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01 October 2016

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Chris Chuba

It is good to here from you Patrick BAHZAD. I am going to confine my comments to the media hypocrisy.

1. In similar situations we used to routinely hear them refer to the use of human shields when the Israelis conducted military operations but this term has vanished in today's coverage. They have simply ignored all reports regarding R+6's efforts to establish corridors to allow civilians to leave eastern Aleppo and Al Nusra 2.0's prevention of this by shooting of those who have attempted to do so. This was reported on www.almasdarnews.com. Apparently, U.S. media exclusively gets its news sourced basically from the U.S. State Dept and its proxies.

2. There already was a very long month long sieges of Manbij, Ramadi, and Fallujah. I am certain that the dynamics of all of these sieges involved similar suffering of the civilian population but the news coverage was extremely favorable to the first two and mixed on the last one. In other words, the coverage reflected our political alignment with who was doing the attacking rather than the facts on the ground. Since Fallujah involved the use of Shiite militias there was a little apprehension there even though much of Ramadi was destroyed.

3. The media failed to ask the most obvious question, since the ceasefire involved an agreement for joint strikes against Al Qaeda groups why were we not bombing them before? Had they explored this question the whole composition of the rebels and our goals in Syria could have been explored but they instead chose to focus on the emotive stories. The lack of curiosity by U.S. media encourages the worst elements of our govt to be even more brazen and unaccountable for their actions.


Haralambos

Thank you, Mr. BAHZAD, for this wake-up call to what the US MSM obfuscates and misrepresents. I keep trying to alert my friends and relatives to these issues, but they remain focused on "making ends meet."

Clausewitz' dumb son

M. Bahzad,

1. I wonder if you could comment briefly on similarities and differences concerning underlying situation and tactics as between Eastern Aleppo (today), and Grozny (1999-2000) and Fallujah (2004)?

2. I wonder if you could comment on the use of earth-penetrating ordnance by the Ru Air Force in Eastern Aleppo. Could you assess the degree to which they might or might not have actionable intelligence as to where legitimate underground targets might be located?

Merci bien.

VietnamVet

PB

What the West is doing in the Middle East is at the bidding of Saudi Arabia and Israel to the detriment of its citizens. The intent is to permanently sever the Shiite Crescent and continue the fighting as long as possible, no matter the suffering or the risk of escalation into a Great War.

Russia must feel it necessary to seize East Aleppo now rather than wait months to starve the rebels and their families out, like at Homs. This has to be an indication that they believe the next administration will be even more aggressive than the current one which has been at war for its entire 8 years.

All that I can do is vote for a 3rd party presidential candidate. But, you and Colonel Lang are indispensable. You let us know the truth.

Brunswick

Reports from the few "Western" reporters who have been to East Aleppo, put the population level at 40,000-80,000.

Before the Civil War, the population of East Aleppo was roughly 250,000.

As we saw in the truce and evacuation of Darra, the jihadi claims over the years of both numbers of fighters and numbers of "trapped" civilians was greatly exaggerated. 300 jihadi fighters and 700 family members were evacuated, while roughly 9,000 civilians remained, a far cry from their claims of 5000 fighters and 30,000 trapped civilians.

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/12/worst-place-in-world-aleppo-ruins-four-years-syria-war?0p19G=e

>>Whole neighbourhoods have been levelled by enormous explosions that have systematically targeted main roads around the city and all exits out of it, as well as marketplaces, hospitals, bread lines and fuel queues.

Those who remain in eastern Aleppo, roughly 40,000 from a prewar population estimated at about a million, have been without electricity or running water.<<

Boston Bob

This evening, in Saturday Vigil Mass, all of my prayers went to R+6. God bless and protect them.

Bill Herschel

I just read the Wikipedia account of the Battle of Grozny in the second Chechen war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grozny_(1999%E2%80%932000)) which, in its entirety, lasted 6 years. I would say that Russia views Aleppo as a modern Grozny and will fight until they win whatever the cost in human life or public opinion. The only thing that could change that would be a sustained and massive attack against Russian troops by a superior force. Would American public opinion and members of Congress support that?

Bobo

Thank you Patrick as you have given some clarity to the deep morass of Syria.
With ex Admiral Kirby sounding off about body bags heading to Russia and other sordid nothing's a Russian General is now claiming the good old USA is the main backer of Terrorists. Hopefully Kirby can calm down next week or the Russians will commence info ads on TV telling the Americans what Obama is really doing in Syria. Now that Aleppo is under siege I assume there are no more Moderate Rebels. In my younger days when I was losing I just picked up my marbles and went home and sat it out. That is my advice to Obama. It is going to get worse in Syria and the Punch-Counter Punch with the Russians could get out of hand.

Jack

Patrick

Nice to see you're back with a beautiful rendition of reality in the Syrian meatgrinder thanks to the stratagery of the Borg Queen. The chaos and anarchy in Iraq, Libya and Syria and the destabilization of Ukraine are all an outcome of hubristic US foreign policy. After the Soviet Union disintegrated the US and it's western European allies were bereft of any anchor. They truly believed their hegemonic status was unassailable.

Now of course things never pan out exactly as anticipated. Since you know France, why did Sarkozy and Hollande have the same interventionist attitude? At least during the lead up to the Iraq invasion, the French and even Schroeder warned about the consequences. Dubya and the neocons were so drunk with the belief that they strode the world as emperor that they did not care what others thought. What do you think changed with French elite attitudes?

Here in the US with the election it couldn't be more stark. Those who abhorred Dubya and his war on false pretenses are now supporting the Borg Queen who epitomizes an even more insidious mindset. This is so obvious to me when every ziocon has endorsed her. And IMO, a significant foreign policy shift was laid on the table by Trump - no first strike and the US not being the worlds policeman. The silence to this in the MSM and social media goes to show the Borgist precepts dominate and the utter hypocrisy of the anti-war left who no longer have any credibility,

FB Ali

An excellent piece, Patrick. It is especially welcome because of the dearth of any sensible, unbiased reporting (much less analysis) of this battle in the Western media.

You've come back with a bang! Welcome back! Hope we'll hear more often from you. You add greatly to the value and stature of this blog.

mike allen

PB -

Good insight, thanks!

Meanwhile while the American media is crying over Aleppo, they are ignoring the devastation of Cizre and other Kurdish cities in Turkey; plus the murder of Kurdish civilians by Turkish proxies in northern Aleppo province.

mike

Abu Sinan

I have to second the comments already made. Nice to see you back with this well written and timely piece.

Lemur

Great analysis.

As the loyalist forces crush insurgent Aleppo, the media, NGOs, and govt propaganda departments will go postal. The Borg wants Aleppo so so bad, and it has to watch helpless as Russia takes it away.

The Saker discusses the Coalition's lack of options here:
http://thesaker.is/the-war-against-syria-both-sides-go-to-plan-b/

I don't think Obama will risk a clash with Russian Forces in Syria (that legacy), but we may see an asymmetric attempt to distract Russia by reigniting the Ukraine situation.

I would also not be surprised if Chinese Warships show up in Syrian waters again as tensions increase like in 2013, and as a quid pro quo for the recent Sino-Russian exercises in the South China Sea.

Assuming Aleppo falls, is it reasonable to expect subsequently the complete capture of Idlib as a matter of military inevitability?

Lemur

good article i recently read here comparing Fallujah with Aleppo:

https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/the-quality-of-mercy/

ToivoS

The second Chechen War involved two phases. The first was defined positional warfare and was fought in the cities and towns. Much like the battle for Aleppo is shaping up. This took less than a year. In the second phase the rebels abandoned defined positions and took up guerilla tactics and that lasted another five years.

During the first phase the Russians took a beating in the PR department with the world's media criticizing them for extreme brutality. This is what the Russians have to look forward to if the R+6 forces conquer East Aleppo. That is a price they seem willing to pay. They are going to lose a lot of international sympathy though and it will make diplomacy more difficult in the future. I suspect there will repercussions concerning any deals over Ukraine. It will certainly embolden a Hillary admin to increase military aid (at least) to the Poroshenko regime.

Let us hope that the East Aleppo battle is over in a few months since, if not, Hillary could easily do something really stupid in Syria.

Patrick Bahzad

Good points, to which you can add the following:
1. most US and Western medias report about Syria from safe places in Turkey, KSA, or Lebanon. Not many people on the ground anymore, they get some of the video reports directly from "militant" reporters embedded with whatever group is controlling the area they report about.
2. There have been a number of sieges or siege like situations in the wars of the ME over the past 15 years, the ones you mention being the most recent ones of course. I'm pretty sure the level of destruction lately seen in Fallujah and Ramadi is much worse than anything currently happening in Aleppo. Many of the civilians in the Eastern part the city are family members of the fighters opposing R+6, that is also a reason why they are not leaving. By their presence alone, they have a deterring effect on any attacker employing more firepower to level those areas to the ground, in the way the ISF did in Ramadi. Double standards have been the rule for very long, I don't expect this to change anytime soon.
3. The Syrian rebel scene is such a madhouse it is very difficult to tell one group from the other. Personal and structural links make it almost impossible to tell who is AQ and who isn't. R+6 strategy also aims at pushing what is left of the "moderates" (i.e. US supported groups) towards Nusra, in order to be in a position to target them all. Makes sense ...

Patrick Bahzad

There are conflicting reports about number of civilians in East Aleppo. You also have to factor in the refugees from Aleppo countryside who came in to take up shelter in the Eastern parts. The most consensual estimate is 150 000 inhabitants, but 80 000 is perfectly plausible as well. Your low figure however seems a bit of an underestimation to me. But who knows ?

Patrick Bahzad

Im afraid part of the French elites are no better than the R2P, neo-wilsonian crowd in D.C. There is also a strong Neo-con influence among senior staff in the French ministry for foreign affairs. And we have our one kind of "Anne-Marie Slaughter" too. Overall, it's anything but brilliant ...

Patrick Bahzad

Thank you FB Ali,

I'll do my best to keep up with events and update SST readers with a decent analysis. Will definitely post more regularly again !

Trinlae

"Aggressive" and/or uneducated, reactionary, incompetent, leaderless (until KSA+TelAviv "power vectors" are counted), chaotic, etc.

Trinlae

RT Tv in a south Asian Oct 01 broadcast had a short interview with an ex-CIA guy (admin or communications if i recall) who bombastically touted a Trump/GoP scenario of NATO coalition for direct regime change in Syria. However, I cannot find a copy of it anywhere on rt.com or youtube. He sounded like he was trying to push a string but does anyone know of any substantial diversity in party (or borg faction) policy positions (aside from any relevant statements the prez contenders)?

David Habakkuk

I very much hope you do. You have been missed,

Patrick Bahzad

Thank you David. Unfortunately, I had some personal business to attend to. Now done, so back on SST and not planning on leaving !

Nuff Sed

Whether it's 40, 80, or 150 thousand, another question is what portion of this hard core are supporters of these takfiris rats. My guess is that most of what is left consists of their support base.

Haralambos

Mr Bahzad: A kudos is in order: this is up on Naked Capitalism: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/10/links-10216.html
Showdown in Aleppo Sic Semper Tyrannis (Re Silc).

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