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08 April 2017

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Lysander

I haven't posted here in a very long time, but current events are too important to ignore.

How exactly would a no fly zone/safe zone work? Will they warn Russian planes they will be shot down and that's the end of it? Are Mattis ans McMaster "certain" that Russia will back down or is it just better than even money bet from their point of view? Perhaps a good bet if you're putting down 10 bucks to make it interesting. Not so much when planetary existence is at stake.

And even worse when Russia has placed enormous prestige behind its Syria mission.

So what will be plan b when the Russians say "thanks for the advice but we will fly where we please and we pitty the fools who think they are safe?"

I'm beginning to think Trump can't think that far ahead. That for him this is merely part of the deal he plans to make and that surely the Russians will understand this.

I fear he has developed a Pavlovian response to media praise and criticism. He will start to do what earns him praise (aggression) and avoid what brings punishment (rational deescalation)

Sam Peralta

Walrus

Ever since Col. Lang brought up the necessity for R+6 to add resources and make serious efforts to overrun Idlib, I have been wondering why the Russians and Iranians are not significantly adding forces to assist in that endeavor? Any thoughts on why?

Peter AU

I see in Reuters, a US strike force is moving towards the Korean peninsular.
Smart move I guess, taking on both China and Russia at the same time.
Another article in Reuters on a US admiral who leads U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, saying the missile strike had destroyed Syria's means to deliver chemical weapons. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN17A0QD Looked up some pics of her and she looked a bit vacant headed similar to her comments. I guess that can be deceiving though.
Russia, China, Iran may have had a loose alliance before but I guess since the missile strikes on Syria they may have to tighten up a bit and ensure the downfall of the US.

Watching Putin, he seems to have taken Russia long way from 1999 till present. I get the impression he would write the book on tactics to achieve an end rather than simply follow what he has read about tactics. Makes it difficult to predict his moves.
The US had a fig leaf of legality to be in Syria based on the UNSC ISIS resolution. With the attack on the Syrian government, they may well have thrown away the fig leaf.
Russia mod made a public announcement when they moved the S-400 into Syria. They made another announcement when they moved the S-300 to Syria.

Another announcement is due shortly, I suspect when the next instalment of air defence is installed. Maybe the US will have to work without aircraft in Syria after the next announcement?

Degringolade

I am reminded of the Russian push into the Pristina Airport.

If you don't sweat the logistics and resupply that much, a light infantry regiment can be dialed up fairly quickly.

It will depend on the state of stores in Latakia/Tartus and control of the M4, 60, an 60A

Bill Herschel

"Whoever is first into Idlib is going to determine the course of history for some time to come." For what it is worth, and it is worth very little, I believe this is true.

Lemur

Thanks for your assessment Walrus. You obviously speak from experience - I'm interested where that was, if I may.

It looks like the RuAF is intensively striking Idlib at the moment. Perhaps that presages a major campaign effort.

Dr.Puck

Which version of the false flag op is the obvious one?

It would be brutally ironic for it to come about that President Trump's reactiveness quickly morphs into a multi-front series of rash actions that leave the committee to ponder how his administration realized the worst fears it had previously attached to an impending Clinton administration.

(No-fly zone protecting the liver eaters; provoking the North Koreans into letting their theatre missiles fly; shooting war with Russia; and, one could fold in flash points in the South China sea, between the Kurds and Turkey, and probably not best to imagine what part of the scale Iran might rest a thumb on.)

Nor would it seem to me to be exactly the Borgist utopia to rush to poke all the bears and dragons at once.

Fred

Walrus,

And R2P state becomes a safe haven for jihadis who will destabilize the whole region.

J

The Russian brass are asking where did the other 36 missiles go???

http://tass.com/defense/940012

How does one spell.....Hmmmm......

Ingolf

I wholly share these concerns and like many others here don't think Russia, if pushed, will back down. The wildcard is whether China would break cover if the worst comes to the worst.

It's ironic that, were Trump a true Machiavelli, he now has his enemies at his mercy. All those who have been baying for his blood and accusing him of collaboration with the Kremlin are suddenly singing hosannas. One militarily irrelevant but "decisive" attack on a Syrian airbase was all it took.

If he knew or strongly suspected the Syrians didn't deliberately do it and ordered the attack as a ploy to neuter his political enemies (and, as a bonus, bolster his reputation for unpredictability and decisiveness), all he needs to do now is wait for the next one and then let the blame fall on the rebels/terrorists. As a show of being willing to go where the evidence takes him, he could even find himself forced to accept that the current incident had been wrongly blamed on Assad. His righteous, if reluctant, anger at being misled could then be turned on all the people who have been trying so hard to bring him "under control" or get rid of him. Including, of course, the intelligence agencies.

Check, if not checkmate.

An intriguing little fantasy but that's of course almost certainly all it is. To be true would require Trump to have an almost supernatural degree of cold-bloodedness, patience and acting ability.

Thirdeye

According to AlMasdar the SAA fired on an American drone, forcing it to flee. The rules of engagement seem to have already changed on the initiative of R+6. Russia has already announced upgrading of air defense systems for Syria.

I have a suspicion that the 39% hit rate of the cruise missiles is not something the US expected and that there is quiet alarm over its implications.

I agree that a strong pre-emptive action in Idlib by R+6 is warranted and very possible under the new framework that has been forced upon them. Closing the route from Bab Al-Hawa would be a good start.

Serge

Very easy to imagine the beleaguered IS true believers in Raqqa licking their chops in anticipation. They are fighting the long war,and such a move is what they have wanted since 2014:
"As for the near future, you will be forced into a direct confrontation, with Allah’s permission, despite your reluctance. And the sons of Islam have prepared themselves for this day, so wait and see, for we too are also going to wait and see"

ex-PFC Chuck

What turned Trump so quickly and completely? Did someone make him an offer he couldn't refuse?

Thirdeye

You seem very optimistic. If something happens to embarrass the chemical attack narrative - say, Khan Sheikhoun gets overrun followed by an invitation to the UN for an on-ground inspection, the blame game could break the other way. The Democratic cheering section for the missile strike could become born-again advocates for international law, claiming they were deceived (much like the aftermath of the Iraq invasion), and maybe even calling for impeachment. It would be completely hypocritical, but that wouldn't stop them.

ex-PFC Chuck

Is there any indication that Russian-Syrian counter-measures might have caused the diminished hit rate?

Alaric

The Russians and Iranians need to end this now but i don't agree with this assessment.

Trump's air strike seemed designed to inflict as little real damage as possible to the Syrian military. Doing that does not suggest a desire to fight Iran let alone Russia which is what you are effectively suggesting here.

In fact, all the available info suggests Trump's strike was largely for show (theater) and not for real military purposes. It has in fact succeeded in hardening the target (the syrian government) Russia is now strengthening Syria's air defenses and maybe their own. Russia is sending more ships. I suspect Iran and Russia will double up their efforts to take Idlib and will start with massive cruise missile launches from the Russian Navy ships that are just arriving.

That said, i don't know what Trump is up to. He is now surrounded by neocons and he is also a bit too fond of Netanyahu for my tastes. Russia and Iran must escalate and end this. The longer this goes on, the more chances the neocons have to turn Syria into a balkanized caliphate.

J

Here's the Russian Military statement.

Statement of the Russian Defence Ministry spokesman on the missile strike carried out by the US Navy against the Shayrat Air Base in Syria

http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12117678@egNews

Yeah, Right

Purely an aside, but I'm mighty curious to see if the Izzies have the balls to continue their incursions into Syrian airspace.

After all, if Putin is looking for an oblique way to show that he means business then what better way than to swat down an IDF F-16 and leave it in smoking ruins around Damascus?

Oooops! Sorry! We thought it was one of those missing Tomahawks!

Yeah, Right

The wording in that report is odd, to say the least.

....."according to Russia’s data recording equipment"....
....."According to the data recording equipment,"....

Huh?

There is no need for them to rely on what they were seeing on their radar screens. The Russians have access to the airfield. They can simply go out and count the holes in the ground: .. 21.. 22.. 23.. .. .. yep, I'm only counting 23 holes.

The Russians are definitely sending out another message in that statement, though I'm not certain what it is.

Are they insinuating that they have "equipment" that can send Tomahawks flying off in Directions Unknown, and no less than 36 of them made the mistake of flying within range of that EM stuff?

..."The place where the other missiles fell remains unknown,"...

Niiiice bit of plausible deniability there.

fanto

Ingolf, I had exactly the same fantasy. Time will tell. Also, my another fantasy was that Assad would give himself up ( in another thread) seems to find a support in the news (if it is true) that Sadr asks for Assad to step down - (I do not have the link, because of too many places to read, sorry)

Yeah, Right

Ingolf, you seem to forget that if Trump was aware that the Syrians didn't do it then a lotta' people in the chain of command below him also know it.

His "masterstroke" is therefore hostage to any one of those subordinates leaking the information to WikiLeaks.

Heck, even if he *wasn't* aware then his impulsive action is still at the mercy of those who are.

Imagine a future briefing where a powerpoint-presenting flunky tells Trump: umm, err, the Russians were telling the truth all along. Would you like us to inform the press, or will you be tweeting this yourself Mr President?

Trumps action is only a masterstroke if Assad Actually Did Do It.

If Assad isn't responsible then Trump's actions are either those of an ignorant, impulsive fool or that of an unscrupulous and sociopathic charlatan.

Take. Your. Pick.

But either way if Assad didn't do it then the neocons now have Trump by the short and curlies, and I'm not talking about his comb-over.

Yeah, Right

From that statement: "The Russian military department is looking forward to receiving explanations from the USA concerning the existence of irrefutable proof that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun."

Ouch. That reeks of the confidence of a poker player who says I Know Your Hand Is Rubbish So I'm Calling Your Bluff.

Seems like Trump is holding a rubbish hand.

Yeah, Right

"That said, i don't know what Trump is up to"

But does Trump know, or is he just winging it?

Thirdeye

That is exactly what I am wondering. I'm also wondering if some of the "hits" might have been off their intended targets within the base, and if some of the damage might have been happenstance. How many of the hits did actual damage? In any event, there are probably some people highly displeased at the base returning to operational status about a day after 59 missile launches.

Cee

Walrus,

Speaking of illusions, I've read various accounts of who the White Helmets are and what they do.

I believe what Duff writes below.

President Trump is now threatening to take America into a war against Syria, Iran and even Russia, a war he says is justified by “evidence” he has received from the Syrian White Helmets. We will prove beyond any doubt that this is a “Deep State” organization, a melding of CIA, al Qaeda and Britain’s intelligence services. We now have “slam dunk” proof that Trump and the “fake news” MSM are and always have been in lockstep, playing us all.
https://southfront.org/swedish-medical-associations-says-white-helmets-murdered-kids-for-fake-gas-attack-videos/

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