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18 September 2016


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Is this a responds to Deir ez-Zour? Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy bombed.




Could you recommend a behaviour on this schizophrenic behaviour within the Japanese High Command, especially within China.

Also one on the bizarre positive/negative reactions of the Chinese?

I'd be very grateful.


"There is a myth of large scale rape by Red Army soldiers born out of book from 50s I believe. Problem is the book is more Cold War propaganda thing than any real research into the issue."

Sorry, it was no myth. We can only discuss whether we Germans deserved it, not the fact.

While the number of 2 million raped women is very likely too high, the serious numbers are around 800.000 women that were raped often multiple times after the occupation of Germany, more then half by members of the Red Army.

In Berlin the situation was so severe that abortions became legal for some time.

The Red Army had the same issue in 1945 as the Wehrmacht in 1941, crimes were often not prosecuted, here you can even find statements of Russian soldiers in serious historical literature.


"I find the relative 'evil' of Nazi Germany and the USSR illustrated by their relative treatment of each other's POW:

3.3 million Soviet POWs died in German captivity, out of 5.5 million taken. Death rate about 60%.

0.3 million German POWs died in Soviet captivity, out of 2.3 million taken. Death rate about 15%."

While the number of Russian who died in German is much higher than the number of Germans who died in Russina camps in serious literature, i.e. the 3 million number is correct, your number of German soldiers who died as POW is stupid propaganda.

The minimum are 900.000 soldiers who were captured and never came back, the Russian bookkeeping during the transfer of POWs from the front to the camps was often not existent, the 2.5 million number are POW who very likely reached the camps, not the ones who were captured.


To my knowledge there was/is no air defense in Deir Ezzor except a few anti-air guns used as infantry support.



Lebanese Journalist covering region for some time,
his insights are not far off a lot of the time.


he writes long-form analysis semi regularly on this blog; worth a read imo



The BBC is leading with a story in which someone - presumably the Syrians or Russians - have bombed a UN relief convoy near Aleppo.


The Americans describe themselves as "outraged."

I thought at first that this could be a simple case of a rebel convoy containing arms and ammunition resupplies draping itself in UN flags. The Syrians themselves on Twitter have described it as such. But the UN itself, according to the BBC, have confirmed its convoy was hit, but as yet not apportioned blame.

What would be the purpose of this strike (assuming it was not a mistake)? I know a whole lot of "high level signals" are being sent back and forth between the various participants that are often difficult for us underlings to interpret. Retaliation for Deir Ezzor? A warning that from now on the gloves are going to be taken off? A rogue Syrian air force officer? A rogue Russian? A false flag?

Any theories?



I thought that must be so. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. If the attack on the Red Crescent convoy was a reprisal that was a very stupid move. pl


better suited because they have ground spotters

do they?

slightly off topic: I admittedly wondered how the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could get information from there. Media information?


BS, are you completely sure that all Barbarossa crime related perpetrators were punished? With all it's diverse angles? Concerning the rape issue. Would you be willing to at least ponder about this basic thesis: It might well be that United Nations Peace forces help to create a "flesh trade", meaning forced prostitution.

and not-so altruistic Russia

For me as a probably rather nonpolitical person, at least if you don't accept my core position from teenage days on that politics starts in everyday life: One of the memes that caught my attention in the aftermath of 9/11 was that "altruism" and values I basically support were turned into propaganda weapons. Never mind that reality or facts occasionally didn't quite fit.


agree, rjj. Besides if I would have been able to choose, if I got into the hands of the Nazis' "special cleaning forces" working alongside the Wehrmacht or simply be raped, I might well have chosen the latter.


Apparently the critical ground lost to ISIS because of the US strike was quickly retaken:

"To be sure, the victory was only temporary, since the army retook Jabal Turdah the next day thanks to huge reinforcements from Damascus and intense regime and Russian airstrikes"


I found a similar report on Xinhua news.

It also appears that a serious ISIS attack had been underway for some time before the strike.


conspicuous display of competence and charm or microaggression???

Samantha's proxy (our elites hire talent) entry in the Diplomats can Dance competition:



Apologies, I meant book.

David Habakkuk

F.B. Ali,

Sometimes, with American – and British – policy relating to the Middle East, as also the post-Soviet space, the chaos and confusion is such that, as it were, Occam’s Razor can twist in one’s hand.

But I agree that in this case it seems an appropriate tool.

One of the things it suggests to me is that the claims about the involvement first of Australians, then of Danes, then of our own people, are not only designed to sow confusion, but are probably fabricated.

This smacks to me of an ‘information operation’ orchestrated at a high level.

So I would inclined to fall in with Colonel Lang, and think that this was organised, or at least approved, by Carter, as a way to thwart cooperation with Russia.

The remarks by the current CJCS, General Dunford, claiming that the attack has not derailed the ceasefire, to which ‘Pundita’ linked on another thread, do not suggest to me a man who is seriously trying to cool things down.

To suggest that ‘before we start going down a path of what went wrong let’s do an investigation and actually ensure that something did go wrong’ is hardly an emollient response.

(See http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/09/19/top-us-military-official-syria-cease-fire-not-derailed/90719688/ .)

At the time when General Dempsey was CJCS and Lieutenant-General Flynn ran the DIA, the uniformed military looked like an oasis of sanity in American policy towards the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, there was pushback.

After his nomination, General Dunford listed the security threats to the United States as Russia, China, North Korea and Islamic State, in that order. Meanwhile, Lt.-Gen Flynn appears to have been successfully ‘nobbled’ by Michael Ledeen.

(See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/09/russia-is-greatest-threat-to-the-u-s-says-joint-chiefs-chairman-nominee-gen-joseph-dunford/ .)

What however I do not think either Carter or General Dunford are capable of grasping – any more than figures like British equivalent Generals Richard Barrons and Richard Shirreff – is that there is a growing body of opinion in this country at least which thinks that they are dodos who haven’t realised that the world has actually changed somewhat since 1989.


Two that I can think of off the top.

W.G. Beasley's Japanese Imperialism, 1895-1945, is probably the best overview of the period that does not delve into a lot of overdone tropes.

A very insightful backgrounder on the Japanese imperial mindset shows up in the first few chapter of Nomonhan by Alvin Coox, which is mostly about the border conflict between Japanese-controlled State of Manchuria and Soviet-dominated Mongolia.

An interesting recent history of Japanese colonial policy in Korea is "Assimilating Seoul: Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945," by Todd Henry.

One of my old teachers, Takashi Fujitani, had written a nifty book titled "Race for Emprie: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War 2."

There were a few other books with similar themes whose titles I cannot remember for my life, unfortunately, though.

Chris Chuba

I have only heard about the Russians installing S3/400's in western Syria and on their ships. Deir Ezzor would be well out of their range. However, the U.S. still gives deconfliction notices just in case the Russians have air assets in the area, I heard a CNN report where the Pentagon was adamant that they told the Russians about the mission. I believe them because I think they are telling the same half truth to the U.S. media, that they told the Russians by intentionally conflating Deir Ezzor city with Deir Ezzor governorate (a really huge area).

It was reported that the U.S. stopped the attack as soon as the Russians contacted them but that took 30-40 minutes. So there was never a need for the Russians to challenge the U.S. in the air. The Syrians have negligible air defenses of their own at Deir Ezzor.

LeaNder, sure the Russians have ground spotters at Deir Ezzor. The Russians have been bombing there for months. The only thing they need is for the Syrian army to provide GPS coordinates, I'm certain the Russians can provide that type of equipment. Also, nothing prevents them from providing their own personnel if they want to risk that.


I'm not going to argue the matter in depth since I haven't read enough about it and could be unaware of really good works about this. But as far as I remember fame of this matter started with research conducted in one nursery and than result was extrapolated to whole zone of occupation. And all who declared father of their child to be Russian were wrote down as victims of rape even though minority actually claimed to be raped. Such a statistical approach is somewhat dubious I would say.


The United States has a history of "using" ISIS when it wants - for instance, how else to explain a US Apache "escorting" an ISIS convoy of 75 brand new technicals out Iraq into Syria?.

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