Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 18, 2016

Syria - Russian Surprise Attack Blows Up Kerry's Delaying Tactic

The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.

After the ceasefire in Syria started in late February Obama broke his pledge to separate the U.S. supported "moderate rebels" from al-Qaeda. In April U.S. supported rebels, the Taliban like Ahrar al Sham and al-Qaeda joined to attack the Syrian government in south Aleppo. The U.S.proxies broke the ceasefire.

Two UN resolutions demand that al-Qaeda in Syria be fought no matter what. But the U.S. has at least twice asked Russia not to bomb al-Qaeda. It insists, falsely, that it can not separate its "moderates" from al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda can not be attacked because that would also hit its "moderate" friends.

The Russian foreign minster Lavrov has talked wit Kerry many times about the issue. But the only response he received were requests to further withhold bombing. Meanwhile al-Qaeda and the "moderates" continued to break the ceasefire and to attack the Syrian government forces.

After nearly four month Kerry still insists that the U.S. needs even more time for the requested separation of its proxy forces from al-Qaeda. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently expressed the Russian consternation:

The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the 'good' opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime," Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The bucket was full and Kerry's latest request for another three month pause of attacking al-Qaeda was the drop that let it overflow. Russia now responded by hitting the U.S. where it did not expect to be hit:

Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week, disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow’s air campaign in Syria began last year.

The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.
...
These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.
...
The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon's program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.

When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.

U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target.

This was no accident but a well planned operation and the Russian spokesperson's response makes the intend clear:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm the attack Friday, telling reporters it was difficult to distinguish different rebel groups from the air.

Translation: "If you can not separate your forces from al-Qaeda and differentiate and designate exclusively "moderate" zones we can not do so either."

The forces near Tanf are supported by U.S. artillery from Jordan and air power via Iraq. British and Jordan special operations forces are part of the ground component (and probably the majority of the "Syrian" fighters.) There is no al-Qaeda there. The Russians know that well. But they wanted to make the point that it is either separation everywhere or separation nowhere. From now on until the U.S. clearly separates them from AQ all U.S. supported forces will be hit indiscriminately anywhere and anytime. (The Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State with U.S. support are for now a different story.)

The Pentagon does not want any further engagement against the Syrian government or against Russia. It wants to fight the Islamic State and its hates the CIA for its cooperation with al-Qaeda and other Jihadi elements. But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama's ear. But what can Obama do now? Shoot down a Russian jet and thereby endanger any U.S. pilot flying in Syria or near the Russian border? Risk a war with Russia? Really?

The Russian hit near Tanf was clearly a surprise. The Russians again caught Washington on the wrong foot. The message to the Obama administration is clear. "No more delays and obfuscations. You will separate your moderates NOW or all your assets in Syria will be juicy targets for the Russian air force."

The Russian hits at Tanf and the U.S. proxies there has an additional benefit. The U.S. had planned to let those forces move north towards Deir Ezzor and to defeat the Islamic State in that city. Eventually a "Sunni entity" would be established in south east Syria and west Iraq under U.S. control. Syria would be split apart.

The Syrian government and its allies will not allow that. There is a large operation planned to free Deir Ezzor from the Islamic State occupation. Several hundred Syrian government forces have held an isolated airport in Deir Ezzor against many unsuccessful Islamic State attacks. These troops get currently reinforced by additional Syrian army contingents and Hizbullah commandos.A big battle is coming. Deir Ezzor may be freed within the next few month. Any U.S. plans for some eastern Syrian entity are completely unrealistic if the Syrian government can take and hold its largest eastern city.

The Obama administration's delaying tactic will now have to end. Russia will no longer stand back and watch while the U.S. sabotages the ceasefire and supports al-Qaeda. 

What then is the next move the U.S. will make?

Posted by b on June 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

Comments
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There can be no let up now. Russia's Syrian long game ought to play out without pause.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 18, 2016 11:26:21 AM | 1

b:

But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama's ear.
Please don't be an Obama apologist b. Isn't it clear by now that Obama is not the peace-loving progressive that he pretends to be?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 11:42:32 AM | 2

Putin needs to send a message to Israel that Russia will no longer tolerate Israeli bombing raids in Syria.

Posted by: paul | Jun 18, 2016 11:42:53 AM | 3

Line in the sand now for Israel it's about time.

Posted by: Edomac | Jun 18, 2016 12:06:12 PM | 4

Many pundits have argued that there is no military solution in Syria. I disagree, a military solution is the only one possible and it must be decisive. How is it possible for Saudi Arabia to supply and finance thousands of proxy forces to destroy a fellow Arab state, and still claim to be fighting terrorism. Syria and Iran need to take the gloves off and use their own special forces or better still encourage proxy forces of their own [unattributed of course]to cripple the Saudi economy with various 'incidents' at Ras Tamara oil port. "An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west".https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/03/saudiarabia.oil
This would have the benefit of killing two birds with one stone, the fall of one of the most obnoxious regimes known to mankind and with it the cessation of funding for schools of terrorism throughout the world and with it Assads vision of a secular Syrian state as a role model for the rest of the Middle East.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 18, 2016 12:16:30 PM | 5

@Jackrabbit at 2: Of course Obama is not progressive or peace loving. Only an idiot would argue that he is. But what b is saying is that Obama is weak reed who can be bent depending on which faction has his attention. He both wants to overthrow Assad and to avoid getting pulled into an expensive battle, in my opinion, and in any given week may issue contradictory policies. But it seems he sides more with the CIA than the Pentagon, which is dangerous in this case.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jun 18, 2016 12:23:55 PM | 6

Seems as though the pressure is on ...this vid Skype presentation by Syrian presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, to GAFTA (Global Alliance for terminating al Qaeda) conference in Washington, June 2016. is well worth the listen to . Its so sad how the western presstatutes try and work this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79jQSYQYcW0 Russia seems to have the war part covered while Syria is bringing the diplomatic punch into focus ....

Posted by: Terry | Jun 18, 2016 12:44:12 PM | 7

@2 It's always been clear to me that he is not some tremendous beacon of peace for Syria but the alternative was McCain and he definitely wanted and still wants more w/ ever a burning yearning for absolute overt total war against Syria.

It's tough to tell who Obama listens to; Ben Rhodes? Saudi's (most def) but is it just simply as a sorry for the iran deal or closer ties? The u.s. deep state (i think so but they seemed pretty pissed at him) . . i think he just expected things to go as they did in libya or perhaps as the 2012 dia memo stated, the plan all along was to create a sliver of a sunni state and for the u.s. in that case the objective is coming along whether a kurdistan (hopefully) or a caliphate (hope to god not)... is it a fly trap strategy that'll turn in to a caliphate? hell idk it's going to be insane w/ hillary.

Posted by: Au | Jun 18, 2016 12:50:42 PM | 8

Just a reminder. Russia, Syria and Iran have a 'mutual defense treaty' that states an attack on one is an attack on all ...

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-russia-iran-syria-mutual-defense-treaties-the-western-media-missed

Posted by: ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 12:54:31 PM | 9

June 18, 2016 - You cannot make this stuff up ...

"On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that's backed by the U.S.

Since last year, American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria while supporting different sides in the civil war. Moscow backs the Assad dictatorship; the U.S. is arming rebels who've been trying to overthrow it.

The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings."

Once again our so called Department of Defense displays its 'Kindergarten logic' by condemning Russia for acting within the parameters of International Law.

quote source - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ignores-warnings-bombs-u-s-backed-syrian-rebel-group/

Posted by: ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 1:10:20 PM | 10

harrylaw at 5, yes, say. They state ‘no military solution is possible’ because they want a political transition right now. In short, they want the opposing parties to just lie down and die or go off and play WoW or watch Mad Men or sumptin’. Unadulterated BS. As for Obama (see 6) the committee man (he was elected for that role), he is caught between a rock and a hard place. Ukraine was and is an absolute disaster - nothing worked out as wished. (Some may enjoy Helmer, who sometimes must be taken with a dose of salt, linked below, MH17, etc. This war is being fought on 2 fronts, Ukr. + Syria.)

Read in the Swiss Press (no idea if true) that di Mistura is fed up with the lot of them, implied he will throw in the towel. Not that a return to the negotiating table is realistic, that ship has now sailed into the stormy night, the US can’t try that move again, nor will the Russians be so compliant next time (imho.) So that is one thing the US won’t do (?).. (b’s question.) The rubber is going to hit the road on this one. It will be fought out in the corridors of power in Washington first. Putin has been in speech very conciliatory recently to show the usual ‘good will’..

http://johnhelmer.net/?p=15859

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 18, 2016 1:13:27 PM | 11

thanks b.. in response to your question, i think the usa will continue to move in the same direction, lie and obfuscate in all the same ways it has been doing all along.. and, the msm will tell us just how bad russia is for all of it too! the change has to be with russia and clearly they see this and are acting on it too.

@2 jackrabbit.. this good cop/bad cop (obama/brennan) routine is a pile of bullshite.. everyone can see that.. hey - i don't know what my left hand is doing while my left hand is doing something else.. really?

@5 harrylaw.. that would be nice.. anything to get rid of the headchopper cult of saudi arabia would be good..

@11 noirette.. i agree with you... i read the helmer article the other day. he's always worth reading.

@ regurgabot... boring.. how many threads to you have to repeat yourself on?

Posted by: james | Jun 18, 2016 1:27:41 PM | 12

b:

What then is the next move the U.S. will make?
I will hazard a guess. But first, we should not think that the U.S. will act alone. Direct confrontation with Russia is (of course) too risky.

As I wrote in an earlier comment (includes timeline), the San Bernandino attack occurred soon after the downing of the Russian airliner on October 31st 2015. This was the first attack against the US despite the US having (supposedly) bombed ISIS for over a year and engaged in a $500 million program to train anti-ISIS fighters.

The long delay in responding to USA's anti-ISIS activities sharply contrasts with the quickness with which ISIS had responded to Russia's intervention. This leads to the question of whether the San Bernandino attack was (hastily) arranged to blunt any attempt to associate USA with the proxy army of Sunni extremists.

Although the US seems to have gotten tough(er) on ISIS in recent months, there are indications that this is just more smokescreen. The Assad must go! Coalition has merely changed tactics. They still support their extremist proxy army(s) (as demonstrated by recent resupply and pleas for Russia to avoid bombing).

The recent Orlando shooting better establishes ISIS's hate for USA and thereby distances USA/CIA from ISIS. This distancing may simply be misdirection that allows ISIS to carry out spectacular attack(s) against Russian interests. That it pre-dates attacks on Russian interests merely shows that they learned from the San Bernandino experience (where a lack of previous attacks raised suspicions).

Note:

1) The San Bernandino attackers had visited Saudi Arabia and the wife had lived there. They were well established in the USA and drew little if any suspicion. They could have attacked months before or after the time that they actually did attack.

2) The Orlando attacker had also visited Saudi Arabia. The background of the wife is (as yet) not well understood. She was born in USA but her last name ("Salman") is the same as the Saudi royal family (I'm not sure how relevant that is). It is now clear that she had some knowledge of the plans of her husband.

3) Both the San Bernandino and Orlando (SB&O) attackers had a young child. As a 'young family' they would be less likely to draw suspicion. Were the SB&O attackers really "radicalized via the Internet"? "ISIS-inspired"? "Lone wolf"? Or, were they 'deep cover' operatives?

4) The FBI has caught/entrapped many potential attackers that were "radicalized over the Internet" but they are invariably clueless and incapable.

5) AFAIK, "ISIS-inspired" attackers in Paris and Brussels didn't have young children and middle-class lifestyle.


<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Obama warned Putin that he could face a 'quagmire' and 'costs'. To paraphrase Madeline Albright: What good is a proxy army if you don't use it?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 1:37:26 PM | 13

WorldBLee @6:

Obama is a weak reed

Obama is a willing and very capable participant in the 'con'. This has been proven in the realm of domestic affairs as well as foreign affairs.

james has it right when he says: "this good cop/bad cop (obama/brennan) routine is a pile of bullshite".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 1:43:31 PM | 14

In public the US criticizes and threatens Russia. In private I think that the Pentagon is more than happy to see Russia blowing up these "moderates" that have become polluted by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and also Turkey.
Using Russia, the USA is giving a good lessons to these 'allies' countries that dare stand against the USA shift on Iran. They are becoming increasingly terrified by their powerlessness.
This has always been the USA double game in the ME: Caress and stab in the back. The Saudis and its allied are too stupid to realize that they have been taken on a ride. Turkey is on the verge of crumbling as Erdogan keeps attacking the USA and Egypt and has not solve the issue with Israel on Hamas and the defunct Moslem Brotherhood.
The tacit agreement between Kerry and Lavrov on crushing the rebels, islamist or not, is very clear.

Posted by: virgile | Jun 18, 2016 1:57:06 PM | 15

Posted by: virgile | Jun 18, 2016 1:57:06 PM | 15
Yes, I suppose it is entirely possible that this "schism" between Obama and the Pentagon is just theatrics, optics, useful in declaring helplessness when "policies" are undone or contradicted ... Obama as victim of palace infighting.

I was noticing how they no longer bother to state objectives to justify our actions (and/or inactions) ... Omar Mateens demand that we "stop bombing Afghanistan" made me wonder if we actually were bombing there, who and what and why ...
Juan Cole/Center from investigative journalism: US still in Conventional War in Afghanistan via . . . Drones?. My impression that our main mission in Afghanistant was "not leaving" ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jun 18, 2016 2:10:09 PM | 16

PBS TV is running a piece on the military draft. Giving a historical perspective dating back to George Washington's request for a draft during the Revolutionary War to the present.

While stationed at Great Lakes Naval station in 1967 I noticed that all of e gate guards were US Marines. This was during Nam. I asked one Marine how he managed to pull such a plum assignment. He told me that he had been drafted into the Marines. His tour was for two years. He was told that being a draftee he would not serve in a combat unit as a draftee and not an enlistee 'he could not be trusted.'

Let the fragging begin.

Posted by: ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 2:18:27 PM | 17

The Outlaw US Empire's behavior regarding the UNSC resolution that al-Qaeda be attacked no matter what proves the Empire's support for that terrorist group absolving its citizens from paying taxes to support terrorism since doing so is against the law. Is my logic sound, or should I rephrase?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18, 2016 2:34:25 PM | 18

Russia can't be trusted by iran/syria at this point. Neoliberal Putin has his own agenda, and that is to compromise with the west.

He seems willing to accept a divided Syria and wash his hands of it, which to any real resident of that country would be tantamount to complete defeat.

Iran once said that it would send 500k troops to defend Syria.. I wouldn't be surprised if they send a large number

Posted by: bbbb | Jun 18, 2016 2:36:46 PM | 19

"Turkey on the verge of crumbling ..."

Egypt has placed the MB on the terror list and has become allied with Saudi Arabia and UAE. Qatar is isolated for its support of the MB. Erdogan is between a rock and a hard place, its foreign policy has been a disaster. Seeking to restore relations with Russia. The intelligence community of Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia have joined assets in the Levant. Al Nusra on the Golan must be defeated, the UK/US training camps of rebels in Jordan must be neutralized to fight in the southern corridor to Damascus.

Posted by: Oui | Jun 18, 2016 2:47:29 PM | 20

It must be the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) heading towards Deir ez-Zor, a crucial cross-roads for Islamic State between Raqqa and Anbar province in Iraq. The U.S. will do all to help establish an enlarged Sunni enclave as a gift for its Arab patrons. A bit of Syria should suffice as punishment for Assad and allies.

Onslaught on ISIS: Syrian Army enters Raqqa province as Kurds, rebels advance | RT |
ISIS Sanctuary Map – ISW (May 25, 2016)

Posted by: Oui | Jun 18, 2016 2:53:45 PM | 21

Seems like you missed you missed the big news for today:

On Putin´s order, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister visited Bashar al Assad and the Kmeimim base.
That most certainly mean s that something big will be announced next week. Stay tuned...

Posted by: mik | Jun 18, 2016 2:56:33 PM | 22

If Turkey finds no other choice but to crawl towards the yoke of Russia, then perhaps Putin will have played a master-stroke. As I it however, Russia needs to go strong soon or just go home.

IMHO the political solution just doesn't exist, because most of the fighters are likely foreigners who don't give a sh!t about Syria or Syrians. Russia tried, but at some point you can only accept so much egg on face.

Also I don't ever recall USA making 'resistance group' distinctions as it mercilessly bombed opposition in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. This is all a ploy to delay and thwart any form of victory.

If USA's willing to go WW3 over Syria, then I guess it would just be an advanced copy of an eventual WW3 that would happen anyway.

Posted by: bbbb | Jun 18, 2016 3:12:04 PM | 23

The Helmer piece on MH17 is interesting. I remember reports that the Australians were prepared to send troops into the area, but if the Dutch were planning the same thing then it was a NATO op in all probability. The utter hysteria that had been unleashed in the Western media at the time would have provided the cover for such bold move. The desired result would not have necessarily been immediate war with Russia, but certainly the instantaneous creation of cold war standoff and militarization which has been happening incrementally instead. This could be considered similar to the sarin attack in Syria, blamed on Assad, with the hasty response of quickly regime-changing the country, which also was called off (and the policy continued incrementally since). This highlights the centrality of false-flag events to realize policy, particularly to those favouring rapid game-changing moves. It is very possible that the next POTUS will be faced with a false-flag atrocity in the Baltics or mid-east early in the first term, with an attendant bold move offered as response.

Posted by: jayc | Jun 18, 2016 3:13:17 PM | 24

Lol ..... Putin does a Nuland on Kerry.

"U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target."

Putin seems quite adept at appearing weak (even to his supporters), then BAM!! IMO, this is not a one-off. No reason to fly clear across Syria to 'make a statement', though it was a helluva statement!

I expect more of the same, with Russia going back to its original strategy, which worked quite well. So much for Obama's foreign policy (don't do stupid shit).

Posted by: woogs | Jun 18, 2016 3:13:35 PM | 25

Thanks Terry for the Bouthaina Shaaban speech. The most amazing are the questions after the 30 mn speech. A dozen of female hyenas talking non-sense! At some stage one of them is clearly becoming hysterical. Hard to believe they are simply ill-informed. Most of these people are on pay-list, for sure.
It is relieving to see a Muslim woman talking naturally, unveiled, in the middle of Ramadan. Shaaban is really strong to manage to keep her calm.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 18, 2016 3:14:29 PM | 26

Sergei Shoigu Inspects Khmeimim Airbase in Syria

At the Khmeimim airbase, the General of the army Sergei Shoigu inspected the accommodation of personnel and issues of providing with all types of support, and also met with Russian pilots performing combat missions to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Syria and military units for the protection and security of the air base. The head of the Russian military tested the combat duty at the command post of the air defense group, and also the starting positions of anti-aircraft missile system S-400, which is stationed at the air base," stated the message of the Defense Ministry.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said that maintaining Syria’s integrity must be the top priority and warned that the disintegration of the Middle Eastern country would be a “destabilizing factor not only for the region, but for the whole world.”

“We must act carefully, step by step, aiming to establish trust between all sides to the conflict,” the Russian president said, adding that a new and effective government could be formed in Syria once this trust is finally built. A political process is the only way to reach peace, Putin said, stressing that Syrian President Bashar Assad “also agrees to such a process.”

Минобороны России

Minister of Defence General of the Army Sergei ‪#‎Shoigu‬ ordered the Chief of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides Lieutenant General Sergei ‪#‎Chvarkov‬ to build up negotiations with heads of administrations and armed formation commanders on joining national truce process.

Posted by: Oui | Jun 18, 2016 3:28:52 PM | 27

Link-dumping "Oui" is at it again.

I posted the news on Shoigu´s visit to Syria and Oui quick like a rat went out copy and pasting...

Get a life man.

Posted by: mik | Jun 18, 2016 3:41:18 PM | 28

@mik

Yr welcome ... love to read the sources.

Posted by: Oui | Jun 18, 2016 3:51:03 PM | 29

Saturday night snuff movie on FB! Death for real!! So cool, ain't it?
Moloch is making cash tonigt!
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36566635

Posted by: Mina | Jun 18, 2016 3:52:12 PM | 30

Fantastic.. I had not yet read the whole piece:
"The video remains on Facebook with a warning message about its graphic nature.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the video does not violate company policy. "


You can't make that stuff up, would say Alberto.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 18, 2016 3:54:59 PM | 31

I have a great deal more respect for Russian leadership than I do American.

This coming from a 70 yr old American 'exceptionalist'. Sad.

Posted by: paulmeli | Jun 18, 2016 3:59:22 PM | 32

To remove any ambiguity about the status of the Free Syrian Army, a representative was present at this year's Herzliya Conference. This annual conference is dedicated to issues relating to Israel's Security. Netanyahu and high level Israeli Military Intelligence leaders state they prefer ISIS to Assad.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/fsa-commander-takes-part-herzliya-conference/

Posted by: Yonatan | Jun 18, 2016 4:11:08 PM | 33

How do you know when a U.S. State Department member is lying? When his lips move.

Posted by: rcentros | Jun 18, 2016 4:17:26 PM | 34

It seems the delaying tactics of the U.S. led coalition and proxy forces have made Russia and friends realize that the ceasefire gained them nothing on the diplomatic front while allowing the proxy forces to recover, re arm and begin attacking anew on the military front. Russia will not make this mistake again hopefully until her military response to this outrage has driven the point home that Syrian leadership and policies will be decided by the Syrian people. While brinkmanship is a dangerous game, unless the U.S. led NATO-Israel is prepared to go to full scale war by escalating their response with aerial attacks on say Hezbollah, inside or outside of Syria, then the end game may be in sight. Perhaps however the U.S coalition might flood the Syrian airspace with dire warnings as their own brinkmanship response? Obviously the situation will heat up a lot more before any mutual resolution is discovered, being again that Syria will be run by the Syrians.

Posted by: BRF | Jun 18, 2016 4:19:21 PM | 35

It is, I am sure, redundant to say that Putin/Russia played the let's cooperate game with the ?????/US and has now made it clear that let's cooperate is over.

Alas, the ?????/US policy remains, as it has for ever: chaos is good because it destabilizes those you wish to control.

The Putin/Russia gambit, while making the ?????/US look bad, will fail because it is built on the concept of rational behavior. The ?????/US does not want to be rational. It simply wants to daunt, destroy and take over.

Worse, imho, is that most of the contributors on this blog (just like in the media) attempt to explain stuff in terms of rational politics. That, sadly, implicates all of us as complicit in the machinations of the empire we were born into.

Posted by: rg the lg | Jun 18, 2016 4:19:46 PM | 36

b, an excellent piece, if what you alleged were true! It's now or never. The regime in Washington must be stop. If not now, when? You cannot trust Obomo, Hillary, Trump or Bernie, regardless who is in the WH.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jun 18, 2016 4:27:24 PM | 37

@28 mik,

Shut up, American. Your pompous arrogant bloviation means nothing without links. Get a clue AND a life.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 18, 2016 4:36:14 PM | 38

@7 terry.. ditto mina's comment @26 - thanks for sharing that video... pretty enlightening how thick the propaganda is inside the usa for them to question Syrian presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban in the manner they do... her comment at 49 minutes in is pretty strong and clear..

Posted by: james | Jun 18, 2016 4:50:27 PM | 39

War criminal Obama was the lead advocate for bombing Syrian goverment a few years ago, thats until the UK Parliament put a temporary stop to it.
So any credit given to Obama by b , or anyone else is ludicrous. LUDICROUS.
The destruction of Libya still gets Obama mitigation ?

But Putin invited the evil US Empire into Syria. What kind of fool would invite humanities worst enemy, as well as Russia's biggest enemy, into a conflict where they oppose each other. Grotesque stupidity.

Posted by: tom | Jun 18, 2016 4:52:42 PM | 40

Lets be clear there are meetings behind closed doors among players, we are just speculating. While Syria might be the main focus point, Kiev continues bombing Separatists in Donbass, Venezuela in the blinks of anarchy. In joint military exercises off India's east coast, China and Russia's warships watching war game between US, Japan and India...

Here something you got to watch: TeleSurTV: Media Review: The World According to Seymour Hersh: Part Two

http://videos.telesurtv.net/en/video/557704/media-review-557704

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jun 18, 2016 4:54:33 PM | 41

I loved this story. I am somewhat in awe of how the Russians have handled their Syrian presence, and the gains they make with every move. Did they have the moral weight 6 months ago to destroy US assets and perhaps US citizens on the ground in Syria? It seems certain that they do now. They seem to have tested all the players in the US establishment and discovered none who can stand up to them.

What will the US do next? On past performance, all it can do is lie, cheat and steal, but all this within the paradigms set by Russia and the UN. One assumes that Russia's command has every permutation of treachery war-gamed already, with contingency moves in place. I suggest popcorn.

It is to the benefit of world peace that the Syrian part of the war between Russia and the US proceed as slowly and deliberately as possible. With every day that passes Russia becomes militarily stronger and US military force continues to atrophy without renewal, while its policy-making remains frozen with no intellectual refreshment or inventiveness.

Putin and his team are such astonishingly mature peacemakers that every provocation or twitch of malice by the US is net with calm. The global effort continues to allow the US to sink to its knees with as much grace as can be managed. So far, nobody has had to nuke the US, and for this I'm grateful. There is one good and final slapping that the US has to take in public before its time is over, and I yearn for the day, but I think it's far off yet, somewhere in a single-digit range of years.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 18, 2016 5:00:58 PM | 42

@39 Russia doesn't want a quagmire, nor does it want Western Sanctions. If Syria wasn't a militarily weak and spent force, things would probably go a lot smoother. Instead, outsiders are having to fight outsiders, and Russia and Iran are not tier-1 allies for whatever reason. Russia and China have never shown much defense against western aggression against 'partner' countries as it is, so Syria has been quite a stretch.

For Iran, Hezbollah and Syrians, Syria is the battle of a lifetime, but for Russia, it's maybe a bargaining chip, or a something less, or something more.. we just don't know. All we can do it wait and see what happens, for we'll never truly know what Russia's intentions in the region are until after the fact.

I personally want the 'evil' side to be thwarted on all fronts, as it's akin to a cancer that will destroy the host (Syria and its society) unless it's excised. There are multiple ways of accomplishing it, but there are multiple ways of failing as well. I guess that's why I'm glad I'm here making opinions, rather than being in any sort of command position. I just hope that the next administration in Washington will be sick of this business, but unfortunately seems more or less to be only one side that probably won't win(Trump)

Posted by: bbbb | Jun 18, 2016 5:16:13 PM | 43

I cannot be sure these uSA will not start WW3 against Russia, when jets, having to fly in Syrian airspace, are sent to provide air cover. What ifs are many.

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Jun 18, 2016 5:23:29 PM | 44

Hello everyone I heard That France was building a military base near kobane. Is that true ? Can someone knowledgeable in the matter or b shed some light on this news ?

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 5:28:16 PM | 45

At the least during Nam we were given the 'Domino Theory' which, if you could consume enough alcohol, made perfect sense. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident! Where a country without a Navy attacked our Navy. Where do I enlist!

In 2016 we have the batsh*t crazy appointed government bureaucrats siding with the sole interests of a foreign country. Circle talking seems to be the normal state of affairs at State, Executive and MSM. PBS has gone full Karl Marx. Congress has an 16% approval rating, 80% disapproval, and 4% no opinion [1]. So I guess Congress doesn't really matter? And as far as our military command goes, when you can use 'sold out' and 'son of a bitch' in the same sentence, we, as a nation might have a major problemo.

Just me opinion

[1] - http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

Posted by: ALberto | Jun 18, 2016 5:37:24 PM | 46

Sergei Shoigu is Tuvan. Hence the unusual last name.

Posted by: lysias | Jun 18, 2016 5:48:21 PM | 47

Interesting take from a rebel commander: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikegiglio/russia-is-recruiting-the-uss-rebel-allies-in-syria?utm_term=.wh4kW2Y97N#.viDV0MpGYB

Posted by: dan | Jun 18, 2016 5:59:08 PM | 48

I think people should note that this is all Russia black eyeing as collusion with Assad the evil dictator,and it all is about the upcoming election,where Trump,contrary to certain misinfo agents here,supports Russias efforts and promises to try and get along with the neolibcons enemies, who will be ejected from their positions by an American nationalist administration.All these creeps have been installed by the shrub.The HB and Obomba,all American zeros.
And look at the Olympic blanket judgement on innocent Russian athletes,more propaganda and demonization.

Posted by: dahoit | Jun 18, 2016 6:14:46 PM | 49

@48 dahoit

I haven't heard anything from Trump since Hillary's apotheosis, actually a little before. Has he stopped talking? Or has the corporate media just stopped publishing him? Obama, Kerry, the 50 dancing diplomats ... all that stuff seems made to order for Trump to roll over.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 18, 2016 6:43:57 PM | 50

bbbb @42:

For Iran, Hezbollah and Syrians, Syria is the battle of a lifetime, but for Russia, it's maybe a bargaining chip ...
Actually, Putin has said that their intervention in Syria is in Russia's strategic interests - making much the same argument that Bush did wrt al Queda: we need to fight them there so that we don't have to fight them here.

Russia doesn't want to see extremist control of another failed state like Libya.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18, 2016 7:02:33 PM | 51

Clearly there is an ongoing battle in the Obama Administration between Mostly the pentagon (at least some part of it) and the CIA (most part of it). Obama is well aware of this.Obama's Strategy has been to isolate Russia Politically and to shift the main focus of United State Towards Asia however the unexpected resistance of Russia and Syria wasn't forecast by his administration and part of the Deep state.Now part of the heads in the pentagon and the Obama administration want out of this proxy war against Russia as the World and mainly the US public becomes more and more aware of the real nature of the war ongoing in Syria. The heart of the matter is that The members of the oligarchy that rule the united states through revolving doors between the government ,their law firms,foundations,banks and corporations can't afford to lose Syria for obvious reason.On the geopolitical scale The control of the silk Road and Pipeline is of primary importance especially the latter if the us wants to efficiently keep its grip on Europe for the next 30 years.France and mainly Germany could turn to Russia as noted by the willing of many member of their oligarchy and this would be a near devastating blow for the US empire.To take an example Europe is more or less today what India was for Great Britain back before the end of world war two.It might be difficult accepting or believing that one country in the near east such as Syria could old such a role in the destiny of an empire but that's exactly it.Syria is in our current present the country where channel all the opposition to the new world order made in America and if it wasn't for the inability of The States to wage a war against Russia a world war Three-this time without proxy-would be in the making.The 50 high ranking diplomats,working for the department of state,asking Kerry to take over the Syrian state military in order to destroy the Islamic state wouldn't disagree with that.For those of you who know how to read Spanish this is the link reading of the desire of this high ranking diplomats http://www.telesurtv.net/news/Piden-funcionarios-de-Washington-derrocar-al-gobierno-sirio--20160617-0004.html .
The Good news is that I have never seen the united States leads a war against adversaries of the same caliber able to efficiently strike back to them (with the exception of japan) as the main lead...Remember It is the Russians who defeated Germany not the US..everything else is just propaganda.The US is more of empire that uses trickery and the weaknesses of its adversaries to forward its agenda more than anything else;otherwise they always ends up negotiating. I will probably be proven wrong at some point but not by the Russians as of now.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 7:05:52 PM | 52

@tom

"But Putin invited the evil US Empire into Syria."

No he didn't .... UN resolution was approved under Medvedev.

Posted by: Oui | Jun 18, 2016 7:38:57 PM | 53

@dahoit

I can't believe there is people still believing in politician more so when they have been proven liars time and time again.I am all for the welcoming of a saviour and providential man but anyone doing a serious background check (as should any voter) on trump knows the man is a crook .I mean I understand the desire for hope but it shouldn't blind us.Trump is just an Obama from the left and that is about it.The Deep state has gotten stronger since the Kennedy's Assassination and is unlikely to release its grip on Syria knowing its geostrategic necessity to the empire.
Trump will never be ruling the show on the main strategies of the empire ,never, unless he wants himself dead.The only thing that will defeat the US empire in Syria is Russian will nothing short of that.Unless The States are able to pull some magic tricks unknown to us at that point.For one thing certain a war is very unlikely(although many want it)against such a mighty foe as Russia-for now.

The story printed out by many mainstream newspapers on Bill Clinton advising Trump on phone to run as a candidate should give anyone pause as to the hidden scheme behind politic and the trump and Clinton family friendship.Yet Some people still believe trump is an opposition to the system. That boggles the mind.Really.The only reason I can find explaining this attitude in someone knowledgeable of the trickery of the States is political correctness (quiet powerful actually) or blindness and irrational hope....now some say faith is irrational...however I was not expecting to see it having such large part in modern politics.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bill-clinton-called-donald-trump-ahead-of-republicans-2016-launch/2015/08/05/e2b30bb8-3ae3-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bill-clinton-called-donald-trump-ahead-of-republicans-2016-launch/2015/08/05/e2b30bb8-3ae3-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Jun 18, 2016 8:36:21 PM | 54

ALberto @ 45 You say that "PBS has gone full Karl Marx". I haven't watched or listened to that PBS tripe ever. But considering that PBS is 90% corporate funded, I find it hard to accept your assertion.

If it appears to be "full Karl Marx" (and whatever you mean by that term is subject to many interpretations), it is merely a corporate/permanent government psy-op to keep the intellectually and morally challenged sedated.

Posted by: Macon Richardson | Jun 18, 2016 9:20:58 PM | 55

Regarding who Obama listens to, a good analysis is Bob Parry on The State Department's Collective Madness, https://consortiumnews.com/2016/06/17/the-state-departments-collective-madness/. A piece in today's Wall Street Journal indicates that despite the growing pressure, Obama means to stick by his policy of limited intervention. Of course he's being pig-headed in insisting "Assad must go," but what he's doing beats full-scale US invasion of Syria, "no-fly" zones and similar madness favored by Hillary and likely to lead to WW III although, as John Pilger puts it, WW has already started; on the other hand, it hasn't yet gone thermonuclear, and I see that as a distinct advantage.

Posted by: Robert Roth | Jun 18, 2016 10:08:06 PM | 56

Thank you Grieved, in particular for reminding us as follows:

". . .malice by the US is net with calm. The global effort continues to allow the US to sink to its knees with as much grace as can be managed."

This was well illustrated at the opening of the St. Petersburg economic conference. Pointed questions about political candidates were countered by Putin in a deft manner that left no doubt of his assessment of the 'leading' candidates, without calling anyone a hitler or any suggestion of interference in the US political process. I don't believe Putin is any fonder of Trump than he is of Ms. Clinton - he stated he'll work with whomever comes out on top (my words) and had kind words to say for Bill - not for his policies but for his encouragement of Putin early on. Very diplomatic, and wise.

Where have our wise politicians gone? We did have a few once. Couldn't we please just sink to our knees gracefully? The world would love us if we did. Here - I'll be first. (Sinks to knees.) After all, tonight is the night of Pentecost and Sunday we do the magnificent kneeling prayers for the first time since before Easter.

It's a good time to kneel.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 18, 2016 10:59:14 PM | 57

Obama's Syria SNAFU was always destined to boil down to Yankees playing Russian Roulette - with Russia. They're probably beginning to realise that playing cat and mouse loses a lot of its appeal when the cat starts getting ready to eat you.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2016 11:33:28 PM | 58

yeah @ grieved... thanks for all of that..

Posted by: james | Jun 18, 2016 11:37:54 PM | 59

Yankees waste so much time talking that they're always too busy to listen...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2016 11:45:49 PM | 60

lebretteurfredonnant@44 - I'm not really knowledgeable in the matter, but I have broadband and type fast for what it's worth.

Little detail is known about the base, but it may be the former Syrian Army Mishtenur/Mushtannour Hill Military Base shown on wikimapia here. The location is just the flat top of Mishtenur Hill (just south of Kobane) with a bulldozed revetment around the periphery. No idea what the Syrian Army used it for - it may have been a simple observation post with a few artillery pieces (long gone). There are no structures on the hilltop other than a commercial radio tower and a few shacks at the northern edge. The hilltop itself isn't much more than 200m x 600m - not large enough for a fixed-wing airstrip but plenty of room for helicopters and a small contingent of French Special Forces. The Kurds probably have a few people there as headchopper lookouts/snipers.

The Mishtenur Hill location should be considered speculative - I only recall a couple of mentions in english-language Kurdish press. It makes sense to put it there, but who knows.

Months ago when the U.S. was building its 'secret' base at the Rmelian airstrip, there were rumors of a second 'U.S. base' being constructed somewhere around Kobane, but nothing was heard after that. Not sure if that rumor was related to the potential Mishtenur Hill location the French may be using.

The Kurds and Kurdish Press have been very tight-lipped about these bases for obvious reasons, so I wouldn't expect to ever see much on them. CNN had a crew run out to Rmeilan so we know it exists and was being worked on, but they were not allowed on the 'base' and couldn't see much over the protective berms surrounding it. There are no pictures or video of the current state. I would imagine the French SF base - wherever it ends up - will remain shrouded in mystery as well.

If you're doing any on-line searches, keep in mind that these locations have proper Turkish/Kurdish/Arabic names, not 'english' ones. There may be half-a-dozen variations on the derived english name used in various media sources as was the case for Rmeilan.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 19, 2016 12:26:40 AM | 61

paulmeli | Jun 18, 2016 3:59:22 PM | 32
I have a great deal more respect for Russian leadership than I do American.

I'll second your comment; this coming from a self exiled 71 yo American radical.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 12:28:50 AM | 62

This was awesome news.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Jun 19, 2016 12:34:29 AM | 63

This is very, very alarming and I get a strong sense it's about a lot more than separating rebels from AQ. I also wonder who is really at that base in Tanf.

Have to also keep in mind the daily escalation of hostility around the NATO meetings leading up to the Warsaw summit.

Putin did a press conf at the end of the St Petersburg econ summit and a Canadian press exec asked about NATO troops deploying to their border. He gave a long answer about US walking away from a missile treaty that had kept the world from serious global war for 70yrs, etc. Had a lot to say about missiles. I wonder.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jun 19, 2016 1:20:31 AM | 64

@49 jfl
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-17/something-going-%E2%80%93-and-its-worse-you-thought

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 1:26:06 AM | 65

In 1206 crusaders laid siege to Braziers. The head catholic was told there were Catholics among the population, and he gave the famous order: Kill them all and let God sort them out.

Sounds like that's the strategy Putin is finally putting into play.

Posted by: Denis | Jun 19, 2016 1:49:13 AM | 66

Here's something to keep in mind as all of this goes on

http://energyskeptic.com/2016/emerging-threats-of-resource-wars-u-s-house-hearing/

DANA ROHRABACHER, California. We import 750,000 tons of vital minerals and material every year. An increasing global demand for supplies of energy and strategic minerals is sparking intense economic competition that could lead to a counterproductive conflict.
A ‘‘zero sum world’’ where no one can obtain the means to progress without taking them from someone else is inherently a world of conflict.

Additional problems arise when supplies are located in areas where production could be disrupted by political upheaval, terrorism or war.

Posted by: bbbb | Jun 19, 2016 2:24:34 AM | 67

@49 fth

Thanks. Actually I'd read that one. I rarely read anything of Justin Raimondo's at aw.com, but I read that one for some reason. It's the run down for those who haven't been paying attention, I thought. Let me look again ...yeah, it's not the Republican candidate (yet) talking about it, but for that one cryptic comment, it's Justin Raimondo talking about it, and he ain't running for president. Of course he's write-in candidate, as are about 200 million of the rest of us.

But that is just the kind of a pitch that Trump needs to make, has to make really, to keep from being steamrolled by the DNC machine and all the monied interests to whom its sold-out and who are consequently supporting it. Trump is pretty well-free of supervision by the Republicrat party and he needs something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what the Demoblicans are trying to make the election about. He could get a lot of attention, and possibly support, from the antiwar right and left, he could pick up Bernie's betrayed ... if he went after not only the sheer misanthropy of it all but the tawdriness, the treachery, the self-dealing of the neo-cons ... at least he could bring all that into the open. Make the neo-cons, their wars and the MIC a topic in the contest. He made a good start with his remarks on Russian and Putin. I think it's his most promising row to hoe.

But I haven't heard much at all from Trump himself lately, he seems to be 'thinking' ... lining up money, more likely, and tailoring his message accordingly. He's not interested in 'investing' whatever money he actually has in a political campaign. He took money from Adelson, has neo-cons on his payroll.

Hillary's so predictably evil, and he's so officially 'unpredictable' that he's the natural focal point of the selection circus. It's too bad only one of them can lose.

I'm going to write-in a candidate, and I hope that millions more of us will as well. If the write-in/none-of-the-above/spoiled-ballot total exceeded that of either of these two sorry characters we'd be off and running ourselves.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19, 2016 3:53:38 AM | 68

that's @64 fth above

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19, 2016 3:55:04 AM | 69

@52 Oui
Yes, Putin did.
The UN resolution about Lybia was approved under Medvedev.

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 5:02:48 AM | 70

@ From The Hague | 69

Yes, Putin did.
The UN resolution about Lybia was approved under Medvedev.

And even in this case, was it purely Medvedev decision? He was seen as a frontman for Putin, plus Lavrov was also on the scene.

Add to that BS excuses "we didnt know our NATO partners would overextend UN resolution and bomb Libya". Even random guy on the internet like me knew, and I posted all over the forums this will happen, so did thousands of others, and anyone truly believe brilliant grandmasters like Putin and Lavrov were ignorant and naive? Please.

The reality is as usual, Libya wasnt that important to Russia, they made under-the-table deal with US and didnt veto the invasion. World powers redistributed among themselves zones of influence since the time immemorial, nothing new under the sun.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 19, 2016 5:33:11 AM | 71

@ Harry | 70
So you think Putin acted his angriness?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-12810566

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 5:48:58 AM | 72

@ From The Hague | 71

Sure, it was a face saving smokescreen for the masses. Putin (and other politicians) quite often fake angriness, wrath, or on other side of spectrum - fake smiles, whatever situation calls for.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 19, 2016 5:53:55 AM | 73

The Russian defense ministry confirms my take. The attack was intended to push the U.S. to documented separation:

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Due to appeal of the American party, representatives of the Russian an US defence departments held videoconference on implementing the Memorandum on preventing incidents while performing military operations in the airspace of Syria dating October 20, 2015.

The American party has informed the Russian one about alleged premeditated strike by the Russian Aerospace Forcers on detachments of the Syrian opposition in the south of Syria on June 16, 2016 in despite of appeals of the US.

Representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry explained that the object, which had suffered bombardment, was located more than 300 km far from borders of territories claimed by the American party as ones controlled by the opposition joined the ceasefire regime.

The Russian Aerospace Forces operated within the agreed procedures and forewarned member states of the US-led coalition about the ground targets to strike on. The American party has not presented coordinates of regions of activity of opposition controlled by the US. This caused impossibility to correct actions of the Russian aviation.

Therefore, actions by the Russian party have been carried out in strict observance of the Joint Russian-American statement and the Memorandum.

Moreover, within last few months, the Russian defence department has been suggesting compiling a joint map with actual information about location of forces active in Syria. However, there has been no significant progress reached.

The parties exchanged their opinions in a constructive manner. They were aimed at strengthening cooperation in fighting against terrorist formations in Syria and preventing all incidents while performing military operations in the territory of Syria


So - either cooperated, or get your "assets" annihilated. Let's see what the U.S. will come up with ...

Posted by: b | Jun 19, 2016 6:07:10 AM | 74

@ jfl | 67
Ok.
Trump seems consistent in his ideas: Don't mess in other countries, don't provoke Russia, only secure US-borders.
Now I see the article I gave isn't from Tyler Durden, but from Justin Raimondo.

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 6:10:52 AM | 75

Harry | Jun 19, 2016 5:53:55 AM | 72
Putin (and other politicians) quite often fake angriness, wrath, or on other side of spectrum - fake smiles, whatever situation calls for.

Hogwash!
Surely, if anybody on this planet has a right to be angry, it's Pres. Putin.
He has always been the epitome of composed diplomacy under the relentless aggression of the U.S., particularly, and NATO generally.
Lied to, with myriad broken promises; he's nobodies fool.
But, he knows how to play chess while Obama plays checkers...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 6:17:09 AM | 76

@V. Arnold | 75

Case and point - when Ukie nazis were shelling Donbass cities, resistance went into offensive and broke through the nazis and made them run, Putin forced the resistance to stop immediately, under the gunpoint (literally*). Ukies returned to allowed by Russia front lines right on the outskirts of Donbass cities, and started using artillery and mortars on them again, then Putin acted angry about it.

The choices we have:
a) Putin made a cold calculated deal with his "Western partners" and let it happen, and then acted angry on TV for public perception.
b) Putin couldnt foresee it as he is stupid.

So which is it? I'm pretty sure everyone here will agree Putin is anything but stupid, which leaves us with option a)

*Idealistic Donbass resistance leaders who wanted to continue offensive and at the very least push nazis away from the cities, were removed by Russia. Either under blackmail and death threats (like Strelkov), or literally assassinated them (like Batman and others). Follow the history and facts, Russia's leadership arent idealist do-gooders as some like to imagine. Just because they are against even bigger evil like US, doesnt make Russia saintly.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 19, 2016 6:37:50 AM | 77

Harry | Jun 19, 2016 6:37:50 AM | 76
Just because they are against even bigger evil like US, doesnt make Russia saintly.

Well, if your comparing the U.S. and Russia for saintly-ness; Russia wins, hands down.
Again; the differences are chess to checkers; I just like and enjoy Pres. Putin's style; a class act under duress.
I'm glad you recognise the U.S. as the greater evil (by orders of magnitude).

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 7:02:29 AM | 78

@48 dahoit

Demonisation...? What do you mean...?


Whitehall fears Russian football hooligans had Kremlin links

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jun/18/whitehall-suspects-kremlin-links-to-russian-euro-2016-hooligans-vladimir-putin?CMP=fb_gu

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 19, 2016 7:18:05 AM | 79

@V. Arnold | 77

Putin is leaps and bounds ahead of someone like Obama, there is no question. However I respect other resistance leaders even more, who are greater class acts, dont betray alies and are under much greater duress than Putin ever experienced, like Nasrallah, Khameinei (before nuke deal) and especially Assad. There is much to admire about them.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 19, 2016 7:26:52 AM | 80

Harry | Jun 19, 2016 7:26:52 AM | 79

No argument there; but all of the above (including Putin) are facing annihilation from/by the hegemon.
It's the main reason I fear war is immanent.
The insanity is palpable, no?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 19, 2016 7:31:51 AM | 81

jo6pac
"Something is Going On" – And It's Worse Than You Thought
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-17/something-going-%E2%80%93-and-its-worse-you-thought

Posted by: ALAN | Jun 19, 2016 8:12:14 AM | 82

@ Harry | 81

I already posted that in #64
and jfl reacted in #67

In the article a remarkable fragment about Gen. Michael Flynn:

The Washington Post, in its mission to debunk every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth, ran an article by Glenn Kessler minimizing the DIA document, claiming that it was really nothing important and that we should all just move along because there’s nothing to see there. He cited all the usual Washington insiders to back up his thesis, but there was one glaring omission: Gen. Michael Flynn, who headed up the DIA when the document was produced and who was forced out by the interventionists in the administration. Here is what Flynn told Al-Jazeera in an extensive interview:


Al-Jazeera: “You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Al-Jazeera: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Al-Jazeera: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.”


Of course, Glenn Kessler and the Washington Post don’t want to talk about that. Neither do the Republicans in Congress, who supported aid to the Syrian rebels and wanted to give them much more than they got. They’re all complicit in this monstrous policy – and they all bear moral responsibility for its murderous consequences.

Gen. Flynn, by the way, is an official advisor to Trump, and is often mentioned as a possible pick for Vice President.


Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 8:56:30 AM | 83

I mean @ ALAN | 81

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 8:58:33 AM | 84

I know there is a need to spin this Crazy Ivan unprovoked attack by Putin as being a sane move. I'm fairly sure that Putin understands, or should understand, that the US has never had operational control of the Syrian rebels who are influenced by outside supporters but have always made their own decisions on the ground including their situational alliances with al Nusra. The US may have hoped these forces could be separated but Assad's continuing attacks during the cease-fire proved to them that that road led to destruction.

This kind of unstable behavior by the Russians may finally be the last straw that leads to the introduction of MANPADS into this conflict with unknown repercussions.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jun 19, 2016 10:01:37 AM | 85

Confirmation of other reports ...

Western states amass forces in Syria | Southfront|

Rumors are growing that Germany is set to deploy special operation forces in Northern Syria in order to assist the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces that has laid a siege on the strategic ISIS-controlled city of Manbij. Reports look realistic amid a series of deployments by different Western states.

The US built a base in an abandoned airport in the Syrian Kurdish region Hasakah in 2015 and American troops have been participating in clashes against ISIS near Manbij since May 2016.

France’s Defense Ministry admitted the presence of its special forces on the ground in Syria on June 9. French troops have reportedly built a military base near the city of Kobane and are participating in clashes with ISIS along with SDF and US units.

Meanwhile, UK special forces operating on the front line alongside rebels in Syria near the Jordanian border. They participate in direct clashes, provide training and manage of the opposition group, called “New Syrian Army.”

Posted by: Oui | Jun 19, 2016 10:19:09 AM | 86

@74 fth, 'Trump seems consistent in his ideas: Don't mess in other countries, don't provoke Russia, only secure US-borders.'

Trump Says Britain Should Leave EU


"I would personally be more inclined to leave, for a lot of reasons like having a lot less bureaucracy," he told the Sunday Times. "But I am not a British citizen. This is just my opinion."

The billionaire businessman also told the newspaper that he would seek to have good relationships internationally if he were elected president in November, including with David Cameron. The British Prime Minister has in the past called Trump's proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States "divisive, stupid and wrong".

Trump also said that if he became president he would try to improve the trade deals the U.S. has with China, and work more closely with Russia and that could include co-operating with Russia in the fight against Islamic State.


The only thing with quotes is the first, the rest is 'old' news, isn't it? "try to improve the trade deals the U.S. has with China, ... work more closely with Russia ... co-operating with Russia in the fight against Islamic State" That's the kind of stuff that draws a line between himself and Hillary, the harridan horde, and the 50 dancing diplomats. I think that's the vein I would mine if I were The Donald. But I'm not. As I'm sure you've noticed.

Posted by: jflk | Jun 19, 2016 10:25:47 AM | 87

Wayoutwest@84 John McCain has already advocated for man pads to be supplied to the US "good terrorists". The Russians can handle that situation simply by flying higher. The unknown repercussions are a different matter. Ben Gurion airport the only International airport in Israel and the hub of its commerce and tourist industry, some analysts say the closure of Ben Gurion for an extended period of time could wreck the Israeli economy. All the Israelis need is a few manpads operating a few miles from Ben Gurion airport or even the threat thereof of bringing down civilian airliners should concentrate the mind. Remember just one wayward missile fired by Hamas, which landed 1 mile from the airport was enough for the FAA to cancel all flights into and out of Ben Gurion.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 19, 2016 10:26:04 AM | 88

Russia Dismantles the Myth of the American Navy’s Invincibility
~~~
Russian hypersonic weapons

The main Russian hypersonic weapon are derived from space glider Yu-71 (Project 4202), which flew during tests at a speed of 6000-11200 km/h over a distance of 5,500 km at a cruising altitude below 80,000 m, receiving repeated pulses from a rocket engine to climb, execute maneuvers and cornering trajectory. It is estimated that the glider is armed with warheads that are spatially independent, with autonomous guidance systems similar to the air-ground missiles Kh-29 L/T and T Kh-25 (which provides a probable deviation of 2-6 m). Although it may take nuclear warheads, the space glider will be armed with conventional warheads and will be powered by a rocket launched normally from nuclear-powered Russian submarines.
~~~
Hypersonic concept for a war

The new Russian military doctrine states that an attack on the American invasion fleet is to be executed in three waves, three alignments, thus preventing American expeditionary naval groups from positioning themselves near the Russian coast of the Baltic Sea. The first wave of hypersonic weapons, consisting of space gliders arranged on Russian nuclear-powered submarines under immersion in the middle of the Atlantic, starts fighting US naval expeditionary groups as they start crossing the Atlantic to Europe. The American naval groups need 7-8 days to cross the Atlantic; the plane Il-76MD-90A has a maximum flight distance of 6300 km and can be powered in the air, reaching the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in a few hours.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44902.htm

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 10:30:33 AM | 89

@ Oui | 89
What are you trying to say?

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 10:39:41 AM | 91

@FTH | #90

It was Medvedev's call to abstain at the UNSC on Libya ... power of the president. Putin did not agree.

Posted by: Oui | Jun 19, 2016 10:42:38 AM | 92

Associated Press 6/19/2016
Russia says US failed to provide Syrian opposition locations
MOSCOW — The Russian military on Sunday rejected the Pentagon's accusations that it had deliberately targeted U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces, arguing the U.S. had failed to warn about their locations.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said the area targeted in the strike was more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from locations earlier designated by the U.S. as controlled by legitimate opposition forces.

The Pentagon said it held a video conference Saturday with the Russian military to discuss Russian air strikes Thursday on the At-Tanf border garrison, which targeted Syrian opposition forces fighting the Islamic State group.

"Russia's continued strikes at At-Tanf, even after U.S. attempts to inform Russian forces through proper channels of ongoing coalition air support to the counter-ISIL forces, created safety concerns for U.S. and coalition forces," it said in a statement.

Konashenkov retorted that the Russian military had warned the U.S. in advance about the planned strike, but the Pentagon had failed to provide coordinates of legitimate opposition forces, "making it impossible to take measures to adjust the Russian air force action."

He added that the Russian military had proposed months ago to share information about locations of various forces involved in military action in Syria to create a comprehensive map, but the Pentagon hasn't been forthcoming.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 10:47:48 AM | 93

@ Oui | 90

But in #52 you reacted on tom.
And tom wrote (#39) about Putin inviting the US into: SYRIA

Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 19, 2016 10:50:35 AM | 94

OT (Full Article)
Turkey border guards 'shot Syrian children' - monitors

Turkish border guards have shot dead at least eight Syrians, including four children, who were trying to cross into Turkey, activists say.

A further eight people were injured, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

The shooting took place at a border crossing north of the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shugour, which is controlled by jihadist groups.

Turkey has repeatedly denied its guards shoot at Syrians crossing the border.

More than 2.5 million Syrians who fled the war have taken refuge in Turkey. Turkey has now closed its borders to Syrians.

The Associated Press news agency quoted a senior Turkish official as saying: "We are unable to independently verify the claims" regarding the shooting, but said authorities were investigating.

As well as four children, three women and a man were also killed, the Observatory said.

Other Syrian opposition groups put the death toll at 11.

Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 60 civilians have been shot while trying to flee across the border from Syria into Turkey, the Observatory says.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 19, 2016 11:24:47 AM | 95

IMHO the political solution just doesn't exist, because most of the fighters are likely foreigners who don't give a sh!t about Syria or Syrians. bbb @ 23.

I have read that there are about 30-40K of them, a large number (?) imho, because one tends to underestimate the mayhem well-organised small groups can cause in a fractured, now extremely vulnerable, shattered, society.

One of the problems for the pro-Assad side, I read, is that once some or many opponents are killed others just show up!

This last argument is faulty, because while the West likes to paint these forces as either: ideologically/religiously motivated by IS, or even politically-nationally in the sense of a ‘New Caliphate’, or, alternatively, as rebels against a corrupt despotic national order (freedom-fighters against Assad.)

All descriptions miss the mark (there might be some slivers of truth in the sense of ‘rationalisations’…)

The bulk of them are mercenaries, imho, lost young men who are paid, regain agency, can send money to families, participate in a cause, and experience soldered group-think and communal ‘being,’ violent life to perpetrate barbaric acts on occasion, particularly against villagers, women, all would be repressed at home. Their pay is collapsing, at least halved (IS has been fractured and various income streams have become dodgy, oil for ex., support for losers always plummets) and so they leave, the hook becomes less glam, etc. Death also more certain. This one jihad is no longer *that* attractive.

Yes, these fighters don’t give a sh*t about Syrians. They are fighting their ‘own’ war against the all the West (their enemy indeed), and therefore against Assad as afforded the opportunity. ‘Islamist’ forces *instrumentalised*, not a new move or flash news..the contradictions are ignored.

The fighters are patsy-cum-proxy forces, expendable. No seat at the High Table for them.

A more informed, better picture of the forces on the ground ? .. ??



Posted by: Noirette | Jun 19, 2016 12:42:47 PM | 96

@13

Obama warned Putin that he could face a 'quagmire' and 'costs'. To paraphrase Madeline Albright: What good is a proxy army if you don't use it?

Obama and his Administration is a collection of lawyers, political pseudo-"scientists", journos etc. They are very good at promoting suicidal social policies but do not and cannot operate with actual operational categories--briefings by CIA or Pentagon (granted that they reflect a reality on the "ground", which is a question) are not designed to teach some Ivy League lawyer fundamentals of international relations, strategy, operational art etc. They merely distill a very complex geopolitical reality to a several catch phrases which could be understood by people of such qualities as W. (his military briefings papers contained headers with Bible excerpts, supposedly applicable to current situation) or Obama, who has no clue on how to assess the world around himself. In this case the term "quagmire" is merely a simulacra produced by US media (this part Obama understands) to represent a huge number of military and political factors which influence achieving objectives of any campaign (or war) and which require addressing by professionals--this is NOT Modus Operandi by US top political "elite". In relation to Russia what Obama has in mind is beaten to death cliche of Afghanistan (obviously without studying that war) with which he wants to impress Russians, who, meanwhile fought two bloody wars against Wahhabi terrorists on own territory and, somehow, do know, unlike Obama or US liberal political class, what does it take to deal with this huge issue. In the end, during last War in Chechnya US media loved to misuse this very term (quagmire) and completely forgot to mention that Chechnya today is, actually, pretty reliable anti-terrorism entity in Russia. Now, add here most of US "elites" and a population being absolutely oblivious to real war and voila'. You have people speaking in platitudes and ignorant cliches.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jun 19, 2016 1:35:42 PM | 97

@ Noirette #95 - Thank you for putting into words the diminishing appeal of being mercenaries for the losing side.

It's an important dynamic that extends throughout the world and across many fields, not just in local battles by fighters with guns. It's a way in which wars are lost without being obvious at first. It parallels the way in which the US is losing its war against Russia and China in so many ways that are not completely obvious.

The US military is losing to Russia. The US dollar is losing to the Shanghai Gold Exchange. But neither Russia nor China have any reason to overpower the US in either of these fields, not today at least. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, all the mercenary instincts of players in all fields and all nations and with all interests are finely attuned to the quiet calculation of which side is winning or losing.

And out of the blue at times we see moments of disaffection - the UK of all allies, against the wishes of its sponsor the US, joins the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, because being on the winning side in some areas matters more than staying with the loser.

It takes time to create critical mass and tipping points, but we can see the pot coming to the boil if we want to.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19, 2016 2:39:37 PM | 98

N@95

Nice try at painting this false picture of who the Syrian rebels are but we already know that the 'foreign/proxy/mercenary' forces in Syria are Hezbollah, Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan militias although some of them are also Islamist Jihadists all organized and sent to Syria by Iran. The Sunni Muslims who have joined the Syrian rebels are a mixed group and some may have been recruited by outsiders but most seem to be volunteers and everyone needs to be paid to soldier.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jun 19, 2016 2:43:43 PM | 99

@5 Harrylaw,

Yes, if only the Yemeni army and Houthi's had ballistic missiles capable of reaching Saudi oil facilities. Remember, Saudi's Shiite minority live right on top of its vast oil fields.

Posted by: bored muslim | Jun 19, 2016 3:02:52 PM | 100

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