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24 September 2016


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Colonel et al:

This article may help in understanding this issue



"At the same time the remarkably ineffective Turkish/FSA effort along the Turkish border NE of Aleppo ensures the distraction of IS forces which might interfere with R+6 efforts at Aleppo City."

Looks like this Turkish offensive was a diversionary attack to assist their Northern and Southern neighbors in the hood to prove their intention is true and let bygones be bygones. It was interesting when the offensive started that the Sultan was quick to use the Free Syrian Army label for those Syrians assisting him as it appeared to be he was flipping the diplomatic finger at you know who.

There is an article on Southfront today in which one of the points by the author is that the Turks have cut resupply to Aleppo.


David Habakkuk


Having followed comments on two rather different British sites – the ‘MailOnline’ and the ‘Financial Times’ – quite closely, I find the comments on this ‘Washington Post’ article fascinating.

The ‘most liked comment’ reads ‘I am just glad the Clinton policy of shipping guns to terrorists is working out well for the US.’

What surprises me, however, is that the ‘most liked’ comment has so few likes – 24.

Another comment I appreciated – with 17 likes: ‘Hillary would fix this Syrian war easily. She would take the side of the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation then bomb the others. Problem solved!’

It is unfortunate that ‘FT’ articles, and comments on them, are behind a subscription wall. Although the relevant pieces are not ones having a large response, the message coming over from readers’ reactions to the air strike at Deir ez-Zor, and the aftermath, is that this has been an ‘own goal’ on a quite spectacular scale.

The notion that, as it were, it is only the ‘deplorables’ who dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton has always been nonsense.

What is clearly happening on this side of the Atlantic, and I suspect is also
happening, although at a slower pace, on yours, is that there is a large and growing section of ‘educated’ opinion – and I mean that in a good sense, on this occasion at least – who are perplexed.

Such people commonly distrust the ‘populist’ revolt against the ‘Borg’, which is central to the Trump campaign.

But they are also deeply distrustful of Hillary’s ‘Borgist’ tendencies, and the way both she, and also people like Ashton Carter and Joseph Dunford are behaving, is making them more and more distrustful – by the minute.

Nancy K

So you can bullshit a bullshitter. I think I may have read that on a Deepak Chopra Twitter.



"The notion that, as it were, it is only the ‘deplorables’ who dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton has always been nonsense."

To add to your perception the other piece of nonsense is that the "deplorables" are few in number.

Jonathan House

Here's a link to Lavrov's press conference following his UN General Assembly speech


Wouldn't it be great if US government officials were typically as well spoken in English as is this Russian. (Not to mention how lovely it would be if they were also as smart.)


Bill Herschel

I don't share your view that the Clinton Foreign Policy Establishment believes that war is obsolete. To the contrary, I believe they are all in for war. War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War in Syria. War in Yemen. And, in fact, what they are completely batshit nuts about is the unwillingness of the current administration (the President, because Kerry is all in) to commit ground troops in Syria (not just a few hundred "special forces").

As long as the war-making power has been taken away from Congress and there is no draft, Presidents will commit as many troops as they possibly can to active wars, because then they are able to say that anyone who opposes them is committing treason against the United States and does not support our troops.

Russia is trying to improve the situation on the ground before a possible Clinton election. Russia correctly sees what is going on in Syria as just another front in the Chechen war. Assad must go is not very good code for Putin must go.


But they are also deeply distrustful of Hillary’s ‘Borgist’ tendencies, and the way both she, and also people like Ashton Carter and Joseph Dunford are behaving, is making them more and more distrustful – by the minute.



Bill Herschel

Ah, but I did not express myself well. What the neocons like and want to use is in some cases signalling using military force or in others what the British used to call "wog bashing." This is the use of military power against an obviously inferior enemy for a directly political advantage. Our adventure in Iraq was a great disappointment to the neocons and Borgists in that the Iraqis did not roll over and play dead when easily defeated in the field. Instead they resorted to a levee en masse and guerrilla war. this was not supposed to happen. In the same way the IDF general staff resists the idea of fighting Hizbullah again because they know that Hizbullah possesses the power to hurt Israel badly. The Likudniks do not want to accept that. What went wrong in Syria from the POV of the neocons and Israelis is that Assad's armed forced did not collapse and lasted long enough to acquire potent allies. Now they have a REAL WAR in Syria and they can't deal with REAL WAR in their brave new world. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I read on a Persian language site that the Handarat refugee camp has now been captured by Syrian government forces, including Palestinian units.


The Russians have truly had enough:

US-led coalition must prove it really wants to separate Al-Nusra Front from rebels – Lavrov


"Russia will “no longer take seriously" requests that its own or Syrian forces make unilateral concessions regarding the ceasefire, without the Western coalition providing proof it's trying to separate moderates from terrorists, the foreign minister said.

In an extensive interview with Russia TV’s Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday), Sergey Lavrov reiterated that “the revival of the ceasefire is possible exclusively on collective basis.” If the US and its coalition partners fail to provide credible proof that they have “a sincere intention” to dissociate terrorists from the so-called moderate opposition “our suspicions that this all is being done to take the heat off Al-Nusra Front will strengthen.”

"...“If everything again boils down to asking Russia’s and Syria’s Air Forces to take unilateral steps – such as, ‘Give us another three- or four-day pause and after that we will persuade all opposition groups that this is serious and that they must cut ties with Al-Nusra Front’ - such talk will not be taken seriously by us anymore," the Russian FM said.

He noted that previous US-Russia-brokered short-term ceasefires around Aleppo did not live up to expectations and proved detrimental to peace efforts, as the 48-hour and 72-hour temporary truces were “used to back up the jihadists, including, Al-Nusra Front fighters, with manpower, food and weapons supplies.”

"...Speaking about the US airstrike on Syrian armed forces near Deir ez-Zor, that left 62 troops dead and over 100 injured, Lavrov cast doubt on Washington’s assurance that the Syrian government positions were targeted purely by mistake.

It is “very hard to believe that reconnaissance officers of the US-founded coalition that is fighting Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS] on the whole Syrian territory could forget about who is located where,” he said.

“The situation in Deir ez-Zor, contrary to the situation in Aleppo, where the line of contact is constantly changing, has been stable over two years already. The Syrian troops have been besieged by IS there,” he added, calling the circumstances surrounding the attack “a bit strange."

Babak Makkinejad

I raised a related issue a few postings back; why can't any US or EU leader deliver an anti-war speech like that of FDR's?

Is there any elected official in US or EU that would go on record as state: "While we are prepared to defend ourselves, our posture is defensive and is not meant as a threat to others."


Bill Herschel

I see that i have once again failed to utter a complete thought. My great fear is that the Borgists will blunder into a real war of roughly comparable opponents in the delusion that it is yet another exercise in wog bashing. You could see that in the statement yesterday by McCain that a NFZ could be imposed in Syria without war with Russia. pl

Bill Herschel

I'll take your incomplete thoughts any day. It's the complete thoughts I find at NYTimes, WaPo, LATimes, Guardian, etc. etc. that bother me.

Crucial history:


Bill Herschel

It is theoretically possible that some of the statements of Donald Trump are open to that construction. Time will, or will not, tell.

Jeremy Corbyn has already said that.


This might be your best post ever!

This is really a chilling and spot-on analysis of a situation that all of us devoted Syria watchers (with no military experience) have been trying to understand.

Am I right in assuming that you thought Putin was giving the Borgists a chance to climb down and end this thing peacefully?

So what now? Does Aleppo become this year's Debaltsevo????

ex-PFC Chuck

E Deploribus Unum


Pat says This pocket has now been without re-supply for an extended period.

It has been w/o resupply for about a month. It also has, according to two reports quoting rebel supporters, basic food and medical items for at least three month stored in reserve. There are also at maximum(!) 40,000 people there - the need is not as big as assumed.

What will run out first is ammunition. A lot was wasted in the unsuccessful siege breaking attempt. The Russians are systematically going against assumed storage sites. In a week or two we will likely see the first serious rebel ammo supply problems in east-Aleppo.

Handarat camp was captured but some was again lost as the Palestinians of Liwa al-Quds (militant Sunnis fighting with the government!) failed to defend against a counter offensive. Fighting is ongoing.

The Syrian army is actually attacking from three sides - north, south and west.

A general counteroffensive by Jihadis is running from north towards Hama. Quite dangerous. Lots of Jihadi sleeper cells in Hama. I hope that the Syrian army is well prepared to counter that.

A "rebel" told the Daily Star that he was told to now expect more and better artillery from the U.S. and its allies.

Let's all hope that Deir Ezzor holds and prevents the creation of the "Salafist Principality".



Mike Shedlock who is a financial blogger with one of the most frequented financial blogs and is an independent politically wrote this:


Some independents in this election may not vote as the pundits expect. The electoral college however is in Hillary's favor. California, New York and Illinois gives her a head start with 104. In addition to the usual need to win Florida and Ohio, Trump needs to also win either Pennsylvania, Virginia or Michigan. A tall order. So for him to win it has to be a change election with a big turnout of the working class vote. Similar to what happened with Brexit. Of course there could be other configurations but he has to win several states in the Rust Belt and Mid West that Romney lost in 2012.



All good points. What do you think of the possibility of a Russian force at al-Safir? pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Col., French-American (mostly the former) demographer Emmanuel Todd coined a delicious term that encapsulates what you describe: "Theatrical Micro-militarism." Todd, whose father is/was a US citizen, has to the best of my knowledge lived in France most of his life. He first came to prominence 40 years ago when he published his PhD thesis asserting that the USSR would collapse within a decade or two. About year 2000 he published another book predicting that the USA would lose its superpower status and become more dangerous to world peace as a result. He's still rattling the cages of the powerful, most recently his home country's responses to the Charlie Hebdo attack.



IMO he was giving BHO a chance to "end it peacefully," not the Borgists. pl


ex-PFC Chuck

"Theatrical Micro-militarism." I like that and will start using the term. pl


The Bear is awakening. It must be spring.



All information about the agreement on Syria, concluded between Russia and the US, will be published, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York. The Russian Minister expressed misunderstanding of Washington’s position, which “deviates” from the publication of these documents.


"Now they have a REAL WAR in Syria and they can't deal with REAL WAR in their brave new world."

This is one of those statements that most educated people will respond to with: "Well, yes, that's obvious." But it is not obvious at all. It is actually quite profound. In a similar vein a few weeks back someone wrote on b.'s site that Russia secretly wishes America to stay strong in order to counterbalance China. This led me to think of a Chinese empire where increasingly nationalist aspirations of providing jobs for people would involve imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, and would be met with the same belligerence as the U.S. now displays with anyone wanting to dispense with the dollar. By this logic enforced globalization of finance would be replaced by enforced globalization of goods.

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