« Bad news for the Gulfies and their Israeli friends. | Main | A storm out of Idlib »

22 March 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The PGIE declared war on the Soviet Union while they were based in Paris in December 1939. With a stroke of a pen they changed the status of the Polish officers caught in the east from internees, which the Soviet Union was obligated to detain under neutrality with Germany, to prisoners of war. That bonehead move may have contributed to what happened an Katyn in the following months and it certainly made the PGIE a long shot for participating in any postwar settlement that the Soviet Union would be a party to.

When Stalin said that the Polish state ceased to exist, it was not a decree but a statement of fact. The Polish state had disintegrated and the remnants of their central government were fleeing.

English Outsider

I agree fully - I think it very likely that sending aircraft over a known danger zone was a criminal act. Likely enough for at the least a case to be brought. So where's the trial?

There isn't going to be one. Realpolitik as we in the West have been practising it is incompatible with any genuinely effective system of international law.

If we did have such a system, the most scrupulous judge would have great difficulty in apportioning blame for the various Western interventionist adventures.

Who's more to blame, the man who thoughtlessly chucks a brick over a hedge or the man who advises him to do it knowing that the brick might land on someone's head? Mr Blair, who helped set in motion a disaster but who I would guess wasn't capable of envisioning the consequences, or some adviser in the background who knew full well what the consequences might be? Mrs Clinton, who from what I've seen seems to be little more than an unwitting dummy? Or those officials who pointed the dummy where they wanted it to go? Pity the judge asked to sort that lot out; and we know full well in any case that no judge is going to get asked.

My point is simple enough. There's no sheriff to ride into town and put all to rights; we shouldn't blame the military for what we send them to do; and we should at least to some extent blame ourselves for what we let the politicians do.

On your point - "Some of us were paying attention and have agreed that they aren't Neo-Nazis, they are the originals' descendants." - my own impression is that speaking of continental Europe generally populations of cradle Nazis are mainly to be found in Galicia and Croatia, while neo-Nazis in other areas are converts or mixed. I'd welcome further information. If one Russian site I've seen recently is anything to go by, whatever they are they're now being imported into Belarus and perhaps you will know if that's just a scare or whether something is brewing there.

The Twisted Genius


I've seen reports that the YPG/SDF have taken the Tabqa dam and that Tabqa city is also in their hands. The YPG Press Office has put out photos of Kurds with SDF arm patches standing on the dam so I'd take that as confirmation of that part of the claim.

There are also claims that the YPG commando outfit was involved in the initial assault. Photos of these commandos show standard special operator kit with YPG arm patches. Sounds plausible to me.

When this is all over, we better study the hell out these bastards. They're certainly doing something right. Erdogan is right to be scared shitless of these guys and gals.


The territories Poland lost were portions of the Ukraine and Belarus seized in the 1918-21 wars against the West Ukrainian and Ukrainian republics and the Soviet Union. The territories they gained were lower Silesia and a chunk of East Prussia, which were of much more economic benefit to the Polish nation than the territories they lost. The territorial settlements under the Yalta framework were not cause for Poland to complain.


The Deir Hafir - Maskanah route is not the most direct way to get to Deir Ezzor. The SDF move at Taqba actually cuts a major route between Raqqa and Maskanah, putting ISIS in Maskanah in a very bad position against the SAA.


yes, yes
Third eye,
Poland was very happy about that, because this is now a subject of german jaundiced eye that Germany lost their lebensraum (irony alert) - and this will be a problem between Germany and Poland for generations to come. If you go to 1918-19 and the fact that Poland did not exist on the map since 1795, you need to agree that one has to get started somewhere with new borders – look at Israel, after thousands of years they got their country and they are still negotiating about their borders with their neighbors.


Thank you for your reply, about the Cyrus quote, and hiring better educated speechwriters, yes you are correct. But nevertheless, IMO, the importance of making an statement on this ocassion was it's symbolic nature of greeting Iranian Americans, as well as Iranian and other people who celebrate Nouroz. No Iranian will care, or expect, the president of US to be an scholar of Iranian history,symbolically this may give the a small hope he doesn't start or threaten them with more wars.


English Outsider,
I agree totally with yours "Realpolitik as we in the West have been practicing it is incompatible with any genuinely effective system of international law.". This is what 'stickler' to the word such as Heros and myself do not understand and get called names.
This discussion is interesting , but I do not want to abuse the hospitality of our host - and will shut up.

Peter AU

ISIS also left Deir Hafer without a fight. Also read some of the ISIS fighters are heading from Deir Ezzor to Raqqa which if true will ease the situation there somewhat.
All going for their Armageddon at Raqqa?

Peter AU

The US have not wanted the Iraqi Kurds taking part in the assault on Mosul as it is a Sunni Arab city.
I see in the last sentence in this article at southfront, the US is trucking in the Iraqi Kurds for the assault on the Sunni Arab city of Raqqa?

Jim MacMillan

The PUK in Iraq and the PYD in Syria have long been allies. Those PUK associated Counter Terror Group commandos, Dzha Tiror, have been in Syria fighting with their YPG SOF counterparts for a while now. Probably since Kobani? They don't need American transport.


Situation of Deir Hafer extremely murkey. Apparently SAA has not entered it yet due to fear of mines/IEDs and has only assumed that ISIS has fled without a fight.

Paveway IV

The earth-fill dam is three miles wide, TG. The Kurds are on the extreme north end - nothing but flood gates and a spillway. They moved in after the US leveled everything potentially threatening on the north bank and the little piece of dry land to the west.


No way they could have continued moving south along the top of the dam without getting a few holes in them. Zero evidence so far that SDF is any further along the dam than that. Yeah, it's a start, but they hardly have 'seized the dam' at this point.

The hydro plant and structures inside the dam (still?) housing ISIS are on the south end of the dam and further defended by hills on that bank. It will be most interesting to see how JSOC plans on taking the dam itself even if they get all the way through al Tabqa to The First Quarter (next to the dam) or the electric switch yards up in the hills. The U.S. has been careful to avoid bombing that end of the dam - everything has been happening on the north end (disclaimer: 'as reported on social media').

Nobody knows for certain, but ISIS has long claimed that they have the dam wired to blow if they think they will lose it. I have no doubt they will eventually be defeated militarily and lose Tabqa, but I can't see how the US/SDF can possibly keep them from destroying the dam. There are a maze of tunnels inside and most of the hydro plant is underground. Plenty of places inside to retreat to even if the admin buildings on the top of the dam are taken.

ISIS has been reportedly (in that social media sort of way) moving people in Raqqa out of the low lying areas. ISIS knows the dam and Raqqa are finished, so it's hard to believe they would simply hand it over to the US/SDF (or even Assad for that matter). ISIS has also claimed 'high value' prisoners (westerners) are jailed in the dam - yet another reason for a scorched-earth withdrawal, as they are hardly going to bus them somewhere else.

Depending on what part and how the dam could be blown, it may not be the worst-case 100' wall of water scenario. They could just wreck the gates or turbines and cause a lot of water to flow out, but more like a large, sustained flood than a tsunami. It took something like four years to fill the reservoir, so even a big slow leak could last until next year. Turkey currently has stopped all flow to the Syrian Euphrates and the reservoir is low right now, but that's still six million or so acre-feet of water.

Aleppo would lose their water if reservoir levels dropped a few more meters. Tishrin could produce some electricity, but not nearly enough to make up for Tabqa. There's nothing else close on the Syrian grid, so no power for a year or so in Hasaka and Raqqa if the dam is gone. All irrigated land on either side of Lake Assad and all the Euphrates flood plain farmlands to Dier EzZor would be lost for the summer.

The dam will have to be taken. I just hope those guys are really, really careful about taking it from the Captagon-fueled head-choppers. Let's just say there's pleny of opportunity for this to go south real quick for the Syrians regardless of how well the military ops. part goes.

The Twisted Genius

Paveway IV,

Thanks for that clarification and detailed explanation. It will be quite interesting to see what the jihadis will do in the next few days on that dam. It certainly won't be as easy as the seizure of Tishrin Dam appeared to be.

Babak Makkinejad

Bismarck did Realpolitik, FDR could do that. But what I see in the Western Fortress is not Realpolitik, it is something akin to King Lear level of politics.

In what manner can one attribute or otherwise Justify as Realpolitik what transpired in Kosovo or in Libya - leaving Iraq out for the moment?

Or Ukraine?


The second images the KRG counter terrorist units it is from the iraqi Kurdistan


"My point is simple enough. There's no sheriff to ride into town and put all to rights; we shouldn't blame the military for what we send them to do; and we should at least to some extent blame ourselves for what we let the politicians do."

BS. There is a chain of command for a reason, both civil and military.

The Ukrainian Government shot down that plane and it was covered up by oh so poor "Real Politik" can't be held accountable western leaders. But it is easy to prove me wrong by having NATO provide the public the radar and communication logs to bolster the perception managed narrative that rebels shot it down. Notice how the Malaysians are quiet on this? I wonder why? Could it be that the Russians have already proved it to them in private? It would explain a certain State Dept official's performance art quality meltdown in Kaliningrad.

Got keep that truth in the dark, don't want despicable deplorable masses to know what their masters are doing.

Jim MacMillan

Tabqa Airbase reportedly liberated:


Also gives SDF control of over 20 klicks of M4 highway blocking Daesh in Maskanah from reinforcing Raqqa. And it puts those Daeshis in a vise between SAA forces pushing east on M4 and the SDF block at Tabqa.

Jim MacMillan

Daesh propaganda outlet, Amaq News Agency, suggests Tabqa Dam failing. Seems they might blow it up in a false flag op and blame it on the coalition?





Re Jim MacMillan's comment 12:52 PM 3/26:

Looks like Al Mayadeen also reporting on trouble at the dam:

Sputnik (19:44 - 26.03.2017 updated 20:05):
"Syria's Biggest Dam Partially Collapses Due to SDF-Daesh Fight Near Raqqa"

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Tabqa Dam, which functions primarily as a hydropower plant, suspended service after its control center was damaged by what could have been an airstrike or shelling, a source told Lebanese broadcaster Al Mayadeen, adding that technical experts could not reach the site due to continuing fighting in the area.

However, Sputnik report also features tweets from RT reporter Lizzie Phelan (RT itself isn't covering the story):

Lizzie Phelan @LizziePhelan
1. SDF spox Tilal Silo: International coalition didn't strike #Tabqa dam, no damage to it. Air drops of fighters were made to avoid this...

2. Now only fighting on the ground, no airstrikes. Liberation of dam is slow because we want to avoid damaging it. #Raqqa #Syria
12:38 PM - 26 Mar 2017

Sputnik doesn't mention Al Mayadeen's source.

The Beaver


It's believed there are closer to 6,000 Americans in Iraq, not including this new deployment. Nearly 1,000 more are on the ground inside Syria, where several hundred additional personnel arrived in recent weeks to bolster allied forces targeting the city of Raqqa, which ISIS considers its capital. The Pentagon is reportedly weighing plans to send upwards of another 1,000 troops there.

If those plans bear out, the U.S. would have closer to 10,000 military personnel on the ground for a mission officials continue to call advisory.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad