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30 January 2017


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Babak Makkinejad

Yup, spend 30 days studying how to wage war and defeat Islamic State while publicly stating that the citizens of Iraq and Syria are threats to the security of the United States - all the while maintaining a wall between SAR and USG.

I think the Marx Brothers did that once; or was it Mel Brooks?


nothing to do with Greek mythology, if that's on your mind. But if so. No.



I have been reading about the U.S. wanting a safe zone in Syria. I can't imagine Syria accepting that peacefully. And the above article states that the U.S. is in contact / resupplying ISIS. That would imply a continuation of Obama's policy?


Babak Makkinejad -

I never implied that the R+6 could force the west to do anything. I do agree with Charly that the Russian/Syrian strategy is to turn Idlib province into a Taqfiri haven. That would give them time to clean up the rest of the opposition pockets in the country. I myself do not think it a good strategy, but I am no Clausewitz, not even close.

What is this Western Fortress to which you keep referring? And why would the prolongation of the war benefit them?


Apparently the Kurdish YPG and their Arab/Syriac/Armenian/Circassian allies in the SDF are going to try to cut the route between Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. If successful that will be a serious problem for Daesh trying to take Deir ez-Zor from the Syrian Army.


Unfortunately the new 'armored' vehicles recently provided to the SDF for this op are only up-armored SUV's. And not many have been provided so far. Erdogan is bound to be steaming mad though that the SDF is getting hardware and ammo from the US. He will probably retaliate by flattening another Kurdish city with tanks and artillery in SE Turkey.

Chris Chuba

I agree that Idlb should be strongly attacked and one of those reasons is to save the Astana peace process. The non-Al Qaeda rebels need to see Nusra Front 3.0 crushed (I'm calling them Al Qaeda, I'm not buying into their name changes). They are too stubborn to abandon Idlib, so they will die in place which is good and the other rebels will feel more pressure to abandon them. If the SAA leaves them be then Nusra 3.0 will continue to whip them back into line. Cut off the head.

Now that Aleppo and Wadi Barada have been liberated, there is diminishing return in leaving Idlib as a safe haven for isolated pockets that want to surrender. Assad has already won the big prizes. I'm not a military guy but I have observed that the rebels abandon Nusra when they lose so it looks like it is important to show that Nusra is on the losing side.


Slightly OT but still very relevant to this conversation, I think.

In an article yesterday Gilbert Doctorow included translations of selected remarks from "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev", according to him Russia's premier political talk show. The guests, mostly leading Russian politicians and academics, discussed the meaning of the Trump/Putin phone call.


"The boys did their homework both in historical comparisons and in parsing texts of the press releases. They came to the show well prepared. Their comments are worth reading at length [. . .]

Another noteworthy aspect of the program and of the positive view presented on prospects for collaboration with Donald Trump’s America is that it unfolded under the direction of the great Trump-skeptic, Vladimir Soloviev himself."


Syria is only an unimportant part of the World that the American Empire wants to control. If Idlib is controlled in obvious way by AQ than it cost the Empire way to much (*) in the Rest of the World if they support the AQ rebels in Idlib direct or even in a plausible deniable way so they wont do it. (Moscow will have a big celebration the case they do support AQ, Tehran a small won)

The hardcore fighters aren't the problem. It is their resupply that is a problem. Cut that and they will loose fast.
If i was Putin i would wait for Idlib AQ to really come out of the closet which is likely to be in the next few months, then i would uhm, persuade Assad to make big overtures of a peace deal with Idlib AQ. Would bet that the deal the West than offers to continue the war will be very sweet for Russia/Regime and a closed border

Babak Makkinejad

Ask them.

Western Fortress: NATO States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea.


That's pretty cryptic, charly.

Put another way, not easy to interpret. Starting maybe with the bracketed asterisk. Maybe? What does it refer to? Attempt at interpretation: The 'American Empire' controls the 'Rest of the world', or at least the part it is more or less aligned with? None of those would dare to support the rebels? Which leaves us with Russia as the main culprit and/or sponsors? Only states can be sponsors?

...(Moscow will have a big celebration the case they do support AQ, Tehran a small won)

If Russia and its allies manage to win the war returning Syria to some type of normalcy--End of the civil war/Rebuilding--I wouldn't mind them to celebrate. Could even imagine to join them in their celebration.

Would bet that the deal the West than offers to continue the war will be very sweet for Russia/Regime and a closed border

Do I understand you correctly, you feel that Russia and Assad/Syria should align with AQ versus "the West"? They may even intend this down the road? What would AQ coming out of the closet in Idlib look like?


Per AlMasdar, the 105th Brigade has redeployed from Wadi Barada to Jobar (east Damascus City). If this increases the rate at which the East Ghouta pocket can be reduced, we might be seeing a cascade effect on the remaining pockets. The days of the northern Homs pocket seem numbered.


That is very true. The effects of nearly 450 days of negative light shed on that country by the network news (a near monopoly on national news at the time) has proved very hard to overcome, specially since no apology was ever forthcoming from the 'revolutionary' perpetrators either. In effect a whole generation of politicians were formed with these images bunt into their mind.

At times though the cost to our national interests of holding and acting on this understandable grudge might have been higher than they needed to be.


"The wild cards are the global oligarchs from Riyadh to Wall Street who are pushing for the destabilization of Russia by keeping it always at war."

Given the holdings of Saud family in Citigroup, the road from Riyadh to Wall Street is a case of "arriving before departure."


Syria is a side show for Russia. They would win big in the Rest of the World but it would be a negative in Syria so in the total picture they would celebrate.

You have to realize that only in a very cynical world would the US support Al Qaeda and in that very cynical world the US is an Empire, Putin a mobster etc. In a less cynical World the US would not do that pure for keeping face, see for example ISIS oil tankers

I don't know the right word for (*) but it is that what you use/have so that people do what you want. Be that fear, respect, love, money, influence etc. or more likely a combination of those.

A peace deal is not an alignment, not even close and Julani being commander in chief of the rebel army of Idlib s very close to AQ out of the closet.


Elliott Abrahms has apparently been hired by Tillerson. Not a good sign. He could become Trump's Vicky Nuland.

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