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29 May 2017

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plantman

Man, you have to admire the way the Russians operate. Smooth as silk, so far, and it doesn't look like the Saudi coalition is any too eager to mix it up with the green men on the opposite side of the border.

But what about Deir Ezzor? I still think that's where the chances of a faceoff are greatest. But once the border is secure it becomes a moot point, doesn't it? Isis will face the SDF to the north and the SAA to the south.

But who get's the city when the dust settles?

Gene O.

TTG -

Is the entire 31st deployed in southern Syria? Or just elements? It is unclear to me from the links.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you Colonel for the informative post. IMHORussians do nopt know how to blink.Best adviceforunicorns and enabl;ers to quitly find another [place to camop.

rjh

I'll admit to initial surprise at hearing the Switchblade called a "suicide drone" but it's not that bad a description for an outside observer. The Switchblade does perform "suicide" dives that destroy the drone. It would logically follow to call JDAM's suicide bombs, etc. :-)

b

Yesterday the NYT had a report about the renting out of Iraq's Highway 1, Baghdad-Amman, to a U.S. mercenary company for 25 years. One branch of that road goes through al-Tanf to Damascus. It is the central economic lifeline between Jordan/Syria on one side and Iraq on the other.

There is no way that nationalist forces in those countries will let a U.S. company with private armed forces have control of that road. No. Way.

But some lunatic in the U.S. government (likely military) came up with that idea and al-Tanf seems to have been one item in that larger plan.

In effect this would have created the "Salafist principality" in west Iraq/south-east Syria but, for lack of reasonable Salafists, occupied by U.S entities. Nice try. But Iraq and Syria (as well as their allies) are adamant on preventing such.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/middleeast/iraqi-toll-road-national-highway-iran.html?_r=0

The Twisted Genius

Gene O.,

Don't know. Deployment of the entire 31st makes more sense from an operational point of view.

Former 11B

It sounds like the Rooskies have laid down the law.One bomb kills one Russian and a whole bunch of highly trained pilots for the coalition will burn.
Shit just got really real. I vote we form the Bill Kristol brigade filled with chicken-hawk neocons and send them Al Tanf to engage the rooskies. They are big tough talking MoFos when they got no skin in the game. Lets see how they act when its their ass on the line.
I bet they would cry like little bitches.

The Twisted Genius

plantman,

If anyone thinks that bear of a Druze general in charge of Deir Ezzor will hand the city over to anybody but the SAA, they'd be flat crazy.

ToivoS

Obvious point.

Any notion of building a private road through that area run by a US corporation has to be a joke. Who in their right mind would agree to man any of the toll booths? What rational investor would put up the money? It is the same problem with the gas pipeline linking the Gulf states to Israel which was proposed to follow that same route. Again what rational investor would sink money into a project through an area that has been in continuous war going back 30 years. How many divisions would be required to protect a 4 hundred mile road and pipeline that could be cut by a 5 man sabotage unit? Maybe if oil reaches $1000 per barrel the investors could afford the insurance premium.

turcopolier

TTG

"Do not gaze too long into the abyss lest the abyss take notice and begin to gaze back at you." Excelletn piece. pl

The Twisted Genius

b,

After reading the article, the idea isn't as bat-shit crazy and ominous as it first sounds. The contract is more of a repair and maintain in exchange for tolls deal than ceding a MSR to a PMC. The idea had to sprout in DC where we now have privately built and managed toll roads. The tolls go as high as thirty dollars for a few miles during rush hour. I'd like to see how toll collection is going to be enforced in the Iraqi hinterland. It's still a bad idea.

The Twisted Genius

Thanks, pl.

b

All that repair and maintain talk is just junk to hide the real purpose.

Olive Corp is part of Constellis Corp which also owns Triple Canopy and Akademi, the former Blackwater. It is a military contractor, mercenary shop - not some toll road investor. It doesn't know shit about road construction and management.

It wants to run armed protection for convoys on that road and guard the road too. It would be a private U.S. army (of "former" U.S. military men) in the heart of the Middle East. Iraq can find enough credit to repair bridges and road surface in the area. There is no need at all to toll out such an important road.

eakens

What exactly is the purpose of these leaflets, because it seems to me that a foreign country dropping leaflets in your country telling you where you can and cannot go would do nothing but lift the morale of those fighting for Syria.

The Twisted Genius

b,

In that case, this is as morally bankrupt and craven an idea as you first made it appear. It's all a part of attempting to establish jihadi safe areas under Saudi-US control. The PMU is growing in military power. I doubt they'll stand for this crap.

Jack

TTG, Sir

What choice does the US government have with respect to the actions of the Shia-led Iraqi government? If the Iraqi government with prodding from their Shia leadership and the Iranian government decide to align with Syria and attack any jihadi area, what can the US-Saudi alliance do about it other than to continue funding and arming such groups?

It seems the US doesn't have a coherent strategy. On one side it is aligned with the Shia Iraqi government and the Rojava Kurds against ISIS and then on the other side they're arming and training and actively involved on the side of the Saudi sponsored jihadists in Syria. How do folks on the ground deal with this dissonance?

mauisurfer

pardon for this off topic post
John Helmer has just posted a remarkable article about Brzezinski under President Carter.
quote
To Brzezinski goes the credit for starting the organization, financing and armament of the mujahideen, the Islamic fundamentalists who have metastasized — with US money and arms still — into Islamic terrorist armies operating far from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Brzezinski started them off. Only today, Russia – the target of Brzezinski’s scheming — is relatively better prepared and safer from the terrorists than the countries of western Europe and the US itself.

To Brzezinski also goes the credit for projecting Iran on to its nuclear-armed path against the Great Satan and US allies in the Middle East, making the sunni-shia sectarian division into a cause of international war which it was not, before Brzezinski began. That it was not is due to the power of the secular Arab leaders to sustain an alternative to religion for governance. Brzezinski’s idea was to target them as Kremlin stooges and overthrow them. To Brzezinski also goes the credit for releasing Israeli ambition under Menachem Begin and his successors on the Israeli right; the promotion of Egyptian corruption and weakness under Anwar Sadat and his successors; and the destruction of the Palestinians.

If not for Carter, Brzezinski would have remained the marginal voice he was before and after the four-year Carter term. From the start of that term, in the first six months of 1977, Carter was also warned explicitly by his own staff, inside the White House and working on his confidential instruction, not to allow Brzezinski to dominate his policy-making to the exclusion of all other advice, and the erasure of the evidence on which the advice was based.

I know this because I was a member of the staff in those days. I know because I drafted the terms of a series of staff investigations which Carter requested and then authorized

http://johnhelmer.net/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-svengali-of-jimmy-carters-presidency-is-dead-but-the-evil-lives-on/print/

Allen Thomson


Crazy Fred said many things both excellent and bad, but Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. should be the morning recitation in a lot of security/law enforcement organizations.

Former 11B

That's how I see it too. That bit struck me as counterproductive, but then our whole foreign policy is counterproductive. But sure, goad those SAA hard asses with your juvenile unenforceable threats. What could go wrong?

charly

Does the SDF want Deir ezzoz? I personally doubt that.

Account Deleted

Whatever their purpose, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what use the SAA has found for them.

Bill Herschel

Macron just got through telling Putin that chemical weapons use by Assad crosses a red line. That has got to mean that a false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria is just around the corner to be used as a casus belli to draw NATO into Iraq. In other words, it won't just be U.S. British and Norwegian special forces; it will also be French, German, etc. special forces: the combined might of "Europe" against the evil Assad (read: Putin).

Or, put another way, soft WW III.

As someone pointed out, the Russians seem not to care. And why should they? Let's compare civilian constituencies. The French rising up against Russia? The average Frenchman may very well think Putin is a scoundrel and nous sommes tous les Crimeans maintenant, but I don't think that translates to body bags coming back to CDG being acceptable.

On the other hand, the Russian populace? They don't want body bags and they do want to be recognized as Europeans, but the shadow of Chechnya hangs over all, not to even mention the Great Patriotic War.

Have I got it right? Probably not.

ex-PFC Chuck

Speaking of counterproductive foreign policy John Helmer, who for a while now has been an independent journalist based in Moscow but was earlier on President Carter's White House staff, has a scathing piece up about the pernicious impact of the late (but apparently not late enough) Zbigniew Brzezinski.

http://johnhelmer.net/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-svengali-of-jimmy-carters-presidency-is-dead-but-the-evil-lives-on/

VietnamVet

TTG

Al-Tanf could be an East West flash point. Thanks for keeping us updated.

Opening the Damascus Baghdad Highway is vital to the Shiites for resupply and it cuts off the Islamic State to the north.

Private Public Partnerships are the New World Order’s way to cut taxes and increase fees for services. It is also a way to hire mercenaries to guard right-of-way, look the other way for a price and keep western control of resources. Making the Iraqi highway a toll road and continuing the support of Islamists maybe a justification for drawing a line in the sand at this crossroad. After the Saudi Sword Dance, the visit to the Wailing Wall and Jared’s Russian complications, a stand down seems unlikely.

On the other side of Eurasia, the halt of arms sales to Taiwan and the third carrier group on the way to the East China Sea indicate that there still is every intention of taking down North Korea. This could be the Eighth War.

Account Deleted

PMU have reportedly now reached the border at Um Jaris: http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/29-may-badr-organization-secretary-general-hadi-alamiri-announces

Elijah Magnier is now saying PMU are intent on sealing border from there right down to to al-Qaem, regardless of US wishes:

All along Nineveh until Anbar, #Iraq security forces #PMU will start cleaning the Iraqi-Syrian borders until reaching al-Qaem.

US has nowhere to go at al-Tanf. They face increasingly overwhelming opposition and will eventually be surrounded as R+6 rolls around them to Iraqi border and on to ultimately meet PMU. Any significant offensive action would likely see them obliterated and SAA would claim self-defense.

This is what makes Macron's words on immediate French response to a future CW attack (Brits said words to same effect recently) all the more ominous. It looks to me as though this may be seen as the only remaining option to trigger war proper on Assad. Only way I can see this being avoided is by grounding SyAAF & using RuAF only until danger is over (when?). Grounded planes can't drop CW and surely no one is crazy enough to false flag a Russian CW attack - are they?

kgw

Tout ta faix!!

The Twisted Genius

All,

Colonel Lang asked me about the tanks in the 800th battalion. They appear to be the T-72AV models. These are upgraded T-72s with new engines, transmissions. The sighting system is the Viper-32 thermal sight coupled with laser guided AT ammunition fired from the 125mm smoothbore main gun. The Scarab 1 and 2 protection systems have allowed these tanks to withstand attacks from our TOW-2 AT missiles. Not only do the tanks survive such attacks, but they often continue fighting after the TOW attack. They are formidable, modern vehicles. The 800th is a Republican Guards unit and has been referred to as a battalion, regiment and a brigade so I have no idea what size unit it is.

Ghostship

Alongside the Bill Kristol Brigade there should be a multitude of Hillary Clinton Brigades for all her numerous liberal and so-called progressive followers who cheered her on through Libya and Syria and are now virulent anti-Russians so should be quite happy to make a heroic last stand at Al Tanf to defend the jihadists.

kooshy

TTG, thank you for the usual best

Bill Herschel

It occurs to me that the most grotesque insult being bandied about these days, usually by those who profited most from the reality they are denying, is the comparison of Putin to Hitler. Russia defeated Hitler (and Japan for that matter). Millions of Russians lost their lives defeating Hitler. And now Russia is Nazi Germany. The American people thoroughly deserve the buffoon they have elected President. Ignorance is bliss.

Henshaw

Interesting, but I'd also like to know what Putin told Macron.

Ishmael Zechariah

BH,

Do you think the female buffoon they rejected would have been an improvement?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/03/05/hillary-clinton-says-putins-action-are-like-what-hitler-did-back-in-the-30s/

Ishmael Zechariah

charly

The smart way to conquer Al Tanf is not with tanks or armies but a Green March. Send 20 buses filled with school kids and nuns, broadcast it on RT Arab and the Americans will fold.

different clue

Bill Herschel,

The American persons who believe that Russia is Nazi Germany are the American persons who voted for Clinton. The American persons who voted against Clinton one way or another were doing so in order to vote against the concept that Russia is Nazi Germany. The American persons who elected Trump did so in order to defeat the Russia = Nazi Germany concept.

So Trump may be double-crossing those people who voted for him to oppose a Clintonite foreign policy. In that case, why do the American people thoroughly deserve the buffoon we elected? Are you saying that if we had been smarter, we would have elected the Free Trade Traitor WarPig Clinton?

PeterHug

The only salient historical comparison I have to offer is that Trump is for me uncomfortably reminiscent of Wilhelm II after he fired Bismark.

It's not making it easier for me to sleep at night.

BraveNewWorld

Isn't that France sending a cue to AQ to do another chemical attack?

Castellio

"It doesn't matter if we go to meet death or if death comes to meet us, as long as we are on the right path."

confusedponderer

For me that is underlining my interpretation of Putin. He is a tough, thinking man, and pissing at him has a high price. You screw him once, and maybe you get away. The second time you will be made to pay. That's a hard and thinking way to act.

'Bad incidents' or 'bad lucks' are not forgotten. That ought to be clear to Erdogan, or other geniusses of his sort, like the formerly ultra georgian and nowaday ultra ukrainian patriot Shakashvili.

So, some time ago, some nutty jihadiised turk (at least former cop), (with or without MIT support), murdered the Russian ambassador to turkey. Alas. Perhaps that was just bad luck?

And the turks shot down a russian fighter? Alas. Perhaps, also bad luck? With so many competent officers fired for lack of pro AKP applause crap like that may 'happen'. I read that after the firing of turkish officers new turks were sent to Bruxelles. A problem in NATO communication and NATO cooperation came from the fact that many of the super turkish 'new kids' didn't even speak english. Alas.

Well, shit happens. Once or twice. But folks who tend to think will conclude that if odd things and/or bad lucks happen again, it likely was not bad luck but intent. There will be price to pay.

As for what that means, it would help to look at the fate of the virtuous ultra georgian patriot Shaakashvili (who totally spontaneously became an ultra ukrainian patriot when unelected in Georgia).

Shaakashvili had the briliant idea, and US support, when he went after south ossetia (and badly lost that war). In south ossetia the Russians gave him a kick in the butt that he probably still remembers now and handed him his sorry ass by more or less massacring the two infantry divisions or brigades Shakasvili had sent to 'to liberate the neighbour' ('liberate it' to become a part of Georgia? Seriously?) and they destroyed the majority of the georgian artillery sent.

As for prices that are to be paid for stupid ideas like that:

According to Stratfor, Russia "largely destroyed Georgia's war-fighting capability". "Georgia lost its air and naval forces and its air-defence systems". Ouch.

Amusingly, according to Shakashvili, Georgia 'saved 95 percent of its armed forces'. Ah yes. What a success. So that's why Georgia withdrew and everybody but Shaakashvili speaks of a georgian defeat? An embarassing excuse, and it didn't persuade the Georgians: This defeat cost Shaakashvili the re-election, and, oddly, spontaneously he preferred to become a stalwart ukrainian patriot then.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/aug/09/georgia.russia2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

It's interesting that the Russians are harder to screw like, say, Mr. Trump, who, when visiting Saudi Arabia, probably just forgot mentioning 9/11 and where 15 of the murderers came from.

Confusedponderer

Use by the SAA? Ah, well, I assume thats the price the syrians demand for the US favourite Sport of embargoes, like the one on toilet paper.

Confusedponderer

Charly,
the Manchester bomb isis type jerk didn't bother about murdering minors in dozens.

I wonder: Why would Isis 'in land' be any different in such indifference?

johnf

A chemical attack in Syria would also greatly help the struggling Borg-Queen Theresa May in her foundering election campaign with the Sandersesque Corbyn.

He successfuly turned attacks on him as being pro-terrorist after Manchester into an attack on Britain's foreign policy whose wars arm and inspire terrorist attacks in The West. But with a full scale chemical attack in Syria and all the associated media hysteria, with only days to go to the election he might not have time to turn it again. But I think large - and electorally significant - parts of the British electorate have simply given up believing anything they see or read in the British MSM.

LondonBob

Trump wouldn't sign off on that and neither would anyone else. Did/does the Pentagon not see that their position in Iraq is precarious what with the Shia dominant there? I was reading Sheuer's comments on his blog on the idiocy of arming the Kurds and the enmity this will generate in the region against the US, McMaster et al just don't seem to think things through.

aleksandar

- DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 P.M.) – With the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advancing rapidly through the Maskanah Plains and reaching the fringes of Raqqa province, Kurdish-led contingents scored a series of important advances in the Tabqa region on Sunday evening, aimed at preventing a government offensive into rural Raqqa.-
Are Kurds stupid enough to try to prevent Tiger Force to attack Deir ez Zor from the north ? Stupid enough to think that they will be able to create a greater Kurdistan, the US Plan "B" in case of plan "A" (create a Sunnistan) failing ?
From Maskanah to Deir ez Zor , it's "open field ".
Do they think they will stop the " Tiger Fantastic Ride" ?
We will see soon.

TonyL

I did not vote for Clinton (i.e. I cannot speak for her voters), but I don't think you are right.

Americans who are convinced that Russia is the equivalence of Nazi Germany are the Borgs and their followers, regardless of their political persuasion.

I've noticed that people (many posters on this forum) tend to use a put-down label for others who disagree with their viewpoint. I think all that does is lessening the quality of their arguments.

alba etie

TTG
Thank you for keeping us up to date on 'best guesses ' regarding final outcomes in Syria . And as a side bar its seems Mukhtar Donald cut a deal with the Saudi Royals and Blackstone huge private equity group) to privatize all of our upcoming CONUS infrastructure repair & replace .. ( sigh) ...

alba etie

Former 11B
and while we are at round up all the Kagan clan and send them too..

The Beaver

@ TTG

FWIW:
Look at what the PMU is doing

https://twitter.com/iraqi_day/status/869520292279980034

FB Ali

b, TTG,

Doesn't the highway pass mostly through Sunni (tribal) areas? These tribes are not too happy with the Iraqi Shia government.

May that have something to do with letting a US company maintain and guard it?

Eliot

CP,

"For me that is underlining my interpretation of Putin. He is a tough, thinking man, and pissing at him has a high price."

But he doesn't let emotion get in the way of making the right decision.

- Eliot

Babak Makkinejad

You must be deranged.

Red Cloud

I'm sure their supporters would love access to some of those oil fields around there.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

I'm sure there are some tribal leaders in that area who see this as a good source of jobs for their subjects. Abadi seemed to approve of the contract as an economic plus at one time, if not now. These concepts are universal. The same could be said for the push for privately controlled toll roads in my area.

Gene O.

Aleksandar -

The YPG/SDF advance south of Tabqa is to block Daesh fighters fleeing the Tiger Forcees at Maskanah from reinforcing Raqqa. They do not want the complication of a few hundred Daesh fighters making it to Raqqa to beef up Abu Bakr's defenses there.

That is basic common sense. Any suggestion otherwise is misleading or hype. The liberation of Deir ez-Zor by the SAA is in the best interests of the Syrian Kurds. They will not attempt to block it.

fanto

mauisurfer,
this guy Helmer must hate Zbig B to no end. It is outrageous to even put blame for Iran nuclear ambitions into Zbig's shoes! Iran and USA were not friends, before Zbig or after him, not even after the Iran Contra deal. The help which USA under Reagan was giving Saddam Hussein during the war with Iran was not a scheme which can be lay at feet of Brzezinski, come on! Rumsfeld was shaking hands with Saddam. Thousands of young Iranians killed in the marshes of southern Iraq by Saddam's poison gas have not been forgotten by the Iranian leadership. (this horror is well described by Peter Scholl Latour in his book "Kampf dem Terror, Kampf dem Islam?", chapter "Gaskrieg im Dienst des Westens", p.148-151;Edition 2002); so this is nonsense IMHO to blame Brzezinski for Iran's 'nukilar weapons'...

Bill H

Was busy yesterday with family duties, happily so, and just read this today.

"We came to the gunfight with Switchblades and leaflets. They came with well equipped, well trained and well supported forces..."

I will reread that gem in my mind and treasure it for several days, I suspect.

aleksandar

I should have agreed with you a week ago.
But Kurds have granted passage to a large ISIS force leaving Raqqah to attack Palmyra last week. They are not trustworthy.
Even if these guys from IS have meet their "Russian fate " on the road .

b

This has much more to do with U.S. designs for the "salafist principality" in west-Iraq and east Syria. Note that one branch of Highway 1 goes through al-Tanf towards Damascus and that the U.S. is eager to take east Syria which has little to do with "fighting ISIS".
With a U.S. mil company ruling the Anbar area with its superior arms the U.S. would be in full control.

Some Anbar tribals (those paid by al-Sauds to counter Shias) may not be happy with the government in Baghdad. But the reopening of the road without toll and other hindrance would also be very much to their advantage.

b

Another note on Constellis_

Lat year it hired one Roy Shaposhnik as Chief Strategy Advisor.

He is an Israeli who earlier ran a logistic shop in Ben Gurion and other airports mostly for the U.S military. He once was "Senior advisor for rural development (under the Negev and Galilee sub-ministry) - Prime Ministers Office", Israel. Studied in IDC Herzliya.
https://constellis.com/who-we-are/leadership

Surely a great person to run strategy for west Iraq ....

Thomas

Deadhead,

"Shaakashvili had the briliant idea, and US support, when he went after south ossetia (and badly lost that war)"


Conveniently you left out key help from a certain country, you know the one that the Usurping Subversives (which provided support under the guise of the United States) pledge undying loyalty to.

Damn man, one day that Select Sect will get their revenge on Russia for the temerity of Alexander II going with the Emancipation Reform of 1861 and putting the Serf Exchangers out of business.

How's the photograph coming along? In fairness to you it is hard to snap a picture with decaying flesh on the finger.

different clue

aleksandar,

But what if . . . that is exactly WHY the Kurds gave passage to this ISIS force? To arrange for them to meet a "Russian fate" on the road?

English Outsider


On the subject of deception a brief resume from Vanessa Beeley on the various re-namings of Al Qaeda.

https://thewallwillfall.org/2017/05/23/us-rebrands-al-qaeda-in-syria-and-removes-them-from-terror-watchlists/

I still retain a sharp visual image of a TV picture all that time ago when I watched the at first unbelievable spectacle of a plane flying into a tall building. I had dropped by a friend's house to collect something. It was the middle of the working day and I was surprised to find him sitting intently watching the TV, and watching what looked like a science fiction programme at that. Then I realised it wasn't.

Now it's just another everyday fact that we're backing the group that did it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJDDSPYQgQc

sid_finster

I am not sure that Trump has any real say in the matter.

sid_finster

That is precisely why V.V. Putin has been refusing to respond to increasingly outrageous provocations, instead preferring to play for time.

Former 11B

This. There is no moral compass left in the swamp. They lie when they don't have to. Its pathological now.

Lurker

“Tattaglia is a pimp. He never could have outfought Santino. But I didn’t know until this day that it was Barzini all along.”
– Don Vito Corleone

Likewise, it is fairly easy to understand how Russia, Iran, Shia Iraq and Hezbollah face an existencial threat from the takfiri cesspool in Syria. But it is not as easy to understand the geopolitical impact to China. China is the Barzini keeping a low profile while bank rolling the R plus 6 resistance against the Borgists. If ZATO is allowed to win in Syria then the RF, Iran, Shia Iraq and the resistance may be defanged and folded and China knows it is next. So China cannot and will not allow ZATO to win despite the immense wealth and resources deployed by the Saudis, Gulfies, ZATOists, MIC, MSM, Rothschilds, Muslim Brotherhood, neo-kohens, MI6, Mossad, Kurds, etc.

Check, your move Don!

Peter in Toronto

I've been curious about the effectiveness of the Scarab IR dazzlers against TOW systems.

I haven't really seen any footage of a tank equipped with this gear hit, and the friendly garden variety FSA Jihadists sure love to boast about their feats with the graciously donated TOW-2A instruments of democracy. At the height of the fighting in Hama, I recall them hitting low value targets like pick-up trucks and small groups of infantry, and very few hits on tanks, which would imply that these systems are indeed working as advertised.

Good to see the Syrian finally addressing this demoralizing threat.

Gene O.

Aleksandar-

Smells like more misleading BS from Damascus to me. No way the YPG could let Daeshis do that. Raqqa is north of the Euphrates, Palmyra south, and all the bridges are down. Plus there would be no benefit for the Kurds to allow that even if it was possible. They did allow some Daeshis from Tabqa to leave the city and the dam in order to save civilian lives in Tabqa and to keep the dam from being booby-trapped. But those Daeshis met their "coalition fate" on the road, not a Russian fate.

The Kurdish YPG has never pushed for independence from Syria. Some of their allies in the SDF may have ideas along those lines. The Kurds know that the jihadis consider them as bad or worse than the Alawites and the Iranians.

Lurker

Thanks for the graph. It shows who really is going toe to toe while the R + 6 provides the muscles and blood.

Bill Herschel

You are absolutely correct that the entire Clinton contingent equates Putin with Hitler and that Trump has, as consistently as he is capable of which is not a lot, attempted to undemonize Russia.

But there were choices, in particular Sanders. Voting for Trump doesn't let the American people off the hook. On the other hand, the American people have been being deceived by their leaders at least since Woodrow Wilson send 117,000 soldiers to their deaths to "Make the World Safe for Democracy".

Jack

You should also take a look at systemic leverage. Xi better keep a close eye on his internal enemies.

William Fitzgerald

James,

"the slopes"? I had to laugh at a beautiful unintentional double entendre.

WPFIII

Account Deleted

b,

The only toll on that road will be in PMC personnel.

Meanwhile the Prince of PMC's himself seems to be hedging his bets:
http://www.atimes.com/article/blackwater-founders-fsg-buys-stake-chinese-security-school/

Pundita

IDF, or at least DEBKAfile, is quite upset about yet more Iranian militias presumed headed to Syria:

"Powerful pro-Iran Badr Brigades to enter Syria"
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
May 31, 2017, 4:02 PM (IDT)

Hadi al-Amiri, commander of the strongest Iraqi Shiite militia, the Badr Brigades, said Wednesday, May 31, that his forces are preparing to enter Syria. The advanced capabilities of this powerful Iranian-led militia, would tilt the Syrian war strongly in Iran’s favor, with alarming ramifications for the US, Israel and Jordan.

Al-Amri, in making this announcement, cited Iran’s new slogan: “Iraq’s security will be maintained only if Syria’s security is preserved.” In other words, the Syrian conflict would end only when pro-Iranian Shiite militias, including Hizballah, control Syria like they control Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the Badr Brigades’ path into Syria was secured this week when an Iraqi Shiite conglomerate breached the Iraqi-Syrian border in the north, on the orders of Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani. This opened Iran’s coveted overland corridor through Iraq to Syria.

The combat capabilities of the Badr Brigades, estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000 strong, are impressive. One of the most professional and well-trained military forces in Iraq, its recruits receive instruction at special camps operated by Revolutionary Guard Corps on Iranian soil.

The militia consists of special forces, tank, mechanized infantry, artillery and antiaircraft units. The high quality of their munitions may be seen in the photo at the top of the story.

Their entry into Syria could raise the total of pro-Iranian Shiite forces fighting in Syria to 80,000 to 100,000 troops.

Intelligence sources expect the Badr Brigades to first head south towards the Deir ez-Zor area to link up with the Syrian Arab Army and Hizballah forces, which are threatening the US special forces and allied hold on a key crossing that commands the triangle where the Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi borders meet.

They would need to cover 230km from Palmyra to Deir ez-Zor, the while fighting small, scattered ISIS concentrations.

Wednesday, May 31, Russia came down on the side of Tehran, with a cruise missile strike on ISIS targets around Palmyra. They were fired from the missile frigate Admiral Essen and the submarine Krasnodar for the purpose of softening jihadi resistance to the Badr Brigades’ southward advance.

The consequences of this massive pro-Iranian intervention in the Syrian war are dire for the US, Israel and Jordan. For Washington, it lays the ground for Tehran’s domination of Syria – in the face of President Donald Trump’s solemn vows to prevent this happening.

For Israel, Hizballah’s hostile penetration of Syrian borders abutting its territory is child’s play compared with a major military force capable of transforming Syria into a huge staging area for Iranian aggression against the Jewish state.

Jordan’s foreboding comes from its judgment that pro-Iranian Shiite militias sitting on its borders are a greater threat even that ISIS.

Read more about this pivotal development in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly. [...]

[END REPORT]

http://www.debka.com/article/26079/Powerful-pro-Iran-Badr-Brigades-to-enter-Syria

This next also From DEBKAfile. Re #3 point -- I'd be surprised if US would dispense with its Kurdish partners after Raqqa just to mollify Erdogan; on other hand US & allies are trying like heck to keep him in the fold.

"Indirect US talks for ISIS fighters to exit Raqqa"
DEBKAfile Special Report
May 29, 2017, 10:41 AM (IDT)

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis told CBS News Sunday night, May 28, that the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group has "accelerated" and shifted to "annihilation tactics."

This assertion does not square with the indirect talks the United States is secretly conducting with ISIS for its commanders and most of its operational strength to quit Raqqa, its former de facto Syrian capital, and relocate in Al Mayadeen and Abu Kamal in southeastern Syria.

According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, the negotiations are taking place between the US-sponsored Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the powerful YPG Syrian Kurdish militia allied with Syrian Arabs. As a result, few ISIS fighters remain in Raqqa. This force is American-trained and armed, and fights under the command of US special forces officers.

The US was motivated in letting these talks go forward by three considerations:

1. A deal would accelerate Raqqa’s fall with a minimum of casualties for the attackers.

2. Raqqa’s liberation would leave almost the entire stretch of Kurdish-ruled territory in northern Syria purged of jihadist terrorists. American forces and their Kurdish allies could then go for control of the northern section of the Syrian-Iraqi border. US and Jordanian special forces, combined with an American-trained Syrian rebel group, have been conducting a parallel campaign for the southern section of that border.

3. If Raqqa can be taken without a battle, the United States can dispense with its Kurdish partners. This would remove a substantial impediment from the path of President Donald Trump’s diplomacy for drawing Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan back from his rapidly-advancing rapprochement with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For Erdogan, any boost for the Kurdish cause is a red flag. He is therefore fiercely opposed to their participation in the liberation of Raqqa.

The negotiations with ISIS have been ongoing for about ten days. They came on the heels of a deal for ending the Battle for Tabqa, a key Euphrates River town and air base about 50km from Raqqa, by allowing ISIS defenders safe passage to the two Syrian Desert locations, after laying down their arms.

However, in the case of a deal for Raqqa, the Russians have just thrown a spanner in the works.

According to a statement issued by the Russian Defense Department on Saturday, May 27, Moscow knew of the YPG-ISIS talks and decided to sabotage them by placing a Russian siege around the town and its exits to thwart the ISIS retreat.

This episode does not exactly accord with the Defense Secretary Mattis’ assertion Sunday that “We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria to annihilation tactics where we surround them.”

Neither does it quite fit the ringing call President Donald Trump issued from Riyadh to all Muslim nations to unite against terrorists and “drive them out of this Earth.”

[END REPORT]

http://www.debka.com/article/26078/Indirect-US-talks-for-ISIS-fighters-to-exit-Raqqa

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