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09 March 2017


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Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for your kind words and the clarification on certain moral issues.


Hi, this should turn off the italics [/i]

Babak Makkinejad

Do not flatter yourself, hardly cyber-crime. More like cyber-annoyance.



I am an American soldier though sadly retired from active duty. I will always be that. The war aim of the US to completely suppress ISIS is one that I completely support. The US believes that killing IS jihadis at and around Raqqa is a good thing. I agree. The US has another war aim which is to remove the present Syrian government. I do not agree with that but I would have served in that war if I were still on active duty as I served two years in the VN War which I thought was stupid. For me the alternative would be to resign my commission. pl


FB Ali

Thanks. Not sure I know how to do that. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

I'll try to turn off the italics.


Hitler, in many discussions with his generals, repeated his order of "Leningrad first, the Donbass second, Moscow third";[75] but he consistently emphasized the destruction of the Red Army over the achievement of specific terrain objectives.[76] Hitler believed Moscow to be of "no great importance" in the defeat of the Soviet Union[g] and instead believed victory would come with the destruction of the Red Army ... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa)

Note: The Donbass is an industrial center but also a transit point toward seizing Caucasus oil fields.

different clue

Clonal Antibody,

A CountryState gov must defend its sovereignty over its territory in word as a marker for the future and assertion of its self-aware existence, even if it does not have the brute force power to enforce its sovereignty over all its official territory at this time.

If I am right about that, then I don't take Assad's statements as "anti-America". I take them as being pro-SAR.


Yes, I had seen it remarked in some old chronicles that one key features leading to success of Mongolian Empire stretching across northwest Asia to Europe was their recognition of lacking civil administration skills, (being better endowed in the warrior department.) So after conquest, the first thing they did was re hire all the administrative technocrats and never demanded religious conversions, just treasury.

I had heard of long Mongolian adminstration via locals in Iraq, and bring horsemen surely stretched Turkward via Caucus areas. But interestingly, I've never heard any legends connecting Mongol era w Persian empire. Perhaps Babak ji knows something.

FYI a martial Mongolian style fetish - like streak still pervades a certain class of Buddhist "protectors of the faith" rituals across Tibet and the Himalayan region, aside from Mongolia of course. Dozens of drums are played invoking a vast troop marching sound, while another style on the same drum can be made to sound like a galloping horse that I noticed more deftly played by a few monks from eastern Tibet.

Hear this video from the 14:00 mark: https://youtu.be/yd9qBY0UKG0

I have some better clips in my private collection but wouldhave to dig them up.


Not mine, this was a mapped model I saw. I didn't search to confirm their sources, but Business Insider put their name on it. It was a model of "ALL ice melted" but one gets the general idea for less than all.


I do recall Bernie Sanders citing DoD reports during his campaign forecasting environmental change as greatest med & long term threats to global security. i didn't chase the citations however.

Hood Canal Gardner

Who: the same ego driven full-of-it/brevit searching-seeking officers and nc cadre that push the 'limits' in civilian life;

Some 'small stuff' (text) What examples: UCMJ small print , International War Conventions, the small print on their enlistment documents...add the Constitution & BOR.

Your use of the notion/s of meditation and winners and losers work for you..as is/context not quite for me..thought 2 cents was okay.


Perhaps the international space station code of conduct can be extended to earth?

My experiences are with the Russian high altitude helicopter pilots in Nepal and physicists on the experiments at Gran Sasso, Italy, and in both instances found the fabric of life much enriched by the contributions!

Ken Macaulay

Isn't Idlib well within reach of most of the Russian air power stationed in Latakia? 88km's would put it within even helicopter & su-25 range with a decent bit of loiter time...
If ISIS/Al Qaeda/insurgents break cover to launch an attack the Russians should be able to rip them apart when they're on the move.

As long as they are keeping a close eye on things and are prepared for the eventuality I don't see the big risk of leaving them alone for the moment (?).


RE: western support - interesting article at BMPD. Ongoing weapon & ammunition supply contracts through US & Saudi proxies that go straight to the insurgents were renewed recently in Bulgaria.
These are big contracts for smaller suppliers and a similar situation likely exists across Eastern Europe (including Belarus! which is apparently a major supplier???)

The plants of Bulgaria bloom at the supply of weapons to jihadists in Syria


A couple of good sources that some people might not know of for Russia/Eastern Europe
- BMPD, which is CAST's blog. CAST is something like Russias version of JANE's but with more focus on independant military analysis. Very worth while resource. Use Yandex translator at http://bmpd.livejournal.com/)

And EurAsia Daily - good collection of news & analysis outside the western bubble. https://eadaily.com/en/


Ken Macauley

Ah, the air power mythology rises again! Air power can no more restore Idlib to Syrian government control than air power could liberate France in WW2. People live on the ground, not in the air. There is a basic rule in warfare that the longer you allow your enemy to consolidate his position the stronger he becomes. In the latter part of your comment you talk about supply contracts for jihadis in Bulgaria and imply that the US is still supplying the jihadis. I have good reason to think that is not true. The US is supplying the SDF who are armed with Warsaw Pact equipment from the apparently endless stocks in Eastern Europe. The Iraqi and Afghan militaries are also so armed and the US supplies them. In any event some of that Saudi supplied equipment is going to Idlib Province. Before you ask, no, the Turkish border is not really closed and Erdogan is playing both sides against the middle.


Interesting idea, Babak. I am sure artists have picked up on Piccasso's Guernica.

From the top of my head it reminds me of Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance:

Spain, no doubt was that part of Europe where the larger ideological struggle drew quite a few from all over. Didn't think about it for a long time.

We call proxy wars - Stellvertreterkriege. One of those long German words. German speaking Wikipedians have added Syria.

That said, good comment by English Outsider.

ex-PFC Chuck

It worked.



English Outsider

Lars - join the club. The club I was in, more or less, until quite recently.

Up until recently I was, if not happy with constant Western military intervention, at least not that appalled by it. Of course the politicians screw up, but then they usually do. Of course military intervention always leads to unintended consequences, but then maybe things would have been even worse had we not gone in. That sort of reasoning. And as you perhaps indicate, there are trouble spots all over, particularly in the ME, always will be, and we can't be blamed for trying to do something about them.

That was the attitude in my club. It's a big club and I belonged to it automatically. Parents, grandparents and beyond had served in the various wars Great Britain fought before I was born and they had much the same attitude. Then also the politicians were assumed as a matter of course to have screwed things up, often the military too, it was never as pretty or as straightforward as it was made out to be, but the cause was just and it was worth fighting for. Revisionist historians have chipped away at those simplicities since but that central assumption still holds for most of us. I'm no longer at all sure that that assumption can be extended to the subsequent Cold War - some of the historians are having a real go at that one - but certainly it was assumed as a matter of course at the time that we were on the side of the angels in the Cold War as well. The last time you can say that of, for us, was the Falklands and even there we can say that if the politicians and the intelligence services hadn't screwed up so monumentally there'd have been no need for being on any side, of the angels or otherwise.

We can no longer make that old central assumption that we're bumbling around attempting to do good. We can no longer say that we are, if incompetently, attempting to make things go better in the various trouble spots. Either by direct intervention or by making use of local animosities we are making the trouble ourselves. Wherever you look - in the ME, in Eastern Europe, in Chechnya, as far as Xinjian, I can think of no single area of which we can say the people there have a better life because we openly or covertly intervened. Nor can we even appeal to Realpolitik and say we ourselves have a better life here because of our activities abroad. We don't. For all except a very few the Grand Chessboard is a washout and we're fools to think otherwise.

One of the difficulties we have in leaving the club is that, at least for people of my age, we have and have had a good deal of contact with people in the Armed Forces. OK, they go where they're sent and that's the end of it, but it's not good to think that they're risking their necks for ends that are not worthwhile. Ultimately, the purpose of defence forces is to stop foreigners who might want to attack or interfere with us; very simplistic and non-PC, you might say, but if you don't believe that we have no business putting money into a defence budget. The purpose of a defence force is not to attack or interfere with foreigners, to their serious disadvantage and to ours. I do not think it wrong to see both in the Sanders and in the Trump movement signs of an increasing number of people in America thinking that too. There are similar signs over here. Somehow we have to regain control of our political apparatus in order to ensure that those defence forces are used for the purpose they're there for, and not for the dubious and often undisclosed purposes the politicians and their circle put them to.

Discussion between those who've left the club and those who haven't is difficult. All one can say is grub around such facts as it's possible to get at, weigh them up, and see what you yourself make of them. But whatever conclusion you come to I do not think you can fairly argue, to return to the first comment you made, that the peoples of the ME would have screwed themselves up quite so comprehensively had we not been around. I hope you'd accept that much.


LeaNder said:
"Lyttenburgh, don't recall you've been around here before. Appreciate your challenge."

Thank you for the kind words of welcome, LeaNder! I was more or less lurking here, commenting very rare and sparingly.

Thanks for the AKarlin old article! Yeah, those were the times, when he could deliver...


Babak Makkinejad said:

Do your own research.

Oh? You know, a claim made without a proof can be, likewise, dismissed without a proof.


turcopolier said...

I would welcome an informed Russian POV here but, small minded American that I am I do not welcome snotty nastiness on SST. Understand? pl

I appreciate that you are willing to tolerate my presence and comments here. Also - don't be too harsh on yourself with this "small minded" part.

And yet... does it mean that I can not disagree with the points made by individual commenters here, to seek more nuance wording of the claims and predictions or to ask for some proof and evidence of the statements they make?



This is not an adversarial proceeding. If your attitude is that you are going to view all those present as opponents you should go elsewhere. People have a right to their opinions whether you agree with them or not. pl


BH, does it work like that now? I assumed it was as simple as that. It wasn't. At least at that point in time.


Weapons are (almost) always sold with an end user agreement. With an AK47 you can "fake" it but there is only one country that makes a tow and the rebels fire a lot of tow's so this can only be done with agreement of the US government. Same is true of French and their ATGW.


Great comment

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