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15 August 2016


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In reply to Amir 16 August 2016 at 10:56 PM

So what.


In reply to The Beaver 17 August 2016 at 09:17 AM

Whenever I read "Vlad" being used by a westerner to refer to Vladimir Putin. I know I'm reading something by somebody who is so ignorant of Russia and Russians that they can't even get his nickname right.

The Beaver


Who are they?
and what has 2012 got to do with it?

Did you read the article , part I& II?


In reply to Herb 17 August 2016 at 03:10 AM

"Interesting (or not) that you only chose one half of my formula to object to. An ox was gored?"

No it's that that particular part of your formula is so effing ludicrous that it's not worth refuting.

Hsve you considered buying large roll of tinfoil and fashioning it into a hat?

The Beaver

I don't know ! All I know is that he has been to both Syria and Iraq to report about the civil wars.
Have you? or do you have any contact/data in/on those countries to appreciate what is really going on ?



You too can join in the fun the American middle class way:

" .. you can’t travel to Europe without visiting the forests and lakes of the Baltic region — ..... and Russia"



Only part 2. See the relevant paragraphs describing the combat:

“ Syrian Army soldiers inside Regiment 111 successfully defended their base during the first rebel attack in early November 2012, …. . But the cold December wind only fortified the rebels’ resolve. The base was a goldmine: ... And deep inside Regiment 111’s bunkers ... more valuable — a cache of chemical weapons.”

“The attack was led by the Nusra Front and supported mainly by Kataib Muhajiri al-Sham, ….. Within a day, the combined jihadi forces had broken through the lines of the Syrian Army. Shortly after, Regiment 111 was fully under jihadi control. “

These reference alleged chemical weapons obtained when the Nursa Front captured the base - in 2012.


In reply to PeteM 17 August 2016 at 12:26 PM

How will three ethnic groups that speak mutually uninteligible languages come together as a nation state in the teeth of opposition from the nation states from which their territory would have to carved?


In reply to Kooshy 16 August 2016 at 04:38 PM

How can you say such a thing when they have sparkle ponys and unicorns on their side!!!???!!!

Behold I have photographic proof!


The Beaver


Thanks, now I understand your initial comment and reference.
Sorry, I didn't catch the pt you were making.


I know a little bit about Russian-American and Russian-Middle East dynamics to smell out an "analyst" of this type a mile away. No, I haven't been to Syria or Iraq.

The Beaver

With all due respect, I never pretended to be one nor did I proclaim that I am an authority on Russia.

I was just reporting what I read this morning on Trump in the Globe and Mail and hence the mention of "scuttlebutt" wrt Deng

Get off your high horse- this is just a blog.


"And, in the absence of a Peace Treaty, it will, like any other cease-fire deal,eventually disintegrate under the accumulated weight of violations as well as the changing circumstance since the signing of the deal."

True, like refusing to open interbanking exchanges and suddenly seeing your adversary getting overflight and refuel/reload rights.
Many years ago I was told by someone who knew, that the problem the west/US has with Iran is not about the type of the revolution Iran had, but it rather is why Iran had revolution. He told me multiple US administrations did and will recognize Islamic Republic of Iran, but will not accept or recognize Islamic revolution of Iran, the reason being the revolution was the vehicle to ascend the interests and rights of Iran against that of US' geopolitical and regional interests.


In reply to The Beaver 17 August 2016 at 05:02 PM

There's a difference between not being an expert or even slightly knowledgable and being downright ignorant.


In reply to Herb 17 August 2016 at 03:02 AM

"You can't spend 10 billion you don't have."

Have you mentioned this to the US government?



Somebody needs to put a dirty sock in ex-CIA Mike Morell's nasty mouth to quiet his stupidity.

On second thought a dirty sock won't quiet a wacko-mind such as the ex-CIA wonk. Any suggestions? Morell is a real nut-case.


michael brenner

There appear to be two questions here.

1. Did one expect Obama et al to use the nuclear agreement as a springboard for "resetting" (excuse the term) relations with Iran in the direction of normalization - and, accordingly, would the main economic sanctions be removed on a good faith basis?

2. Could Obama have done this?

To any dispassionate observer, there was ample evidence that Obama was dedicated to encapsulating the "nuclear accord" - principally because a) the only alternative to an accord was war of a kind for which he had neither stomach nor nerve, but b)he never was able to shift his thinking away from the hardening consensus in favor of an ultra-tough line toward Iran.

I believe that the answer to Q-2 is 'Yes.' But for that you need conviction, a strategic mind, and readiness for a political fight. Instead, Obama had boxed himself into a corner thanks to unrelenting rhetoric over the years that portrayed Iran as the devil incarnate. He never fights even when not in a tight corner.

Chris Chuba

Southern Front has a very good map of how the Iranian air base increases the effectiveness of the Russian air force.


They use radius lines based on different aircraft type to compare the range between Latakia and the Iranian air base. The Russians now have dramatically increased their ability to attack eastern Syria. The payloads will increase and the flight times per sortie will decrease in eastern Syria. They mentioned how much more effective air support could have been on the SAA's ill fated attack on Tabaqa.

I just have to acknowledge some especially clever, cynical humor on today's thread. It was greatly appreciated and I agree with sentiments.
Brunswick, "They don't treat Diplomacy like a soap opera, marital melodrama complete with edicts, slamming of doors, long silences and then make up sex, unlike other Diplomat's we know."
Matthew, "The entire anti-Assad opposition is apparently made up of medical personnel."
and Col. I appreciated your reference to Keitel on an earlier topic.


I don't think this story is credible. There's no evidence that the Syrian military ever stockpiled chlorine - it wouldn't be much use in a modern war. The Syrian government has always maintained that none of their sarin stocks fell into opposition hands, and this is consistent with the lab evidence

Analyses of environmental samples in Porton Down, the OPCW-designated labs and the Russian lab showed that the sarin used in Syria between March 2013 and August 2013 was not from from Syrian military stocks, and appeared to have been synthesized under "cottage industry" conditions. Specifically, the finding of hexafluorophosphate reported by OPCW indicates that the synthesis started from phosphorus trichloride or elemental phosphorus. The process used by the Syrian government started from trimethyl phosphite. There's also ample evidence of a Nusra sarin production cell: the Azaz border incident investigated by Mokhtar Lamani, and the arrests in Turkey in May 2013 of a Nusra team attempting to buy hundreds of kilos of sarin precursors.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

Ironically, what the supporters of ‘appeasement’ believed was that Stalin very much wanted to ‘avoid a war’ at the outset. A central premise of their view was restated in the famous ‘Long Telegram’ that George Kennan sent from Moscow on 22 February 1946:

‘Soviet efforts, and those of Russia's friends abroad, must be directed toward deepening and exploiting of differences and conflicts between capitalist powers. If these eventually deepen into an “imperialist” war, this war must be turned into revolutionary upheavals within the various capitalist countries.’

(See http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/coldwar/documents/episode-1/kennan.htm .)

This was, indeed, a by no means implausible reading of the available evidence. The context was the dramatic shift in Soviet policy, from the ‘Red-Brown Alliance’ with the ‘National Socialists’ against the Social-Democrat led government in Prussia in August 1931, to the adoption of the ‘Popular Front’ strategy by the Comintern four years later, which was the counterpart to Litvinov’s proposals for ‘collective security’.

It is not entirely surprising that this dramatic transition prompted suspicions that Soviet enthusiasm for co-operation against Hitler’s aspirations to wrest the – largely ethnic German – Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia was a ‘baited hook’.

The imputed strategy was to get ‘Russia’s friends abroad’ – prominently including those whom Kennan called ‘democratic-progressive elements’ – to pressure their governments into a confrontation which would generate a war, from which the Soviets could then stand aside.

They had no land border with the Czechs, and the last thing Poles and Romanians wanted, for entirely understandable reasons, was to have the Red Army crossing their territory.

The problem with this interpretation was not that it was at all implausible – but that it turned out to be wrong.

Restatements of the position of the ‘appeasers’ in the ‘Nineties by the GRU defector ‘Viktor Suvorov’, aka Vladimir Rezun, and Kennan’s erstwhile subordinate in the American Moscow Embassy, Robert C. Tucker, provoked what I think is a definitive refutation by the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky, in his 1999 study ‘Grand Delusion’.

From a damning aside on Tucker’s work in a review of that study: ‘If Stalin saw the war as a chance for the Allies and Germany to bleed themselves white and let the Soviets move in and pick up the pieces, as others have argued, then it is not evident in the documents.’

(See https://networks.h-net.org/node/10000/reviews/10279/slepyan-gorodetsky-grand-delusion-stalin-and-german-invasion-russia .)

A point that the history ought to drive home is that, irrespective of whether or not one likes a regime or system it is important to try to understand how its leaders are thinking.

It is true that some of the ‘democratic-progressive elements’ who followed Mowrer’s lead had illusions about the Soviet Union.

But others shared Mowrer’s contempt for communism, and did not need to be reminded that – as Kennan recalls – Lenin had called the Social Democrats the ‘false friends of the people’ (otherwise, ‘social fascists’.)

They simply realised that one has to decide what the primary threats are, and – unlike Kennan – made the right choice. (I know: my late father was a case in point.)

An irony about the ‘neocons’ has always been that they talk incessantly about ‘Munich’, display no awareness of the fact that the decisions the British had to confront were not easy ones – and simply miss the point that Chamberlain’s most serious errors, which were in 1939, not 1938, had to do with a propensity to attribute to the Soviets conspiratorial intentions they did not at that time have.

In fairness, however, there were many aspects of Soviet behaviour, both before and after the war, which made a predisposition to exaggerate its involvement in conspiratorial activities rather understandable.

The common predisposition among Western élites to impute offensive intentions to Putin where none exist – which makes Neville Chamberlain look like a piker – is simply silly.


Instead, Obama had boxed himself into a corner thanks to unrelenting rhetoric over the years that portrayed Iran as the devil incarnate.

You are probably right; Michael. But I do not, even in a dispassionate way, want to imagine the consequences of your option a).

I stopped listening to him a long time ago. And yes, obviously there were reasons for doing so. Besides, one could no doubt argue he, at least partly, helped to create the election dilemma Americans face now.

But don't worry (irony alert):

Babak Makkinejad

The leaders of multinational banks, I should think, the contingent and temporary nature of JCPOA. Therefore, they would avoid Iranian-related businesses, especially those that would be of multi-year duration and could fall victim of the disintegration of this cease-fire deal and drag the banks into the firing range as well.

I think this same consideration will also apply to the sanctions against the Russian Federation - likely for a generation we will not see large financial activities in Russia that are under-written by multinational Western banks.

It is always easy to start wars - financial or otherwise - and it seems also to be extraordinarily difficulty to end most them.



A couple of other important points to this deployment. First this signals an increase of joint Russian and Iranian efforts to aid the Syrian government. That puts a giant dent in the plans of the borg to spin yet one more crisis to justify a no-fly zone or outright intervention on behalf of the ISIS/nursa front (or whatever the borg have ‘re-branded’ them as) efforts to destroy Syria. Second it leaves open the possibility that ground forces may come from the same region even though the line for logistics is very long – stretching back to the ports on the Caspian Sea. Third neither this air effort or line of logistics are likely to be interdicted by post-purge Turkey. The question still remains if there are enough ground forces in the SAG to finish the job.

Babak Makkinejad

News from South Sudan - it speaks for itself:



Which three ethnic groups are you referring to?

Probably the most effective power play the Kurds have made to counter the nationalist resistance to a Kurdistan is their alliance with the Borg, first in Iraq and now in Syria. The IS attack on Erbil Is what brought direct US intervention in this conflict.

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