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24 August 2016


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There's lot's of money to be made from smuggling, taxes and bribes in a war zone.

Lloyd D. Herod, Jr.

Happy Anniversary Col & Mrs. Lang. May you celebrate many more years in good health. Surely the Gods are smiling upon your union today.


Distinct possibility but there's been a very muted response from Russia and Iran. Makes me think this is part of a plan struck behind closed doors.


A long but good piece on the problems between the Kurds and the pro-government population.



Happy Anniversary to you both.

Peter Reichard

To prevent the westward expansion of Syrian Kurdistan is Turkey's primary goal,even the overthrow of Assad takes a back seat to this. The movement of rebels from Idlib/Aleppo to Jarabulus furthers the former even as it is counterproductive to the latter goal. Hopefully the SAA can take advantage of this. ISIS is slated for destruction but not just yet as it supports Ankara's ambitions by fighting both the Kurds and Assad. The supply line from Turkey through Al Bab to ISIS and the southern rebels still remains open.


Colonel, Congratulations to you & Mrs. Lang.

I second your remark about "AMTRAK Joe" & feeling "sick" about the entire event.
Awhile back, using astrology, I predicted something ominous happening between Ankara
& the U.S. on August 24th, however I never imagined it would be Uncle Joe kissing up to Erdogan. As for "who are the rebels?" I hope it's not al Nusra under an ever changing brand.


congratulations Col. Lang, may you and Mrs. Lang enjoy many more happy anniversaries! Thank you for the excellent article TTG. I agree with you that the "framing" of orders to American special forces must be a thing of great wonder and complexity.


Thank you for your very informative piece, TTG.

According to this tweet:

"Peto Lucem ‏@PetoLucem 51m

The fall of insurgent stronghold #Darayya will free up a lot of experienced #SAA troops for redeployment. An important development. #Syria"

Anyone know how likely Darayya is to fall?

Chris Chuba

This has the feel of Kerry's plan B, setting in motion a partition of Syria.
The U.S. basically declared a no fly zone when the PYD attacked Syrian govt loyalists in Hasakah.
The U.S. gave air support for Turkey's incursion into Syria which looks like a big operation, not a border skirmish.
The Turks obviously don't want a Kurdish state in Syria long term but could be using U.S. aspirations in the short term to breathe life back into their pets.

This is more than a little speculative. I would be a fool if I pretended that I actually knew what Erdogan was really up to. I just hope that Putin and Assad are not basing their plans on taking what Erdogan and Kerry have said at face value.


The very, very best to Col & Mrs. Lang, if I may copy Lloyd D. above.

thanks, TTG.


"Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each include as the other, each is enriched by the other."

Prof. Felix Adler

Col. sir, I bid you & Mrs. Lang a Happy 53rd. Golden Anniversary [a record that outshines the medals won by your olympic medalists].

(P.S.: Sir, we've not heard from Mr. William R. Cumming recently. Is he well?, I'm wondering if I oughta dial his office no. to enquire how he's doing...)


I would be a fool if I pretended that I actually knew what Erdogan was really up to.

No, it's very easy to tell: Erdogan is up to no good, he will try to screw everyone to serve his delusional ambitions and in the end he will be smacked down by some (which???) of the other players with probably quite a bit of "collateral damages".

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Congratulations. I hope that SWMBO still thinks it worth your while expending energy presiding over this ‘bear garden’, and keeping our squabbles under control.


Thanks for this very informative piece.

As a congenital civilian, these matters are way outside my experience. But I think that if I was being sent to be shot at, I really would like to have some confidence that those doing the sending had some idea what they were trying to achieve, and were not ‘simply fiddling around by guess and by God, hoping it’ll come out all right somehow in the end.’ (Sam Spade to Brigit O’Shaughnessy’, from ‘The Maltese Falcon.’

Jonathan House

This,will not come as a surprise to any member of this committee of correspondence, but perhaps the confirmation will be of interest


head line and first sentence below

Israeli Think Tank: Don’t Destroy ISIS - It’s a “Useful Tool” Against Iran, Hezbollah, Syria

Head of a right-wing think tank says the existence of ISIS serves a "strategic purpose" in the West's interests

The Beaver

25-The US Pres & not State dept or congress or Pentagon or CIA runs Foreign policy. Inexplicably, this fact is still lost on many observers

Very very good insights and perspectives about Syria since March 2011:
Review of Obama's Foreign policy Towards Syria


What serious fighting? Hamming it up for the media is about as dangerous as it's been so far. I'm told those media guys can get quite violent
From b at Moon of Alabama:


Colonel & Mrs. Laing,

Congratulations on your anniversary and may you have many more of them.



In reply to johnf 24 August 2016 at 01:37 PM

Turkmen and Chechens in particular but yes also Uighurs to an extent.


In reply to The Twisted Genius 24 August 2016 at 04:46 PM

A wrinkle not to miss is that the Turkmen and Chechens in particular but also Uighurs were styling themselves not just as jihadis but as _settlers_.

There's an article by Andrew Korybko on Katehon Why Are The Kurds Saying That Chechens Are “Genuinely Native” To Syria”? | Katehon think tank. Geopolitics & Tradition that I think you would find repays the time spent reading it.

I don't always agree with Korybko by any stretch of the imagination but what he writes in this article ties in very well with what I've read and heard elsewhere as well as seeming to me be intuitively plausible.


In reply to The Twisted Genius 24 August 2016 at 04:46 PM

Well confound it I meant to include a link to this article from 2014 by Christian Bleur on the Afghan Analysts Network. Those interested in a bit more depth than the article on Katehon might find the internal links in Bleur's piece useful. Here's the link:

To Syria, not Afghanistan: Central Asian jihadis 'neglect' their neighbour | Afghanistan Analysts Network

As a side note there was an article last year (Fort Russ????) about how Chechen jihadis were leaving Syria in favour of fighting in Ukraine. Apparently on the basis that it's more meritorious, patriotic, and fun to kill Russians than Syrian Arabs or Kurds.


In reply to johnf 25 August 2016 at 05:20 AM

"Anyone know how likely Darayya is to fall?"

According to this report from al-Masdar:

"Damascus, Syria (1:45 A.M.) – Calm reigned over the embattled city of Daraya in the previous day as a government envoy met a rebel envoy to negotiate terms of surrender in the Damascene city of Western Ghouta."

Read in full here: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/daraya-handed-syrian-army-following-agreement/


To answer my own question, but this is from Farsnews so should be treated with some caution:

"Over 1,000 Militants Ready to Surrender to Syrian Authorities in Darayya.

"Recent advances of the Syrian army troops and their popular allies inside Darayya and closure of most of the supply routes used by terrorists have caused at least 1,000 militants to lay down arms and call for government's public pardon," the sources said.

"In the meantime, a large number of terrorists have called on the Syrian army to pave the ground for them to leave Darayya with buses and move to militant-held regions," they added.

"Opposition groups in their media pages have shut that militant groups' leadership did not pay any attention to anti-government fighters' demand for fresh forces but they sent a large number of forces to Jarabulus in Northern Aleppo due to being well-paid by Turkey," the sources added.

Also on Wednesday, Syrian army soldiers continued to beat back terrorists of Ajnad al-Sham and Liwa Shohada al-Islam from more strongholds in the town of Darayya, capturing new areas in the Central part of the town."


and this tweet from I presume the Syrian military:

"SyrianMilitaryCap. ‏@syrianmilitary 3h3 hours ago

a deal in #Daryaa have been reached ,everything is done , even SAA start to redeploy some of the units there"

Less good news tho:

"Hassan Ridha ‏@sayed_ridha 50m50 minutes ago

Civilians evacuated from Daraya will reportedly be relocated to Qudsaya, Damascus, militants will be taken to Idlib prov"


Yes, Colonel and Mrs Lang, congratultions. Old wines are the best wines.

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel and Mrs. Lang,
A wonderful milestone. Our congratulations and wishes for many more.
Ishmael Zechariah & Spouse

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