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19 March 2018


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Sid Finster

This country is neither a democracy nor a democratic republic. It is a de facto oligarchy, in which ordinary citizens have but little say.


Wishing otherwise does not make it so.

ex-PFC Chuck

@ 16
The Votel et al must be seriously concerned about the future of relations between Turkey and the USA. A piece on 21st Century Wire the other day asserted that the USAF is relocating assets from Incerlik (sp?) AFB to somewhere in Jordan.

Ishmael Zechariah

re: " He's still saddled with trying to prevent a final consolidation of Syria in support of Israeli objectives while defeating what remains of ISIS."

Might it be possible that ISIS/DAESH is a Borg/izzie operation?
Ishmael Zechariah
P.s: Perhaps in a future post you might evaluate the strategy employed by TSK in the Olive Branch operation, and the performance of the kurds in view of various predictions made at the beginning.



No, we should ask the Israeli general just who signed the agreement he says commits the US to defend Isreal. Then maybe he could tell us when the Senate ratified such an agreement:

"Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war and, according to Haimovitch" That would be Brig.-Gen Zvika Haimovitch, the head of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division , according to the caption on the second photo. I think the first is far more telling: 4 soldiers to carry a casualty to the waiting ambulance where two other soldiers are sitting in the shade. What kind of priority is that?



"Might it be possible that ISIS/DAESH is a Borg/izzie operation?" No. Think about Mosul and Raqqa. pl

The Twisted Genius

William Fitzgerald,

Reference your comment at #22

No, what we and Tel Aviv do not want to see is a fully reconstituted Syria under Assad's rule. That is is what we are trying to prevent with our presence in eastern Syria and around Tanf. I take Votel at his word that he expects Syria under Assad to survive as a state, albeit diminished in land mass and resources. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, appears to ultimately want a total collapse of the Assad regime leaving a fractured land under the control of various jihadist warlords. However, they may be willing to settle for a diminished SAR for now.

The Twisted Genius

ex-PFC Chuck,

Reference your comment at #27

We have pulled our A-10s out of Incirlik to Baghram, Afghanistan to support our war there. The Germans pulled out of Incirlik last year. We still have tankers based at Incirlik. Family housing has been reduced. I'm surprised any dependents are still there. I think our days there are numbered.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,
I agree w. the Mousul and Raqqa point. OTOH, the coalition never truly bombed the petroleum exports of this organization until the Russians started their campaign.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere between total control and total opposition.
Thanks for the response.
Ishmael Zechariah

The Twisted Genius

Ishmael Zechariah,

Reference your comment at #28

There is a wide variation in the jihadist ranks from the the original anti-Assad rebels to the hard core ISIS/DAESH. We aided, equipped and directed various groups at one end of the spectrum. We continue to do so at Tanf and east of the Euphrates, as does the TSK to the north. Membership and allegiances among the jihadist has always been fluid, but only to a point as shown by the constant inter-jihadist fighting. All this grayness leads to confused situations and interpretations. We were clearly not concerned when IS was assisting in toppling Assad, but we were never allies. That was shortsighted and foolish, but so are many things we and others do in the region. Our goal is still to destroy ISIS/DAESH.


Israel Quietly Begins Practicing for Possible War With Russia

Apparently Israel held a command-level war game under cover of the Cobra exercise where they continued to plan an attack on Lebanon and Syria, as well as what to do if "the Russian made trouble."


“We can achieve decisive victory over Hezbollah, and we don’t need help from a single American soldier, but we cannot fight Iran alone,” he stated last year. “I consider future cooperation with the U.S. much more important than anything we’ve had in the past.”

End Quote

Reading that in reverse supports my contention that Israel both continues to intend to degrade Hizballah and Syria's ability to be effective actors in a US/Israel war with Iran, and also that they intend to recruit the US in their next attack on Lebanon, with the goal of extending that war into Syria.

And that is regardless of the Russian presence in Syria.

Since Russia has asked Lebanon for a military cooperation agreement, which I believe was intended as a warning to Israel not to attack Lebanon again - because of the threat that Syria would become involved - I suspect that Russia is well aware of Israel's intentions.

The addition of a US base in Israel and a commitment of US forces to support Israel in their wars means that there will be an increased likelihood of US conflict with Russia if Russia intervenes in a Israeli/US attack in Lebanon which extends into Syria. I don't think Russia would come to Lebanon's aid directly in support of Hizballah, but it's quite likely Russia would intervene if that war extended into Syria. Russia doesn't have the forces in country in Syria to directly intervene militarily but it could add additional forces or use its regional capabilities to intervene enough to complicate Israeli/US actions in Syria. But not without increasing the probability of escalation to a dangerous degree.

If Israel is not persuaded to stand down on its intentions to attack Hizballah and Syria, things could get much more ugly than the present Syrian crisis.


"He's still saddled with trying to prevent a final consolidation of Syria in support of Israeli objectives while defeating what remains of ISIS. That's more than enough to handle."
-- Hard, indeed: The US Army at the mercy of ziocons.
"Israeli Military Make it Clear that They Support ISIS:" https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2016/07/israeli-military-make-it-clear-that.html "It is well known that Israel funds, arms and provides medical support for the fighters of Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, al-Nusra. According to the Daily Mail out of the goodness of its heart, Israel has rescued and saved some 2,000 Islamic fighters in South Lebanon."
-- "Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS:" http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/newly-declassified-u-s-government-documents-the-west-supported-the-creation-of-isis.html "... extreme Muslim terrorists – salafists, Muslims Brotherhood, and AQI (i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq) – have always been the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

Dr. Puck

Thanks for this Bill.

Cognitive dissonance is dialed up to the max between my ears when I contemplate 'wagging the dog' in the autumn, Mr. Kushner's BFF the Crown Prince, and, all this talk about a newly unbridled POTUS trusting nothing now but his instincts. I sure hope Mattis and Votel are in agreement, but this report of commonsense does increase the dissonance.

Is North Korea coming off the table to make way for a shock and awe feast in Iran? Is a Kushner ME peace ultimatum going to moot the courageous General Votel?

One motive for a big war is the President wanting really badly to see what all those participants in his parade can manage to wreck--all for the purpose of MAGA.

Interesting times. . .



SST is invaluable if you are trying to see through the fog of disinformation.

Korea is straightforward. Asia has advancing societies with strong nation states. North Korea will defend itself. China will defend it if attacked by the USA. A first strike at Pyongyang will quickly escalate into a total war.

The Middle East is intentional chaos. It is a 1000-year-old holy war promoted by foreign oligarchs for profit, to stress Russia and in support of their particular tribe. Nation States are weak and struggling to survive. The chances of a mishap are tremendous. Today’s question is "will the USA support an Israeli war to cut the Shiite Crescent and neutralize Hezbollah in Syria"? With Russian troops embedded with SAA, the chances of a superpower war are high. What is frightening is that no one in politics or the media dares point this out. Plus, an Information Operation is obviously ongoing to demonize the Russian Federation. It worse today than the run-up to the disastrous Iraq Invasion of 2003. Russia does have the nuclear weapons to destroy North America.

Babak Makkinejad

This "diminished SAR" is smaller but better; War has created a new state; more compact, more cohesive, and with better capacity to wage war and manage the peace. Her domestic enemies are dead or in exile and a super power has collaborated with her on the field of battle.


Wag the Dog. Reminds me of Bill Clinton. History is replete with many examples.





Jony Kanuck

I thought it would come to this in any event:

A few months ago Elijah Mangier posted a column that said that next year Hizbollah & the SAA are going to attack Israel to take the Golan Heights back. Since reading that column I’ve been looking (almost every day) for evidence to prove or disprove Magnier’s thesis. I’ve found some evidence for, & none against.

Various Hajd al Shaabi (ultra Shia) militias from Iraq have visited ‘the front lines’ to look at the lay of the land & get filmed. Hezbollah has mostly pulled back into Lebanon & isn’t taking on any more ordnance (they have plenty). The SAA is busy.

So far as I know, Israel will come after Hezbollah if the Hez doesn’t go first. The Izzies are also gobbling up big pieces of Lebanon & Syria. With just eyeball measurement, it looks as though the max Is. extension puts them in easy missile range of Damascus.

I don’t think the Israeli Army is much good any more but the Air force is, or was. The Is. AF is, but not so sure it wants to go up against Syrian Air Defence & they just don’t know what to do if Syrian Air Defence gets integrated into Russian SA 300 & 400 systems.

To post same again, I think the IDF will be able to hold a line against Hez/SAA/Hajd Al Shaabi somewhere in the Golan but positional warfare is death for the IDF: Body bags, lots. Meanwhile Hezbollah missiles will wreck Tel Aviv. I believe those two things will put Israel into an existential crisis. Many Jews will decide that New York is the promised land. Others will scream blue murder & try to get the US, the UN or any guilty libs to help: Will you?

The Izzies may try to use a nuke at that point but if they, say; nuke Damascus, they won’t have a friend left in the world & no amount of hasbra will fix that.

So Israel is going to try to get the US to save it, even at the price of a shooting war between the US & Russia!
I think Israel should be turned over to the Palestinians, to see if they have preserved a better sense of justice.


Senate Resolution 65, 05/22/2013:
"(8) urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense [who says Congress has no sense of humor?] against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,[see my comments above. See Iraq WMD. See Colin Powell.] the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."

"The United States has deemed all major Israeli military actions as 'self-defense' (most recently two Gaza wars) with the oft-repeated statement that the United States is 'fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.'" "U.S. Will Go to War With Iran if Israel Does":

This hands the keys to both the Pentagon and the Treasury to Israel. It writes a blank check, one that can be cashed at any time for any amount. The last large war for Israel was projected under $100B, and ended up costing over $1T directly, some say $5T indirectly. Iran is 4x larger than Iraq. This puts BOE promotional cost estimates at "well under $400B", and actual cost estimates at $4T direct, up to $20T indirect. This is of course assuming that America does not get into a war with Russia, and that America can bomb the snot out of civilians in a medium-sized modern country without any of our civilian targets being hit in return. WWJD?


I would think they would be the primary targets...


I agree with your statement, for many years has been this in way, an oligarchy of political class under control of rich and associated corporate feudalism. I am not sure if that’s what the framers wanted. The concept was to have the power concentrated in the people and not on them. Specially not by an specific group (oligarchs).



""The addition of a US base in Israel and a commitment of US forces to support Israel in their wars means that there will be an increased likelihood of US conflict with Russia''

Do you know who pushed the establishment of this base in Israel?
I have searched and searched and cant find an answer.


The American and Israeli planers under consul by Bandar Bush thought they can put back the Iranian revolution’ Shia genie, by promoting and unleashing the Wahhabi terror groups into the Shia Western Asia. As of the result, they have created such a unity among the Shias, from Mediterranean Sea to the Pamir mountains that no Shia could have imagined in her wildest dream. And above that they have destroyed any possible uniformity or unity among the Sunnis. I personally never thought such a tight uniform mosaic can happen so fast. In no way, I am complaining.


The Israeli are getting desperate. They have now "confirmed" that they bombed a "Syrian reactor" back in 2007. Since the "reactor" was most likely a structure related to Syria's intermediate range missile program, I have to wonder why Israel is "confirming" this attack. Perhaps it's because they are no longer willing to fly into Syrian airspace for fear of losing aircraft and more particularly pilots, so boasting about the IAF's former glories is all they have to hide their growing weakness.


ex-PFC Chuck

@ 42
Back in '94 I was in Israel on business and after the meetings were concluded I had a few extra days before my scheduled return flight. This was there was still a bloom on the now completely withered rose of the Oslo Accords. I drove up to the Galilee area, stayed in a Kibbutz at the foot of the Israeli side of the Golan, and the next day I drove up on and around the occupied area. It is called "heights" for a reason, and it was apparent to even my unpracticed eye that defensive positions had been prepared such that they could be heavily reinforced from the nearby battalion encampments in much less than an hour from the time of any surprise. Even if the IDF ground forces are no longer what they were at the time of the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars, for the SAS and Hesbollah to retake the area would be an up hill task, both literally and figuratively.

Peter AU

catherine, some time ago I read a pdf of a pentagon analysis on the rise of China and the re-emergence of Russia as a world power. I have no idea where to find it now.
The basis of it was the US would be overstretched and have to draw back to working with key allies.
If Trump is headed that way, then five eyes and Israel and perhaps a few others would be core allies. Who is exempt from tariffs may be another indication.

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