Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 01, 2016

Syria: A Turkish-Saudi Countermove In Lebanon Threatens Latakia (Updated)

Updated below

Fabrice Balanche is a French professor and a specialist on Syria's political geography. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute (formerly WINEP) which is part by the U.S. Zionist lobby. So far the writings of Balanche for WINEP have been rather sane, neutral analyses.

In a piece published on February 5 he looked at the situation after the Syrian campaign cut the northern insurgency supply line to Turkey. At the end Balanche muses about possible countermoves by the Turkish and Saudi supporters of the insurgency:

Yet Turkey and Saudi Arabia may not remain passive in the face of major Russian-Iranian progress in Syria. For example, they could set up a new rebel umbrella group similar to Jaish al-Fatah, and/or send antiaircraft missiles to certain brigades. Another option is to open a new front in northern Lebanon, where local Salafist groups and thousands of desperate Syrian refugees could be engaged in the fight. Such a move would directly threaten Assad's Alawite heartland in Tartus and Homs, as well as the main road to Damascus. Regime forces would be outflanked, and Hezbollah's lines of communication, reinforcement, and supply between Lebanon and Syria could be cut off. The question is, do Riyadh and Ankara have the means and willingness to conduct such a bold, dangerous action?

Some Turkish, Saudi or CIA strategist may have had the same thought, or may have taken up Balanche's idea:

Cargo ship from Turkey full of weapons seized by Greek authorities

According to Greek and Turkish sources, a cargo ship containing thousands of weapons, ammunition, and explosives was seized by Greek authorities on February 28th. The ship– sporting a Togo flag– had reportedly left a Turkish port in Izmir and was traveling to Lebanon as well as the southeastern African coast.

The above source is not always reliable, but Elijah J. Magnier, reporting from Syria for the Kuwaiti paper AL RAI, just confirmed the news:

Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai
#BreakingNews: Fuelling Lebanon?
#Greece arrest crew of a ship 6 #Syria/n, 4 #India/n 1 #Lebanese carrying weapons from #Turkey to #Lebanon.

The ship was carrying 6 containers of which 2 full of weapons designated to a harbour in #Lebanon, intercepted at #Greece Crete #Island.

Very alarming indeed & shows a possible escalation planned n #Lebanon when the #SaudiArabia / #Hezbollah/#Iran relationship is at its worse.

This indicates that #Lebanon is no longer outside the circle of the war in #Syria and is supposed to be dragged in

It is unlikely that this is a purely Turkish operation. The Saudis do have enormous influence in Lebanon due to their frequent bribes paid to the various actors there. The general Saudi influence is now somewhat diminished. None of the major Lebanese followed the Saudi's demand to take its side and to seek conflict with Syria or Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia party that supports the Syrian government. But there are still groups in Lebanon, especially Salafis, which the Saudis essentially command. 

A few weeks ago a Saudi prince was imprisoned in Lebanon after being caught loading two tons of amphetamine Captagon pills onto his private plane. There are also rumors that the Saudis recently found a video which showed Hizbullah operators training Yemeni Houthis in intelligence matters. This was seen as a direct attack on Saudi interests. The Saudis cut $4 billion of Saudi paid French weapon aid they had promised to the Lebanese military. A week ago they warned all their citizens to leave Lebanon.

The now caught ship is likely the result of Saudi and Turkish cooperation. The idea is reckless as it could throw Lebanon back into the terrible years of the Lebanese civil war. But the idea is also very bold which lets me believe that its origin is neither Saudi nor Turkish.

The weapon ship may not have been the only or the first one. It is quite possible that some weapons have already reached the Sunni quarters of Tripoli in north Lebanon. In 2012 some fierce fighting erupted between the Alawite enclave in Tripoli and some Sunni neighborhoods. Then the Lebanese army intervened to calm the fighting down.

With weapons for some 10,000 men and lots of dollars to pay them, a serious threat to the soft underbelly of Syria could be implemented within a few weeks. An attack from the Tripoli area northward into Latakia would open a new dangerous front against the Syrian government. Hopefully the Syrian government and Hizbullah are prepared to squelch such a campaign in its infancy.


Stratfor, a private U.S. intelligence service, distributed this claim today:

A Sunni politician in Lebanon tells Stratfor that the Saudi government wants to build a Sunni anti-Hizbullah militia by providing for Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon.


The sourcing is fishy - "According to a Sunni politician ...  Saudi Arabia is reportedly ...". Why does Startfor need a politician to tell them that something is "reported" somewhere. Why not source to the original report?

Is this all a "Plan B" head fake to gain some leverage for negotiations? Or is this a real program?

Posted by b on March 1, 2016 at 10:06 AM | Permalink


His eminence Hassan Nasrallah will address his supporters tonignt, maybe he will touch on this

Posted by: papa | Mar 1, 2016 10:18:29 AM | 2

thanks b... i happened to notice that story on the ship that greece intercepted yesterday or the day before, but thanks for adding more perspective on that.. it seems to me saudi arabia can continue to throw money to keep making life hell for people in syria and yemen.. what i would like to know is when these f*kers get their comeuppance? meanwhile they continue to spread poison worldwide with their wahabbi cult...

since your article highlights another zionist lobby writer, i am curious if you think israel is helping to destabilize the area with support from the usa in this? it seems to me this angle doesn't get much of any coverage and israel gets a pass on any consideration of it's role in the syrian nightmare... israel has been so important in maintaining the gaza prison, one could imagine they would like a similar situation for all of syria.. it is hard to me to have any respect for israel and it's present policies as a good neighbour... it would appear to be the exact opposite..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2016 11:54:59 AM | 3

Is it possible that the saudi/US/turks are seeking another supply line to their jihadists now that several others have been caught?

I see PR value is agreeing to a ceasefire but lets face it, its going to be used to launch another attack on Russia, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah etc.

Posted by: alaric | Mar 1, 2016 12:26:35 PM | 4

likely someone's rear of the horse's Plan B. Too much civil war is never ever enough. Kerry and Obama speak in unison with forked tongue. Assad must go.. No, Assad can stay. No No, we repeat: Assad must go.

It all depends where the wind blows.This nugget caught my eye.
Sputnik has this up:
-Time to Say Good-Bye? Storm Clouds Gathering on Erdogan’s Horizon

[..}According to the journalist {Michael Collins, OpEdNews}
there is one thing that Recep Erdogan and his cronies fear. And this is jail.
"Should any government other than one controlled by Erdogan come to power, then Erdogan, his family members, and his cronies will go to trial and likely be sentenced to serious jail time," Collins stresses.

And still there is someone who scares Erdogan even more. His name is Barack Obama.

"Erdogan… works for Obama… [and] only Obama can fire him. Turkey is part of NATO, which is up to its neck in supporting Islamic extremists fighting to topple the government of Syria. More specifically, Erdogan has been a willing servant of the White House through Turkey's key role in training, supplying, and transferring foreign fighters into Syria and supporting homegrown rebels," the US researcher elaborates

(emphasis from article)

If this is true, I ask it. Preserve what mini-legacy you have left. Fire Erdogan!

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 1, 2016 12:26:50 PM | 5

@4 alaric.. i agree.. that is reality, as opposed to fanciful thinking..

ot - Elijah J M article The Raqqa offensive needs Mosul first and The Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force to Syria

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2016 12:31:28 PM | 6

This is not the first time Greek or European officials have interdicted weapons smuggled from Turkey. In two previous cases the police confiscated Winchester SXP shotguns. In September 2015 Greece seized the cargo ship Haddad 1 that carried 5,000 concealed shotguns 'for Libya Islamists'. In November 2015 Italian police found 800 similar rifles in a Dutch lorry.

See more here: Turkish arms smuggling to Europe

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 1, 2016 1:36:44 PM | 7

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2016 11:54:59 AM | 3
it seems to me this angle doesn't get much of any coverage and israel gets a pass on any consideration of it's role in the syrian nightmare...
Israel said on Tuesday that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons against civilians since the start of a ceasefire aimed at preparing the way for an end to the five-year civil war.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2016 2:34:57 PM | 8

God, what if the Persians and Arabs ever found common ground and united against the Zionists. Would that make for interesting times.

The Zionist hold on the western world only exists as long as they keep these two in perpetual warfare.

Posted by: shadyl | Mar 1, 2016 2:47:25 PM | 9

@8 peter.. thanks.. classic propaganda from the 1%.. they keep on flogging a dead horse and of course ISIS or their supporters who have insisted on murder and mayhem for all of syria would never consider something as evil as this as they are just so honourable and need all the support from the west they can get, including a nice little non mention in reuters.. reuters is proving itself a good water boy these days..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2016 3:07:15 PM | 10

@James 10
The Reuters article caught my eye because Israel until now have been in the the closet regarding MSM and Syria.
I then read this article on UN resolution 2268 by Alexander Mercouris and the dots start to connect.
The preamble to Resolution 2268 “…… strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,….”

I would guess Israel is concerned that this would also include the Golan Heights and Murdoch/Cheney/Genie Energy oil.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2016 3:51:12 PM | 11

Israel Preparing for the Next Lebanon War

Posted by: James | Mar 1, 2016 3:52:20 PM | 12

@shadyl who said: "The Zionist hold on the western world only exists as long as they keep these two in perpetual warfare."

Would this be the same Zionist group that owns all Western media and is keeping the white supreme/racist types from finding common ground with......ah, the rest of us?

Would this be the same Zionist group that form the preponderance of the global plutocrats that own private finance and all the rest of things?

This Zionist group is really good at keeping others in perpetual warfare so they are never questioned. I guess when you own the money supply and can keep control in the family for centuries, many things are possible.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 1, 2016 4:05:56 PM | 13

Today's news in Dutch parliament ... couldn't find another thread to post. :-(

The Lie of John Kerry: Malaysian Flight MH-17 and US Intelligence

By repeating the same question over and over, the Dutch minister responsible for the "independent" investigation by the Dutch Safety Board acknowledged today: "The DSB did not have available the primary radar data from the United States to draw its conclusions in the report."

As I already reported, the corrupt regime of Poroshenko and its disfunctional gang operating as the intelligence service SBU have refused to handover the radar data from both civilian and military installations. Their simple claim: radar was in maintenance, was turned off or simply the recordings were not kept.

The DSB and Dutch government of Mark Rutte refused to support a request to Russia for their video recording of primary data the moment Malaysian airliner flight MH-17 was shot down. The code of ICAO enforces nations to cooperate in the investigation of aircraft disasters and must supply the primary radar data.

Mark Rutte and his cabinet of ministers from the conservative Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Posted by: Oui | Mar 1, 2016 4:08:15 PM | 14

Close ties between Turkey and Russia ;-)

Posted by: Oui | Mar 1, 2016 4:20:17 PM | 15

Reconciliation of Israel with Turkey seemingly imminent

Reports in Turkey indicate that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated in a Cabinet meeting that talks between the two nations are nearing a successful end.

Stories @Ynet News and @Hürriyet Daily News

Posted by: Oui | Mar 1, 2016 4:23:00 PM | 16

Kerry Says Iran Withdrawing Forces from Syria, But is It? | Tikun Olam |

    There’s another potential narrative: Yaari may’ve had this story leaked to him by Kerry’s people (remember Yaari’s WINEP connection) in order to weaken Bibi’s position regarding Iran. An Iran that is reducing its level of military engagement in Syria is an Iran that can no longer pose as much of a threat to Israel. You’d think that would be a good thing. But from Bibi’s point of view it’s not. He needs Iran. He needs enemies. Without them, he’s toast.

    So the Obama administration would be happy to take any shot it can at Bibi. This possibly being one.

    I have consulted with several Iran analysts and a number of them have disagreed with Kerry and Yaari. Elijah Magnier even tweeted that the opposite was true: that Iran, if anything, was increasing its military presence in Syria and not reducing it.

Posted by: Oui | Mar 1, 2016 4:29:20 PM | 17

Billmon just signed off his Twitter account, and you can no longer access postings by him on Twitter.

This from a Google search:

4 hours ago - View on Twitter So, I'm signing off now. I don't particularly want to live tweet what's comes next. Good luck, everybody.…

Posted by: lysias | Mar 1, 2016 4:36:56 PM | 18

Re: Oui @15

This is some variation of

"bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube" (let others wage war; you, happy Austria, marry)

except that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş still have not completed his divorce with another woman.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 1, 2016 4:49:28 PM | 19

I think this particular marriage is for the sake of conducting a war with another party.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 1, 2016 5:07:44 PM | 20

Russia has strengthened the air grouping in Syria. Four Su-24s, accompanied by an Il-78 aerial tanker, arrived at Hmeimim from the Taganka airbase near Astrakhan.

source -

Il-78 aerial tanker increases the range in theater of Russian attack aircraft.

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 1, 2016 5:09:04 PM | 21

Why is a cabinet meeting being chaired by President Erdoğan? Isn't that a job for Prime Minister Çavuşoğlu? And why does the Hürriyet article call Çavuşoğlu "Foreign Minister"?

Posted by: lysias | Mar 1, 2016 5:11:27 PM | 22

US Embassy security message to US citizens in Iraq. Danger of Mosul Dam being compromised ...

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 1, 2016 5:13:49 PM | 23

lysias @17,
damn, that's disapointing. he still has an archive of his tweet-streams at
i hope he comes back.

Posted by: sillybill | Mar 1, 2016 6:25:14 PM | 24

While I don't doubt that Saudi Arabia - along with Israel - wants to have Lebanon turned into a Salafist outpost, it's not going to happen. Hastily organizing and arming a bunch of Sunnis in Lebanon is going to do nothing but start another civil war. And even that may not happen, as Hizballah is WAY more organized and equipped and would likely take the initiative in destroying those Sunni groups before they even got started. Nasrallah is probably the smartest guy in the Middle East and he will take action immediately if there was any attempt to threaten Hizballah or Syria via Lebanon.

I do believe this is a goal of Saudi Arabia because the goal of the entire Syria crisis has been to degrade BOTH Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon so that Israel can start a "cheap" war with Iran ("cheap" in the sense of only having to deal with Iranian missiles rather than Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah missiles - especially the latter.) That goal has been made more complicated by the presence of Russia in Syria, but the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia will not change their goal of degrading Syria, Hizballah and Iran by any means necessary. They cannot. The US elites need the war profits from a war with Iran and Israel needs Iran off the board. Saudi Arabia, of course, just hates Shia.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 1, 2016 6:57:35 PM | 25

Ok... What does Billmon know that we don't??

And didn't bibi get what he asked for in the last budget? So he has nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Shadyl | Mar 1, 2016 7:01:48 PM | 26

Either they are going to blow the Mosul dam, or they are threatening to. Warning after warning:

Iraq: U.S. Warns Citizens to Prepare in Case of Mosul Dam ...

16 hours ago - Iraq's Biggest Dam Is At Risk of Bursting, U.S. Citizens Told to Make ... The U.S. has warned its citizens in Iraq to prepare evacuation plans,
Also there's a naval build up in the Mediterranean which they say is for action in Libya.

Posted by: Penelope | Mar 1, 2016 7:43:44 PM | 27

25 "Ok... What does Billmon know that we don't??"

Perhaps it's not just Mosul or Libya or Lebanon, individually,: but an orchestration of aggression being thought out, that could shatter the peace of the world, and put all of us in great danger.

There is sufficient mendacity for this scene of malice and madness around Syria to just blow up in our faces.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 1, 2016 8:54:48 PM | 28


Billmon is unhappy that its going to be Hillary vs Trump. And Sanders got clocked.

Posted by: ab initio | Mar 1, 2016 10:33:45 PM | 29

Billmon shut down Whiskey Bar when the country had reached a similar political dead end. But this time around with Trump and Clinton it is a more resounding negation of meaningful politics. at the level of national contests for the presidency.

The whole nation is the hostage of transnational corporate power and militarism run amok.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 1, 2016 11:08:16 PM | 30

Copeland @ 29: I'd go further–the whole nation (and as a result, much of the world) is being led to the gallows by transnational corporate power and militarism that beat us into stupidly stumbling to the noose, willingly.

Posted by: Anna | Mar 1, 2016 11:26:36 PM | 31

True or diversionary? I don't believe it really matters. Over the last couple of days I have been watching assorted documentaries made about Germany's attack on Russia, the siege of Stalingrad and Germany's defeat in WW2 which was solely due to the Russian victories at Stalingrad and Kursk.
The docos come from a wide range of diverse sources, altho all were made at a time when the various actors were still extant - meaning there were gross exaggerations, a lot of propaganda (particularly with 'history channel'etc efforts) but no one could proffer deadset lies because they would be called out by all the others present when the battles went down.

There is no doubt that in May 1942 it seemed that Russia was royally screwed. Stalin, that student of history who understood very well the danger of allowing military leaders to become known by the masses, had gone through the Russian military command structure with a weedeater/whippersnipper thingie from 1936 to 1938. In 1942 the red army simply didn't have the leadership to organise tactical withdrawals in the face of superior enemy force, so vast numbers of soviet troops were killed and captured in the early stages of Barbarossa.
The Soviets accepted they had lost the first round and set about ensuring they still won the match. Preparation for the fightback took nearly two years and many people inside and outside the USSR wondered what the fuck was going on.

The Red Army massed huge forces along the volga to the west where it nearly intersects with the Don and east of Stalingrad a simiarly sized force was constructed.
Without going into too much detail (download yer own docos) Marshall Zhukov bided his time even when the nazis had occupied 7/8ths of Stalingrad he waited - he sent in sufficient reinforcements and supplies to ensure the USSR kept a toehold at stalingrad but no more than that.
Even when the pincer movement to encircle germany's 6th army was completed in two days, still Zhukov made no move gainst the encircled troops. He did the opposite, moving his own armies outwards creating supply line problems for himself and resisting a lot of political pressure to rescue uncle Joe's town, because he (Zhukov) was looking at a chessboard and knew that eventually as that awful winter progressed, Germany would have to try and relieve Paulus' 6th army by sending them east through the Caucasus passes and by moving his army up as close as possible to that bottleneck he could prevent nazi relief forces from dispersing out to create a new front.
That is exactly what happened - Germany had it's balls in a vice and couldn't do a thing about it the more it wriggled the more it hurt.

I suggest something very similar has occurred in Syria. Russia spent a very long time planning its Syrian strategy and equipped its forces long before the announcement was made to the world the Russian cavalry was coming to the rescue.
All contingencies have been considered and countermoves developed as we can see from the seamless execution of the plan to retake Syria,

Turkey and Saudi are playing catch up football - everything they do is a reaction to Russian and Syrian actions there is no proactive gambits on the headchoppers' side. The eventual result is as inevitable as the eventual outcome to Hitlers 'operation Barbarossa'was. It is Russia that should be famous for its ability to play the long game but that is not the case, certainly not outside of the chessboard.

If it weren't for the fact that many thousands of fellow humans are going to die over the course of the next few months, I would advocate stockpiling the popcorn and sitting back and watching "how to win a war in the real world".

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 1, 2016 11:28:13 PM | 32

Obomba is nearly done, but the sun wont set just yet. We have to replenish the supply lines...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1, 2016 11:32:54 PM | 33

@30 anna... succinct summation which i agree with.. thanks.

@31 debs is dead... thanks.. sure feels like the shite is going to hit the fan soon.. tis a real drag humanity always gets screwed by the bastards with no regard for much of anything worthwhile other then their insane ideology, or bank account..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2016 11:45:51 PM | 34

Debs is dead | Mar 1, 2016 11:28:13 PM | 31

Yep, well put. I think it's been clear for those willing to "see", that Russia is teaching the world some important lessons; in the field militarily and at the table diplomatically.
Knocked the smugness out of the U.S.. And it's about time...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Mar 1, 2016 11:56:09 PM | 35

OK, now I feel really stupid. Reading lysias@17 I ask myself, "Who is this Billmon? I think I heard that name before..."

Googling a bit, I'm directed to his Wiki entry. Interesting.

A few more entries down in the Google results I see Moon of Alabama. Huh? What's that doing here? Which brings me to the MoA about page, a link I have never in my life clicked on for some reason. Or maybe I did, but had no idea who Billmon was.

In any case, someone else out there tell me they were as clueless about the origins of this site as I am (was). I'm not even sure how I stumbled in here, but I'm glad I did. You're all a might fascinating crowd. I should probably wear a clean shirt when I come in hear from now on. Or at least wear pants.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 1, 2016 11:59:26 PM | 36

b - the Whiskey Bar link,, on the about page is dead. You might want to replace it with a link to the history stored in the Wayback machine:*/">">*/
All sorts of interesting things squirreled away there.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 2, 2016 12:06:07 AM | 37


I am just a bozo on the bus. I visited the early Whiskey Bar and remember it warmly. There are/were a number of "lefty type" blogs that have evolved over the past decade. I am glad to read that there is some history being captured on the intertubes somewhere about them.

I was a long time reader/commenter at ALMOST nakedcapitalism until I got called crazy pants for my rants against private finance, inheritance, regular spiel here at MoA The bottom line for me with blogs is finding and sharing a community of thoughts about our world......I would like to see our world get better at that w/o forming religions.

Managing comments on a blog is a saints job and b is not given enough credit for that side of what he presents here....hence I like to say Thanks for the hosting and posting b!!!!!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 2, 2016 12:23:22 AM | 38

Debs @31 - I enjoyed your telling of the War. I have to admire the patience of Zhukov. Many people see patience as a lack of action, when in fact it's the most active thing there is, unceasingly holding still waiting for something,

But I don't see the scale of Syria being any kind of comparison with WWII. And I don't think gloom is called for in the current global situation. In Syria, one could almost find cause for celebration, or at least some laughter for heart's ease.

Russia is teaching the US the lessons that the Germans had to die for, to learn from Zhukov. This is a great mercy, in a more interconnected and inter-communicating age, where defeat can be illustrated graphically in advance.

I think there is a war going on globally that matches the scale of WWII, but Syria is just a small - although very key - part of it. Where in WWII the Germans were committed to a course, in this War the main active enemy, the US, has blinked, more than once in recent years, and keeps blinking.

Thus Russia is able to back down the bully without the bully having committed all its massive, murderous violence in one focused and irreversible charge. And we think that despite the rage and the greed and the desire for revenge - we think, that the US can't actually get it up. And knows it. And will continue to take the backing down. Rather than die in a Zhukov cauldron. Which Russia has shown to the world she is supremely capable of creating if pushed.

I'm not a military person, so forgive any tactical simplicity. But I rest my case on scale. The horrendous scale of what is being prevented, and the almost bantam scale of the things doing the preventing.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 2, 2016 1:22:48 AM | 39

Debs at 31 wrote Germany would have to try and relieve Paulus' 6th army by sending them east through the Caucasus passes and by moving his army up as close as possible to that bottleneck he could prevent nazi relief forces from dispersing out to create a new front.

This has to be one of the most confused summaries of the Battle of Stalingrad I have ever seen. Look at a map. The passes in the Caucasus are no where near that battle and they are certainly not to the east but 4 to 500 miles south. And the Nazi forces did indeed create a new front, unfortunately for the 6th army it was 200 miles to the rear of the previous front line.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 2, 2016 2:17:16 AM | 40

Richard Steven Hack #24
Aree: "Hizballah is WAY more organized and equipped "

But disagree:" Israel can start a "cheap" war with Iran".
Isarel is, has always been, obsessed wth getting Southern Lebanon, right from the days of its founding.
It has always been seen as part of 'Greater Israel'. And has tried to get it many times and lost everytime.

So what it is doing now has to be seen in this light. In the end it doesn't care about Iran except as it is a supporter of Hezbollah It cannot defeat Hezbollah but it beieves (hopes, prays, etc) that if Syria and Iran go under to Sunni Juhadists then than it can get it.

OCD at its extreme. Stupidity at it most extreme.

Posted by: Lisa | Mar 2, 2016 4:01:27 AM | 41


New East network
The Guardian has teamed up with experts on the post-Soviet world, a region we are calling the 'New East',
to expand coverage at this critical time in its history. To find out more, read our introduction.
    Then there are country specialists. MediaZona, an alternative Russian media agency, founded by Pussy Riot, covering the penal system and prisoners rights. The Interpreter, supported by the Institute of Modern Russia, translates Russian news and analysis into English as well as offering its own take on current affairs. The Calvert Journal shines a light on Russia’s creative side, Russia! magazine takes a novel approach to people and trends, and the Baltic News Network features the latest on Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

    Charter 97 is a pro-opposition news website focussing on Belarus, where the press is heavily censored. Its editor-in-chief, Natalya Radina, was threatened with imprisonment by the country’s KGB security services, and fled to Lithuania, where she continues to publish.

[With prominent listing of the Bellingcat reporting –funded by USAID- on Ghouta gas attack and MH-17 culprits– Oui]

Posted by: Oui | Mar 2, 2016 4:11:34 AM | 42

The league of Russiaphobes ...

I have written about The Interpreter before and
Anne Applebaum's articles funded by Legatum Institute.

Posted by: Oui | Mar 2, 2016 4:31:00 AM | 43

Dutch PM Mark Rutte got his ass kicked last night during the MH-17 debate in Dutch parliament.
[Source: GeenStijl for referendum to block EU entry for Ukraine]

Dutch state funded NOS has an unbalanced and incomplete reporting on MH17

Posted by: Oui | Mar 2, 2016 4:54:00 AM | 44

To debsisdead No. 31.
There are other parallels to the battle of Stalingrad and to the WW2 regarding the Russians.
The Germans made a number of strategic mistakes in conducting the battle of Stailngrad (Anthony Beavor's book) one of the biggest being the assurances given to Hitler that the Luftwaffe could air supply Stalingrad. The decider was the establishment of 'Tankagrad', where the Russians manufactured huge numbers of T32's, that could operate in extreme cold (Hitler didn't believe his spy when told the Russians could manufacture 100's of tanks per month). This arrogance runs right through Nato and the West, the US still believe their own bull-hit which is promulgated by the western press and swallowed but the sheep that surround us.... The Russians ability to revitalise the old stocks of Syrian tanks and restore the prowess of the Syrian military is exceptional. The buildup of forces facing Raqqa and the outflanking also parallels WW2, as does the long supply lines to the so called 'moderates'. One rule of combat is, 'never back up a failure' and the US and it's cronies seem to have forgotten it!

Posted by: eric bloodaxe | Mar 2, 2016 5:36:00 AM | 45

@ Toivos #38 the point was that rather than move in on von Paulus and liberate Stalingrad immediately, the Russian army moved out to met the german reinforcements and prevent any relief of the 6th army. Many people felt that was what should have happened to provide relief for the citizens of Stalingrad but Zhukov was more interesting in winning the war than winning a battle.
If my geography is a bit askew - so what?
I am calling what happened as I remember it being told and that is certainly what happened Zhukov stayed several moves ahead of the Nazis. As for the anal precision much loved by armchair generals too bad. When I was a child my grandmother told me of the contempt she had for the armchair generals who followed the 1914-18 conflict with maps on the wall and little pins denoting millions of actual human beings. A vicarious and thoroughly unwholesome way of life that my grandfather initially adopted until his two eldest sons got themselves killed. After that he got organised and provided the shepherd's huts across his property to 'shirkers' those young fellas who were smart enough to stay outta the war. This is probably the reason why some of us steer clear of the seemingly hourly bulletins on who is currently shooting who in the myriad conflicts of the ME. Apart from the fact that much of it is either bad intelligence, propaganda or just out and out lies, there is something sick about obsessively following a war especially one that doesn't directly involve oneself.

I downloaded and watched the docos on the Russian defeat of Nazi Germany as a way of purging the bullshit people raised in the west were given about ww2. No photos of Russian troops raising the flag above the Reichstag for us, just shots of drunken sailors groping women in Piccadilly Circus and Times Square.

The point of the post wasn't to present a precise account of WW2 - it was to sketch an example of why both Nazi Germany and amerika completely misunderstood Russia and totally underestimated that nation's ability to do a proper job when it counts.
A Hitler used to crack on about the slavs as untermensch, just as the amerikan media used to push out bullshit about Zhigulis made on a Monday morning - most likely in an attempt to distract from amerika's predilection for killing astronauts via a faulty 2 cent rubber washer.
Those pieces of propaganda still lurk in most amerikans heads and that has a lot to do with why amerika got Russia's involvement in Syria so completely wrong.
I took from the Stalingrad and later battle of Kursk the immense patience and detailed planning the Russian staff put into each battle.
Of course there were some logistics fuck ups but nothing of the scale of the Nazi incompetencies which remind one very much of the amerikan military debacles. Planeloads of equipment are dispatched with much celebration but when they get thru it is discovered the ones with the ammunition and medical supplies didn't make it - the planes full of black pepper and condoms did.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 2, 2016 6:09:43 AM | 46

Don't let all those turbans and black flags fool you!

This is about wealth disparity.

This is simply the New World Order: The ultra-rich hire the ultra-poor to slaughter each other as mercenaries.

Under all the turbans, shout-outs to Allah, and black flags, it's simply the blood sport of kings.

Pure entertainment for those who've had everything else.

And that's the only reason why they do it.

It's fun!

Posted by: blues | Mar 2, 2016 4:53:55 PM | 47

Lebanon is one of the seven countries to be "taken out" (whatever that means, to "take out" a country like its a mob hit or something), according to Wesley Clark. Unless he was full of crap.

"seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."" Iraq, Libya and Syria certainly are worse off than before. What a world.

Posted by: Jessica | Mar 2, 2016 6:19:05 PM | 48

Sorry, forgot the link where I grabbed that quote:

Posted by: Jessica | Mar 2, 2016 6:20:13 PM | 49

Debs at 46. Recalling she lets us know that she is calling what happened as I remember it being told

Perhaps Debs should sit back a bit and recognize that what she might have been told is not to accurate. What she might have been told is one totally garbled version of what happened. Sorry Debs, but your history does not make any sense to those of us who have read the history. You might call it anal precision much loved by armchair generals but it is closer to what really happened in those terrible days than your silly summaries.

Give it up Debs, you are out of your league.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 3, 2016 4:52:40 AM | 50

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