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09 March 2017


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Thank you for a great comment.


peter reichard

"they are for the moment contained, their offensive operations in abeyance." your statement assumes that they will remain quiescent until you are ready to deal with them. Why would you assume that? Assumptions like that are dangerous. pl


FYI verbatim through Google translation:

Alexey_Pushkov Tweet 16h16 hours ago

68 countries, members of the Western coalition, will discuss the fight against IG without Russia. Meet and discuss without Russia can - you can not win.



Not stupid, just ill informed. the signal is clear - Stay away from our shores! These encounters have occurred close to Russian shores as the US Navy presses its doctrine of freedom of navigation. pl



If Flynn was retired from the Army then there would be no problem. Retired pay from the military is not equivalent to "being on the government payroll." pl


To get a message across to stay out of their sphere of influence.


Good morning colonel, in my comment I used the question mark because I was not sure if he was lobbying while he was NSA, and obviously a USG employee, apparently he wrote an article promoting Turkish relationship on day of inauguration.

Chris Chuba

By 'screwin' I believe that the Col meant that the Russians would overrule Assad's desire to go after Idlib and force him to make a big push against ISIS, that they would treat Assad like a junior partner. I do not believe that he meant that the Russians would sell out Syria and put Assad's head on a platter and give it to the 'Assad must go' crowd.

What happens after ISIS is defeated?
On a separate topic, I have to laugh at all of these Talking Heads who are fretting that the U.S. will be stuck in Syria after ISIS is defeated just like we got stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq. They don't get it, praise be to Volodya (and even Obama), we did not destroy the govt of Syria so we will NOT be stuck in a quagmire. Assad governs 70% of the population and the Kurds 10%. In Iraq and Afghanistan we destroyed 100% of the governing institutions.

After ISIS is defeated in Syria, we win.

Peter Reichard

Yes, it is a risky assumption but the eastern half of the country will soon be up for grabs and if left to others could result in the de facto partition of the country. The danger is in giving the Idlib rebels time to regroup, any delay making the eventual reduction of Idlib that much more costly but so much right now is at stake in the east. A tough call to make for the Syrian High Command.



Chuba is right. Russia is serving its own interests at Syria's expense but they do not intend to abandon Syria. Syria is too important to heir long term position in the ME. With regard to the value of eastern Syria there is no doubt of that. The question lies in the issue of timing and priorities. I remain convinced that Idlib would have been first in priorities from the Syrian POV. pl


I disagree Pat.

From the Syrian government perspective the cut off of drinking water from Aleppo was THE major crisis. Only yesterday (after 40 days!) did the SAA recover the pumping station at the Euphrates from the Islamic State.

This was priority 1!

Priority 2 was restricting further Turkish movement south. This has also been achieved with the same east-Aleppo move.

The east-Aleppo offensive is now unlikely to continue with the same urgency. This will depend on how fast IS retreats. Should there be significant resistance along the line of contact the SAA will likely halt its movement and just consolidate the position for a while.

Another priority is recovering opposition held areas around Damascus. These are binding A LOT of SAA soldiers. When those positions are recovered at least a brigade worth of combat troops will be free to go elsewhere.

Meanwhile Idleb again saw bloody infighting between Ahrar and al-Qaeda. Takbeer! Al-Qaeda has lost support in the local population and most of its foreign sponsors. Do not disturb them while they continue to make mistakes.

The SAA is now freeing up forces that will be able to be used for the big push in Idleb when the time for that has come. That push can only be successful when Turkey closes the borders for resupplies. Erdogan is in Moscow today and will be told what to do and what not to do.

Meanwhile the U.S. is occupying east-Syria and is now talking of a "stabilization mission" after Raqqa is conquered. Mission creep into another quagmire. There is nothing the SAA or Russia can do about it for now. But should the U.S. have the idea to stay longer than absolutely necessary it will have to prepare for lots of guerrilla action against its forces.

Russia will take care of its interests. But it will neither leave Syria's and Iran's interests aside. It will try to integrate those into its own action. It has to as it needs both these partners at its side.

Thinking that Russia MUST get back on good footing with the U.S. is, in my view, wrong. It will not pay any prices for that. Putin knows well that the U.S. can never be trusted. He has experienced that. He has no illusion about the (non exiting) steadiness of U.S. promises. A reasonable deal though will not be rejected.

Babak Makkinejad

The Spanish Civil War was a mini-World War that preceded World War II.

Let us hope that the analogous mini-World War in Syria is not followed by a World War.

We could be one single assassination away from World War III starting from the Near East.

Babak Makkinejad

It is in Pushkin too.

And even shows up in one of Tarkovsky's movies.

Simon Leys reports on hearing the same sentiment from a high-ranking Soviet Diplomat posted to China in his book: "Chinese Shadows".


Do you ever read any stories about USAF buzzing Russian ships? If the Russians do it, it gets written up and strengthens them. If we do it, nobody writes about it because it weakens us. That in itself tells you were are on the wrong side of this.



Yes. We disagree. IMO it will be harder and harder to destroy the rebels in Idlib. It is easy to be distracted from the main objective and I think that this is one of those cases. An example in history would be the point in Barbarossa at which Hitler overruled OKH to divert the main thrust of Army Groups Center and South to an encirclement of several hundred thousand Soviet troops rather than continuing to drive straight to Moscow. this was a fatal mistake as the opportunity was missed to destroy the Soviet government and system. Aleppo has been without city water for years. It could have waited a few weeks longer. At least the municipal busses are running again. Now I know that you regard American power as a wasting asset. I don't think that the Russians agree. pl


And re drought factor, this documentary by Hollywood A-listers is perhaps the easiest way to take it in :


It is also a relief to see that the regime change zombie, while still alive, is less strong today in public minds at least than earlier.

Unfortunately in light of US track record in ME, i view usa there with only cynicism and see any good from it out weighed by the chronic death and destruction that always follows in the wake. As Trinity College ME studies professor Vijay Prashad says, "it only takes 24 hours to destroy a functioning government, but 100 or more years to build one."


Only in the Europe/West facing Russian face, imho.

Mongolian ethnicity and culture stretches far into Russian Federation and has influenced white Russia at least intellectually for hundreds of years. For example the university of St Petersburg has maintained an extensive archive of the Buddhist canon in Tibetan language for over a hundred years, and I have heard of no such analogous Chinese cultural interests by Russia, or, if they exist, are quite distinct from Kalmuk/Mongolian/Tibetan interests.

But, geopolitically, if the models turn out to be true, and all of east China is under water in 50 years, Russis will bear a refugee brunt an order of magnitude more populous than that faced by Europe from ME.





Sam Peralta

Does anyone know how the US ground troops were inserted into Syria? By land through Turkey or by air? Are there any heavy lift airfields in the area?


Yes that is very possible, the west particularly US, is not happy or even merely satisfied with the resaults of her wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and maybe Yemen. As of the resault thier own doing not only related western waring governments but also the western people are edgy and blame the meddilesterners as well as the Russians for thier own mishaps, that makes
The possibility of a world wide war ever more possible.


@Pat - there was deal between the government and ISIS about water supply from Al-Khafsah at the Euphrates for Aleppo (in exchange for electricity?).

That never stopped until mid-end January. Until then only local substations had time limited problems due to local fighting within Aleppo.

Now the whole supply from the main source was cut. No part of the city had any reasonable supply left and there was no chance to get any from another source. This was a first class emergency that had not occurred before.

You were urging a move to Idlib but there were too few available forces. Turkey was coming in from the north threatening an attack on Aleppo from the east. ISIS was revenging the gas fields in east-Homs that are needed for electricity. Wadi Barada water was cut from Damascus. That is where forces were needed. Only now have those situations been cleared up. Only now are forces available for a big push on Idlib. (This still can only happen if nothing else unforeseen comes up.)

The question of outside support for AQ in Idlib is still somewhat unclear. It will be difficult to beat it if the Turkish borders stay wide open and weapons continue to flow. (The NYT just pushed a new "cuddly moderate" al-Qaeda piece and the UK government has a new campaign about those "brave" (never seen before) White Helmet/al-Qaeda women. What does this mean? Renewed al-Qaeda support?)

The Idlib campaign must be forceful enough to be decisive. An attack that keeps stuck after a few miles would be a useless waste. Only when all ducks are in line will the big push begin.

"Now I know that you regard American power as a wasting asset. I don't think that the Russians agree."

I don't understand what you mean by that.

Russia will no be willing to pay an unreasonable price for good relations with the U.S. It will not give up any strategic assets. The U.S. is a too wobbly partner to risk that.



So, the IS jihadis screwed their fellow but enemy AQ type jihadis in Aleppo City by bartering with the government - water for electricity. I presume that the ISniks also supplied the natural gas to generate the electricity? With regard to the coming and inevitable Idlib offensive I quite agree that it must be decisive and clearly a disaster for the rebels or it will be a disaster for the government. In my experience it I good to be an ME type. There is always someone you can betray and feel good about it. I hope that wastage of assets has not been severe in the east. pl



It isn’t like there aren’t millions of Americans who already passed through SE Asia or the Middle East and who have seen the chauvinism of other cultures; in particular, the Chinese. Yet, the Western Elite sold and shipped its industry lock stock and barrel to China to get rich. The corruption was as simple as buying Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites instead of paying more to build them in the USA. It is a peculiar hubris mixed with blindness that avoids acknowledging the collapse of the rule of law and continues fighting unwinnable wars.

ex-PFC Chuck

Norbert, I agree that the avoidance of nuclear war between the USA and Russia is front rank imperative of Russian foreign policy, and that is why they are so concerned about the US/NATO pushing anti-missile systems right up to their western borders. If they did indeed try to influence the recent presidential election because of Hilary's unapologetic advocacy of a confrontational policy, I'm glad they did it. It was not only in their national interest but ours as well, and even the Israelis. I think it's far more likely that nuclear war would break out as a result of s**t happening down the chain of command than because of a deliberate decision at the national command level. Based on what's emerged over the last couple of decades, it's now apparent that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a much closer run thing than people thought at the time.

Ishmael Zechariah

There are many Kalmuk/Mongolian/Tibetan/Tatar/Turkic ethnicities who identify w/ Russia and are accepted as such. Shoygu comes to mind; Tuvan is a Turkic language.Here is Dina Garipova from Tataristan:
Ishmael Zechariah
P.s: Perhaps you all know that this was a song of a war against us, Turks. This campaign resulted, decades later, on Turkey entering Nato (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Straits_crisis ). One relative was serving on the eastern front,in Erzurum. His artillery unit was ordered to the Soviet border after Stalin's Ultimatum. Turkey was ready to declare war, despite being almost sure of losing.
P.p.s: The Golden Horde was first Mongol and then Turkic. Some of us identify w/ them far more than we identify w/ the Muslim Arabs.

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