29 June 2017


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The Twisted Genius


I'll have to take a much closer look at a map to compare the open country to the roads up the Euphrates valley. I'm just apprehensive of any defenses built by the jihadis among the many villages in the valley.



Ritter? He got a lot of publicity by going to places that DIA and CIA sent him to and then writing a book about it. Ho Hum!. pl



Pretty sure there is a border road on the Syrian side of the Iraqi border. That would be a lot easier going than cross compartment in a hilly, stony desert. Resistance I villages? That is what CAS is for. pl


Couple of things jumped out at me while considering the dash-through-the-desert scenario. One is how exposed ISIS' LOC to Suknah would be to any move north from the Abar al Mawahib - Humaymah line. They have about 60 km of road to defend in front of that line if they want to keep the way open. SAA seizing that road and rolling into the rear of the defenses at Suknah could give ISIS in Suknah a real problem. Another is the possibility of an advance centered on the road from T2 to Al Mayadin, a tad under 40 km east of Deir Ezzor. And a dash-through-the-desert could be launched anywhere along that same road if if SAA wanted to go more directly to Deir Ezzor.

Anybody have a comment on what appears to be an imminent Turkish offensive against the Kurds in Afrin?


Babak Makkinejad

Chemical weapons casualties; without a doubt.

Babak Makkinejad

Both civilian and soldiers.

Bill Herschel

This reminds me of the story, not particularly relevant, of the southern surgeon who, after having his resident fumble up pretty much everything he was trying to do in the operation, finally said, "Son, if you're ever in the woods and you see me wrasslin' a bear, help the bear."



I believe the Russina ICBM capabilities have been forgotten only by the Borg. The current occupant of the WH probably thinks Hunt for Red October was a documentary.


I don't see how that bears on the truth or falsity of what Ritter writes.

Outrage Beyond

re: Is it true to any extent to say that ISIS is the Sunni Iraqi Army blowing back?

Of course. They didn't acquire their military training from nowhere. Saddam's military was fired by Paul Bremer. They became the brains of the insurgency, and then ISIS.



Many of the civilian victims were Iraqi Kurds who fled Saddam's attempted genocide across the border. But Chemical Ali reached them there also in Sardasht, Sarpol, Gharb, Shno, Marivan, et al.

Peter AU


Watching one of the Stone - Putin videos, Stone asked Putin if he is ever afraid. Putin answered "A hanged man cannot drown". He seemed to have the attitude you do your best and whatever happens happens. Fate decided by god type of thing and at peace with that.
Sometimes I gain the impression that some in Syria work on the same principle. Do your best and leave the rest to god. Would there be anything in that or do I have the wrong impression?

Babak Makkinejad

I think that the commanding officers at Mosul had been bribed to be AWOL when ISIS struck. It is a toss up whether it was Saudi money or Qatari money.

The Twisted Genius

Peter AU,

I think you have the right impression. I also think there are many roads to arrive at the same state of mind. My father is 86. He survived cancer, buried two wives and a young daughter. He has an unbelievably upbeat attitude, but I have never met anyone who holds the specter of impending death in such contempt. He is absolutely fearless of his own mortality. He still holds some of the ancestral pre-Christianity ways in his heart even though he was raised a Roman Catholic. Perhaps that has something to do with his attitude. Like I said, there are many roads to arrive at the same state of mind.

Babak Makkinejad

Yup - one wonders where the bleeding hearts of US and EU where?
Or the progressive vanguards of mankind in USSR and the People's Republic of China?
Or the Muslim Brothers & Sisters; you know, the Ummah?
Last, but not least, those small countries such as Denmark or New Zealand (the perennial supplier of passports to Israeli assains)?




So the Infamous Syrian Government green buses to Idlib Province will now have a US/SAA Green Aircraft fleet to move Islamist rebels to figurative greener pastures and greater nowheres. Interestingly, the peaceful movement of rebels to new kessels is unknown to the great majority of people in the US.


Can you please link to the article about the Winner-leaked NSA "assessment"? Thanks ahead.

Babak Makkinejad

Yup, the Protestant countries.


TTG, thank you very much but having worked for NATO I'm truly ashamed of my current english.
I agree about the fact that the drive to Al Bukamal and north along the Euphrates is not the most likely axis, too difficult with Al Mayadin half way, a big nut to crack.
But I remain convinced that ISIS reinforcement road must be cut here, and so far PMU are months away to be able to do that.
The northeast COA across the flat desert from the Humaymah-T3 area directly towards Deir Ezzor has IMO two weakness.
First it extends supply line over 100 km in the desert.
Even if SAA and co are somewhat « rustic » and with less needed supply that our armies this can put this offensive in danger without proper refuelling and rearming.
Secondly, it will be difficult to protect the flanks north and south and this supply line can be cut everywhere and anytime.
If Iran ( seems they are alredy in this move ) and Russia decide to get it over with ISIS as soon as possible and before a possible false chemical attack, I think scale of forces will be sufficient to lauch an offensive and protect the road.
Ash Shula could be Phase 1 end point, Deir Ezzor airport phase 2.
If I was always a G3 planning officier and as ISIS seems to be totally encircled in Raqqah I would propose as COA Tiger offensive from Rusafa to Al Ma'dan and At Tibni as their north east flank will be protected by SDF up to At Tibni (ph1) and then Ayash (north Dez). This COA allows Tiger to prevent ISIS reinforcement to DeZ from north east having the other bank of Euphrat under fire control.
" Keep you head low " :)



IMO, you and TTG are gravely underestimating the difficulties involved in operating across that desert without a supply road. pl


"Tiger Forces advancing from Rusafa axis and NDF in Ithriya axis have met up near Zakiah crossroad after capturing Masbah and Al-Alem hill."

Road linking Rusafa with Ithriya is now clear. This shortens Tiger Force LOCs (as TTG predicted) by well over a hundred miles or more. Regime sources claim Aleppo Province is now completely free of Daeshis, who reportedly withdrew south or southwest (or perhaps went into hiding in place).


Sir , that's why I would have proposed the "Tiger" north COA.



Glad to see you back at SST. The stretch of road east of Ithria was deliberately left open for days to facilitate an IS withdrawal from the closing Khanassar pocket. People try to do that but it never works very well, as in the Falaise Pocket from which most German forces escaped because of the gap left open. Will not the Tiger forces task foce now be occupied for a while in mopping up the Khanassar pocket? pl

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

As I have pointed out to you before, key Soviet-era military thinkers had more or less to be dragged kicking and screaming into acceptance of Western-style notions of ‘deterrence’.

From a 1995 account by Jacob W. Kipp, who used to head the U.S. Army’s – invaluable – ‘Foreign Military Studies Office', of a book by one of the most significant of them, Makmut Akhmetovich Gareev (note the name: he is an ‘Old Mohican’, who started out as a Tatar cavalryman from Chelyabinsk):

‘Gareev strongly disagrees with the new Russian military doctrine’s open proclamation of possible first-use of nuclear weapons and points out the serious political dangers associated with such a declaratory policy. Dismissing the need for such actions against a wide range of states and noting the terrible risks associated in the use of such weapons against another nuclear power, Gareev concludes that a defensive military doctrine and first use of nuclear weapons amount to a dangerous contradiction. It can lead to confusion in times of crisis that could result in dangerous miscalculations. The path to stable deterrence is to be found through “the rejection of the concept of global nuclear war and through planning only deterring nuclear strikes.” The impact of residual nuclear capabilities and the political deterrence associated with them is likely to make conventional war more limited in terms of objectives and even the use of conventional forces.’

(See http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/rusrma.htm .)

As I have also noted, the combination of the catastrophic collapse unleashed by Gorbachev’s ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ and Western policy has created a situation where there is a broad consensus that reliance on ‘deterrence’ is the least worst option for Russia. My own view is that Western policies which were likely to encourage this perception were very profoundly foolish.

But those of us who argued that were ‘frozen out’ a generation ago.

However, precisely the situation we now face is one where we could have ‘confusion in times of crisis which leads to dangerous miscalculations.’

As regards the Islamic Republic, my instinct – which is ignorant – has been that the current decisionmakers do not want to adopt Western-style ‘deterrence’ strategies.

So long as there was reason to believe that Saddam’s Iraq had, or was likely to have, a serious nuclear programme, Iranian strategic planners had very good reason to have one.

However, after your country’s intelligence services duped ‘useful idiots’ in Washington and London into getting rid of Saddam for them, this imperative disappeared.

My guess has been that Iranian planners would have liked to achieve a state of ‘nuclear pregnancy’.

However, it seems to me that the main focus has been on conventional ‘deterrence’ – the ability, without increasing the chances of the Israelis inveigling the United States into attacking Iran by giving good grounds for the belief that you were attempting a ‘nuclear breakout’, to make such an attack fraught with danger.

It would seem possible that a part of this is the steady build-up of missiles of increasing range, accuracy, and lethality in hardened Hizbullah positions north of the Litani.

It could be – and here I am venturing into speculation – that a hoped for side effect of this is that these will increase the pressures on members of the educated and technologically capable élites upon whom Israel depends to conclude that it makes better sense to bring up their families in San Francisco, or indeed Berlin. If they did so, they might trigger a degenerative ‘vicious circle’, and so collapse the whole Zionist project.

The fear of this happening, I have long thought, is a central driving force behind the actions of Israel and its ‘amen corner’ in the United States and other Western countries. However, this has now backfired, in at least two critical ways.

One is that, in addition to pushing Russia towards China, Western policy have created a situation where, although their perspectives and interests in regard to Syria are clearly very different, Russia and Iran have an overriding common interest in combatting Sunni jihadism. The other is that the old assumption – common among the morons whom MI6 appears to recruit – that one could use such jihadists against the (supposed) common enemies of the Saudis and ourselves has blown up in our faces.

All this is rather good news for the Islamic Republic, and I would anticipate that with Rouhani as President, rather than Ahmadinejad, its planners are in a better position to understand and exploit trends moving in their favour than they were.

Of course, I may simply be projecting my old-style ‘Perfidious Albionian’ deviousness onto innocent Iranians.

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