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06 September 2016

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Petrous

A most sobering, impartial assessment of the current situation. Thank you.

Lemur

Once the jihadi rebels and ISIS are subtracted from the picture, what will the terms of settlement look like for Kurdish and Turkish held areas? Some sort of partition in Syria is the Empire's plan B after all...

turcopolier

Lemur

The empire has failed IMO and will not dictate the terms of peace. My crystal ball is a bit cloudy as to ultimate status. pl

plantman

Thanks you for this excellent, straightforward summary. If only the media was this succinct.

Matthew

Col: I just want to say that the series of post from you, PB, and TGG over the last year on Syria have been fantastic.

I hope that a face-saving "exit" is possible for the West in this ghastly war. Otherwise, the futile mischief making will continue. For example, this morning we had the inevitable, inexplicable "chlorine" attack in Aleppo. See https://twitter.com/Souria4Syrians/status/773143315260829696

I put the "chlorine" in quotes because the SAA always seems to commit an atrocity right at the moment of the rebels' maximum humiliation. Coincidence?

IMHO, Secretary Kerry's actual face-saving strategy will probably involve a pitching a UN-backed International Commission on Syria to use lawyers to win from Assad what TOW missiles could not. Like the Commission on Lebanon, it will totally politicized and subject to constant manipulation. Given that, wouldn't the Russians blunt any such initiative?


Chris Chuba

I totally agree with what you said, the reality is that R+6 will take Aleppo unless they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I am having difficulty seeing how the U.S. can be given the illusion of a diplomatic victory, perhaps it is there, just having trouble seeing it. To me it looks like the Turkish zone is being setup as the safe haven for the moderates (it hurts having to use that word) and the rebel areas outside of that zone will be excluded from any ceasefire. The rebel areas from Aleppo city, to Idlib, and what's left of Latakia are going to be the rebels who refuse to leave and declared Jihadist, diehard terrorists.

If this ends up being the case then it will be an embarrassment to the U.S. to concede that such a large number of bad guys existed all along. The State Dept has been telling the press and us that most of these guys were moderates. The press might have to go to a seminar for a few weeks to understand what happened, where all of these extremists came from, and learn the new talking points.

If the Turks actually concede this much territory to R+6, the Russians will probably let Turkey's air force operate in designated areas. I read on Southfront that there was an airstrike on the PYD.

If the Russians accepted anything less than this, it would be foolish and would likely create a new rift with the Iranians.

turcopolier

Chris Chuba

Diplomacy is BS and illusion. Anything can be constructed out of the "ether." the Turkish occupation zone will be a "moderate" indoian reservation. they will be exterminated elsewhere. pl

turcopolier

All

Someone points out to me that on one occasion a few small trucks of fruit and vegetables made it through the SW breach. Well, my hat's off to them. pl

jeremy C

Putin and Lavrov always defeat Obama and Kerry, but always let the latter have some kind of face saving pseudo-deal in negotiations in order to sell the deal to the Borg or US public. Over the next 2 months, the R6 will try to seal the deal in Aleppo, create other military realities around Idlib and Hama, let the Turks nail the coffin of Kurdish ambitions, and then make a 'deal' with Obama and Kerry that lets the latter look they achieved something. The R6 approach will be remembered as the real substance of any 'diplomacy' that winds down the war...unless HRC wins and engages in very reckless behavior.

b

There was one photo shot from an overpass of three small trucks with fruits "showing them driving into east-Aleppo". I am 98% sure that the picture was NOT shot in Aleppo. Way too good quality, light and scene setting to be real.

turcopolier

b

About the three trucks, that makes sense. pl

Laguerre

I'm sure you're right that nothing much made it into East Aleppo. The question that I had is the balance of forces. Could the jihadis open the road again? b has told us that bombing has destroyed much of the rebel support base, and many jihadis have been killed. Do you agree? The Syrians are obviously limited in the number of offensively capable forces they have. What happens if they're called away to another battle?

turcopolier

Laguerre
"b has told us that bombing has destroyed much of the rebel support base, and many jihadis have been killed. Do you agree?" I do. IMO the rebels have lost so much in this effort that the correlation of forces now favors R+6. pl

plantman

I'm very concerned that the disrespect Obama experienced in China and the humiliation Joe Biden suffered in Turkey are a sign of things to come. I see this insulting behavior as a direct result of our failed, interventionist foreign policy which, as you point out, is backfiring spectacularly.

Do you think a noninterventionist candidate like Trump, can help us change directions and get back on track or are we doomed to make the same mistakes for the foreseeable future?

Karl Kolchack

Obama's "legacy?" What a joke!

If you were to take a poll of Americans outside the Capital Beltway and ask them how many care at all whether Assad is removed from power, my guess is that the number of affirmatives would be within the +/- margin of error of ZERO.

It is truly amazing how much butchery and slaughter America either engages in or supports around the world while the vast majority of its citizens exist if a haze of technodouchebaggery, mindlessly playing Pokemon GO and the aptly named fantasy football.

turcopolier

Laguerre

If by "their base" you mean their base in Turkey, I would agree with b. If you mean their various logistical forward bases in syria I would also agree with b. pl

turcopolier

Karl Kolchak.

Most Americans IMO do not really know where England is. pl

turcopolier

plantman

I think that a non-interventionist president who conducts himself or herself with dignity and who does not insist on having foreign enemies could do much for our status among the nations of the world. That does not mean I am in favor of allowing the North Koreans or anyone else to spit on us. pl

Midan

Just wondering which wholesale market they went to buy the pristine foods? The story doesn't add up

gonefishing

Hopefully, the biggest losers in this entire affair are the Western MSM. They have been entirely discredited in their reporting of Syria and the Ukraine. That in itself would make it harder for the next idiot in the White House or the State Department to unleash the dogs of war.

Matthew

CC: The rebels in the South are collapsing, so, of course, this: https://twitter.com/DovLieber/status/772505410242838528.


Haralambos

Col.,
In my experience, they have a rough idea of where it is, but they do not care about it geographically, politically, economically or in any other dimension. The same can be said even more so in regard to other countries and regions. I base this anecdotal response on our American families' and friends' ignorance of the ongoing events of where we live, Greece, or events in the region and this part of the world let alone further afield in Asia and Africa.

Matthew

Col: Since even the jihadis seem to have drones now, I do not understand why the SAA doesn't send drones out in front of armor to locate ATGM before the armor gets in range.

mbrenner

There is a plausible political strategy for a President Hillary to fudge an American failure in Syria:herald the success in bringing down ISIL as it gradually comes apart while ignoring all matters Syrian. ISIL is recognizable to Americans; nothing in Syria is. Of course, we will have to do it pretty much on our own. Erdogan may cut most support but cannot be expected to attack them given the threat of a terrorist response.
Russia will limit itself to the few areas where ISIL is an impediment to consolidation of the Assad regime. The Kurds have no reason to be our mercenaries for payment in political Bitcoin. Therefore, a long drawn out process - but success nonetheless. As for Syria,it will get in the papers only infrequently: an annual Christmas Day editorial in the NYT,"Have we forgotten Syria?" and a graphic NGO report played up by Kristoff on the tribulations of Aleppo's transgender community.

Kooshy

Colonel FYI latest election polls Show the presidential race is dead even, with DT gaining new voters, sounds like the Borg Queen is "coughing" her chance away.

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