Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 18, 2016

Syria - "Rebel" Sponsors Order A New Round Of Defeat

The Obama administration has obviously decided to restart the war in Syria. Thousands of tons of new weapons have been purchased and delivered to the Jihadists including anti-air MANPADs of U.S. (full text) and Chinese origin. Half of the weapons the "rebel" mercenaries are given by their sponsors regularly end up in the hands of Al-Qaeda in Syria. We will not be surprised when a few weeks from now a civilian passenger plane will be hit and come down in Turkey or elsewhere.

Two week ago the foreign supported "rebels" already broke the ceasefire when they took part in a large al-Qaeda attack south of Aleppo city. Several "rebel" attacks took place against the Kurdish quarter in Aleppo city with over a hundred civilian death. Other attacks took place in north Latakia.

Today the "rebels" announced a full return to open war and more fronts were reopened including in north Hama where Uighur "Turkmen" Jihadis used two suicide bombers against the Syrian government positions.

The UN sponsored talks in Geneva went nowhere and the "rebel" side now suspended them to renew the fighting. Only three men of the Saudi controlled "rebel" negotiating team attended today. They still insist on the unconstitutional removal of the Syrian president before agreeing to any further talks about a unity government.

The Syrian army has suspended its ongoing offensive against the Islamic State. The plan was to march from the recently freed Palmyra to the Islamic State held Deir Ezzor in the east. The troops have now been recalled to protect the Syrian people from the renewed "rebel" attacks in west Syria. This may well fit the U.S. intentions in its phony war on ISIS.

There will soon be reports about local retreats of the Syrian army from this or that town or hill. Do not give them too much weight. Since the Russian intervention last year the Syrian troops have orders to retreat when under hard pressure. This to preserve manpower. As soon has the enemy occupies a position the artillery and air force will take care of them. Then, when the enemy attack has been blunted, the Syrian army and their allies on the ground will reoccupy the position and if possible launch counterattacks.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Suleiman visited Moscow last week. After his first visit last summer the Russian intervention was planned and executed. It brought the "rebels" to the border of total defeat. Their sponsors then agreed to a ceasefire and to hold talks in Geneva. Since the ceasefire announcement on February 27 the time was used by the U.S. to rearm and reposition the "rebel" force.

It seems that another round of the cycle is now necessary. Iran has deployed regular ground troops in Syria and these, even while not yet battle-tested, will have some effect. The Syrian air force has been reequipped and its older planes have been updated. Russian helicopters are active on the Syrian front and new short range (200 km) "Iskander" ballistic missiles were recently seen. The Russian air force can additionally engage with long range flights from Russia against fixed targets in Syria within hours. Russia cruise missile carrying ships are near the Syrian coast.

It is foolish to believe that MANPADs and TOW anti tank systems can decisively change the situation on the ground. I expect that a few week of heavy fighting will now follow after which the "rebels" will again be exhausted and again on the border of defeat.

Posted by b on April 18, 2016 at 02:32 PM | Permalink


MOA Iranian media reads your website and including an article in their report.

Posted by: Guest | Apr 18, 2016 2:38:19 PM | 1
UN-sponsored Syrian peace talks are facing a new crisis after opposition negotiators decided to delay their participation in the formal process until officials representing President Bashar al-Assad start to discuss the creation of a transitional government in Damascus – which they have so far refused to do.

Diplomats say the UN envoy proposed last week that Assad remain in office for a defined period along with three newly appointed vice-presidents who would be responsible for security, the military and reconstruction – an idea that is said to have originated in Moscow as an alternative to the creation of a “transitional governing body” as stipulated since 2012.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 18, 2016 2:51:59 PM | 2

It is foolish to believe that MANPADs and TOW anti tank systems can decisively change the situation on the ground.

Can anyone elaborate on this point? I'm not a military man, so I'm curious to know more about how effective or ineffective MANPADs are.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 18, 2016 3:00:05 PM | 3

thanks b... you describe the situation well and hit the nail on the head way better then i could...

it is all about regime change, but for what? some stooge for the west, or some stooge for wahabbi fundamentalism? or better yet - both... the west under the leadership of the usa, really are hell bent on the destruction and death to anyone who interfere with their long range plans for syria.. so sad, but the west/usa have come to represent a complete lack of leadership, verses a total subservience to the war/financial industry... i suspect things really heat up closer to august, and that erdogan gets 'openly' involved.. that's my speculation based of the eclipse cycle data..

Posted by: james | Apr 18, 2016 3:25:16 PM | 4

Since I have great trouble typing ("dystypia"), let me just repeat myself:

April 05, 2016
Syria - As Rebels Break Ceasefire Army Gathers For New Campaign

Surely the provision of these man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) will prove to be meaningless. The real issue is that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are going bankrupt, while they have just bought another $billion or so of weapons and mercenaries for the Syria debacle. While they let their subjects eat cake. Meanwhile Russia has paid very little, relatively. This is how you lose via the pocketbook.

These MANPAD shoulder-held anti-aircraft rockets will not work anymore, either. The Russians can do what they did with the Su-24s without using those planes. They can use cheap Orlan-10 hand-launched reconnaissance drones, which weigh only 33-lbs (15 kg), yet have a flight time of almost 17 hours. These probably cost less to manufacture than MANPADS that could be used to take them down.

The longest range U.S. MANPADS I could find (FIM-92 Stinger) have a stated maximum range of 26,000 ft. The huge, very old Russian Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber has a stated service ceiling of 45,000 ft, so MANPADS are not going to touch it. If it launches Kh-25 lightweight air-to-ground guided missiles, based on data provided by the Orlan-10 hand-launched reconnaissance drones, the very expensive "rebel" forces will have very short life expectancies.

Posted by: blues | Apr 6, 2016 9:49:21 AM | 54

Well, strategic bombers could be shot down with actual (non-man-portable) surface-to-air missiles. But that would be a bit rash. Maybe Hillary would do it. And of course the Russians could use surface (or sea)-to-surface missiles, as they have already done with great success.

Posted by: blues | Apr 18, 2016 3:44:33 PM | 5

I'm far more pessimistic then you, B. This time the situation could explode, saudi and turkey entering the stage directly, leading to an all out war...

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 18, 2016 3:47:18 PM | 6

I wonder just who exactly is footing the bill for all this?

Posted by: blues | Apr 18, 2016 3:49:23 PM | 7

@6 pnyx... i bet that is exactly what b sees too.. things take time to reach a boiling point.. i don't think we are quite there yet, but it could change at any time and being in the predictive business is a fools game - which i happen to play..

Posted by: james | Apr 18, 2016 3:59:51 PM | 8

The Syrian Army and its allies along with the Russian Air Force was always going to win against these proxy terrorists, it was just a matter of time. Because a competently superior or roughly equal numbers on the ground along with an exclusive air force is always going to win every time.

But B kept telling us that there was an agreement between between Russia and the US.
B keep telling us that ceasefire was a really good thing, And in fact the most recent ceasefire was a a small Russian victory ?!?!
B keeps demonstrating his denial about how evil US Empire really is.

Posted by: tom | Apr 18, 2016 4:02:30 PM | 9

I think we've been seeing the pattern b alludes to already: retreat on the ground, artillery and air attacks on the 'victorious' ISIS/al-CIAduh forces, retaking the territory.

There must be one or two analysts in the US who steer clear of the kool-aid bowl and point out the ultimate futility of all this murder and mayhem to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. He's just hanging in there for the fun of it, apparently. Perhaps he gets a cut of the weapons sales?

My heart goes out to the Syrians. Thousands in Syria join marathon to celebrate Independence Day. May the clearance proceed !

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 4:07:06 PM | 10

Mark re MANPADS and TOW. The US Stinger manpads given to the Mujahideen changed the situation in the first Afghan war where Soviet Hind Mi-24 heavily armoured attack helicopters were devastating the "rebels". Because these weapons were a new addition, the Hinds had no countermeasures they were very easy the destroy by the stingers. Since then anti manpad devices have been developed even for the various different types of manpads. The Russian President-S system is very advanced and is fitted on the Russian helicopters.

This is in Russian but the visuals give a good idea of the capabilities and operation


The Russian aircraft will be pretty well protected, however the Syrian aircraft will be vulnerable since they don't have these defences.

The TOWs have been used to good effect by the rebels last year, but the Syrian Army is now also being supplied by Russia with new upgraded technology of this type so neither side has a huge advantage over the other in this regard. The T-90 tank has been supplied to the Syrians and has shown to be TOW resistant if the crew uses the tank defence systems properly.

In short the manpads probably aren't going to have a game changing impact on the conflict, definately not like in Afghanistan. I still wouldn't want to be a Syrian pilot doing low altitude bombing runs though.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 18, 2016 4:11:24 PM | 11

By using the term "opposition" to lump together a bunch of Al-Qaeda sympathizers supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey,and the US (among others), the western press can keep pretending that the "opposition" is a united front that represents the will of the Syrian people. Thus today's headlines of the "opposition pulling out of peace talks". It's so much easier when you never have to say who that "opposition" is composed of and what percentage of their leaders and soldiers are actually from Syria (or not).

Posted by: WorldBLee | Apr 18, 2016 4:13:07 PM | 12

U.S.-Backed Rebels Receive Stingers

“The Stingers have been supplied to a militia now in Dir Al Zour” a source. referring to the northern Syrian province, said. “The missiles come from production lines in Turkey.”

Turkey's state-owned companies have produced Stingers as part of short-range air defense systems developed for the Turkish Air Force.

Can that be true? I wonder if the Turkey's state-owned companies have produced B-61s as part of their extremely short-sighted air-defense program, developed for the Turkish Air Force?

The kickback on that ought to 'make it all worthwhile' for the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 4:30:06 PM | 13

@9 tom,
i get your overall view, but don't know that we can speak for b, or what b leaves out in his commentary..

@12 worldblee, that's true! same deal with the term 'moderate'... many folks are oblivious to being conned..

Posted by: james | Apr 18, 2016 4:31:41 PM | 14

April 18, 2016 - you cannot make this stuff up entry...

Can anyone out there in the information cloud make any sense of this statement?

"On April 18, the Iraqi F-16 fighter jets conducted airstrikes against the ISIS headquarters in the Tal Kayf district northeast of Mosul. Pro-government sources report that at least 17 militants were killed in the air raids, including Ahmed Qasim al-Farahat, an ISIS financial official."

source -

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 18, 2016 4:32:06 PM | 15

@11 Dean

Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 18, 2016 5:07:01 PM | 16

@12 wbl

"Civil war", "Rebels", "opposition" ... yeah, Saudi/Turkish/US opposition ! No civil war, no rebels. Protestors, domestic political opposition, yeah, once upon a time. But hi-jacked by the US and al-CIAduh since day-one, or before.

"Palestinian terrorists". Burnt into my mind as a child, before I knew what a terrorist was, in the late 1950s and early 60s. It still rolls off the tongue in my mind, although now its caught out for the monstrous lie that it was and is. Yet still, it remains. The Big Lie. Propaganda

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 5:09:30 PM | 17

High Negotiating Committee Chief Mohammed Allouse said " strike them [the Syrian army] at their necks [kill them] strike them everywhere... the ceasefire is over"
This Saudi paid for stooge and bigot, and his allies will only stop trying to destroy Syria when they have been militarily smashed. There is no other way.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 18, 2016 5:29:18 PM | 18

@18 hl

Mouthpieces like Mohammed Allouse will only stop spouting hate when Saudia Arabia has been smashed. There is no other way.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 5:57:37 PM | 19

I am quite sure that the point of (agreeing to) the ceasefire was for the mercenaries to have the time to re-arm.
No doubt Russian knew this; Iranians, too. I am also sure that this was pointed out at the time by someone at MOA.
So, no surprise here... The only question is whether the Syrian army has the stamina to hold out. But maybe they used the time to re-arm, too. Maybe something big is coming... after all.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Apr 18, 2016 6:47:09 PM | 20

I thought from reading the oryx website some time ago that the manpads were rather North-korean?

Russia with allies allow this escalation to:
1) use Syria as the test ground for new weapons/tactics
2) expose the sponsors and supporters of the terrorists for whom they really are, gather international compassionate support
3) keep 2) busy and distracted from other fronts, spending resources
4) take over the weaponry and use it elsewhere (Saudia, Turkey, ...)

Interesting to hear about the AngloZio imperialistic strategy from the horses mouth:

Zion-Anglo-USA Plan for World Domination, Perpetual War | the real Syrian Free Press

What was the Donald "Cooked" recent encounter about:


Also interesting:
Das US-Heer untersucht die neue russische Taktik

Posted by: ProPeace | Apr 18, 2016 6:52:02 PM | 21

Live from Damascus: The Syrian Election Results

Tuesday’s Syrian election was a vote of confidence by the Syrian people in their government. 5,085,444 voters cast their ballots out of a possible 8,834,994 eligible voters.

The overall participation rate of 58% (virtually identical to Canada’s last federal election) exceeded the government’s expectations in most places but was low in others.

For example, it was over 80% in Homs but only 52% in Tartous. ... Also significant was the fact that over 140,000 refugees returned across the Lebanese border in just one day in order to vote.

And the polling hours in Damascus, which suffered a lot from the fighting, had to be extended until 11 pm to accommodate all the voters.

The Syrian electoral commission announced late Saturday that the National Unity coalition, comprising the ruling party and its allies, had won 200 of the 250 seats at the People’s Assembly (Majlis al-Sha’ab). ~ Press TV

Today, the Syrian delegation took their seats with a mandate from the Syrian people, whereas the opposition delegation of head-choppers cobbled together at the last minute by the USA and Saudi Arabia have no mandate at all from the unfortunate Syrians who suffer under military occupation in “rebel-held” areas.

Western governments, such as the USA, have dismissed the Syrian election out of hand, though the participation rate in the last US election was only 48%.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 7:20:28 PM | 22

Lavrov is blaming the Turks.

Those, behind the ‘Plan B,’ are “counting on the collapse of the Syrian peace talks, which would allow pumping more arms into Syria for the inappeasable opposition so that it could solve the task of removing the government militarily,” he said.
In particular, I can mention Turkey, which doesn’t leave the attempts to intervene [into Syria] by force” and topple the country’s government of President Bashar Assad, the minister added.

He noted that Ankara repeatedly proposed various ideas of handling the Syrian crisis, such as introducing no-fly zones or security zones, which were nothing but “attempts to cover up possible Turkish aggression."

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Apr 18, 2016 7:24:26 PM | 23

I would add to the Friedman's revelation from my earlier post that actually the center of the empire is in the City of London. It's been there since when John Dee and Francis Bacon started it, and soon afterwards the Rothshildes and Weishaupt's Illuminati took it to another level (then Pilgrims Society, Soros foundations...).

Please understand that modern "rebels", AQ, ISIL, Boko Haram,... are today what used to be Her Majesty pirates... Same methods, same purpose, same master

Posted by: ProPeace | Apr 18, 2016 7:51:44 PM | 24

The so-called "rebels" will come to regret the end of the so-called "ceasefire".

The very effective Syrian army extermination service is going into hyper-drive.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 18, 2016 7:54:03 PM | 25

I expect at any moment for a number of so-called "antiwar pundits" to start declaring how Obama has once again been "tricked", "mousetrapped", "persuaded", or "forced" to restart the Syria war.

Instead of, you know, acknowledging that Obama is and always was fully in support of everything his administration has done to destroy Syria with the goal of enabling Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon and then start a war with Iran once both Syria and Hizballah are no longer effective actors in an Iran war.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 18, 2016 8:00:04 PM | 26

the hinterlands that ground Crassus into the dust now have a bit of petroleum, that keeps certain insurgents and idiots like Erdoygen mesmerized
the key area is the littoral on the Mediterraneum and rights to the Sea of Galilee
political control by a sort of monarchy, how is that different than Jordan or Saudi or etc
phony war for phony reasons

Posted by: Jay M | Apr 18, 2016 9:03:13 PM | 27

The negotiation are useless without the Kurds. All agree on that.

It seems that the " Sunni sponsors" are not yet convinced that they have lost and they still hang on the illusion that their proxies armed with new weapons will change the balance and give the embattled opposition more leverage in the negotiation.
This new round will be dominated by the Iranians who will show the OIC what an Iranian intervention is all about after the Saudis in the OIC meeting officially warned the Iranians to stop "intervening". The strong response to these accusations will be a blow to Saudi Arabia and its Sunnis allies. It will ridicule the OIC that was called for unity ( of the Sunnis against the Shia)
After more crushing defeats for the Rebels-AL Nusra-Al Qaeda gangs, the Ryadh opposition will be diluted further with the entry of the Syrian Kurds in the negotiation.
I believe that the USA, Russia and even the EU are working out another trap for Erdogan to neutralize him on the issue of the PYD participation.
It is obvious that in the next negotiation, if there is one will include the Syrian Kurds and Alloush will possibly be kicked out for his bellicose declarations.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 18, 2016 9:06:22 PM | 28

The Russians and Iranians were nice. They gave a group that everyone knew would break the ceasefire and regroup a chance to make good. The Syrians got a break from war and they will now blame the renewal of hostilities on "the rebels."

Its a PR victory for Russia/Syria, etc but its time to extinguish this once and for all. I for one do not ever see the Saudis, Qataris or Turks ending their support for this grand idiocy unless they are taught a lesson. Defeat of their proxies is a lesson but the lesson needs to hurt a lot more and it should be inflicted on the actual sponsors.

Arming Turkish Kurds is an obvious avenue. Arming the Houthi is another. Ditto for giving Hezbollah anti aircraft and more anti tank weapons. I respect Putin but Erdogan and the Gulf Monarchs will never learn their lessons unless it costs them something directly. The gulf monarchs have money to burn and there are plenty of brainwashed Sunnis who are willing to die for dollars or wabhabi lies.

Posted by: alaric | Apr 18, 2016 10:48:17 PM | 29

@28 virgile

It seems that the " Sunni sponsors" are not yet convinced that they have lost and they still hang on the illusion that their proxies armed with new weapons will change the balance and give the embattled opposition more leverage in the negotiation.
And the US just cannot say no to all the orders for weapon replenishment.

And why not? The US produces nothing but war any more, war heartbreak and sorrow. And it keeps the Israelis happy. And the fossil-fuelers are not at all displeased.

So there you have it: fusiliers, financiers, and fossil-fuelers. Another US trifecta for the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate slash nihilist stand-in for the POTUS.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18, 2016 10:48:45 PM | 30

Come on little fishies, say the Russians, who have always been completely in charge of what's happening here. We killed everyone in the first wave, let's lure you out into the next wave, so we can kill you all too.

Russian doctrine regarding terrorists is so clear that one can almost miss it in this age of subtle cunning: "Terrorists must be killed, wherever they are found."

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 18, 2016 11:49:02 PM | 31

speaking of refugees...

How many Palestinian refugees, from the 1940s to present time, have been given 40 acres and a mule, or any Arabian equivalent, by the landlords of nearly empty Jordan and S Arabia?
They could not afford to be generous?
They did not think of it?
It was not their affair?
It was in their interest to have the refugees pressed up against the borders of Israel? for 70 years?

Perhaps Jordan, S Arabia and others wanted to teach the refugees that religious ties are a curse?

Perhaps this has been a 70 year test of "Unfairness leads to chaos" to see if it is true? Then they can extend the test to 100 years. If it is, then they can extend the test to 100 years. Then to 150.

Posted by: chu teh | Apr 19, 2016 12:48:42 AM | 32

first class liar...

he says nothing of the usa providing weapons to the ''moderates'', adding fuel to the fire, but instead wants to yammer on about 'assad using barrel bombs and gassing of his people'.. he isn't fooling anyone, even if the press corps remain silent and respect the format of this little game of state dept. bullshite..

Posted by: james | Apr 19, 2016 1:05:46 AM | 33

To confirm what I wrote earlier about British Empire:
Britain is militarizing embassies and pouring money into its Defence Attaché (DA) network, despite recent controversies including personnel “going native” in Yemen and being arrested photographing military equipment in Russia.

You can observe many more such moves from the British since they can no longer count on Obama's USA to do the "muscle man" work.

You know why the most intense surveillance per sq yard in London, UK?

Because it's the global headquarters.

Posted by: ProPeace | Apr 19, 2016 1:45:09 AM | 34

Thanks for the posting and hosting b

I have to believe that there is some military purpose for this round of "fighting".

I think that purpose could include testing new measures and counter-measures below the nuclear level. Russia reportedly has some communication jamming advance that counter measures need to be tested against and so the US folks want to force Russia to use the technology in a semi-controlled environment.

And I am sure that someone has developed the reasons why it is "worth it" it inflict more strife and death on the region.

All to continue to prop up global private finance and the Gawd of Mammon cult.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 19, 2016 1:47:39 AM | 35

To Blue @7. You ask who is footing the bill for all this. I think you are footing the bill. Me, too!

As to your earlier comment repeated today, I don't understand your point about the 15 kilo drones and MANPADS. I infer that you think the jihadis would waste all their MANPADS shooting down these small drones. If that is your point, I can't see them squandering this type of ordinance on mere duck hunting. Can you explain further?

Posted by: Macon Richardson | Apr 19, 2016 2:01:35 AM | 36

b, thank you.
Propeace @ 21, Thanks for the Dances w Bears link about the Donald Duck/Rus confrontation. The other link: George from Stratfor tries hard to be provocative, but he is suuuch a liar
Virgile @ 28,
"I believe that the USA, Russia and even the EU are working out another trap for Erdogan to neutralize him on the issue of the PYD participation."
I think so too. Possible exception of France who still wants to put Syria back under her colonial rule. In fact I think they want civil war & partitioning of Turkey.

Posted by: Penelope | Apr 19, 2016 2:16:18 AM | 37

Richard Steven Hack @ 26

yeah, but, you know, among all the lies Obama told us on the ole campaign trail back in '08 he even told us some truth. like when he told us he was gonna escalate the war in Afghanistan.

i voted for Cynthia McKinney,

and i remember this piece from those days which i'll dedicate to all the idiots who are still apologizing for that fucker.

Posted by: john | Apr 19, 2016 4:16:28 AM | 38

@32 ct

The Palestinians have plenty of land in Palestine. It is the responsibility of Israel to give it back, not of others to compensate for it. Are you part of the long lost Judaic hasbarista tribe of ... China? Or where exactly?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19, 2016 6:39:21 AM | 39

If Russia et al. doesn't whack the fuck out of the ragheads, it will only embolden them and their Zio handlers. I repeat: Fuck. Them. Up. Now.

Posted by: rosco | Apr 19, 2016 8:41:01 AM | 40

@ alaric 29

I agree with you. Turkey and Saudi Arabia need a electroshock to stop their vicious support of the rebels-Al Nusra-Al Qaeda gangs.

Russia has shown its willingness to let diplomacy take over, but the sponsors of terrorism still prefer war. If the opposition persists in asking for a regime change, then Russia will show its teeth again.

In parallel the USA is threatening Saudi Arabia will the 9/11 revelations that may destroy the credibility of the kingdom.

As for Turkey that has been manipulating the refugees crisis to blackmail the EU, it won't be left alone and I guess there will be more terrorist attacks in touristic areas to totally obliterate "summer in Turkey"
Will Erdogan finally understand that he can't have tourists and economical development with such a aggressive policy.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 19, 2016 9:21:05 AM | 41

@ alaric 29: the problem is the Syrian Army, SAA. They are too weak to decisively deal with multiple fronts simultaneously. That's what it will take to finish the mission. Currently, Nusra, FSA and IS distract the core fighting forces of the SAA every time they start to have success, by attacking relatively weakly defended sites. The NDF and young SAA recruits often run away at the sight of IS, Nusra or FSA. Then the hardened SAA fighters have to stall their successful offensives, and rush to wherever the backup forces deserted their posts. This runaround is exhausting and the main reason why SAA is not able to clean up the many pockets. Successful campaigns often had to be suspended in order to save another collapsing front. Obviously the handlers of IS, Nusra and FSA have been using this tactic since 2012, in order to forestall a successful completion of the war. It’s also a sign that the handlers of these organizations are the same people.

Posted by: rint | Apr 19, 2016 10:53:46 AM | 42

If America doesn't see that Trump is our only way out of this Zionist divide and conquer nonsense,expect more and more disasters in Ukraine,Syria,Afghan,Iraq,Africa,Philippines,China and all points of our compass.
He just got my vote in NY.
32;Jaybird squawking.As someone else said,what about Israel?
Indy says only foreign country to want Trump is you guessed it;Russia.
Ledbedev? blows.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 19, 2016 11:03:05 AM | 43

@ #1 Nice find.

Posted by: Au | Apr 19, 2016 11:10:25 AM | 44

Come on little fishies, say the Russians, who have always been completely in charge of what's happening here. We killed everyone in the first wave, let's lure you out into the next wave, so we can kill you all too.
Russian doctrine regarding terrorists is so clear that one can almost miss it in this age of subtle cunning: "Terrorists must be killed, wherever they are found."
Posted by: Grieved | Apr 18, 2016 11:49:02 PM | 31

We're on the same page (with b).
Russia's non-withdrawal withdrawal gave Obama (the Culprit In Chief) enough rope to hang himself and he seems to have accepted the invitation and stuck his head in the noose. I'm still wondering if the Yankees will ever realise just how existential a threat the Russians see Western pro-democracy/ fake insurgency plots. It would seem that Obama wants to find out the hard way and Putin is definitely the man for the job...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19, 2016 11:13:27 AM | 45

@43 - Trumps our only way out? Maybe so. I just tend to think he will fall in line as soon as the top brass pull out there pricks and lay out the game plan we have been following since 9/11 and will be especially friendly with Israel - perhaps you missed aipac a few weeks ago. I think we should focus on severing ties with Saudi Arabia before our like-minded friends in Israel but sure; i am sure they have there hands in the syrian conflict deeply. Honestly if anyone is the best option as far as potentially ending the arming of our mortal enemies & toppling the wrong regimes, it's probably Bernie Sanders. There is hope that Trump and Putin would hit it off and all would be well.. that I do hold out strong hope for.

Posted by: Au | Apr 19, 2016 11:21:29 AM | 46

@46, Au: Trump's a hard swallow for left-wing, anti-war types, granted. His flamboyant lifestyle and being a capitalist does not help. But he works on the level of personal relations not ideology, which is also the forte of Putin and Assad. And if Trump can find a way of mutual respect with Putin, we can have peace for at least the number of years those 2 are in power. Schröder and Putin also got on well, and during those years Germany had good relations with Russia, in spite of massive US meddling.

Posted by: rint | Apr 19, 2016 11:29:50 AM | 47

Steve Gowans' latest, April 17.
US Plan B for Syria: Give Al Qaeda More Powerful Weapons

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19, 2016 11:49:18 AM | 48

Posted by: Au | Apr 19, 2016 11:21:29 AM | 46

I suspect you're forgetting that, unlike the vast majority of the West's pro-Israel so-called leaders, neither Trump nor Putin are sissies or cowards - a very, very important piece of (increasingly rare) common ground.

When Western leaders talk about "respect" they always mean FEAR. It's the way cowards think. It's in their DNA.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19, 2016 12:06:29 PM | 49

Trump is not anti-establishment, he is America-first (a different color of establishment). His take-no-prisoners approach is refreshing and has earned him the disdain of the neocon establishment.

It is the duopoly's illusion of choice, media collusion, greed, and the "lesser evil" mind-f*ck that cements the establishment. Any vote for a major, duopoly Party legitimizes the corrupt system and its corrupt leaders.

Its hard to see any fundamental change until there is a (bigger) disaster. 2008 GFC, the Iraq War, and environmental destruction are huge disasters that have been papered over yet people know that they have been screwed. Sadly, the Sanders and Trump candidacies are channeling peoples anger in a way that may get end with the election of Ms. uber-neocon establishment herself, Hillary.

If you believe Trump and Sanders when they talk about the corrupt political system, it becomes clear that the best course of action is vote third-party or stay home. I like Greens because they believe in:

- Ending money-in-politics by overturning citizens united and public funding of elections;

- Supporting democracy by upholding voting rights act;

- Ending "lesser-evil" voting with ranked-choice voting;

- Ending oligarchy shenanigans with taxes on rich;

- Ending Empire militarism and its associated waste and misery by
cutting defense spending by 50%

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19, 2016 12:11:09 PM | 50

#32 chu teh writes: How many Palestinian refugees, from the 1940s to present time, have been given 40 acres and a mule, or any Arabian equivalent, by the landlords of nearly empty Jordan and S Arabia?

You are aware that you are repeating a line that the Israelis have been repeating since 1948. It is wrong when they say it and wrong when you do. That land is empty because it is barren desert. No water, no life.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 19, 2016 12:31:11 PM | 51

Hoarse @48

That is a well-written, well-researched post.

But when I read the last paragraph I wondered (yet again) why bloggers, pundits, analysts, activists, etc. ignore evidence of a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon?

That conspiracy was described in Seymour Hersh's "The Redirection" back in 2007! Is it not considered 'relevant'? Is Hersh's reporting considered to be a wacko conspiracy theory? I just don't get it. To me, that INTENT means a lot. It makes USA and the West complicit in terrorism and reveals that the "rebels" are just a proxy army.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19, 2016 12:35:36 PM | 52

(Sorry, off topic, but trying to correct dreadful mistaken notion of the Green Party above.)

This is what the "Greens" are actually supporting:

Just to show the true nature of the election methods industry, let's take a look at Fairvote Action Fund, Incorporated:

<<"Why is ranked choice [IRV] voting better?

"Ranked choice voting has a number of benefits, including promoting majority support, minimizing negative campaigning, and providing voters with more choices. In multi-winner districts, it can promote fairer and more inclusive representation than winner-take-all methods.">> -- FairVote -- Link:

<<"Is ranked choice voting the same as instant runoff voting/single transferable vote/preference voting/the alternative vote?

"Yes. The terms "instant runoff voting[IRV]," "single transferable vote," "preference voting," "the alternative vote," all refer to ranked choice voting.">> -- FairVote -- Link:

How IRV "works":

<<"First, every vote counts for its first choice. If a candidate has more than half of the vote based on first-choices, that candidate wins. If no candidate has more than half of those votes, then the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated. The voters who selected the defeated candidate as a first choice will then have their votes added to the totals of their next choice. This process continues until a candidate has more than half of the active votes or only two candidates remain. The candidate with a majority among the active candidates is declared the winner.">> -- FairVote -- Link:

So this means: Your #1 (ranked) choice is counted. But(!) The voters who selected the defeated candidate as their #1 (ranked) choice [or really the most badly defeated candidate if there are more than three] will then have their votes added to the totals of their next choice. So some candidate could gain more than half of the "active votes" BEFORE your #2 (ranked) choice is even counted AT ALL!

Also: For example, two (or more) candidates could SIMULTANIOUSLY gain MORE than half of the "active votes"! One could have 52% and another could have 54% of the "votes" at the same time. (They simply are not real votes.) IRV ballots cannot be realistically and honestly counted without tabulating machines -- but this is one of the things the IRV lobby lies about constantly.

You might be astonished to know who it is that finances the Fairvote Action Fund, Incorporated (FairVote IRV) lobby! They include:

Individual Donor Contributions and Foundation Grants

(+) Hewlett Foundation
(+) Ford Foundation
(+) MacArthur Foundation
(+) Rockefellers Brothers Fund
(+) Open Society Foundations

(At least 11 in total.)

Total Support and Revenue (2014): $1,192,725

Ranked choice voting has been rejected in many, many places it has been tried. It is actually worse than the currently common vote-for-one method.

Score voting -- give, say, one to ten votes to each of up to, say, 20 candidates -- would end the two-party (lesser-evil) lock-in.

Posted by: blues | Apr 19, 2016 12:42:09 PM | 53

blues @53

Well I guess I'll have to look into voting methods further. I thought ranked-choice would work like what you are calling "score voting".

In any case, the Duopoly's 'lesser evil' voting trap persists because it helps to maintain a calcified and corrupt establishment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19, 2016 1:35:55 PM | 54

But when I read the last paragraph I wondered (yet again) why bloggers, pundits, analysts, activists, etc. ignore evidence of a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon?
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19, 2016 12:35:36 PM | 52

Is it possible that you've over-dosed on The Redirection to the exclusion of all else? I've read TR, have it on file and understand your enthusiasm. But your "ignore evidence" criticism of the (last paragraph of) Gowans piece is mis-directed. It ties the US directly to the anti-Syria jihad using mostly US sources. Perhaps if you read some of the info in between the heading and the "last paragraph" you'd realise that Sy's predictive article and Steve's post-trauma-verification article are of comparable stature?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19, 2016 3:52:33 PM | 55

Those MANPADS are unlikely to be effective against those Russian helicopters and aircraft deploying the President-S anti-missile system.

I've also read that one objective of the Russian "withdrawal" was to return to Russia elderly and vulnerable SU25 aircraft which did not have that system and replace them with new Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters fitted out with the system.

Posted by: Vietnam Vet | Apr 19, 2016 3:55:55 PM | 56

PH @35. You might be onto something:

"The United States has introduced an aircraft for the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) that can disrupt communications and jam detonators for roadside bombs.

A squadron of Marine EA-6B Prowlers has arrived at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey for a deployment that is expected to last through September, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said on April 14...

"...The Prowlers could also be used to prevent Russian and Syrian air defense systems from tracking other U.S. and coalition aircraft, said Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“These are the type of aircraft you could potentially use to counter air defenses, and as far as I know, ISIL doesn’t have air defenses,” Harrison said.

Harrison said the U.S. could be concerned that ISIL jihadists could be armed with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, which Prowlers could also jam.

“It would basically scramble the radar systems being used against our aircraft so they can’t find and track our aircraft effectively,” Harrison said.

The Marines and aircraft deployed for the Prowler mission are from Marine Corps Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, said Air Force Lt. Col. David Westover, a spokesman for EUCOM."

Posted by: Dean | Apr 19, 2016 4:23:23 PM | 57

Syria - "Rebel" Sponsors Order A New Round Of Defeat

I know these things are debatable, but, that is your best-ever headline b.
Obama's entire Syria SNAFU in 9 words.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19, 2016 4:40:10 PM | 58

Map: FSA & Allied Militants Advance on ISIS in Syria’s Daraa Province

The situation remains tense in Syria’s Daraa province where the vestiges of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and allied militant groups are advancing against ISIS-affiliated group called Liwa Shuhada Yarmouk (LSY). Accroding to premilitary reports, they captured the village of Ayn Thakar on April 20.

I think this battling between ISIS and the 'FSA & Allied Militants', here next to the Golan Heights and in the north along the Syrian border are an elaborate ruse to transfer territory held by ISIS in Syria to groups painted 'moderate', and thence a push will be made in Geneva to let them retain them. How much of ISIS' resistance is real is impossible for me to tell, but I'll bet that's what's going on here. Netanyahu has already said that the Golan is Israel's forever - with the US and Germany making temporary, token resistance, they're 'shocked!' - so Netanyahoo eyes a new piece of Syria to steal. In the north, along the Turkish border, it will be Erdogan's bid for the same in Geneva, citing his 'moderates' who have 'taken' Syrian land from ISIS. ISIS seems to be trying to put up a better show there. More elaborate choreography. Pas de deux.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20, 2016 7:32:57 AM | 59

@jfl Sad but I think you're right. Ive stood in the Golan heights in Israel listening to some commander harken back to the tank battle in which they took that land.. Weird that I now stand on the side that what's happening to sryia is sickening and I hate it even as I today am an Israeli supporter like myself.

Posted by: Au | Apr 20, 2016 10:34:05 AM | 60

Rebel defeat in northern Syria cripples Turkey's plans

Ankara has used every way to make sure the U.S. would stick with the red lines imposed on the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkey preventing the PKK-linked YPG's entrance to Manbij and Jarablous requires an alternative and the U.S. seemed cautiously open to Turkish proposals. As U.S. Secretary of State Jon Kerry said earlier this month, the U.S. still considers sealing the 145kilometers of the Turkish-Syrian border controlled by DAESH as a priority.

This is why the anti-DAESH coalition significantly increased its airstrikes and Turkish artillery fire around Azaz over the past two weeks, and the Syrian opposition seized the crucial town of al-Rai along the border. But the victory was short-lived since DAESH seized the area back and disgraced the Syrian rebels by burning refugee camps and even creating a new wave of refugees to Turkey. Meanwhile, the YPG in Afrin simultaneously continued to attack opposition-held territory and made sure the YPG has no intentions of brokering an alliance in the area with rebels.

Even worse, DAESH has begun to target Turkey's border town of Kilis with Katyusha rockets, which has caused great harm on the civilian population. DAESH has targeted the town for the last two weeks and, as a result, five Syrian refugees, three of them children, and two Turkish citizens died while dozens of citizens were wounded.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 22, 2016 11:57:17 AM | 61

Re 3 (Mark):

I'm not in a position to verify the accuracy of the following source, but it's worth evaluating.

"The vast majority of Russia’s attack jets are only equipped with decoy flares, if that. Its helicopter forces are largely similarly equipped with the addition of an aging infrared jammer atop their tails. Directed energy infrared countermeasures are just beginning to find their way onto Russia’s most advanced helicopters, and in a fairly bulky form. None of the aircraft deployed to Syria appear to be fitted with these systems.

" We will have to wait and see how Syrian rebel forces adapt to Russia’s new aerial tactics in the region. Air power can be crushing, but Russia’s capabilities to hit targets of opportunity largely require visual bombing from lower altitudes in order for their dumb weapons to have a good probability of hitting near their targets. By deploying MANPADS among rebel forces in the region, at the very least they could make Russia’s air power have to fly much higher and in doing so make it far less effective."

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Apr 22, 2016 9:39:08 PM | 62

Wrote b.:

"There will soon be reports about local retreats of the Syrian army from this or that town or hill. Do not give them too much weight. Since the Russian intervention last year the Syrian troops have orders to retreat when under hard pressure. This to preserve manpower. As soon has the enemy occupies a position the artillery and air force will take care of them. Then, when the enemy attack has been blunted, the Syrian army and their allies on the ground will reoccupy the position and if possible launch counterattacks."

If manpads are actually as widely held by anti-government forces in Syria as you suggest, Russian air power may be considerably less effective. The presence of MANPADS may even be the reason for the Russian "withdrawal", rather than lose face (and airplanes).

If the Syrians have to withdraw because of a manpower shortage, or for any other reason, then they can't hold the territory they initially gain. If they do not effectively garrison and hold the towns and villages and strategic assets they take, then those territories will be retaken by the rebels. Over the short term this means, at best, a stalemate: but if Syrian Army manpower is in short supply this suggests that long-term attrition favors the rebels.

The Iranians can help but they aren't interested in holding taken territory permanently as an occupation force. Nor would they be welcome as such by the local population. Neither the cream of the Syrian Army nor the Russian special forces will be left behind to serve as garrison forces: there are not enough and these elite troops are needed on the front lines. So the garrison forces holding ground will tend to be of lesser quality, which does not increase their chances of success.

The Kurds are able to hold territory because they choose to fight for territory whose population is overwhelmingly Kurdish and thus friendly and supportive, providing eyes, ears, other intelligence, militia recruits to supplement regular Kurdish forces, food, housing, and other vital supplies and services. Also, they have honed their light infantry skills through decades of insurgency against the Turks.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Apr 22, 2016 10:07:52 PM | 63

Another possible source for MANPADS:

"The panel said that weapons found aboard a ship, the Letfallah II, when it was seized by Lebanese authorities in 2012 "proved there had been attempts to transfer MANPADs to the Syrian opposition from Libya.

... "Despite efforts by Libya and other countries to account for and secure MANPADs in Libaya, Panel sources state that thousands of MANPADs were still available in arsenals controlled by a wide array of non-state actors with tenuous or non-existent links to Libyan national authorities," the experts said in their final report to the U.N. Security Council."

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Apr 22, 2016 10:16:17 PM | 64

This is not the sense in which you meant 'defeat', b, this is the case wherein 'defeat' means more arms for ISIS.

ISIS captures several rebel anti-tank missiles in southwest Daraa

Liwaa Shuhada Al-Yarmouk, an Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) affiliate, seized several anti-tank missiles (ATGM) from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the village of ‘Ayn Thakar on Saturday.

These sophisticated anti-tank missiles were likely given to the Free Syrian Army combatants in Dara’a by a western country – some of the boxes had German flags on them.

ISIS has benefited greatly from the confiscation of weapons from both the rebel and government forces in the past; this has allowed them to continue their quest for a greater “Caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.

'These sophisticated anti-tank missiles were likely given' ISIS in Dara’a by the Free Syrian Army.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24, 2016 3:16:48 AM | 65

Merkel calls for refugee 'safe zones' in Syria

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is after creating safe zones to shelter Syrian refugees in their own country close to Turkish border, an idea strongly supported by Ankara amid UN and rights groups’ concerns.

What Merkel is calling for is the southward extension of the Turkish border into Syria.

Erdogan has promised no more refugees if she just extends his border into Syria, maybe 100 km or so, and pays him €3 billon per year forever.

He promised her there will be no more demands, this is absolutely, positively the last one, and she believes him.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24, 2016 6:01:17 AM | 66

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