yes ?
Its President Putin stating we are standing up for Our Side - all of us .

Tyler

Somewhat OT but I'm amazed at some of the personalities that circled around the Libyan Bombing of 1986. Edwin Wilson, Billy Waugh (the man fought in Afghanistan ffs!) and Ted Shackley. Amazing we don't learn more about this sort of thing.

different clue

SmoothieX12,

I think part of the "much larger" is that Russia wants to stamp out the very concept of color revolutions, flower revolutions, Arab Spring revolutions, or any other Regime Change revolutions; and Russia considers Syria a proof-of-concept battlefield for how to stamp such a revolution out. And stamp it out so totally that the DC Borg FedRegime and its Global Axis of Jihad gives up on the whole concept for now.
Another "much larger" flowing from stamping out the whatever revolution in Syria is making sure no destabilization reaches back from Syria into Russia.
I would think that Russia considers the two together to be so important that Russia would rather see Jihadi Syria totally liberated by the SAR sooner, than to see more Jihadis killed later.
Especially because there is the threat of Clinton becoming President and re-ramping up the Jihad all over again with fresh new rounds of support. I suppose in a perfect world Russia and China would want to see ISIS kept alive in a desert enclave for as many years as it takes for every jihadi-wannabe in the whole wide world to go to ISIStan and get killed there. But the world isn't perfect and Russia wants to see the problem solved sooner. I think Russia will give the SAR/SAA credit for all the heavy lifting it has done so far, along with its Iranian/Hezbollah/Kurdish partners.

different clue

BraveNewWorld,

I agree with other commenters who see Palmyra as being very important for one reason or another. For one thing, Palmyra is very close to everything "by air". But since ISIS doesn't have that kind of air, ISIS is still very far from Palmyra in "by air" terms. (Granted, that is a civilian opinion).

Also, the R + 6 want to solve the Alphabet Jihadi problem and the so-called Moderate Opposition problem first. If they can get that solved first, then they can focus on ISIS all in good time. ( " We'll get to you, Good Buddy.")

So I have no kibbitzy comments to offer to any R + 6 "state of public opinion" intelligence watchers who might be reading this thread as to why Palmyra made no sense at this time.

Michele Morini

Anyway situation on the battlefield looks jam, the appearing of a new game changer rebalanced the powers on the ground, the MANPADS in the rebel's hands are getting a dangerous and deadly new asset on the side of islamist groups.
On the horizont even we have the fabricating of a casus belli on turkish side in Killis that is almost ready to boost the "plan B" of Turkey (and NATO backers)

Michele Morini

exactly in these recent days there have been strong offensive from IS on Palmyra zone and gas oilfields around it that seems a able to cut off the russian/syrian spearhead toward DeZ. It sounds like a zone difficult to keep.... this could be the reason of upgrading defenses

Ghost ship

RT.COM is now reporting that Russian Defence Ministry is stating that the claims about a new permanent base in Palmyra are untrue. There is a secure temporary base for the Russian de-miners clearing up after ISIS but that is all.
https://www.rt.com/news/343356-military-base-palmyra-ap/

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