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09 March 2017


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Weapons transferred to a foreign power or group under a presidential "finding" for a covert action do not have and end user certificate that show the ultimate consignee. OTOH e do not know how many the AQ type jihadis have stockpiled. if by MIC you mean military intelligence, they would not have been asked their opinion on policy or probably not even informed. Their function is to inform, not to make recommendations for policy. pl l


Good comment



http://tass.com/world/935019 I hope this is true. We need a Tilsit moment. pl


I haven't seen any evidence that Putin is only partly supporting Syria. The support seems to me to be pretty much full on.


If I summarize the question correctly, it is whether Syria/Russia should go for Raqqa or for Idlib. For me, I have no doubt that if it is doable, Idlib would be to prefer. open up the direct road to Aleppo.

Raqqa. Right now the forces outside Raqqa are SDF, partly Rojavan Kurds and partly Sunni Arab tribes. If there's going to be a city fight, as in Mosul, the Kurds won't fight, as it's not a fight for them, rather territory which would have to be surrendered to the Sunnis in the near future. No point in having your people killed for nothing.

The minority groups of Sunni Arab tribesmen will have to do the job, somewhat doubtful, even with US Marine artillery support.

It should not be forgotten that the Rojavan Kurds, even if under severe US pressure, are only partly US allies. They will be making a deal with Asad at the end of the war. The Sunni tribes the same.

Why should Asad go for Raqqa, when his allies are doing it for him?

Babak Makkinejad

But your civilization is now extinct in its cradle. I would not care if I were you.


Laguerre, they (at least the Sunnis) are not his allies yet. I think Asad also wants to be there to influence which Sunnis will get Raqqa and to keep close to the Kurds, who are antagonistic allies.

I agree with PL that this diversion risks allowing the AQ-descended Hay'at Tahrir ash-Sham to consolidate. A post by Aymenn Al-Tammimi (http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/hayat-tahrir-al-sham-civil-society-jabal-al-summaq/) shows how this consolidation is now taking place on the civilian side.

Once HTS has gained the battle for civilian services they can embed in society and ultimately survive even military defeat. Same move by the Taliban took place in early 2001: Take over of bread distribution ensures control of the population down to the level of every single person.

But Asad on balance had to respect the Russian priority not to allow all the laurels for ISIL destruction to end up with the US alone, and has himself an interest to keep a close watch over the Euphrates valley. I also find b's explanation of the water pumping station a compelling argument.

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