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05 May 2017

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turcopolier

b

The difference in our position is that I would have rolled the iron dice of war and gambled on speed and boldness to make up for the obvious shortage of troops just after the fall of Aleppo City. "L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace." pl

confusedponderer

Correction: It was not as I wrote that just one destroyer USS Barry shot cruise missiles at Syria. In fact it was two other ships of the Arleigh Burke class: USS Porter and USS Ross.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/06/politics/donald-trump-syria-military/index.html

Still, ignoring the illegality and all that, looking at the quote of hits of the 59 misiles of the salvo, it was not exactly a 'huge strike'.

That said, with giving a shit on legality or on trivialities like proof when attacking Syria Trump (so I predict based on my gut) ...

(a) isn't only not to learn from this apparent failure but
(b) probably will be more aggressive 'the next time'.

An interesting article on Russian Anti-Access/Area Denial systema A2/AD.

"The Russian A2/AD system

But how is it possible to send more military forces, ignoring the Russians, the Iranians and most importantly the Anti-Access/Area Denial system A2/AD that the Russians have installed in Syria? The system A2/AD is a weapon used in order to prevent an opponent from capturing or passing through a ground, sea or air region.

This specific method that is used is not necessary to be absolutely effective on preventing the passage of enemy forces. It is sufficient to delay drastically, retard or put in danger the enemy. The fear of great losses is keeping the enemy away from the ground, sea and air that is protected by A2/AD.

The Russians have the most advanced A2/AD systems in the world. They are so advanced, that the USA and NATO do not have a satisfactory countermeasure, at least for the present.

Russia developed these systems in response to the supreme ability of NATO to operate air strikes on a massive scale. Therefore, Russia has created large Anti-Access/Area Denial zones or ‘bubbles’ around the countries of the Baltic, the Black sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Arctic. These ‘bubbles’ allow Moscow to deny the use of airspace, ground and sea in these regions and to limit drastically the transit of airplanes, ships and ground forces in case of a crisis.

At the official announcement after the Warsaw Summit at 8-9 July 2016, NATO expressed its concern at these developments, declaring that it will not accept limitations on the free transit of alliance forces from Anti-Access/Area Denial zones. And the reason is simple. This way NATO loses its advantage of massive surprise air strikes from big distance as a preparation for ground operations.

Tomahawks have tried the system A2/AD

This was therefore the basic USA military target: to test the capabilities of the A2/AD system that has been installed in Syria; and to check what will be the percentage of losses and to evaluate operationally how they can penetrate the system’s net, without prohibitive losses.

This way Trump did what Obama did not dare to do in 2013, using as a pretext a similar attack with chemical weapons at the eastern Ghouta region in August of the same year."

http://dissidentvoice.org/2017/05/what-are-they-hiding-about-the-usa-attack-on-syria/

Harper

Col. Lang pondered this "deconfliction zone" idea for days before this very informative posting. Clearly, Russian President Putin is thinking in "grand strategy" terms, where the Syria situation is one of a number of critical elements of an evolving new US-Russia relationship (it is way too premature to call it anything like a partnership). If the US-Russia relationship can be genuinely reset in a more constructive direction, then it will impact many fronts: Col. Lang mentioned the possibility of a durable approach to ending the simmering war in Ukraine as one example of consequences of an effective US-Russian approach to ending the Syria war and defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda (and their states sponsors). Notably, Tillerson and Lavrov spoke this week and Dunford and Gerasimov did as well. Syria and North Korea were clearly two topics on their agendas. Russia may prove to be a more important factor in the North Korea situation than most realize.

Today's news coverage suggests, by the way, that the deconfliction zones idea came out of the original Tillerson-Lavrov-Putin talks in Moscow over a month ago. And the US had, for the first time, a high-level observer at the Astana talks this past week.

The political and military dimensions of these "hot spot" crises have global consequences, and Putin is clearly taking them all into account. And maybe some of the people advising Trump are taking a similar bigger picture view. Tillerson's speech before the State Department personnel last week is an eye opener, for example.

LondonBob

It is true that the Conservative have been using another Syria vote as a political tactic against the Labour leader Corbyn, who is perceived as weak on defence. I think they, as ever, overestimate the people's enthusiasm for more pointless self defeating wars abroad, but Corbyn could learn from Trump how to present his isolationism better. I have however enjoyed the spectacle of the very left wing Corbyn often finding himself in agreement with a Republican President on foreign affairs.

Jackrabbit

Oops... lemonade out of lemons

Valissa

Dianne Feinstein: ‘no evidence’ of collusion between Russia and Trump during 2016 campaign http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/dianne-feinstein-no-evidence-of-collusion-between-russia-and-trump-during-2016-campaign-27099/
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that she has seen no evidence thus far showing collusion between associates of President Donald Trump and the Russian government during the presidential campaign.

... Feinstein and her committee colleagues were briefed at CIA headquarters about Russia’s meddling in the presidential campaign. Earlier on Wednesday, Feinstein attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where FBI Director James Comey was pressed about the investigation.

Journalist and co-founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald described Feinstein’s answer as significant for several reasons, including “(a) who is saying it, (b) how decisive her answer is, and (c) that she just got back from a CIA briefing on it.”
----------------

Interestingly, after doing a number of google searches I could not find this Diane Feinstein statement on any of the major MSM rags (only lesser known and rightish sites)... despite the fact that she said it in CNN in an interview with Wolf Blitzer (video clip included in link above). Looks like the owners/editors of those MSM rags aren't willing to admit they were wrong or to publish anything that might point to them as propaganda tools for the Dem establishment.

Though I can't find the link again, I read an article last week where David Axelrod was interviewed and he commented that it was time for the Dems to drop the Russia issue, because it wasn't benefiting them.

Trump now has some breathing room to make deals with Russia.

Babak Makkinejad

J:

In countries that people expect hand-outs from their governments, or expect governments to solve all of their problems, there is no alternative to "Politics of Theater" - as you said.

Outside of East Asia (including Thailand, Vietnam and others), where no one expects anything from their respective governments except, perhaps & ideally, the facilitation rather than hindrance, no government can level with its respective electorate. Not government in the Americas, or in Europe, or in the Middle East admit to not having all the answers, foster a dispassionate airing of issues and difficulties facing the country, and propose to solicit solutions and ideas.

When large numbers of environmental, economic, social and foreign policy issues and difficulties cannot be resolved or their resolution faces severe domestic opposition by misguided or the ignoramus, what can a political leader do but to resort to smoke and mirrors?

That is also the reason that Names cannot be Rectified for then Truth will shine and the Lies that governments and electorates tell one another will be displayed in their full awful naked splendor.

plantman

Just a drill??
This was posted on Sunday at al Arabiya:

Jordan and the United States kicked off annual military exercises Sunday known as “Eager Lion”, with about 7,400 troops from more than 20 nations taking part, officials said.

US and Jordanian officials said the maneuvers would include border security, cyber defense, and “command and control” exercises, to bolster coordination in response to threats including terrorism.

“Joint efforts and coordination and the exchange of expertise... are needed at the time when the region is facing the threat of terrorism,” Jordanian Brigadier General Khalid al-Shara, who will head the exercises, told reporters.

US Major General Bill Hickman, deputy commanding general for the American army in the region, said this year’s “Eager Lion” exercises -- the seventh so far -- are “the largest and most complex to date”.

The highlight of this year’s exercise, he said, will be that “for the first time ever a global strike mission” will be conducted by “two US Air Force B-1B bomber aircraft” -- a long-range multi-mission bomber.

A statement by the Jordanian army said troops from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Arab Gulf region are taking part in the exercises which run to May 18, including from Britain, Japan, Kenya and Saudi Arabia.

About 6,000 troops from Jordan and the US took part in last year’s exercises -- a joint operation first launched in 2011.
Jordan is a key recipient of US financial aid and a partner in the US-led coalition battling ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

US forces have trained a small group of vetted Syrian rebels in Jordan, and American instructors have trained Iraqi and Palestinian security forces in Jordan as well over the past few years.

Two years ago, the United States announced its intention to increase overall US assistance to Jordan from $660 million to $1 billion annually for the 2015-2017 period.
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/07/-Jordan-US-launch-Eager-Lion-major-military-drill.html

Let's assume for a minute that Putin noticed developments on the Jordan-Syria border and thought..."Hmmmm? Maybe this US-backed force is going to invade Syria and take deir ezzor" Then maybe he would concoct an idea to defend the east before McMaster sent in the troops.

Naturally, he would want a bigger army, that could only be managed if the fighting was ended elsewhere. Hence, safe zones.
So, now the SAA has more troops to send eastward.

Sound probable??

Sam Peralta

Coming from Dianne Feinstein who epitomizes the neocon/neoliberal Democrats it says a lot!

Was there a co-ordinated "plot" to co-opt Trump by pushing the Putin's stooge meme hard?

Tigermoth

Russian Ministry of Defence video briefing on the descalazation zones:

From the Saker:

"Briefing of the Ministry of Defense on the principles of the creation of de-escalation zones on the territory of Syria (Important, Subtitled in English)"

http://thesaker.is/briefing-of-the-ministry-of-defense-on-the-principles-of-the-creation-of-de-escalation-zones-on-the-territory-of-syria-important-subtitled-in-english/

More background is given here and it seems the US was favorable to this move (what a change).

mauisurfer

"What’s really happening in Syria" counters the monopoly media narrative of peaceful, unarmed protests against the Assad government. 33 pages of analysis from USA attorney.
https://www.newcoldwar.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Robert-Roth-Syria-primer-January-3-2017.pdf?9f0df4

Tigermoth

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli satellite imagery confirms redeployment of at least one Russian A-50 Aerial Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) in Syria.

Imagery captured May 3 by the ImageSat International (ISI) Eros B satellite, published here for the first time, shows the Russian special mission aircraft deployed at the Latakia Air Base in Syria.

The deployment, less than a month after a US Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a key regime air base, significantly augments Russia’s ability to defend the entire airspace over Syria against aircraft or missile attack.

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/satellite-imagery-shows-russian-awacs-back-in-syria

anon

agree b,hence the no fly zones.wonder if it includes missiles.The Admiral Grigorovich should have arrived in tartus by now.so obviously a buildup is taking place for summer.the ji had its are waiting for there pay day from mr deep pockets.

charly

Trump said it was huge which in normal speak means a slightly bigger than microscopic attack. With him everything is huge, best ever, biggest, worst, etc.

John_Frank

A clever trick, or consummation of tacit understandings reached early on between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin?

Lavrov: decisions on Syria de-escalation zones related to US initiatives
http://tass.com/politics/944894

Decisions on the de-escalation zones in Syria adopted at the talks in Astana are related to Washington’s initiatives on putting an end to violence in Syria put forward at the beginning of this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the MIR TV network on Saturday.

"The United States proposed at the beginning of this year, with a view to creating conditions to ensure safety of civilian population, to stop violence in those regions where fierce fighting was underway between government and armed opposition forces," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"It is not by chance that the United States welcomed the results of the meeting in Astana, specifically, an agreement on setting up de-escalation zones," he noted.

The text of Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic (the Astana Memorandum) has been posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website http://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2746041?p_p_id=101_INSTANCE_cKNonkJE02Bw&_101_INSTANCE_cKNonkJE02Bw_languageId=en_GB

The Astana Memorandum relies on UNSC resolution 2254 (2015)
http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2254(2015)

For a map of what the de-escalation zones may look like:

https://twitter.com/OmranDirasat/status/860823001914372096

Also, on Saturday Tass reported that:

Russia, US confirm readiness to reinstate memorandum on air safety over Syria
The top generals "confirmed readiness to re-assume in full the parties’ commitments under the Russian-US memorandum of understanding on air safety and prevention of incidents in Syria’s air space"
http://tass.com/politics/944920

For another take on how events may unfold:

US and Russia compete in Syria on “reducing escalation” and “safe zones”
https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/us-and-russia-compete-in-syria-on-reducing-escalation-and-safe-zones/


VietnamVet

Colonel,

There are too many plates spinning in the air. The first one to take down is the crazy scheme to destabilize Russia. The only way the West will survive is with an alliance the Russian Federation. NATO has a real logistics problem. The battlefield is inland. Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army control western access and Iraqi and Iranian Shiite militias control the East, more or less. Turkey to the North is unstable and is turning towards an Islamist one party rule. To the South, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon is unlikely to survive as a staging area to continue the Syrian mini-World War forever. Air supply is risky. One shoot down could ignite a war with Russia.

All in all, it is insane for the USA to be fighting there. Quarantine the region and let the local governments with Russian and Chinese aid overthrow the Caliphate.

Marko

Thanks for that. I've only just given it a glance , but I notice that his references comprise my go-to list on Syria nearly to a tee. One listed, Stephan Gowans , has a new book out called "Washington's Long War on Syria" , summarized by Gowans in this half-hour video :

https://youtu.be/xfXddo5JH_s

It's worth the watch , IMO.

LondonBob

https://medium.com/@Cernovich/president-mcmaster-mcmaster-to-meet-with-trump-to-discuss-who-is-running-the-white-house-f702acaa5be3

Cernovich claiming McMaster is in trouble?

aleksandar

This war in Syria has nothing to do with " Sunnis".

aleksandar

Ona purely military point of view, you're right.
But, is it possible to let all east Syria become a US Sunnistan protectorate ?
IMO, no, it will be a huge political blow,too much.

aleksandar

An agreement is on his way in Qaboun.Terrorists wild be greenbused to Idleb.
East Goutha pocket will see more and more terrorist infighting to control warehouses and by the way, income.
This pocket will shrink slowly.

Lurker

The de-escalation zones pre-empt any future chemical attack provocations (false flags) foresaw by the British, French and/ or Turkish Saudi spooks. White Helmets will not be given any more opportunities to stage a b rated film production.

turcopolier

aleksandr

The civil war in Syria was specifically instigated and supported by SA, Qatar and the other Gulf States. This is a Wahhabi civil war against a multi confessional sate. Israel and the US chose to inrfere in this process but the revolt was always that of Wahhabt Sunnis. pl

John_Frank

fyi This morning, the Syrian FM held a press conference in Damascus to discuss the implementation of the Astana Memorandum. Follows are four reports:

Syrian FM: No international force for Syria safe zones
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-08-07-15-32

Syrian FM describes Kurdish role as 'legitimate'
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA_THE_LATEST?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-08-06-18-29

Syria rejects 'any UN role' in Russian de-escalation plan
Syria's foreign minister says there should be no international role in 'safe zones', while also backing Kurdish fight against IS
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-rejects-un-role-monitor-de-escalation-zones-2128501749

Syrian Foreign Minister Says No Foreign Troops on the Ground
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-08/urgent-the-latest-syrian-fm-says-no-foreign-troops-on-the-ground

Does the stance of the Syrian Government on the role of the UN and the use of third party forces run afoul of the intent of the parties to the Astana Memorandum?

Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic
http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2746041

While the Russian Federation has submitted a draft UNSC resolution to 'enshrine' the Astana Memorandum, a number of other issues remain, including the concerns raised in the following:

Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence
https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N17/084/33/PDF/N1708433.pdf?OpenElement

Read in particular paragraph 69 - 72 and the Syrian Arab Republic section of the Annex which identifies the parties in the Syrian conflict using sexual violence.

On his way to Europe, Secretary of Defense Mattis spoke with reporters:

U.S. reviews Syria safe zones but warns 'devil's in the details'
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-mattis-idUSKBN184162?rpc=401&

Mattis: US reviewing Syria safe zones but has many questions
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_UNITED_STATES_SYRIA_SAFE_ZONES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-08-07-01-54

Pundita

If this May 8 article from Xinhua is any indication China's government sees the de-escalation agreement as the first steps in a soft partition of Syria -- not along sectarian lines but by foreign-power spheres of influence.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-05/08/c_136264051.htm

The reporter is an employee of Xinhua, which is not only China's most influential news agency, it's also the most powerful; it's a ministry-level agency.

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