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29 May 2017


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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.


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.


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. :-)


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.


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


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.


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.



"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


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


pardon for this off topic post
John Helmer has just posted a remarkable article about Brzezinski under President Carter.
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


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?


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.




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?

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