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08 December 2016

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JJackson

Islamic State 'has lost 50,000 fighters' over two years
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38252092

All
This article might lead the unwary to believe that this number is due to US backed action. What do the committee think of the number and how would they apportion it between the R+6 and the US sides?

I note that only a small number of refugees have emerged, despite the loss of territory in Aleppo, compared to the 150,000 'Still trapped' being touted.

Stumpy

Where is the will of the US Coalition that was present on the Road of Death leading out of Kuwait? It's basically the same guys, right? They want a bus ride out of town? Caviar? Hot scented face towels?

Mow them down, I say, for the horrors they have perpetrated on their captives.

turcopolier

stumpy

From personal experience I can tell you that the Iraqi Army in Kuwait was nothing like the jihadi rebels in Syria. The Iraqi Army of that time was a nationalist, secular force. pl

norlurking

Well said colonel...well said

plantman

Colonel,

I just learned that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which passed the House last Friday House 375-34-- will allow the Defense dept to provide MANPADs to "vetted" rebels in Syria. Opponent Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) released a statement denouncing the bill here: http://www.hawaii247.com/2016/12/03/rep-gabbard-votes-against-defense-authorization-bill-which-passes-in-house-375-34/

“This bill contains the same deeply concerning and dangerous Syria train and equip measures that I’ve fought against since the program’s inception.
“First, it creates the potential for dangerous ground-to-air missiles getting in the hands of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. Several months ago, as this bill was being crafted, I and many of my colleagues voted for an amendment that would have prohibited the Department of Defense from transferring any Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPAD) to fighters in Syria. In the wrong hands, these dangerous weapons are capable of shooting American planes out of the sky. The final bill that passed today allows for the transfer of MANPADs, with some weak restrictions, which could allow terrorist groups to get ahold of them and use them against the United States and our allies.

Don't you think that these Manpads will eventually be used against US or Israeli airliners?

I can't understand why Obama agreed to this.

Prem

Back in 2001 Bush let the Pakistanis fly their guys out of Kunduz, along with a lot of senior Taliban/AQ (according to Sy Hersh).

Maybe, given the geography, that was necessary. In this situation I can't see why R+6 should allow anything similar.

Thirdeye

Estimated 26,000 refugees left the Jihadi areas before today and another 8,000 left today. The group of 8,000 is the largest yet and there was an operational pause to accommodate them.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/lavrov-combat-actions-aleppo-suspended-take-civilians-city/

turcopolier

plantman

"Don't you think that these Manpads will eventually be used against US or Israeli airliners? I can't understand why Obama agreed to this." Yes. IMO he is covering his ass for the jihadi defeat in Syria. pl

Anna

The Lobby seems to become composed of intellectual and moral degenerates. The inability to think forward and the passion for having "Israel way" by any means translates into greater infamy and greater military and other losses for the US. The parasitoid is not concerned about long-term wellbeing of a host.

Seacoaster

Sir,

Has there been any other reporting on NATO SOF/intel personnel escaping Aleppo? SST is the only place I've heard that.

Thank you again for your Israel travel advice. Got in to the edicule and saw Caesarea, but Belvoir was closed for renovation.

dp

CRISPY CRITTERS Enjoy the trip to Hades........

elaine

I'd sure like to free the British reporter AQ has held for years, Yazidi & Christian
woman taken into brutal slavery, all NATO people, etc. I wonder what kind of hostage trade could be arranged? Or perhaps these jihadis have no value, that would send a message. If
these guys just get wasted in the moment how do the hostages get released? Some
good must come from this battle victory.

Any jihadis traded have been beaten once & can be beaten again post haste after
a swap. Or am I being naive? No 5 for 1 deals like the Bergdahl swap, reverse &
increase the ratio, even on these terms my guess the victors will still end up
with more prisoners than they can safely handle. Big problems.

Tigermoth

Obama just opened the weapons floodgates for the jihadists:

https://www.rt.com/usa/369702-obama-waiver-military-aid-syria-forces/

"US President Barack Obama has ordered a waiver for restrictions on military aid for foreign forces and others in Syria, deeming it “essential to the national security interests” of the US to allow exceptions from provisions in the Arms Export Control Act.A White House press release Thursday announced that foreign fighters in Syria supporting US special operations “to combat terrorism in Syria” would be excused from restrictions on military assistance.

“I hereby determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States,” President Obama affirmed in the presidential determination and waiver.

The order delegates responsibility to the US secretary of state to work with and report to Congress on weapons export proposals, requiring 15 days' notice before they are authorized...

"“The rebels, whom we cannot identify, are going to be getting some very sophisticated weapons. Potentially, I should say, man-portable air defense systems, which can knock down Russian and Syrian aircraft,” Maloof said. “And the fact too, that we have stocks already in Europe, that can easily be transferred with this waiver. Under the waiver, it’s supposed to be a 15-day notification to Congress, but Congress, as of tonight, Washington time, is going to be out of session until January. So these arms can go within hours.”...

... President Obama’s decision could lead to an almost immediate escalation of the conflict and basically put the US in a situation of “waging a proxy war against the Russians and Syrians,” a former Pentagon official, Michael Maloof, told RT."

Also; Turkey ups the anti :

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/report-300-elite-turkish-commandos-enter-syria/

"Up to 300 elite Turkish commandos will enter Syria to fight ISIS terrorists and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) whilst supporting the Free Syrian Army and Islamist militants, according to Anadolu News...

... A source told Anadolu News that the 11th Command Brigade have already been airlifted to Syria from the Cardak Military Airport in Western Turkey."

This war is about to seriously escalate.

ancient archer

Why forget the ISIS coming to take over Palmyra in long columns of white pick-ups. And yes, of course the long columns of oil trucks transporting oil from ISIS held territory to Turkey. Before Russia blasted the trucks, ISIS was merry making money from a NATO ally. The US has turned a blind eye to this in this theater before. Not a new thing!

ancient archer

Has anyone seen the teeth gnashing and howls of protest from the premier neocon outpost, the formerly-Great Britain?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/russia-syria-putin-assad-creating-terrorists-mi6-warning-uk-threat-a7463151.html

It escapes me how people can even live with that sort of cognitive dissonance. So, Russia and SAA killing jihadis will create new ones, but droning and the saudi war on yemen or any other kind of NATO action create nothing but moderate, peace loving middle easterners.

I am wondering what happens when (if) Trump backs away from the neocon agenda - be that destabilisation of Ukraine and other ex-Soviet territories or arming jihadis. Will the UK and other NATO allies go it alone? Do they have the balls and more importantly the capability to carry on their merry way as if Hillary were the POTUS. From their public pronouncements it seems as if they intend to continue their current (losing) policy. Along with Obama's authorisation for MANPADs for jihadis this seems like the last push from the neocons to breathe life into the beaten jihadis before the administration changes. Will these guys ever learn when they have lost??

Peter Reichard

Colonel, a question. After attacking Idlib from the southeast to draw the enemy that way is it feasible given the constraints of terrain and limited road infrastructure for the Syrians to drive from Latakia along the Turkish border thereby surrounding the entire Idlib rebel force?

turcopolier

Peter Reichard

I think that is possible. The great obstacle in doing that sweep along the Turkish border in Lattakia and the Idlib Provinces would e the Turks themselves and their artillery and air. pl

johnf

No I don't think the British or any other NATO country will continue this nonsense if Trump carries out his anti-interventionist promises. Already the British Government's foreign policy seems to be suffering from massive internal cognitive dissonance, with an already flakey foreign secretary sending out more conflicting signals than a fireworks store on fire.

I think we're witnessing the neo-cons last hurrah. They're being closed down by events in Aleppo, Trump's arrival in Washington, and above all by the universal revulsion of Western electorates for their persona and policies. Unlike their allies in ISIS and al Qaeda, I don't think they have the bottle to fight.

But I've always suffered from optimism.

johnf

Indeed, the Lebanese journalist Elijah J Magnier tweets:

"I find a strong similarity btwn the state of mind f Syrian experts&analysts w/ d defeat of jihadists in east #Aleppo & the victory of Trump."

https://twitter.com/EjmAlrai/status/807233105786523648

And I'd draw the parallel with the shock felt by the elite and their pundits in Britain with Brexit. The neo-con/neo-liberal/identity politics "Masters of the Universe" are being struck a series of hammer blows from which I don't think they'll recover.

kooshy

IMO the US planers like the case in Ukraine, miss-calculated Russian reaction to proxy “invasion” of Syria, to topple Syrian government. I think they never thought Russia will defend her interests in Syria as hard as she is doing. IMO the focus was her only outside of Russia and the Mediterranean Sea port, IMO this is since the US/Western planers thought Russia will not be fighting as hard and invest so expensively on defending her Syrian interests. IMO, western thinking was, since west is in control of all three sea accesses (as well as Air) to the Mediterranean Sea, Russia will not bother to invest as heavily as she did to defend that only sea port. Obviously this was in addition and beside the plans on separating Syria from Iran and western Asian resistance front which would have signed in a larger pole of regional countries who would pay and supply the western proxies. This plan IMO has no totally failed with long-term consequences for western countries.

alba etie

All
Does our Committee have any thoughts on where and how the question of the Rojava /Kurdish Federated State of Syria might be resolved? It seems to me that R + 6 have relied on the YPG a few too many times not to expect the Euphrates Volcano cohort to have earned some type of 'home turf " somewhere ?

Serge

Thoughts on the ongoing clashes around Palmyra? Significant IS advances reported in past 4 hours,Jabal Hayyan and mahr/jizal field garrisons apparently wiped out with IS claiming total control. Last night I discounted the sohr-whipped up MSM frenzy of "advances towards palmyra" , think it was yet more of the same raids for loot that we saw around Shaer last spring. Not so sure anymore

robt willmann

plantman, Tigermoth,

Regarding the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (1 Oct. 2016 to 30 Sept. 2017), it looks as if something might have happened in the "conference committee" that was set up to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Senate Bill 2943 became a House amended bill to start appropriations, and when it was sent to a conference committee after each body had voted on it, section 1229 prohibited the transfer of MANPADS to Syria. The website for the bill is here--

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2943

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2943/actions

Section 1229 said--

"Sec. 1229. Prohibition on Transfer of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems to Any Entity in Syria.
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017 may be obligated or expended to transfer or facilitate the transfer of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to any entity in Syria."

The House voted 375-34 to pass the version from the conference committee on 2 December, and the Senate voted 92-7 yesterday to pass it--

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll600.xml

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=2&
vote=00159

Representative Tulsi Gabbard's press release from 3 December seems to say that there is language in the bill from the conference committee that will allow manpads. The text of the bill from the conference committee is not yet on the Congressional website for the bill, cited above. Any change would probably be in section 1229.

The weasel words in the earlier section 1229 are: "None of the funds authorized ... by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017 may be obligated or expended...." So the vocabulary game is that no money authorized by this particular law for 2017, and for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017, may be used for manpads. But if the money is not from this appropriation law for 2017, or is not for the DoD for fiscal year 2017, the restriction in the section would not apply, as the CIA lawyers will be loudly saying at meetings.

As has been mentioned, export control laws can also apply, but there might be a section in them that allows the president, or another government official, to unilaterally issue a "waiver" for the prohibited transfer or action.

The Beaver

Colonel,

PEOTUS' team planning to loosen ROE for the troops fighting overseas:

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/309705-trump-transition-team-reviewing-military-rules-of-engagement

Serge

Minutes after I wrote that last post reports started streaming in of IS storming eastern and southern palmyra. If this is true, what does it say about the timing? ISIS obviously would have coordinated this to coincide with aleppo, not just for the diversion of troops but for the propaganda victory that this would give them among the idlibites and co

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