August 15, 2013
Bits On Syria And A Technology Question
In east Syria insurgents from the Fee Syrian Army have been kicked out
of the city of Raqqa by al-Qaida affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria:
Fighting between ISIS and the Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade for control of Raqqa – which fell out of the control of president Bashar Assad in March – has intensified over the last week. The battle culminated with the jihadist group detonating a car bomb early Wednesday at the city’s main train station, killing Rasoul commanders Abu Mazen and Fahd Hussein al-Kajwan.
The Al-Qaeda-linked ISIS clashed with Rasoul fighters at the brigade’s headquarters, which they eventually overran, with most of the group withdrawing to Turkey Wednesday.
While the ISIS terrorist have won this fight the conflict itself is a sign that the at least parts of the population is turning against them. Summary execution of children
(video) does not make one friends with their parents.
In south Syria near the border to Jordan the insurgents have made a few small gains. These are attributed to new Saudi financed anti-Tank missiles:
The Saudi-financed missile shipments arrived in the last few weeks through Jordan after months of quiet Saudi pressure to prod Amman to open a supply route.
Jordanian officials privately say they are caught between appeasing the Saudis and the danger of reprisals by Assad, who earlier this year warned Amman it "would be playing with fire" if it supported rebels.
It follows close Saudi-American-Jordanian intelligence coordination to vet and track weapons to keep them out of "the wrong hands" of Islamist fighters, a regional diplomatic source and an Arab security source told Reuters.
While the Saudis financed the missiles the real physical supplier is more likely the CIA.
The Syrian army has consolidated in the south and the new missiles are unlikely effect its hold on the area. That might be one reason why General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just visited Jordan to tell King Abdullah to ask for more help:
“We did not talk about direct military intervention,” [Dempsey] said. “That actually never came up. What did come up was discussions about what we could do to help them build their capability and capacities, whether it was border surveillance and I.S.R.,” which stands for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The I.S.R. capability is needed to spy on on the Syrian army and to be able to maneuver the insurgents, who have been trained by U.S. special forces in Jordan, against it. But the Syrian president Assad had warned Jordan to refrain from supporting the insurgents and likely has some counteraction planned. Jordan's king might soon be in real trouble.
Before Dempsey came to Jordan he had visited Israel and he left with some curious statement:
The Israelis “of course want us to continue to present a credible military threat to support those diplomatic and economic efforts,” General Dempsey said, adding that he told them, “since I was here last year, we have better military options than we did a year ago.”
“That’s because we’ve continued to refine them,” he said. “We’ve continued to develop technology, we’ve continued to train and plan.”
He declined to provide details.
What technology development was Dempsey thinking of? Or was this just a fake?
Posted by b on August 15, 2013 at 01:45 PM | Permalink
Another question, is anybody interested in changing from a Middle East cold war to a hot war?
Posted by: somebody | Aug 15, 2013 1:53:52 PM | 1
Probably drones and the technology needed to spy on all communications. Did anyone notice that the android apps, after the NSA scandals, have for some of them an update which needs authorizations for being (even) more intrusive? Looks like they need to get legally what they were getting anyway.
Posted by: Mina | Aug 15, 2013 2:12:01 PM | 2
What technology? Various missile systems, I think. Juniper Cobra includes practice runs of both the Arrow 2 and Iron Dome systems. Reliant Mermaid also allows for testing naval missile systems.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 15, 2013 2:14:07 PM | 3
I think Dempsey's junket is about organizing support for the no-fly/no-go zone that the smart set in Washington is hoping will be a done deal by the end of summer.
There's a good piece by Pepe Escobar that appeared on Counterpunch yesterday, "Prince Bandar and the Destruction of Syria":
The name of the game, in practice, remains Syria as the new Afghanistan, with the House of Saud in control of all aspects of jihad (with Washington “leading from behind”). Deadly historic irony also applies; instead of clashing with the Soviet Union, now the Saudis clash with the Russian federation. Bandar is simultaneously the new Weaponizer-in-Chief, as well as Liberator-in-Chief of Syria. The Comeback Spy is not accounting for future, inevitable, ghastly blowback; what’s alarming is that the Obama administration is right behind him.
Posted by: Mike Maloney | Aug 15, 2013 2:23:33 PM | 4
Well, the other evening just past dusk, another of Boeing's fancy new super satellites shot off from Cape Canaveral. It's supposed to have more bandwidth than all of the other DOD accessed satellites combined. The Aussies helped us pay for it and are I'm assuming, renting it as well.
I read something that I'm now unable to find about this particular satellite being better for controlling simultaneous conflict areas, or something, like in a game-changing way. But you know those Defense sales pitches. But maybe this is some of Dempsey's "new technology".
Posted by: L Bean | Aug 15, 2013 4:02:57 PM | 5
The simplest path from technology to Israelis regarding Syria probably means countermeasures for Syria's anti air systems. It could be something else, but the s-300 dominates Israeli minds, as it challenges their sense of invincibility.
Posted by: Crest | Aug 15, 2013 4:16:16 PM | 6
There is a nice Android app called Permissions Denied (note I did not provide a link directly to Google Play!). I found it disconcerting that a simple game like Bubble Breaker wanted permissions to use EVERY network capability my phone had...so I 'hobbled' it using the PD app. Works nicely.
Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Aug 15, 2013 4:35:14 PM | 8
Have Syrians used napalm against insurgents as US did on a huge scale in Vietnam.
Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 15, 2013 5:50:11 PM | 9
Dempsey: The Israelis "of course want us to continue to present a credible military threat to support those diplomatic and economic efforts,"
Very undiplomatic of him.
The mantra, the mantra, the mantra is supposed to be that "all options are on the table"
UN Charter Article 2(4): "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
So the mealy-mouthed "all options are on the table" is ok, but saying that you will "continue to present a credible military threat" is clearly illegal under Article 2(4) of that Charter.
Obviously his political commissar was having an unscheduled rest-break while Dempsey was busy blathering to the NY Times.
Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 15, 2013 5:51:44 PM | 10
US reportedly sending more naval ships to Mideast. This could be a risky move since naval ships are vulnerable to state of the art land to ship missiles. Global financial markets could CRASH if any US ships are sunk.
Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 15, 2013 6:13:31 PM | 11
If Dempsey, or any other military commander on the planet had a super-duper, fool-proof plan for a successful military assault on Syria, he'd have kept it under his hat, launched it, and would now be crowing about it.
Leaking factoids to the media, to create the illusion of a brilliant and imminent military campaign, is show-boating. Dempsey was probably in Israel to warn Bibi not to outsmart himself.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 15, 2013 6:24:00 PM | 12
What's sick is to see the recent media reporting on the "rebel" "offensive" into heavily Shia areas presented as anything other than what it is: the lasts gasps of a sectarian terror army hoping beyond hope that the murder a few thousand more civilians might turn the tide for them.
Posted by: guest77 | Aug 15, 2013 9:02:49 PM | 13
@12 Yes, agreed. The statements he is making are intended as a sop to the Israelis i.e. to hide the fact that he went there to tell Netanyahu to sit on his hands and do nothing.
The difficulty for him is, of course, that the US State Department has spent decades demonstrating to the Israelis that they can ignore US diktats with impunity. Dempsey has to drill it through Netanyahu's skull that the Pentagon is not the same as Foggy Bottom.
A tough sell, because Bibi's Skull it one thick lump o' bone.
Indeed, it's probably bone all the way through.....
Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 15, 2013 9:08:31 PM | 14
@14 Oh, not all the way through. I'm convinced there is a tiny reservoir of bile in the center.
Posted by: guest77 | Aug 15, 2013 9:22:59 PM | 15
israel already *has* multiple times criminally attacked the souvereign Syrian state.
So israel is fair game, no matter what. And with an increasingly weakened zusa as protector it's only a matter of (not so much) time for israel to be done with once and for all.
The idiot in the current game clearly is jordanias king. He will have to pay dearly and will be glad to get away with his "In which direction shall I bend over to please you"-whore-life. israel and zusa play and use him any way they like and he doesn't have the guts to say so much as "but".
The problem is Sochi, once again. Staying relatively low and quiet is yet another price Russia has to pay for those sh*t games. As much as I love and rever Putin, Sochi was a *major* mistake. And, of course, zusa intends to play that in any and every way.
Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 16, 2013 8:25:16 AM | 16
A fool called Martin has written a column in the Toronto Star calling for a boycott of the ice hockey at Sochi.
Martin, a Professor of PoliSci, is obviously a stalking horse. The NHL would probably love a boycott, which would save it a couple of weeks in prime money making time.
The irony is that "coming out" in Russia is probably a lot easier than in Canadian Hockey.
Posted by: bevin | Aug 16, 2013 12:47:19 PM | 17
@ 14. I read somewhere recently that his wife, Vampira(?) Netanyahu, exerts a lot more influence over what Bibi thinks than Bibi does. If Dempsey forgot to get both of them in the same room when he delivered his warning, there's a better than even chance that the warning will be overuled by Vampira(?) - especially if she detects an element of common sense in it...
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16, 2013 1:41:30 PM | 18
Saudi Arabia -- the prime supporter of terrorism in Syria -- now says it supports Egypt coup to suppress terrorism in that country. This goes way beyond Orwell's 1984.
Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 16, 2013 1:42:55 PM | 19
"Vampira" = Sara - "she who must be obeyed" as haaretz columnists sardonically call her: image
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 16, 2013 3:14:26 PM | 20
I couldn't remember her name but Vampira seemed close enough considering the likelihood that her 'wings' were bestowed at a traditional Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
If she wasn't in the same room as Dempsey and Bibi for the warning session, the image raises the possibility that there wasn't a room big enough to accommodate all three of them at once. This episode could yet evolve into one of those Great Military Blunders.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16, 2013 4:20:19 PM | 21
"He declined to provide details."
Is Dempsey in the Hagel camp?
If so, he's probably as allergic to bullshitting as Hagel seems to be.
Hagel is shaping up as one of those "walk softly and carry a bid stick" types.
"Israel" had better learn to tread carefully. There are some things money can't buy.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16, 2013 5:22:21 PM | 22
It's been a few yrs since to 2 Aircraft Carriers have been in the region at the same time. They're not alone as you know.
Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 16, 2013 6:10:51 PM | 23
Well, the floating reefs-in-waiting will only pose a short-term threat to the Russians. The submarines, without which Yankee aircraft carriers couldn't leave port, won't demonstrate nearly as much Full Spectrum Dominance as the M-IC wishes it would/could. While the Yankees have been building Hunter-killer subs (to put more $$$ in the pockets of the 1%), the Russians have been perfecting Hunter-killer torpedoes (torpedoes don't mutiny if you order them to take a risk).
This is going to be good. The Yankees are now obliged to prop up their totally unjustified 'Superpower' myth, but not to the point where they provoke the Russians into creaming them in public.
Being a Fake Superpower was never going to remain as easy as the Yankees made it look while they were whacking the softest, and least threatening, targets they could find.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 18, 2013 10:40:18 AM | 25
I watched the execution of the two children...OMG.
I thought the camera might be pulled back of fade to black for the finale, but, no, it hung in there until the shooters seemed to have emptied their guns. Or got tired of wasting the bullets pummeling the inert bodies.
Posted by: jawbone | Aug 19, 2013 8:17:44 PM | 26
They are dealing with the same psychopaths who were cutting babies throats in Algeria just 20 years ago. My understanding is that the high rate of first cousins weddings is directly leading to high rates of schizophrenia. I cannot find any other rational explanation.
And a pro-revo shaykh having remorse:
Interesting confession of a pro revo syrian shaykh on his FB Page 1 sur 1 A late confession by a thawraji sheikh, Muhammad Dahman:
“الثوار” كانوا أول من استخدم السلاح ضد النظام وأجهزة الأمن ، سواء في درعا أو بانياس أو جسر الشغور أو غيرها ، وليس النظام وأجهزته الأمنية .
Early attacks on security forces and the army in Syria are well documented and the evidence is irrefutable, that does not exonerate the regime but it helps explain why the rebellion in Syria failed to win public support.
الشيخ محمد باسم دهمان ، وهذا اسمه الكامل ، كتب أمس على صفحته في موقع “فيسبوك” يقول :
“كنا أول الثورة نستمع للجزيرة فقط حول احداث درعا وجسر الشغور وبانياس وتل كلخ . وكنا نصدق الجزيرة لمعرفتنا بإجرام النظام . وبعد أشهر استطعنا التواصل مع اهلنا هناك بشكل مباشر وكانت المفاجأة : لقد كان البادئ للاسف الثوار (فقد) ذبحوا العشرات من الأمن قبل ان يطلق عليهم طلقة …. فكانت ردة الفعل من النظام ان قتل من قتل من النساء والاطفال بعد فرار الرجال انتقاما منهم . وقد ذكر الإعلام السوري ما فعل الثوار بصدق ولم يذكر ما فعل هو بالنساء والأطفال ، وها هي الأحداث تتكرر اليوم في مصر …. وبنفس الطريقة …. وبنفس الإعلام”
On the issue of attacking “secular armies” in Syria, Egypt and Algeria:
لمصلحة من جرهم الى صراعات داخلية .. ان لم تدمرهم استنزفتهم واضعفتهم” قبل أن ينصح قائلا : لا يقولن احد : وما نفعهم او انهم لا يقاتلوا اسرائيل .. او او او ، فكل الحجج لا تبرر ان تدمر بيتك عليك .. او تخرب بيتك بيديك .. او تقاتل ابناءك في جيشك الذي هو لي ولك ولنا جميعا .انا اعلم ان كلامي قد لا يعجب البعض .. ولكن هذا رأيي ، والله اعلم” .
Posted by: Mina | Aug 20, 2013 5:31:17 AM | 27
Mass grave discovered in #Lattakia countryside .. #Syria http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/08/20/498299.htm … Some bodies cannot be identified. pic.twitter.com/liiMJkONOc
Most of the victims were children & women, yet all of the MSM referred to Latakia massacres as an "attack on Assad's stronghold."
Posted by: brian | Aug 20, 2013 6:48:34 PM | 28
So Assad is using chemical weapons and at the same time he invite inspectors...yeah right.
Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 21, 2013 4:40:22 AM | 29
26) I have been wondering for quite a while what these videos are for ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 21, 2013 4:59:06 AM | 30