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07 June 2016

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BrotherJoe

How would an implied Russian threat to arm Turkish Kurds affect the situation. Would it cause Erdogan to back off ?

Barish

"These men have been used in capturing Khan Touman SW of the city and in driving the YPG Kurds out of the part of the city that they held"

As far as I understand it, the jihadis and their unicorn auxiliaries merely succeeded in driving YPG out of a youth housing complex directly south of the Castello road, which allowed effective firing control over what passed through there.

As for lessons the Russians learned, given Lavrov's pledge to up support of SAA around Aleppo, one can assume they did.
One could also consider this: the unicorns have thrown quite a few forces here at Aleppo - Jaish al Fatah, usually assigned to the Idlib province, premier among them - all gathered in one place...is it beyond scope to assume this force's back can be broken, and if such happens, what can we expect to see then?

Fredw

"The US supported jihadis associated with Nusra (several groups) merely "pocketed" the truce as an opportunity to re-fit, re-supply and re-position forces."

Not clear to me what the complaint is. Isn't that what everybody does during truces? You never know when the fighting might start up again.

It does puzzle me what the Russians expected. They were quite supportive of the truce at the beginning, so they had something mind. But I doubt they expected anything different from the rebels. Their hopes must have been for our reaction. I don't see how we've double crossed them, but we haven't given them anything either.

turcopolier

fredW

"Not clear to me what the complaint is" That is because you are pro jihadi. pl

Ghost ship

That worked out well for the non-IS jihadis since it weakened the non-IS jihadi forces in northern Aleppo Governorate so much that IS was able to capture most of the territory the non-IS jihadi forces occupied around Azaz and Mareah.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/southfront-isis-regroups-final-push-capture-azaz-pocket/
Perhaps that was the intention of the Turkish government.

Brunswick

As part of the Cessesation, the US was supposed to either:

- get their pet jihadi's to stop aiding and abetting alQuida, withdraw from shared spaces with al-Quida, provide the locations of those spaces to the US and the R+6, and either join the Cessation, or join in operations against alQuida,

- or, failing this, the US was supposed to allow the addition of these pet jihadigroups to the terrorist lists.

The US has done neither.

mbrenner

As the conflict(s) continue to elaborate themselves, prospects for a resolution - of any sort - fade. Our modern bias is to believe that every problem situation allows for, and leads to a resolution - in the foreseeable future. The lethality of our weaponry points to that conclusion. History tells us otherwise, though. Conflicts that lasted for decades, with attendant destruction and disruption, occurred quite frequently. Think of the 30 years war in Germany in the 17th century. Or the wars between the Moghul Empire and the Marathas (17 - 18 centuries). Probably, there is a Middle Eastern counterpart.

In the case of Syria/Iraq, the likelihood of irresolution is increased by the incongruous fact that the parties who have the means to potentially force a resolution will not employ them - because their stakes are not high and out of fear that employment could lead to a wider conflict. That applies to the US, Russia,Turkey and Israel. The ideological element is another complicating factor.

It would take the combined talents of a Talleyrand and a Bismarck to find a way out of this imbroglio. Putin seems to be looking for such a pis aller. Obama? Our guy has told us that his overriding goal before he rides off into the sunset is to prevent "any really bad shit from happening."

turcopolier

mbrenner

Our meddling prolongs the pain. Afghanistan is a prime example. As I told someone else here this could easily go on for another ten years in Syria. IMO the thing we should worry about is a Hillary tantrum leading to war with Russia. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think there is a way out, both in Syria and in Ukraine; namely informal partition into spheres of influence.

That worked between USSR and US, no reason that it cannot be replicated.

I speculate that in due course that would come to pass but not before a lot more damage is inflicted in Syria and in Ukraine.

If I be correct, this would be analogous to JCOPA cease-fire deal of 2015 which enshrined a deal that had been on the table since 2006.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree but it also has the effect of damaging any potentially productive relationship between US and the Shia Crescent - or in Ukraine - between Russia and the West.

For the Russians, their dream of "Common European Home" is now dead and buried - to their deep regret, I think.

Babak Makkinejad

For countries, going back on one's word, or this type of trickery, is only useful if they could win and prevail. Then no one would be able to take them to task or to retaliate.

But if they cannot prevail, then their word has been established to be worthless and they can no longer get action from others - the usual story of "Crying Wolfe" comes to mind.

Specially for superpower like US, if the words of her leaders over such trifles is not trustworthy, then where and how on could trust them on larger issues?

By the way, a Roman Consul tricked the Parthians once using the ruse of a Peace Ceremony and succeeded in killing many of them. The Parthian King survived to fight another day and the war continued.

Ishmael Zechariah

Peace,

"One could also consider this: the unicorns have thrown quite a few forces here at Aleppo - Jaish al Fatah, usually assigned to the Idlib province, premier among them - all gathered in one place."

All in one place? What a dream for TAC planners. No need to waste KABs.
Ishmael Zechariah
p.s: Ghost ship,
re: "Perhaps that was the intention of the Turkish government",
The turkish regime has its head too high up its own GI tract to have intentions which matter. I really, really! wonder who is running this show.

Barish

I think rather than Turkish MiT-handlers favoring ISIL to whatever ragtag "moderates" assembled there, they might simply have been less than impressed with results of the latter against the former - a course of action they'd never have pursued had they not been forced into it in the Azaz-corner after the siege on Nubbl and az-Zahra was lifted by SAA.

Azaz had effectively become useless following that, and re-purposing that territory as a springboard for the "moderates'" very own campaign of conquest against ISIL hasn't worked either, so no wonder they pulled what insurgents they can from there.

MiT, and by extension Tayyip appear far more interested in throwing the dice in Halab. May they fail in that endeavor, too.

Exordium_Antipodean

The Russian sponsored truce was perhaps first a diplomatic offensive which then pivoted to a PR one. What do I mean?

In his Charlie Rose interview, Putin laid down the rationale for the Federation's intervention: Assad is the source of stability, therefore he must be supported. In order to avoid, 'day after' problems - ie a Syrian quagmire - Russia was clear a final solution to the conflict must be diplomatic. They were envisaging a compromise where the essential institutional power structure was preserved but reformed against political excesses.

Such a settlement is unacceptable to the NATO/GCC/Zionist Empire. Their objectives were never humanitarian, but geopolitical. Putin knew this. So why did he switch to a diplomatic tack when he knew it was destined to fail? Well, Russia was suffering in Western media for bombing 'moderate' head choppers. In 4th gen warfare, as even Israel found out, the World Court of Public Opinion matters. The liberal ideology that pervades most of the West requires solicitude for this vague abstraction known as 'humanity' wherever it may be found. In the old days we used to believe God became man and left 'the other' to his mercy. But now we're convinced man has become god. As Spengler noted, the West's Prime Symbol is Infinity. We get all het up when someone is attacking someone thousands of miles away from us, for they are a constituent part of 'god'. (How else do you explain our religious devotion to the R2P sacrament?). So Russia has to expose the lying media and Western politicians as the aggressor against humanity. Now Lavrov has his justification in the form of a US omission to act. Have attained the PR highground, R+6 return to the military theatre.

Southamerican hybrid

This Hillary scenario is very worrying. Can it escalate to a nuclear exchange? A couple of Russian blogs (The saker, Cluborlov) seem to think Russia is preparing for an attack.. http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/a-russian-warning.html

apol

In reply to Babak Makkinejad.
Respectfully.I think this tactical retreat of President Putin's has enabled him to inform continental Europeans who the real enemy is.
Erdogan's new role as dictator, which emerged forcefully during the 'intermission', will have shown up the media 'Putin bashing' for the hollow tripe it is.
All those German and Swedish women who no longer feel safe outside at night..how many are dreaming of St Vladimir coming to their rescue?
In parallel with Erdogan's blackmailing over refugees the credability of Angela Merkel has declined sharply to reveal her true nature as a NWO puppet. This a big plus for Russia.
Europe is the 'prize' for Russia.
Is Europe being prized away from the post WW2 US domination?
Rising european nationalism surely points to that.
No doubt this is occupying minds at Bilderberg this week.
Gladio anybody?

Chris Chuba

1. Thanks for the explanation regarding the Midnight Express run that the Turks pulled about the relocation of the Jihadis I was genuinely puzzled as to how the Azaz area suddenly collapsed and ISIS gained so much ground there. Now it makes sense.

2. Even if the SAA can't take Raqqa right away, just taking Tabaqa military airport, along with the SDF (Kurds in garnish) taking Manbij will finally cut off most of ISIS from Turkey (as was mentioned before on SST); finally. It won't end ISIS but that will have to hurt them quite a bit. A sign of whether ISIS considers this important will be to see how they react to it. Will they stop attacking Deir Ezzor and send reinforcements to reopen the route?

I also wonder if the MSM will suddenly start giving us sob stories about the suffering of civilians being starved by the brutal Assad regime in Raqqa.

3. If Kerry was intentionally stalling Lavrov just to buy time to rearm all of the rebels to make it harder for the Russians then I don't even know what to think. I suppose I would be able to admire his skill but not his work. From what I have read, it looks like Lavrov actually thought he developed a rapport with Kerry but what do I know? (nothing really, just going by some Lavrov interviews that I read)

https://southfront.org/lavrov-ukraine-usa-qa/
"Lavrov: You know, I have spoken to him [Kerry] many times on the very same topic, when we have discussed Syria. It is very pleasant to communicate with him. Since January, we have spoken on the phone more than 30 times, and we have had four personal meetings ...
And when we discuss these matters with Kerry, I say “John, okay, why are you hurting yourself again?” He told me. In 2003, Iraq, I was a Senator and I voted against. I told him “excellent”. Obama was also against. Wonderful. What about Libya? – Yes, Iraq was a mistake.
...
They say that this was a mistake but it’s in the past. This is their logic. So let’s get busy with what we want now. But we also want to get busy in Syria. However, the method must be worked out by learning at least a little bit from the lessons learned from past experience."

Lavrov's tone in the article appears that he believes that he can almost mentor Kerry because he perceives him as reasonable but misguided. No good deed goes unpunished.

The Twisted Genius

The YPG/SDF offensive towards Mabij seems to be progressing rapidly. Kurds are at or in the outer limits of the city on three sides. The road between Jarabulus and Manbij has been cut as has the road south to Raqqa. There are some reports of IS forces fleeing Manbij to the west. These are unconfirmed and doesn't make a lot of sense in light of other reports of other IS forces leaving the siege of Azaz to reinforce Manbij. Perhaps the Afrin YPG may take this opportunity to push to the east.

I get the impression that the build up and much heralded attack on Raqqa was a deception operation to cover the river crossing operation at Qara Qawzak. Pretty damned slick. It also looks like the Kurds have been invited to the next round of peace talks (whenever that happens).

BraveNewWorld

As some one who is neither Russian or American let me say you can shove your spheres of influence right up your ...

Daniel Nicolas

I could see a Trump Presidency negotiating a win-win-win deal:

USA coordinates with Russia and Syria to end the conflict in Syria, utterly defeat IS, and agree to a new anti-terrorism coordination treat, to be joined by any others in the UN.

- Terrorists in Syria are defeated.
- IS is defeated, Iraq free of this brand of terrorism for now.
- Syrian/Iraq Refugees are able to return home in peace to rebuild their country.
- Syria re/opens rebuilding & stabilization contracts up for US company bids. |


- Once the country is stabilized, Assad agrees to hand power to new Interim President - General Hassan - for 2 years, with the acknowledgement that Hassan will pardon Assad for any potential wrongdoing made necessary to hold the country together to survive the war. FDR sent Japanese Americans to internment camps, and Americans still re-elected him 3 times. Assad can live out the rest of his days despite his harsh rule.

- New open elections scheduled for fall of 2018 to allow for the rebuilding of the country and return of Syrian refugees worldwide to Syria.

- USA ends economic sanctions with Russia, Syria, Russia agrees to new anti-terrorism treaty.

And so on. President Trump gets a huge plate of foreign policy wins on his record in the first year.

"The Bear and Eagle Join Forces to Defeat Global Terror."
"Trump Brings Peace - Syrian Civil War Over."
"Trump Sends Refugees Home Safe."
"Can't Stump Trump - IS Defeated in last holdout City"
"Russian Bear Tamed by Trump Administration - new anti-terrorism treaty with Russia signals new era of peace and prosperity for both nations"
"Trump Towers Over Damascus, Interim Syrian president installed. Congress Approves New Treaty."

and so on.

Perhaps I am far too optimistic, and a swift end to the madness of the current foreign policy is nowhere in sight no matter the new President.

Ghost ship

I've seen it suggested elsewhere that the Turkish believe they've been hustled by some in the Washington borg. Their theory is that the Washington borg want IS to take control of the whole of northern Aleppo Governorate and eliminate the non-IS jihadis so then the YPG/SDF can with American air support capture it all from IS while the Washington borg claims that they have stuck to their agreement with the Turkish not to attack the non-IS jihadis at the same time as they continue to complain that the Russians are bombing "moderate" non-IS jihadis. Somehow, I don't think it'll end well.

Ante

The oil price recovery has allowed Russia's state budget to stabilize, which means their intervention, especially in its present tiny state, can continue without worry about cost.

Why did they stop at the precipice of massive victory, I have no idea, there've been just a few material benefits, as far as I can tell. It has given them time to convince Iran to send more men, and it has allowed more time for some reorganization and refitting of the Syrian army. It has coincided with (Saudi led?) rerouting of foreign jihadis from Syria/Iraq to Libya/Yemen.

The cessation of hostilities seemed to come with a tacit agreement for the US to swtich from pretending to engage Daesh to actually attacking them. The ISF/Hashd progress against Daesh is a big help. The Hashd winning battles while the US haughtily withholds air support is great for morale, and lets the locals see through daesh's aura of invincibility. When daesh is defeated, Syria will control its oil production again.

What does Russia want? They seem to desire a united, sovereign, non islamist controlled Syria, and an end to the war. What are they willing to do to make this happen? What is Iran willing to do? What are the US/Turkey/Saudi willing to do to achieve the opposite? There was such a golden moment, when Saudi was bogged down in Yemen, when Aleppo was on the verge, I would like to hear their explanation for their decision.

mbrenner

Stephen Cohen disagrees with the view that Putin miscalculated because he bought into Lavrov's unjustified optimism. His take is that Putin very much is in charge and that the challenge - which is not personal/political since no one can contest him - comes from the 'nationalists' who are quite vocal. The latter's main concern is Ukraine, NATO moves, Europe. For both Putin, and the latter, Syria is secondary - more a test of what can or cannot be done with the Americans than intrinsically important for Russian interests. Cohen does not refer to any sort of Putin-Lavrov tensions. I suspect that Putin and Lavrov are on the same wave length with some honest differences perhaps on tactics re. Washington. The real pressure is from the "right."

Putin genuinely seems to want: implementation of Minsk II; some sort of deal on Syria that reduces al-Nusra while leaving ISIS to the Americans; and a return to the status quo in Europe with the exception of Crimea. The last means Ukraine remains a strategic grey zone, and no enhanced NATO military presence around Russia's periphery. I don't think Washington will agree, and the Europeans are too weak/pre-occupied to prevent their being swept along. Indeed, we have discouraged Petroshenko from going all out to meet his commitments stipulated in Minsk II. And the recent NATO moves go well beyond anything done in the days of the USSR. The "war party" will only be stronger after January, So Putin's room for maneuver which is closing every week will narrow even further. The West in effect is imposing a new Cold War on him.

Exordium_Kiwi

I wouldn't bet on Euro women voting for anything but the status quo legitimated by the Official Narrative. Look at the recent Austrian Presidential elections. Women overwhelming plumped for the Austria hating Green party candidate, while men voted for the Freedom Party.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxpVwBzFAkw

Earthrise

Yea of little faith (which I am not advocating by the way). The cease fire is nothing more than an effective counter-disinfo campaign run by Moscow. They have almost totally disarmed all of the AngloZionist propaganda angles, and have set themselves up for an impending Sukhoi Storm to come rumbling in again from the north. So what if the Jihadis have rearmend, what tiny gains have they made these four months? Russia can just swoop in and destroy all these arms caches like they did last year. I have felt the frustration too, but I am also careful not to cheer too loudly for young Russians to sacrifice their lives. The US does not win on the battlefield, they win the propaganda war in service to dirty geo-politics. Russia has almost de-clawed this weapon, and soon they can finish the job, if it is in their interest.

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