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26 June 2017


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Sorry for dropping this in here and please feel free to not post it if it is to off topic. But there is a recent happening in Israel that I think could be even more important.

The population in Israel skews much more Orthodox than does the Jewish population in the US. The Orthodox are the driving power of the right in Israel where as the reform Liberals in the US have most of the juice. The Orthodox have always looked on the reform Jews as not being real Jews. This has caused schisms between the Jews of Israel and the Jews of the US. That has been a growing trend for years.


What is new is Netanyahu just decided to make it law that reform Jews aren't allowed to pray at the Western Wall because they aren't Jewish enough.


Enjoy the picture of Donald praying at the wall because that is no longer possible along with Ivanka and the Kushner clan and most American Jews. Will this spell the end of the special relationship? No, that is actually driven more by certain Christian groups than it is by Jews these days. But it will definitely weaken groups like AIPAC while strengthening groups like J Street.


It will be interesting to see the direction the Tiger Force takes once they've secured the Salamiyah-Resafa road (about 20 km remaining at last report). They would be in a position to move on Deir Ezzor and cut off ISIS forces in Hama and Homs in one move. Whatever happens, it looks like something's got to give with the emerging triple threat on Deir Ezzor (Suknah, Resafa, and the T2 junction).





I wish I could make a shortcut for this site. pl

Peter AU

I now have to turn off an add blocker to see the syrian civil war map

This Ukrainian map I have found to be accurate and constantly updated.


Am I misunderstanding that the point of contention is enforcing Orthodox rules for prayer, i.e. gender segregation, at the Wailing Wall rather than exclusion of Reform Jews?


2001 saw the invasion of Afghanistan and it has been continual war since then with the Borg providing the orders through the WH. Current president has publicly stated his intention to leave strategy to the generals. Surely 16 years of war has produced some smarts in the war colleges. Take Thirdey's comment as to the possibility of SAA forces isolating Hama and Homs. Will the generals react negatively to the success of the pro-Assad forces or will they say "we are here to destroy ISIS and nothing more"? How political are the generals?

Norbert M Salamon

Colonel: is this map you wish for your site?


robt willmann

Shortly ago on a Fox "News" TV evening program and on the radio news a statement was made that "it appears" that the Syrian government is preparing for "another" chemical weapons attack, and that the White House/Trump is warning that both Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian military will pay a heavy price if Syria conducts such an attack. The TV show displayed several images of Assad while reporting this warning--


This looks, walks, and quacks like a setup, and if so, it is a very dangerous development. The last propaganda and disinformation operation about an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian military on Kahn Sheikhoun was so successful that the temptation to do another one is quite seductive. And president Trump painted himself in a corner in that last event by launching a showboating blast of cruise missiles accompanied by hard-nosed talk. The Art of the Deal? Not hardly. More like, the Art of Being an Easy Mark. If this ominous development comes to some sort of fruition, Trump will have been played like a violin.


Now, this is strange:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the news in a statement late Monday.

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

Five US defense officials reached by BuzzFeed News said they did not know where the potential chemical attack would come from, and were unaware the White House was planning to release its statement. Usually such statements are coordinated across the national security agencies and departments before they are released.>


Gene O

PeterAU -

The same folks also put out a fairly decent sitmap of Yemen. All OSINT of course, so like the Syria Map there are sometimes competing claims.


off topic - UN is now predicting 300,000 cholera cases in Yemen by September


Looks as if President Trump thinks Sy Hersh, Macron, and some scolding German officials are conspiring to making him lose Face ahead of 7/7 G20 Hamburg summit. We should all know by now what can happen when President Trump thinks anyone is trying to make him lose Face.

Here is WaPo report on Spicer announcement, and which came as a complete surprise to CENTCOM command (emphasis mine):

10:20 PM - Monday, June 26
"White House says Syria’s Assad preparing another chemical attack, warns of ‘heavy’ penalty"
By Abby Phillip and Dan Lamothe
The Washington Post

The White House issued an ominous warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night, pledging that his regime would pay a "heavy price" if it carried out another chemical attack this year.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the United States had detected evidence of preparations for a chemical attack, similar to the preparations that occurred before an attack in April.

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children," Spicer said in the statement. "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

"As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," he continued. "If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

Following the April attack, President Trump ordered an air strike against the Assad-controlled air field where the attack was believed to have been carried out.

At the time, Trump said that Assad's use of chemical weapons against innocent women and children made action inevitable.

“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal -- people were shocked to hear what gas it was," Trump said after the attack. "That crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

Following Spicer's statement on Monday night, Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said Assad and its allies would be squarely blamed if such an attack occurred.

"Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people," Haley wrote.

The U.S. military maintains a variety of weapons in the region that could be used in the event of another strike, including manned and unmanned aircraft in several Middle Eastern countries. But the most likely scenario is probably a strike using naval assets, which can be launched with fewer diplomatic issues than using bases in allied countries such as Turkey or the United Arab Emirates.


A point of contention for the Pentagon after the last strike was the Syrian regime’s alleged use of a nerve agent, like sarin. It is far deadlier than some other chemicals that U.S. military and intelligence officials say that the regime has used, such as chlorine.

Air Force Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said he had no additional information to share Monday night.

Abby Phillip is a national political reporter covering the White House for The Washington Post. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @abbydphillip
Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint




They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The delineations on the UA map seem a little more precise and better reflect what I've seen from other sources. For example, it shows SAA right at the T2 station, which can be seen on video. On the other hand it seems more resource-heavy and not quite as stable as syriancivilwarmap. Constant refreshes have their disadvantages. You can also switch map bases with syriancivilwarmap, which sometimes yields good information.

Peter AU

Much about the US is strange.

Re Spicer's statement. It only appears in written form at Spicer's Twitter account. Nothing at this stage at White House website. Nothing from Trump. Nothing from Tillerson. Nikki Haley tweeting in support.



1. I've misplaced the reference but a report last night stated that the State Dept. was also taken off guard by the WH announcement and didn't know anything about it. So it seems no one outside the WH knew about DJT's threat until Spicer announced it last night.

2. I've just noticed a coincidence that I find a little odd. While he was hosting Xi at dinner in April, DJT mentioned to him with no warning that he'd ordered the bombing of a Syrian air base in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack. Last night, either while the state dinner DJT hosted for Modi was in progress or soon after it ended, the WH announced with no warning that the US believed Assad's forces were preparing 'another' chemical attack and that the US was preparing a heavy penalty in that event, i.e., another bombing.

Both China and India are on good terms with Iran, and with Assad and the Syrian government. (Of course they are also on good terms with Russia.)

3. I completely forgot until a few minutes ago that the next round (5th round) of the Astana talks is scheduled to start in a few days -- on July 4. I doubt Al Saud and its coalition have been happy about the good progress that's been made at these talks, and which is expected to continue in the 5th round.

But now, with the threat of a U.S. bombing or even decapitation strike hanging over Damascus, it will be going into the talks in a much weaker position than otherwise.


None of the above touches on Israel, which the Colonel brought up in another thread when he spoke about the WH announcement. Would DJT take down Assad's government or "punish" it just to make Israel happy? I put nothing past DJT. But I keep thinking about that odd coincidence.

At any rate, all these possibilities are a long way from my initial assumption that DJT's threat was just an attempt to save Face in the wake of Hersh's report, etc. That too, perhaps, but DT would have other reasons as well.

Yeah, Right

Interesting that so far not one single military source will touch this latest allegation with a 10-foot-pole.

Not. One.

They are all disavowing any knowledge of this, to their credit.

If Trump really does decide to follow through on this then Hersh should expect a flood of top-level sources for his next article.

Its working title could be: How, Why, and When Trump Chose To Cooperate With Terrorists.


Securing Salamiyah-Resafa road is very important as it will reduce Tiger supply line from 225 km to 65km. In case Tiger force go on offensive toward Euphrat river, having short supplu line is neccesary. That's IMO the only COA possible for Tiger force. All road south of Rusafa are mountainous, with few to none possibility to bypass and take by the rear Isis. Akin of operations zones in Lebanon or Afghanistan where a single platoon can stop a brigade days after days and delay his move forward.It will be a long and deadly COA through these mountains.
A 3 axis move :
- North : Tiger forces up to Euphrat river to cut Raqqa-DeZ road.
- Center : 5th Corps to fix as much as possible Isis forces to defend Al Suknah.
- South : 5th Corps+Hezbollah+Hashd Al-Sha’abi+Liwaa Fatemiyoun conquer T2 and then Al Bukamal to cut Isis supply line from Irak
Isis will have to fight on 3 different fronts at the same time with no tactical priority, each of these 3 offensives being able to end Dez siege.
Well, unless TRUMP begin WW3 following a new false chemical attack.


Yes the reaction should be interesting from many 'unnamed sources.' State Dept. also disavowed any foreknowledge. No word from the "Intelligence Community" -- Pompeo. no telling when Haley was told. saw somewhere she tweeted at the end of her announcement that there would be more news today. [shuddering]

The Kremlin is upset, saying the US threats against Syria's legit gov are unacceptable.



Similar splits in the jewish community contributed significantly to the downfall of Jerusalem in 70 AD and subsequent exile of the Jewish peoples.

An ancient adage is to the effect that it is the diaspora on which Israel most strongly depends for its sustenance.

The Beaver


FYI: Former Syrian MoD Mustafa Tlass has passed away in a hospital in Paris, France.


The goal of the right is a complete ban on reform Jews praying at the wall. The changes that were agreed upon were an attempt to head that off. The full ban isn't in place yet but it will be.

The bigger picture is Netanyahu embracing the far right for survival at a time when he should be embracing the left if he was serious about Trumps peace push.


IMO the WH does not want to overtax the cognitive capacity of the US electorate concerning trends in recent Syrian developments near Deir Ezzor, Al Tanf and Raqqa. Hence this simplified message about a very likely fictional impending Chem attack. Why go into the real situation which would risk acknowledging the wholesale illegality of your contemplated "responses" when you can sustain the "dirty war crime committing dictator Assad" meme indefinitely into the future ?

In other words: why switch horses in midstream when you can simply continue to beat a dead horse ?



An excellent overview of the players and where the Syrian situation is headed.





I think we can take it as a given that there are some fairly smart people steering the SAA around. Syrian Russian, Iranian - most probably a combination of all of them. Whatever - imo they are doing a serling job.

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