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26 November 2016

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Chris Chuba

An assessment of material support for Syrian Rebels
This article appeared on Southfront, https://southfront.org/terror-accounting/
Mikhail Nicolaevsky estimates the amount and structure of material support given to Syrian rebel groups in different categories. I am summarizing the article, words enclosed in [ ... ] are when I inject my personal comments into the subject matter, otherwise I am posting the author's opinion. I don't have a means of verifying this data, so I am posting it as is.

1. He describes the cost of maintaining refugee camps and their role as recruitment pools. There is a payment in kind where a recruit will have his family transported to an EU country.

2. Recruitment cost of foreign fighters, $430M (including family relocation) + $163M (transportation mgt) + $324M (instructors) per year

3. Salaries by role and specialty, total $473M. The estimated number of rebels in Syria has dropped from 105k to 74k. [this seems really high to me, if true Syria's still in for a long fight, I wish I had a dime every time I've heard Al Nusra has 15,000 fighters, it's like a cosmic constant.]

4. Medical costs since Oct. 2015 including family death benefits, $674M.

5. He gives a description of the supply and type of weapons and their attrition.

Final tally, since 2015 the rebels have had $4.5B dollars worth of material support.

I was surprised by the assertion that Turkey is still bearing most of the cost to overthrow Assad. His recommendation is, no truces. Attrition is grinding down the rebel groups, don't let them recover.

crf

The story has mistakes that shouldn't have made it through an editorial evaluation. The question is what is the reason for this editorial lassitude? Maybe staff cutbacks, lack of morale, and possibly bad feelings from the Trump victory.

Green Zone Café

Anybody see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk? I recommend it.

It's a movie based on the novel by Ben Fountain, which portrays an infantry squad's welcome home on leave from Iraq during an NFL game on Thanksgiving 2004.

The first five minutes I thought it was going to be a mocking caricature of soldiers, but the joke is on the civilians. The squad leaders played by Vin Diesel and Garrett Hedlund are complex characters, the latter (SSG Dime) fully of self-aware irony as is the soldier Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) himself.

A side plot with Kristen Stewart playing Billy Lynn's sister is kind of weak but a necessary foil. Steve Martin was a better foil, but no spoilers.

There is also a riff on the Bhagavad-Gita and the warrior Arjuna. The ending was kind of moving.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2513074/

I plan to read the book soon, as well as Roy Scranton's War Porn.

Pundita

Fortune magazine, which has never struck me as particularly friendly toward Russia, finallyl reached its gag limit. It has an article that drills down into the muck of the accusations:

http://fortune.com/2016/11/25/russian-fake-news/

The Intercept (Glenn Greenwald, who's livid about the situation) also drilled down:

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/

I think these two fiskings are just the beginning of the backlash against the yellow journalism pieces in WaPo and "War on the Rocks." If you haven't read the latter, brace yourself:

http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/

As to whether there's any bite along with all this barking -- The Intercept article mentions:

BEGIN QUOTE
PropOrNot is by no means a neutral observer. It actively calls on Congress and the White House to work “with our European allies to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT financial transaction system, effective immediately and lasting for at least one year, as an appropriate response to Russian manipulation of the [US] election.”
END QUOTE

So that's what all this has been working up to.

As to my own opinion, I suspect the entire disinformation operation was cooked up by MI6 with approval from NATO command. But then you would have to know something personal about me to put this in context.

My enemies say I'm so obsessed with the idea that the British are still trying to recapture their lost American colonies that I patrol the banks of the Potomac all night, looking for British mini-subs to surface.

That's ridiculous; a woman of my age prowling around lower Georgetown all night. I use a college fraternity for the patrol; I pay them in beer kegs.

Pundita

I saw this SouthFront report around 8:30am EST -- was up all night waiting for something like this to happen after I read your comment. See the SouthFront website for maps accompanying the report, including the one showing the SAA coalition's expected plan of action.

AL-NUSRA (AL-QAEDA) DEFENSES COLLAPSE, SYRIAN ARMY READY TO SPLIT EASTERN ALEPPO POCKET INTO TWO
November 27, 2016
SouthFront

Jaish al-Fatah militant coalition, led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) terrorist group, has failed to [halt] the Syrian government forces advance in the eastern part of Aleppo city.

Since yesterday the Syrian army, Liwa al-Quds, Hezbollah and other pro-government groups have captured the Jabal Badro Neighborhood and launched an advance in the Al-Sakhour area, aiming to reach Bostal al-Pasha and split the militant controlled areas in eastern Aleppo into two separate parts. Government forces also captured the area of Ard Hamra.

If Jaish al-Fatah redeploys manpower from southern Aleppo [province] to its northeastern part, the army and its allies will be able to relaunch attacks in Sheikh Saeed.

An expected plan of government forces operation in eastern Aleppo:
[map]

Pundita

Hope this is a help. From FARS today (Nov 27):

BEGIN QUOTES
TEHRAN (FNA)- Sources close to the Syrian dissidents disclosed that the Turkish army has deployed anti-aircraft 'Stinger' missile system to the regions near al-Bab city Northeast of Aleppo province.

Ahmad al-Khatib, a journalist with close links to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, disclosed on his twitter page that Turkey is equipping its affiliated forces stationed near the strategic city of al-Bab with Stinger missile system.

The Turkish media had also reported on Saturday that a number of trucks carrying air defense systems were moving from Oguzeli region in Gaziantep towards the Syrian borders.

Tensions between Damascus and Ankara have gone so high that Syrian sources report army's preemptive strike in the Northern parts of Syria to block the Turkish army's attempts to establish a buffer zone in the region.
[...]
END QUOTES

Lots more in the report.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950907000955

turcopolier

Degringolade

Yes. Where did we go wrong? pl

turcopolier

Aleksbraddockroad

Yes. PB is working on one for Syria and Iraq as an overall basis for SITREPs on subsets like Rojava, etc. pl

johnf

Oddlots

Thanks.

LondonBob

Well hopefully it will be be Fillon who wins today and will eventually face Le Pen for the Presidency. Of course from my perspective his wife is Welsh and he is a big anglophile, so this is good for Britain. He is also supportive of Assad, critical of Hollande's relationship with Qatar and the KSA, as well as favouring a rapprochement with Russia. Apparently he is another 'Putin' puppet, according to the usual suspects. From a personal perspective he is sceptical of the EU, immigration and socialist economics.

How quickly the post 1968 world is crumbling, 2016 is the year the counter revolution began.

LG

An analysis by Elijah J Magnier on the Syrian airstrike killing three Turkish soldiers near AlBab

On the same day, one year apart, Russia gets its revenge and stops Turkey at the gates of al-Bab


https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/on-the-same-day-one-year-apart-russia-gets-its-revenge-and-stops-turkey-at-the-gates-of-al-bab/

Ishmael Zechariah

General Ali,
Many thanks.
Ishmael Zechariah

Fred

Babak,

Sweden is doing a fine liberal democratic job of destroying their own civilization without any help or hindrance from the US or NATO. I don't see us coming to their rescue.

Joe100

Clearly Col Lang's view that the Eastern Aleppo resistance was on the verge of collapse was correct. Cassad's web site reports that SAA has completely cut off the Northeastern pocket after defenses collapsed..

Fred

Degringolade,

The WAPO left out Rolling Stone, which was given a $7.5 million dollar judgement by a jury who found their fake rape story libelous. The Obama administration and others on the left were set to make national policy over that story. UVA President Sullivan did collectively punish fraternities and sororities over that story. That's the authoritarian left in action.

RetiredPatriot

GZC,

SWMBO and I partook this film over the holiday weekend. I concur, well worth the price of admission. Compelling. And yes, the ending heartfelt. Faithful to Fountain's novel which I read when it came out a few years back. I'm glad this movie got made and wish it well. But, as with so many other films about our (now!) 15 year war in the deserts, there's little appetite by the "civilians." Movies like Billy Lynn's,The Messenger, The Lucky Ones and so many others simply make the civilians overly guilty about how exactly they "support the troops." Someday perhaps they will appreciate the sacrifices made, the pain endured, the waste of treasure - appreciate and learn from it. Someday.

In the meantime, I offer some poetry of Brian Turner:
To Sand
To sand go tracers and ball ammunition.
To sand the green smoke goes.
Each finned mortar, spinning in light.
Each star cluster, bursting above.
To sand go the skeletons of war, year by year.
To sand go reticles of the brain,
the minarets and steeple bells, brackish
sludge from the open sewers, trashfires,
the silent cowbirds resting
on the shoulders of a yak. To sand
each head of cabbage unravels its leaves
the way dreams burn in the oilfires of night.

Prem

There is a very interesting interview by Robert Fisk of the head of Syria's Air Force Intelligence, General Jamil Hassan:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-war-aleppo-exclusive-top-syrian-general-robert-fisk-tougher-tacts-a7442161.html

aleksandar

Little update.
Jihadist defennce line collapse in East Aleppo. War is all about manpower and logistic.
A new map :
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-kurds-continue-steamrolling-east-aleppo-rebels-mass-retreat/

aleksandar

I hope so and IMO it will benefit to all europeans citizen.
"L'europe des peuples du General de Gaulle" not this stupid bureaucracy.

Sam Peralta

Fred

"That's the authoritarian left in action." Yes, the left is quite happy to be as authoritarian as necessary to enforce their PC priorities. But, its those code words that the damn alt-right uses!!

Bandolero

All

It seems the moderate terrorists in Aleppo had a bit of bad luck recently. Instead of being split in half their pocket in Aleppo seems to have been shrinked:

https://twitter.com/A7_Mirza/status/802906045093912576

Regarding yesterday's conquest of the Hanano district Reuters had a very strange sentence in it's report on that. Quote begin:

"Rebels say much of Hanano has been empty of residents for some months."

End quote. Source:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-aleppo-idUKKBN13L0KZ

That's their words now: "empty of residents for some months." And that while all the quality news, NGOs and international bodies reported for months that there are so many hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the brutal siege in Eastern Aleppo. Where are they?

And some of those civilians who are in Eastern Aleppo seem to be willing to leave their moderate protectors in Eastern Aleppo to be with Assad's thugs. Al Manar has filed today this remarkable report from Jabal Badro district in Aleppo - be sure, it's "fake news" like most reports not filed by western mass media are called nowadays:

https://youtu.be/eLGcKeJINZU

A Russian journo tweep - be careful, he might be a Putin stooge spreading fake news - just said more than 4k civs arrived today in West-Aleppo shelters prepared for East-Aleppo people:

https://twitter.com/MmaGreen/status/802944141625847808

Bandolero

Chris

Some single billion digit is not really that much. Even Qatar alone could foot such a bill. And the superpower of Qatar has just said they'll gonna show Trump who's boss. Reuters/Newsweek reports, quote:

"Qatar Will Arm Syrian Rebels Regardless of Trump's Policies"

Source: http://europe.newsweek.com/qatar-arm-syrian-rebels-regardless-trump-policies-525590

James

You got your wish. Fillon has won. I didn't know anything about him - thanks for filling me in.

Serge

Regarding Syria, does the stepwise implosion of Ahrar Al Sham that we are perhaps now witnessing before our eyes signal a farther reaching start of a Gulfie takeover/consolidation of the non IS Syrian rebels through Nusra, in preparation for a possible future Trump disengagement from the whole mess? Signals of high intensity friction between Turkish and Gulf elements, an unwillingness to see eye to eye in regards to the future courses of action in the fact of the obvious Assad military advantage on the battlefield? This seems to have been a process started with the absorption of jund al aqsa a couple months ago by nusra.

Pundita

Thank you. You've probably already seen this but a FARS report 9 PM their time has a few more morsels about the retreat

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950907001554

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