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24 September 2016

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Imagine

"Wog bashing". Succinct and descriptive! See: "Battle of Isandlwana".

Ghostship

It fixes a lot of "moderates" in northern Aleppo Governorate fighting ISIS so it won't be easy for them to slope off to join their allies in East Aleppo City.

BTW, I'd love to know who dreamed up the idea that the Russians would appreciate "the prestige of eventually conducting joint military operations in Syria alongside the United States against terrorist groups." We are talking about the successors to the Red Army, the one that ripped the heart out of the Nazi war machine. I think they have enough prestige of their own, no disrespect to any members of the US military here. I think the Russians wanted the US military to become committed to the fight against al Nusra and the other jihadists.

Babak Makkinejad

I think the Russian leaders, like those of Chinese and a number of other states are interested in the maintenance of global strategic stability.

At times, the strategies that the United States employs, at least to some, smack of encouragement of global strategic and local instability.

One case was Ukraine, which, left to herself, could have remained a neutral buffer state between the Atlantic Alliance and the Russian Federation. But the United States could not leave that one well alone.


Pundita

Regarding spectacular R+6 advances: If the US is using the war to create a version of the French Foreign Legion, it will continue mucking around in Syria for as long as it can while it scoops up anything willing to be cannon fodder for cash, limited training, no health and retirement benefits.

If on the other hand the Pentagon actually wants to overthrow the Syrian government, we could see a serious attempt to establish no-fly zones and all manner of dirty tricks that make the earlier ones look like a game of bridge.

Aside to ex-PFC Chuck: I like "E Deploribus Unum" so much I'm sequestering it -- with H/T of course.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Apparently Russia has given up on pounding sense into the Western leadership. If Turkey agreed to cutting off supplies to Aleppo rebels; R + 6 will make gains. Turkey will keep its Sunni safe haven and may expand it. There will be beards shaved. But, without an American, Israeli and Saudi stand down, the Sunni rebellion continues and the Islamic State avoids collapse. The destabilization of Russia carries on. The Shiite Crescent stays cut or Israel jumps in. Before 1945, the mini world war would have blown up and everyone would be involved but nuclear weapons have inhibited it but not stopped the escalation.

You can’t have your cake and it too. Either the wars end or the spreading chaos will engulf the West.

ex-PFC Chuck

The Middle East Eye has an extensive analysis up about the breakdown of the cease fire. From my observation point in distant flyoverland I don't know much about this publication. Comments anyone?
http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/how-pentagon-sank-us-russia-campaign-syria-and-ceasefire-1932525374

Fred

Col.,

The hope and change strategists in the oval office that gave us this great Sturm und Drang strategy are having one hell of a time dealing with the dawning of a new day; I'm sure it sounded great during all those late night collegiate style bull sessions.

turcopolier

pundita

What does "a version of the French Foreign Legion" mean? pl

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Does anyone know anything of the state of well-being (or lack thereof) of William R Cumming?

turcopolier

Vietnamvet

"If Turkey agreed to cutting off supplies to Aleppo rebels" I don't know what that means. I can read a map. There have been no routes for re-supply for quite a while. "The destabilization of Russia carries on ..." I don't know what that means either. Russia shows no signs of instability. Putin just won an election in parliament. pl

Charles Michael

French Foreign Legion ?

Are you still munching ''Liberty Fries'' ?

Charles Michael

Middle East Eye

It is not a favorite of mine when searching for facts on the ground, can't remember exactly why and where but I had the feeling of bias favoring interventionism.
Gareth Porter delivered a good summary here, not sharp enough for my own biased anti-interventionism fundamental position.

Good you cited Emmanuel Todd,anthropoligist and historian. His analyses of family structure from birth certificates, weddings and wills give a lot of enduring explanations about resilience (and evolution) of soicety cultures country by country.
He did, more or less predicted also the Arab Spring in a book : the Confluent of Civilization.

Thanks for:"E Deploribus Unum"

Brendan Sullivan

The description at the end of the post about IR/Pol Science people reminds me so much of people I encountered at the University of Chicago, when I was in grad school there a few years ago

Castellio

I have my doubts that Ukraine, left alone, could have remained a neutral buffer. Ukraine is a failed state and it wasn't all the fault of the neocons in America who, however, certainly took advantage of the faultline.

Independent Ukraine never had a national government that wasn't a reflection first and foremost of the oligarchic division of the country during the early 1990s, and it never created a national government that all thought dedicated to their welfare and strong enough to curtail the oligarchs.

There was no time or period of national reconciliation or any genuine desire for a country free from competing spheres of influence - be it American/European or Russian. In fact, the very idea of the country as "neutral" drove people to anger. Neutrality was the last thing anyone wanted. Both sides firmly believed that a successful nation could only be achieved through non-neutrality.

Not directly related, but perhaps of interest in terms of how the regions are currently being governed, there is:
https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/misgovernment-in-ukraine/

F5F5F5

@ex-PFC Chuck

Emmanuel Todd is French but his grand mother was British. I believe his father took the family name of his mother, Todd, because she raised him as a single mother.

Anyway, the interesting thing is that he derives all his theories from the study of family structures and demographic data.

F5F5F5

@Babak

"At times, the strategies that the United States employs, at least to some, smack of encouragement of global strategic and local instability."

ex-PFC Chuck earlier mentioned Emmanuel Todd and "Theatrical Micro-militarism". In Todd's book After The Empire (2002), the idea is that the US will have to create instability to remain relevant, like a firefighter arsonist.

Lemur

Britain, US, and France have called a UN security council meeting over the campaign to end the Aleppo pocket.

If the R+6 assault continues, I would not be surprised if 'condemnation' turns to overt saber rattling. Which sounds bad, until you remember if Clinton were in charge she'd have her's drawn already.

Balint Somkuti

It is so disheartening to see people still talk about "the glorious Red Army" which was just about as wicked, crook and evil as the Nazis. If you add the misery the brought to the placed they occupied they were viler than the Wehrmacht.On the top of that the sins of the communist regimes, all of them, are known to everyone. It is beyond my comprehension how can someone still be openly stalinist or on a slighter note communist.

Balint Somkuti

His second book Apres l'Empire is a really good read. But like in the case of the Soviet Union he is wrong with a decade.

b

Don't know for sure about al-Safir - rumors so far. But there are more Russian troops in Syria than one would probably think. Allegedly more than 4,500 votes for the Russian parliament election were cast at Hmeimim. That probably means that there is a brigade somewhere we do not know about. May not be regular troops. Chechens? They would be a trump card.

Also some news (not confirmed) that SU-25 are back in Syria. Some with SM3 extensions: Precision targeting, AESA radar, active defense measures.

ToivoS

I had just listened to Lavrov's press conference at the UN just before reading pl's article here. Bingo! So that was what Lavrov was trying to tell the world -- bs time is over. The Russian's have been patient explaining things since December but it sounds like no one in Washington was listening. Will this turn out to be another one of those "surprises" for the borg: like Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014 and then those extremely well armed and led Donbass militias in 2014 and 2015?

Stephen Cohen has been saying for a few years that no one should have been surprised if they just listened to what the Russians were saying.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

You are correct. The Jihadists left inside Aleppo are encircled. My only excuse for not getting it is my old age and the Western press avoids telling the obvious but highlights the Syrian children’s suffering. I still think that Turkey reached an understanding with Russia that they will not contest R+6’s mopping up of Aleppo as long as they have a safe zone for their Sunni allies. Unresolved is the fate of the Sunni homeland in Syria and Iraq still controlled by the Islamists. I remained convinced that the western military support of factions within the Syrian and Ukraine civil wars is intended to get Vladimir Putin stuck in quagmires; destabilizing Russia once again.

I still think that Turkey, USA, the Gulf Monarchies and Israel are trying to gestate a moderate Sunni Coalition to take Raqqa and finalize the partition of Iraq and Syria. I just don’t think the Jihadists have any reason to cut their beards to elect Hillary Clinton but may if the R+6 offensive gains momentum.

Peter Reichard

It is difficult to understand why Russia agreed to ceasefires as they always benefit the weaker side, particularly if the stronger side has air supremacy. This was especially true in Vietnam. I give them credit for going the extra mile to achieve a peaceful solution but think it showed a surprising naivety. Now, finally recognizing Washington was not negotiating in good faith, they seem intent on pursuing a military victory where the first act appears to be a drive from the southeast towards the ancient citadel to split the Aleppo pocket in two. Let us hope it is over quickly.
The idiots running US foreign policy, ignorant of any subjects outside their narrow purview are oblivious to the limitations imposed on military operations by such things as logistics, geography and climate and have in the words of Robert Gates "a cartoonish view" of the US military. This leads them ever deeper into the morass.

Will

Elijah Magnier offers his view of why the USAF intervened in behalf of ISIS in Deir ez-Zor

"Nevertheless, decision-makers have a different view of the event. No-one believes the US “mistake” or story of the event. The loss of Jabal Tharda was not followed by a correction of the mistake. The US and coalition jets did not return the next day to bomb ISIS. The real message behind the attack – as explained by my sources – is the advance of the Iraqi forces toward Jazirat al-Anbar, Baghdadi and Jazirat Hit, coming closer to their next target in ‘Ana, Rawa, in order to reach al-Qaim on the Iraqi-Syrian borders. If the Iraqi forces reached the border, ISIS would be caught between the two fires of Iraq and the Syrian forces, allowing a possible breach from al-Qaem and Albu Kamal toward Deir-ezzour. That would close any ISIS supply line from Iraq toward Raqqah, via Deir-ezzour and al-Badiyah."

https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/the-mistrust-between-washington-and-moscow-portends-a-long-war/

David Lentini

Paul Craig Roberts thinks the Russians have gone one ceasefire too far.

I generally find Roberts's comments good. But I think he's a bit too pessimistic on Putin.

Thoughts?

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