Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 22, 2016

Syria - The U.S. Creates More Chaos While The Grown-Ups Talk Resolution

Last week a Chinese admiral visited Damascus and promised support. The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs also passed by. The Turkish deputy intelligence chief was there for secret talks. Earlier the Turkish president visited Russia and the Turkish foreign minister visited Tehran. Those are a lot of talks between big and important countries and players in the conflict over Syria. None of them, not even Barzani, is in the U.S. camp.

I assume that this outbreak of diplomacy, which bypassed Washington, led to concern that the U.S. might be left out of a resolution in Syria. It had to play a card of its own. That is the most likely explanation for the sudden clashes in Hasakah where the Syrian Kurdish YPG is suddenly determined to kick out the Syrian army garrison that protects the Arab population there. U.S. special forces are "advising" these Kurds.

The Syrian army garrison is cut off and the Kurds are well able to overwhelm it. They issued an ultimatum to the Syrian soldiers to either lay down arms or to die. The aim of this move is the creation of north-eastern block in Syria that is completely under Kurdish control (and sprinkled with new U.S. bases.) This would give the U.S. at least some control over the future of Syria. Somehow the U.S. must have talked or bribed the YPG Kurds into creating this statelet in north-eastern Syria. I believe that this is a severe miscalculation by the Kurds which they will come to rue. The U.S. is not a reliable friend and it will not defend the Kurds should the other actors turn against them with their whole might.

The Russians are currently trying to negotiate a new ceasefire in Hasakah and may well apply some pressure of their own. Earlier in the conflict it was the Syrian army and the Russians who supplied and supported the Kurds with weapons and ammunition to defend themselves against the Islamic State and the U.S. supported "moderate rebels". To now turn against these benefactors is treason.

The Turkish prime minister says that any such Kurdish statelet would be "unacceptable" for Turkey. Such a statelet would become the rear basis for the PKK Kurds fighting in Turkey for Kurdish autonomy. The PKK is killing a dozen Turkish security forces per week. But a fight against the Turkish state is one the PKK can not ever win. Only half of the Turkish Kurds, probably less, support them and even the political left in Turkey, which so far supported some kind of federation, is now turning against them. To involve the Syrian front into this fight, and thereby additional enemies, makes little sense.

With intensive U.S. air support the YPG Kurds recently kicked the Islamic State out of Manbij. The Islamic State fighters were allowed to evacuate together with their families. They will fight and kill on another day. North of Manbij on the border to Turkey lies Jarablus (the red dot on the map), currently also in the hands of the Islamic State. This is the next target of the Kurdish forces (purple) who want to annex the whole Syrian-Turkish border region from the east to the west up to the Mediterranean.


Map via ISW

Jarablus was a main supply point for ISIS as long as Turkey allowed goods and people to cross the border. That seems to have stopped, at least for any significant amounts. It is not for that reason the Turks will not allow that Kurds take the city. Turkish artillery is hitting Islamic State targets around Jarablus and a contingent of "moderate Syrian rebels", aka Islamist Turkmen from Central Asia, is preparing in Turkey to cross the border and to take Jarablus from the Islamic State. Some of the Turkish artillery strikes also hit YPG positions. Which side of that three way fight will the U.S. support? Will it, as one insane "expert" demands, bomb everyone for "moral symbolism" and to be seen as "willing to exercise its rightful superpower role?"

The U.S. meddling in Syria is creating more and more chaos. Soon everyone will be fighting everyone else. Is that the intent? Whatever - one can hope that those large, grown up, older nations - Russia, India, China and Iran - now align their plans and steer this conflict towards some saner, bearable solution.

Posted by b on August 22, 2016 at 02:27 PM | Permalink

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China warned Japan ‘Red line’: China warned Japan against joining US freedom of navigation stunts. Published time: 22 Aug, 2016 05:12
Edited time: 22 Aug, 2016 13:34

https://www.rt.com/news/356695-china-warns-japan-red-line/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

Posted by: Jack Smith | Aug 22, 2016 2:34:06 PM | 1

The Turkey Creates More Chaos
The Russia Creates More Chaos
The Assad Creates More Chaos
No more fake "anti-imperialism"

Posted by: Ιωάννης Τζανάκος | Aug 22, 2016 2:48:37 PM | 2

One thing Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran can agree on is there can be no partition of Syria, all understandings between Russia and the US are that Syria will be remain a secular and united territorial entity. For the US to go for a Kurdish partition of Syria would mean all four states could be at war with the Kurd's. That's lunacy, it ain't going to happen.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 22, 2016 2:50:31 PM | 3

thanks b... very informative present day analysis and much appreciated...

Posted by: james | Aug 22, 2016 3:03:24 PM | 4

NYT reporting Iran just booted Russia out of the country, ie, denied its planes access to iranian bases.

Posted by: jason | Aug 22, 2016 3:07:13 PM | 5

"who want to annex the whole Syrian-Turkish border region from the east to the west up to the Mediterranean". There is another problem for the Kurd's, a Kurdish entity would not be 'up to the Mediterranean', it would be landlocked with enemies all around.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 22, 2016 3:12:12 PM | 6

So India, lead by a fascist is grown-up is it ?
So China, lead by the despicable Communist party is grown-up ?
So Putin, who invited the evil US Empire into Syria, to create chaos, is grown-up ?

Posted by: tom | Aug 22, 2016 3:18:23 PM | 7

#3 harrylaw said: That's lunacy, it ain't going to happen.

If someone in 2011 had predicted how the US would respond in Libya and Syria over the next four years I would have said " That's lunacy, it ain't going to happen."

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 22, 2016 3:18:33 PM | 8

And those US nukes that were in Turkey, will now be pointed at Turkey

Posted by: tom | Aug 22, 2016 3:22:17 PM | 9

ToivoS@8 You may be right. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people". [H L Mencken 1880-1956]

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 22, 2016 3:34:25 PM | 10

US prefers chaos (A2/AD) over stability in areas where the natural resources go to a rival.

Posted by: Les | Aug 22, 2016 4:00:45 PM | 11

anyone to say stop this killings on behalf of amerinan people ?

Posted by: stranger | Aug 22, 2016 4:18:33 PM | 12

Strange that Iran would kick Russia out. I wonder what's up

Posted by: bbbb | Aug 22, 2016 4:27:56 PM | 13

@5 NPR had a different spin, that Russia announced it would not run any more missions for now out of Iran and had removed its assets. Doubtless both Iran and Russia are looking out for their best interests, details of which are known only to them. Takeaway is that the Iran+Russia tie is strong enough for cooperation at fly-through level, so they have proof of concept as far as logistics as well as thumbing nose at the west. Meanwhile, Raqqa is a thing, and Turkey paving Kilis with artillery. My question is, who gets used up first, ISIS or Kurds?

Posted by: stumpy | Aug 22, 2016 4:34:19 PM | 14

Elijah J. Magnier wrote an interesting comment:
"Aleppo prepares for a major battle and the Kurds in Syria are attracting everybody’s animosity"
https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/aleppo-prepares-for-a-major-battle-and-the-kurds-in-syria-are-attracting-everybodys-animosity/

Posted by: roamer | Aug 22, 2016 4:35:46 PM | 15

The phrase
"This is the next target of the Kurdish forces (purple) who want to annex the whole Syrian-Turkish border region from the east to the west up to the Mediterranean"

partially contradicts an earlier statement

"The Kurdish areas are landlocked. Without long-term secured access routes through those countries the Kurds are now fighting all those riches are just worthless dirt in the ground."

I don't see the Kurds reaching the mediteranean without either commiting genocide in northwestern Syria (Latakia) or Southern Turkey (the Turkmen appendage north of Latakia). As neither Syria, Iran, Iraq or Turkey would ever permit a reliable Kurdish pipeline over their territory, I think your earlier statement is right: "all those riches are just worthless dirt in the ground"

But probably the mind of those biting the hand that fed them in need doesn't reach very far

Posted by: nr27 | Aug 22, 2016 4:45:35 PM | 16

harrylaw@3 - "...For the US to go for a Kurdish partition of Syria would mean all four states could be at war with the Kurd's..."

If you read between the lies on the western MSM spew, you'll see the U.S. and bought-and-paid-for PYD have always had a soft-partition in mind. They want to create what amounts to a fully-independent Rojava, but simply no re-draw the borders of Syria. It's asinine, but it plays well in the media and western public. They will insists over and over again (with the usual media sycophants pounding the narrative) that they just want a federalized Rojava, not an independent one. See? No independence, no partition, no war!

No knuckleheads ever asked exactly what does the PYD's U.S. master mean by 'federalization' or if the Syrian Kurds desire that kind of U.S. puppet arrangement. All the U.S. needed to do was find a Syria version of Barzani - the most powerful Kurdish mob boss in Syria. There wasn't one, so the U.S. made one by taking over the fledgling PYD, stuffed it with CIA plants, helped it raise, train and equip it's own private thug enforcer army (Asayish), and then 'recognize' them as the sole, legitimate rulers of Rojava. Some useless, fake voting will take place later, but not for anything that matters.

"We want to govern ourselves, own the land and resources, maintain our own army, pass our own laws, keep our taxes, and not have any interference or presence of the Syrian government - but we'll still be part of Syria. And if any Christians, Arabs or anyone else doesn't want to obey the new PYD Kurdish authority, the Asayish will be by to throw your family out and burn your house to the ground."

Even a child can see that they are essentially declaring independence while using a self-defined version of federalization - a definition that will slide to fit whatever purpose they have at the moment. Whatever version of non-partition independence Rojava has, the ONLY thing important to the U.S. is that the Rojava overlords will have the implied authority to grant oil exploration and drilling rights, and permit pipelines and allow unlimited U.S. torture camps/listening posts/military bases. And no Syrians or Syrian government has any say in the matter. but, "...we're not declaring independence and partitioning Syair... we're still part of Syria. We SWEAR!"

The Syrian Kurds should be outraged that the CIA's PYD has taken over, but I would bet they mostly don't know. The PYD censors ANY dissent in Rojava and the Asayish will put a bullet in your head for dissenting. The PYD and shadowy U.S. interests own anything resembling the media there. The english-language Rojava media outlets are all PYD propaganda mouthpieces. Going by them, all Kurds - in fact everyone - loves the PYD and obeys them without question. Everyone bows down to the PYD in Rojava: Kurds, Arabs and Christians alike - no questions allowed. What do you think those American 'advisers' are training them to do there - set up a democracy?

The YPG/YPJ are the unwitting pawns in all this. At the end of the day, they will have fought and died for a U.S.-puppet Rojava that will sell them out at the first opportunity. The Asayish will continue to cloak the idea of loyalty to the PYD as loyalty to Rojava. The YPG/YPJ will find go home and find they're 'independence' is nothing more than a new fascist, Kurd-run tyrannical state instead of a Baathist one.

Thanks once again for freedom and democracy, U.S. statist bastards.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 5:01:18 PM | 17

@13

Strange that Iran would kick Russia out. I wonder what's up

Nothing strange at all. Some time ago (several months) I spoke about unease of Iranian side with what Russian entrance into Syrian War brought. Not everybody was happy, both in Iran and among Iran-oriented SAA officers. A simple explanation (especially knowing peculiarities of Iranian national character) is dissatisfaction with most of the credit going to Russia and not only warranted but inevitable comparison of Iranian achievements on the ground without operations of Russian VKS and with. Judging by the explanation which Iran's Defense Minister gave today blaming Russia for "showing off and arrogance of Russian side" one has to accept this version as plausible, at least. Obviously, reasons are more complex than that but sour grapes are definitely the part of it.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 22, 2016 5:06:25 PM | 18

#5 #14

Iran was apparently unhappy with the speculation that Russia was being granted an airbase. Apparently it is written in the Iranian constitution that foreign militarys cannot be based on Iranian soil.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 22, 2016 5:17:10 PM | 19

Turkey is using its assets against the Kurds

That is a redirection from the fight against the Syrian army. Turkey is very clear about it.

Yildirim's comments also came after as activists said hundreds of Ankara-backed rebels were preparing an offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

This offensive coincides with a similar move by Syrian Kurdish militia, potentially putting them on a collision course in the fight for the IS-held Syrian town of Jarablus.

Yildirim added that it was "absolutely unacceptable" for any Kurdish entity to be established in northern Syria, or any other region.

"In fact this is something that Syrians themselves would find unacceptable," he said.

And yes, of course, this is a war of supply routes. Turkey controls them.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 22, 2016 5:25:44 PM | 20

Smoothie @

... I spoke about unease of Iranian side with what Russian entrance into Syrian War brought. Not everybody was happy, both in Iran and among Iran-oriented SAA officers. A simple explanation (especially knowing peculiarities of Iranian national character) is dissatisfaction with most of the credit going to Russia ...
AFAIK, Iran lobbied for Russia to enter the war because the Syrian strategic position had deteriorated badly. So "not everyone was happy" makes no sense.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 22, 2016 5:50:26 PM | 21

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 22, 2016 5:50:26 PM | 21

Russian involvement meant less dependance on Iran for Syria.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 22, 2016 5:54:42 PM | 22

here's an interesting approach about the russian withdrawal from Iran:

"Deciphering the 'Russian Withdrawal' from Hamadan"

https://www.fort-russ.com/2016/08/deciphering-russian-withdrawal-from.html

Posted by: Dario | Aug 22, 2016 5:59:22 PM | 23

PavewayIV @17

And what of the Sunnis? Isn't the Kurdish independent federalization preliminary to a Sunni one?

And Kurds + Sunnis would then control the central government?

Is this 'Plan-B'?: If "the Assad Regime" (I don't think it was every just about Assad) won't go before elections, then ensure that he is ousted by a federal structure.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 22, 2016 6:05:55 PM | 24

If the Iranian constitution forbids the establishment of foreign bases on Iranian soil then this move makes sense: it signals that the Iranians will allow Russian jets to land on their airfields to refuel and re-arm - nothin' wrong with that - but it also signals that those jets are most definitely not *based* there.

They land. They refuel and load up. They fly their mission. And then they go home.

That satisfies the Iranian constitution.
It also satisfies the immediate tactical needs.

Why is that in any way surprising?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 22, 2016 6:14:21 PM | 25

b

Thanks to you and Paveway for taking my point of view, even though I played little part.

I'd doubt that it will be possible to cut off access for ISIS to Turkey, nor to complete the link for the Kurds between Rojava and Afrin. There are too many Sunni Arabs in the way. Kurds no longer take Arab lands.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 22, 2016 6:22:51 PM | 26

@ 5; @ 13; @ 18; @19

the use of Iran’s Hamedan military base is paused for the time being; could resume depending on the need/situ in Syria.

Spin from Tehran on news” Russia was kicked out”
https://tass.com/defense/895284

TEHRAN, August 22. /TASS/. Russia has taken a timeout from using the Iranian military base Shahid Nojeh, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi announced at a Monday news briefing in Tehran.
"Russia has stopped using the air force base for now," he declared, adding there had been no special arrangement between Tehran and Moscow on using the facility.

"We have a number of agreements with Russia on conducting joint (anti-terrorist) operations. One such agreement envisages the possibility that Iran may grant Russia use of its airspace and infrastructures to fight terrorism in Syria," he affirmed, noting that Tehran’s relations with Moscow were booming over recent years, describing them as strategic.

~ ~ ~ ~
Use was previouly mis-reported:- not permanent - was a refuelling stop-over.

"The air base near Hamadan is very well equipped and fully suits the requirements of our long-range aircraft," he recalled. "It should be remembered that it is not our base in the usual sense, it remains an Iranian facility. Russian planes just use its runway. It is a stopover airfield. Our troops and special services are absent."
https://tass.com/politics/894957

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 22, 2016 6:34:45 PM | 27

@21

So "not everyone was happy" makes no sense.

Actually, number of Russian experts in the area and close to General Staff made a very serious point about that. But what do they know, right? I already had this discussion several times and, frankly, a bit exhausted each time to produce links to Russian reputable media which print such a "nonsense". Sure, Iranians don't care how they look.

AFAIK, Iran lobbied for Russia to enter the war because the Syrian strategic position had deteriorated badly

For some reason I doubt that Iran literally lobbied, that would have been a demonstration of weakness from Iran which by that time was deeply involved in Syria for years and thus presided over this "deterioration of strategic position".

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 22, 2016 6:59:27 PM | 28

dario @ 23: Thanks for Ft. Russ link. Adds much clarity.

As always b, thanks for the Syrian thread.

Posted by: ben | Aug 22, 2016 7:00:48 PM | 29

Since nothing can be taken at face value anymore - whether it be coming from the left, or the right, or whatever spectrum, people are left to deduct on their own. People should never, ever forget that the first casualty in a war is the truth. Since the U.S. has been at war with the world from 1945 on, one should not expect the truth to come from that direction. Equally valid is the argument that 'the other side' utilizes the same tactics.
Therefore, this link is just to emphasize a different take on the Russians relocating their Airforce

Posted by: Stillnottheonly1 | Aug 22, 2016 7:13:09 PM | 30

@ Smoothie, any chance Iran might have simply gotten annoyed at Russia's habit of negotiating a ceasefire at the moment things were going well? Could this possibly be Iran's way of telling Russia either you are all in or you are all out?

Yes Russia has superpower global interests to look after, but that doesn't stop Iran from pressing for its own interests.

There was also a lot of talk last summer of Iran's Quds force commander traveling to Moscow. Many interpreted that (correctly, in my view) as Iran trying to persuade/lobby Russia into entering the war. Iran would not let Syria die for misplaced pride. Hopefully, neither will Russia.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 22, 2016 7:21:24 PM | 31

I'm starting to go off the Iran China Russia gang. I mean WTF are they doing? Does Iran think that if the Zionists destroy Syria they will be left alone? Do not Russia and China know what the zionists have in store for them? Sure there are machinations and factors I have no idea about but fuck me...have a fuckin go will ya...for shit sake...theyre so busy worrying about their own asses.... they must know they have to make a stand eventually.BRICS soon to be renamed...Shitting Brics...fuckin pansies.

Posted by: Da-Mith | Aug 22, 2016 7:27:39 PM | 32

The strategic Russian bombers have to fly through airspace controlled by the Americans on their way westward and with things heating up with America's new proxies the Kurds attacking garrison SAA units, the Russians may be looking for another avenue and in avoiding another downing-critical situation? There seems to be a pause taking place while the Resistance Block gets their ducks in a row before making any response to this new situation and de facto 'no fly zone'. The Americans can't overtly attack the SAA with air power, or run air cover for the terrorist insurgency, but they can claim to do so for their own personnel as excuse for keeping air attacks off the Kurds, leveling the battlefield if you may, gaining territory through which to run Qatari gas to Europe cutting out the Russians. Meanwhile Erdogan sits on the fence while busily cleaning up after the failed coup.

Posted by: BRF | Aug 22, 2016 7:33:37 PM | 33

What makes people think the planes have left Hamedan? Can they not use it as and when needed without telling the world? I read the Iranians were upset anout the Russians telling the world about this and the govt. came under criticism from certain sectors of society - Iranians like to operate in the shadows - you know smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Irshad | Aug 22, 2016 7:44:34 PM | 34

@Lysander

any chance Iran might have simply gotten annoyed at Russia's habit of negotiating a ceasefire at the moment things were going well? Could this possibly be Iran's way of telling Russia either you are all in or you are all out?

I doubt it but I, of course, could be wrong. Again, the key to all this situation is the tone and what Iran's DM stated today. Accusing Russia of arrogance from such a tribune is not a good move on part of Iran. It is one thing when some media outlet allows this kind of rhetoric, totally another when it is coming from the upper military-political echelons. I will reiterate--for some reason this key strategic factor is being ignored time after time--it was on Iran's watch, so to speak, that things really went south in Syria. It was Russia's entrance which reversed them. Among many other things, the latest (18 July) by very well connected and informed Colonel Murahovsky, gives not a very rosy picture of the state of the affairs insofar as military planning goes in Syria. The same goes to Murahovsky's assessment of coordination with Iran whom he (and I totally agree with him) doesn't see as real ally of Russia. I wrote a piece on those imaginary "triangles" of allies in my blog.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 22, 2016 7:54:43 PM | 35

A minor point concerning the airbase at Hamadan, if I may. Hamadan is roughly an hour long travel time by cruise missile attack, should anyone get the notion to try such a thing. Scrabling RAF planes to safety is highly doable from such a point deep within Iran . Latakia on the other hand, is 0 miles from the med, so any attack on that location has virtually no warning time for scrambling aircraft. Any missiles that can breach the AD system at Latakia will hit something Russian.

If the Russians are negotiating, then they are using their own vulnerability as a negotiating chip. I only mention this because of a wonderfuly humorous article over at the National Interest by a Mark Katzs that assures everyone about the strategic uselessness of the Hanadan base.

Posted by: wwinsti | Aug 22, 2016 7:59:41 PM | 36

This map is old, but it provides a good look at Kurdish areas throughout the region, https://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/kurdish_86.jpg As you might imagine, the Zionists and Outlaw US Empire planners would love to create a Kurdistan at the expense of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey--a project the Turks have opposed for centuries. Unleashing the Kurds immediately after its failed coup in Turkey sends a distinct message to Erdogan, which after all the water carrying he's done for the Empire's attempt to destroy Syria is a very painful slap in the face--if not worse. It would be excellent to know what transpired between Putin/Erdogan as well as at the other recent high level meetings to discover if a joint response will be made. But perhaps events have already made whatever plans were adopted moot and a need for an updated response.

By shelling the Castello Road in Aleppo, the Kurds made a huge mistake as it amplifies the debacle in Hasakah and shows they are just another group of slaves for the Outlaw US Empire as they just back-stabbed their only true patrons--Assad and Putin. (One wonders if the Kurds constitute a major part of the groups attempting to foment a Color Revolution in Armenia.) Erdogan has already begun to act at Jarabulus. And given their current behavior, Kurdish control over the Euphrates will concern both Syria and Iraq. Certainly, the 4+1 was wrong-footed by the Kurd's swapping sides, but to what degree? Will Russia agree with Erdogan that the PKK are terrorists? And what of PKK's affiliates? How will Assad view the turncoats?. Iran's reportedly had recent Kurdish trouble too; how will it respond? In order to deny the Kurds resupply by the Outlaw US Empire, will Erdogan take Turkey out of NATO; and if so, how fast will he evict its forces? (It seems logical for Erdogan to try and cut the Empire-Kurd umbilical if he's really serious about finally arriving at a solution for Turkey's Kurdish Problem.)

Too many questions, not enough data or info to provide logical guesses. Events seem to be moving fast, however, so we ought to know a whole lot more by Friday.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 22, 2016 8:13:15 PM | 37

The thing to remember is that the US regards the Kurds as cannon fodder, and will drop them like a hot penny whenever it suits them. The US has no interest in a Kurdish state, never has, never will have. The US dangles the Kurdish state as a carrot in front of the Kurds, leads them to fight whomever ... until they change their mind. Rather than a Kurdish state the US is pursuing death, devastation, destruction, and deceit in Syria. It will back the Kurds until it decides to take another tack.

The neo-cons seem to have Hillary ready to crank up the US Wehrmacht directly in Syria. She definitely seems to be the creature of her 'supporters'. I hope that some sort of 'solution' can take place in Syria before January.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 22, 2016 8:14:00 PM | 38

Smoothie@ 18 (among others).

Some things you are forgetting. When Iran explained things to Russia in Moscow, how the battle for Syria was going, and asked for Russia's active help. Russia said yes. The first thing Putin said was: "get me General Soleimani. You have to ask yourself: Russia has many good generals, why did Putin install Soleimani as commander of the allied ground operation?

Another thing, Iran did not beg Russia for anything. All Iran, and Syria too, is 'explain' how dire the situation is.

Posted by: Donny | Aug 22, 2016 8:23:59 PM | 39

This Hamadan nonsense sounds (from my perspective) to be typical drama-queen western MSM bleating about some kind of victory they see in Iranians angrily driving the Russians out of Iran. The deployment there was controversial to Iranians to begin with. You could have found some Iranian officials objecting to it and got plenty of quotes last week - nothing unusual in a country as big and diverse as Iran. Where the hell was the MSM back then? All they could do was cry about how awful it was and say that it violated international sanctions on Iran. No Iranian policy change occurred in the last day that I know of - the Russians were done for now and left. The additional pathetic spin that "Iranians were mad about Russians bragging about using Noje" is just sad. The Russians responded to direct questions about it, but said nothing otherwise. It was the western MSM that went ballistic when they found out about the matter, not the Russian media.

I'm no expert on Russian aircraft, but I doubt they can turn a Tu-22M3 more than a half-dozen or so times (outside of an all-out war) without significant maintenance (= something more than minimal turn-around maintenance). That's true for any medium jet bomber of any air force. Considering the seven days of bombing runs they got out of the squadron from Hamadan up until now, I suspect the Russian AF only scheduled as much and the current squadron would have returned to their Russian home base no matter what.

The Tu-22M3s leaving Hamadan is consistent with a single forward operational deployment of a flight of Tu-22M3s for a set of strike missions. A full Russian squadron is maybe 10 or 12 Tu-22M3s, but the RuAF likes to use six on a mission and that seems to be all they forward deployed. If Russia wanted to sustain operations at the same pace beyond today for some reason, they could have flown in a replacement squadron for the six that were at Hamadan and kept swapping out fresh ones a week at a time per rotation. So I hardly see it as some earth-shattering event that Russia finished this operation as planned and brought their Tu-22s back home. I also don't see any reason for them to have announced their tasking schedules to the head-choppers last week (a fact which no doubt frustrates our head-chopper friendly MSM crybabies).

Russia has only used two squadrons of Tu-22M3s in Syria once - last year IIRC. They only have about eight squadrons of these for all of Russia, so I can't imagine the RuAF is willing to devote more than one or two for a limited amount of time in Syria. If they thought they needed them longer in Aleppo or Deir EzZor, I'm sure they would have rotated in a new squadron at Hamadan. Likewise, when they need them again, they'll be flying out of Hamadan again.

Funny how the MSM can find all kinds of 'experts' on military matters when it suits their narrative, but they can't find a single one to describe the time-frame for a temporary forward deployment of Tu-22M3s. Don't they have Google? Reuters sounds like they use gossipy teen-aged girls for their military analysis. Iranians kicked the braggart Russians out? Oh, my aching brain... Reuters has been in the gutter so long that they've gone native. Hey Reuters, how about a little piece of cheese, you freakin' rodents?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 9:04:32 PM | 40

@38

why did Putin install Soleimani as commander of the allied ground operation?

I understand that for some people Putin is a semi or full blown deity capable of miracles but, believe me, Putin can not "install" foreign officer to be commander of operations which are not fully "allied" and are often planned despite the better advice of Russian officers there. Most of the time Russian advisers play the role of intermediaries. So, let's not see things which are not really there. So, Putin did not "install" Soleimani, even almighty Putin is not that powerful or omnipotent as some try to portray him. Again, there is no real "allied" operations on the ground in Syria and that IS the problem, albeit under the cover of Russia's VKS and employment of her state-of-the-art C4ISR complex I can totally see how many Syrian, Iranian or what have you military people wouldn't mind trying themselves at a "big time", but call it a hunch and I could be totally wrong.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 22, 2016 9:07:04 PM | 41

The above is speculation based on MSM claims that Russian bombers were actually sitting at Hamadan for any length of time. It makes no sense for them to do that. Refueling, yes. Rearming? I doubt it. I would have assumed the Russians were using it as a stop-over base and nothing else. The MSM 'experts' claim otherwise.

I still stand by an approximation of about a week's worth of daily tasking until the Tu-22s need some down time. This would have been a normal schedule regardless of whether they were sitting on the tarmac at Hamadan all week or flying in and out of it ever day and returning to Russia.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 9:21:47 PM | 42

@41 That's how I see it. They stopped for refuelling ....and possibly as a political gesture. They don't want or need a big expensive base in Iran.

Anyway the Western media took the bait.

Posted by: dh | Aug 22, 2016 9:27:20 PM | 43

@41

I would have assumed the Russians were using it as a stop-over base and nothing else

Very true, the term "аэродром подскока" (jump, advance airfield) was used immediately. No weapons were present at the Iranian airfield 99.99%.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 22, 2016 9:30:13 PM | 44

Turkish public opinion

Kurdistan = Cocoon
Kurds = Caterpillar
Greater Israel = Butterfly

ISIS+PKK(PYD+Barzani)+Gülen Movement = Instruments used to meet the same end.
40-50 years of investment by the same fund manager = Zionists

In short,
What's happening in the region is not about
gas, oil, imperialism, Kurdistan, Arab Spring, crusade, weapon sales, politics, clash of civilisations etc. (tertiary issues)
It's mainly about the Greater Israel Project.

Turks view USA + EU as unsuspecting agents, mercenaries of the Globalists.


Posted by: istanbulite | Aug 22, 2016 9:38:13 PM | 45

@41 pw, @42 smooth

I saw a picture of a big Russian plane at Hamadan - so I'm sure you both saw it too - a C-17?- C-5?-looking thing. I assumed it was loaded with lots of bombs to refill the smaller combat aircraft, and to enable multiple missions. Is that not possible?

Then they all went home together when they were done. They'll be back as needed.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 22, 2016 9:48:59 PM | 46

@ #28 SmoothieX12

I doubt that Iran literally lobbied, that would have been a demonstration of weakness...

No, you are wrong.

How Iranian general plotted out Syrian assault in Moscow October 16, 2015

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-soleimani-insigh-idUSKCN0S02BV20151006

Iran transformed Syria’s army into a militia that will help Assad survive another year December 14, 2014

https://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/12/16/iran-transformed-syrias-army-into-a-militia-that-will-help-assad-survive-another-year/

Since they were paying for it anyway, in 2014 Iran decided it would be better if they also ran the war in Syria -- all by themselves. The Iran Revolutionary Guard was only too glad to step forward, to prove they were not a spent force, since Iranian society is now as American as halal-apple pie.

The Russians were also glad of it, preferring to be liked by the West, allowing them to avoid confrontation with Lavrov's 'partners' and the embarrassment of situations as was had in Libya. No one gave a shit about Qaddafi. Everything changed only after the coup in Ukraine, when Anglo-Zionists began shooting themselves in the foot, repeatedly for two years, for some unknown reason.

Iranian military advisors pushed Syria to de professionalize the Syrian Arab Army, turning it into a large Shia militia along Iranian Revolutionary Guard lines, an unmistakably perfect counterpoint to the Israeli-led Sunni coalition fighting to destroy secular Syria, thus embedding the Clash of Civilizations narrative into the DNA of the conflict in Syria and linking it to a wider conflict in the region.

Thank you Iran!

It is useful to note the Rafsanjani-Rouhani coalition of Iranian War Profiteer-Oligarchs were deeply engaged in negotiations/divvying up of Iranian assets at this time, with the so-called 'West,' culminating in the Iran Nuclear Deal signed just this year.

So how did that go for Iran, does anyone recall?

The disastrous decisions of the Iranians in Syria, enabled by Iranian political leaders for possibly cynical reasons, were reversed completely by the Russians after Major General Qassem Soleimani's Moscow visit.

At least Soleimani was big enough to own up to his errors, if only just in time.

The rest is history. All sides are engaged in a great cull of terrorists. Together. It is impossible to hide the agreement, though everyone tries. How else does the Syrian Air Force get to ignore NATO over Hasaka? Even the Chinese and Indians are scrambling not to be left out of a final deal.

The Russian immediate withdrawal from Hamadan is likely the result of a quiet reminder from Russia and Iran's US 'partners,' a.k.a. the Trump campaign, that doing anything to help the Clinton Zionist Presidential Appointment Coalition, at this time, is extremely unwise.

Posted by: alfa alfalfa | Aug 22, 2016 10:13:30 PM | 47

jfl@45 - This one? Note that the big aircraft is labeled as an Ilyushin-76 (Candid). Russia uses Il-78M (Midas) refueling tankers, which are converted Il-76s.

I'm guessing the aircraft in the picture is actually an Il-78M tanker sitting on the apron at Hamadan. The Russians could (and probably would) bring their own fuel for refueling their Tu-22s. A Tu-22M3 is not capable of in-flight refueling, so they need to be refueled on the ground the conventional way (hoses). There's no need for any extra crew/equipment other than the tanker. They may have had to borrow a refueling ladder (stairs on wheels) from the Iranians. Wait until Reuters hears about that - I can already hear the outraged squeals of protest from Reuters stenographers.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 10:14:13 PM | 48

@15 roamer - thank you for the Elijah J. Magnier link, it's perfect. I don't always agree with his take on things, but this is the fullest and most clear I've read yet on the forces, interests and players in the north of Syria. I'd been hoping for an up-to-the minute rundown on all the games in play, and his article provides it.

Even reading this MoA thread thus far shows how many diverse elements are bound up in this current story, how fast things are moving, and how complex are the inter-relationships between all the forces. Magnier gives paragraph after paragraph of actor and position, force and direction, all very clearly written, and then throws in this magnificent observation:

"... the oddity of this war in Syria is that it turns allies into enemies and enemies into allies on certain issues (and not on others), keeping alliance at a strategic level even as their proxies fight to death on the ground."

Obviously, I recommend his article (with thanks again to roamer):
Aleppo prepares for a major battle and the Kurds in Syria are attracting everybody’s animosity.

I can't resist his concluding lines:

"If this indicates anything, it is that – if it were possible – the war in Syria is becoming increasingly complex. This requires an impossibly quick solution or a indeed preparation for a long war with alliances shifting from one camp to another and where in the future the allies of yesterday will fight among themselves."

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 22, 2016 10:17:13 PM | 49

jfl@45 - In answer to the question about rearming: Yes, Russia could have flew out pallets of un-fuzed bombs, forklifts, bomb lifts and God knows what else to rearm the aircraft right at Hamadan. It's just a crapload of equipment that they really don't want to forward-deploy unless they have to. The only consequence of racking and arming everything at their Russian base is that they couldn't carry a full load of bombs and have enough fuel to return. The missions they had flown directly from Russia to Syria in the past were likely half-loads of bombs at best.

Operationally speaking, it's much easier and efficient for the RuAF to rack a full complement of bombs at home and take the hit in extra fuel consumption (provided there's more available somewhere en-route). For a different mission (further away, more intense sortie rate or weeks of sorties, perhaps some difficulties getting enough fuel at forward base) it is certainly possible to stage bombs and rearm at a forward base like this. It was just unnecessary here. The RuAF commanders were - rightfully so - more concerned with burning expensive Tu-22 aircraft and crew hours with less-than-full-loads of bombs.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 10:33:55 PM | 50

@40, smoothie.

You are so 'sure' of yourself: Saying people think Putin is a God (where did that come from?). A good example of a 'straw man'.

Show me, where did any commenter on this thread make any reference, or implication, that Putin is a 'full blown deity'? Why can't you stick to the subject? There is a war going on in Syria. It is bigger, much bigger in fact, than only Syria.

Everybody who is watching knows who the war is between. Nobody is kidding anybody. Also, it is a fact: when Russia decided to enter the fray the first thing Putin said was: 'Get me Soleimani'. It is also a fact that Gen. Soleimani is the commander of the ground forces in Syria.

Think for a minute. Why does the 'west' have their panties in such a twist that they are throwing tantrums?

Posted by: Donny | Aug 22, 2016 10:49:18 PM | 51

#49 I agree. The Hamedan airbase was likely more than a refueling station. It is very expensive for a fighter bomber to be used to carry it's ordinance long distances. The large transport planes likely delivered the ordinance to Hamedan in advance.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 22, 2016 11:34:51 PM | 52

Laguerre@26 - "...Thanks to you and Paveway for taking my point of view, even though I played little part..."

I wasn't sure how to respond to this, Laguerre. I should be thanking you for challenging my point of view and educating me. I don't come here to read my own drivel in an echo chamber, I come here to think and understand. B's articles and your's and thoughtful posters replies are all part of that. I'm thankful that sites like MoA even exist. Someday, I'll tell my grandkids about this and they'll laugh at me, "Oh, Grandpa... You couldn't do that on the internet - ever. Have you been hitting the sauce again!"

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 22, 2016 11:53:32 PM | 53

Anyone have information on this report/rumor?
The Order has been given: Shoot Down Russian Jet within 72 Hours- Aug 22, 2016
https://www.superstation95.com/index.php/world/1870

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 23, 2016 1:15:01 AM | 54

It seems that the allies in Syria - Iran and Russia particularly - are not having an easy time working together. I suppose that is to be expected. It's sort of funny that the Hegemonic proxies are supposedly the diverse ones, barely able to work together. In truth, they seem to be a more united force, which gives away the game that they are a proxy force. The Syrian government, by contrast, seems to be operating with an alliance that is often strained, no one really entirely in charge. In particular, Russia has the most power by far but seems to vacillate the most.

Posted by: paul | Aug 23, 2016 2:01:37 AM | 55

@40, smoothie.
You are so 'sure' of yourself: Saying people think Putin is a God (where did that come from?). A good example of a 'straw man'.
...
Posted by: Donny | Aug 22, 2016 10:49:18 PM | 50

In the West it's normal for Leaders to lie whenever their mouths are moving. Putin's aversion to bullshit/bluster, alone, earns him god-like respect, in comparison to the West's utterly corrupt & bribed Crooks & Liars.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 23, 2016 3:01:20 AM | 56

The Kurds/YPG, ISIS, FSA, jihadsts, moderate rebels, Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and poor Syria.

It looks like Russia and Iran are just prolonging the agony of Syria. They can't help. Americans as usual are doing what they want and no one is able to effectively oppose them.

Posted by: anonymous1242 | Aug 23, 2016 3:33:02 AM | 57

harrylaw @6.

"the kurd enclave would be landocked"

And surrounded by large nations with larger military forces that will not tolerate it. Will these states alow aircraft (civilian / military) to cross their airspace to any airfields in the Kurd territory? Will there be free open access via land routes? Nah, they will become Transnistria on steroids, totally reliant on the fair weather friends the US.

They had a good deal from Syria/Russia but have been seduced by the honey talk of the US. They will be supported by the US as long as they follow US aims and dropped without a second thought the moment they deviate.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 23, 2016 4:09:25 AM | 58

From China Iran's speaker denies halt of Russia's use of Iranian airbase

Russia's fighter jets have not halted flights from an Iranian airbase into Syria to pound militants, Iran's Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani said on Tuesday.

However, Tehran has not put any military bases in the country at the disposal of Russia, Larijani's words came as a reaction to Monday remarks of Foreign Ministry spokesman who said that Russia had stopped using Iranian Hamedan airbase for carrying out operations against militants in Syria.

Iran is in alliance with Russia in its battle against terrorism in Syria, Larijani was quoted as saying.

Political issues in Iran. People there value their independence.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 4:19:05 AM | 59

The Iranian claim about Hamadhan came after the war of words between US/Russia other bombing or supporting the Kurds in Hasaka. Might be related? Iran doesn't want extra problem such as having a plane that flew from her airbase being chased or downed by a US plane?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 23, 2016 4:30:22 AM | 60

Has B ever written a post about how he takes in and synthesizes all this information? I'm in awe. Have you ever written about your process?

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 23, 2016 4:36:34 AM | 61

There is a good article on the dynamics of Hasaka in the Guardian quoting the PYD.

An official within the Democratic Union party (PYD), one of the dominant Kurdish parties in Syria, said the warning did not go far enough. “The Pentagon took a stand earlier on, but we need more,” Gharib Hasso told the Guardian. “The silence of the international coalition is not good. The war is expanding.”

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 4:39:21 AM | 62

Posted by: Mina | Aug 23, 2016 4:30:22 AM | 58

Possible. If they believe there will be a US/Russian war they won't want to get stuck on either side.
Iranian/US relations have been fascinating. The US have done a lot to further the influence of Iran in the Middle East.
Somehow it all comes down to the Cold War preference of religion/any religion against nationalism. The support of Kurds is not real and not for long.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 4:49:10 AM | 63

Okay, sorry b but quoting/ linking to hurriyet to get an understanding of how the kurdish land lies in turkey is lazy.

Firstly, the article fails to mention the persisitent targetting of HDP by the government and fails to mention the very real threat of imprisonment against Dermirtas and senior HDP members by the government. Wonder why?

Kurds are not Turks, in that they do not follow blindly the beating of Turkish Natoinalist propaganda, and have not been washed up in this tide of anti-Gulen-PKK-DAESH is one rubbish. The government may think that isolating and oppressing Kurds will being many of them into the fold, but it has never worked before.

Look to urban Kurdish communities, in Istanbul or Ankara for instance and you see growing resistance and fear of what the government is planning. Look to the South and you see fear, destruction and hopelessness. But nowhere do you see a weakening of Kurdish solidarity as exemplified by the clashes after the Gaziantep bombing, of course they were barely reported!

Of course Kurds want peace, of course they are tired of the persistent aggression and oppression but that does not mean that they do not support Kurdish autonomy, or the creation of a Kurdistan in which PKK plays a part, as do HDP and others.

Laslty, do not underestimate the atmosphere of fear nurtured in Turkey where people are afraid to speak their minds, afraid to hold an opinion that may be contrary to the government's - even among the more professional journalists!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 23, 2016 4:57:12 AM | 64

karlof1 | 36

The Kurds are in an impossible situation - Turkey is threatening to wipe them out from Turkey's borders; The Kurds believe that Assad and Erdogan have struck agreement on the Kurdish issue and; the US continues to use them as a card against Turkey.
I would also like to know what Russia's stance on the Kurdish question is. It is key, I think.
Turkey's recent actions would imply that Russia has given the green light to Turkey re-engaging in Northern Syria to fight Daesh - but Turkey is Turkey and it is only interested in eliminating Kurds. If Russia allows this to happen it runs the risk of losing all the support it has won since it engaged in the Syrian conflict.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 23, 2016 5:11:37 AM | 65

Posted by: roamer | Aug 22, 2016 4:35:46 PM | 15
Posted by: Grieved | Aug 22, 2016 10:17:13 PM | 48

thanks, roamer, Grieved, noticed it on my way down here, vaguely familiar with blog and author, but then passed on. Agree, worth reading. Like his unexcited tone and putting matters into context. Helps me to put loose ends into context

https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/aleppo-prepares-for-a-major-battle-and-the-kurds-in-syria-are-attracting-everybodys-animosity/

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 6:20:55 AM | 66

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 23, 2016 5:11:37 AM | 63

Russia of course has no sympathy for ethnic independence. They have this strange definition of "Russian speakers" they consider close to their heart but this involves a large part of Israel, too.

No, only the US/Saudi plan the partition of Syria, by making Aleppo their fight Russia has made clear where they stand. With Aleppo, with the Turkish/Syrian border blocked , this plan has no chance.

YPG has acted as Syrian block against Turkey for quite some time, in the end they always lose and Russia, nor anyone else comes to their help - see Öcalan.

Erdogan is a populist and Kurds are not popular in Turkey - it is as simple as that. But HDP has tried to keep democratic relations and them being cruelly struck in that wedding bombing does have significance. The people who did this do not like Kurdish-Turkish reconciliation.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 6:31:29 AM | 67

bernhard: Earlier in the conflict it was the Syrian army and the Russians who supplied and supported the Kurds with weapons and ammunition to defend themselves against the Islamic State and the U.S. supported "moderate rebels".

Some time ago, I tried to wrap my head around the complexity of the political context of the Kurds. They supported the PKK, or "Kurds" generally, or a different faction? How strong are they? Seen reports with no doubt lots of Öcalan flags or images around.

Elijah J. Magnier adds something that might vaguely point in the same direction:

Magnier: – Russia refuses the presence of America through its proxy the Kurds in a country where it is expanding its air force and navy, and owns the only naval base in the Middle East.

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 6:34:45 AM | 68

Syria is just an actual example of the ongoing Western-sponsored Wahhabist/Salafist/Jihadist spreading of Human Rights and other Western Values:
'53 Iran
'65 Indonesia
'79 Afghanistan
'92 Bosnia
'93 Azerbaijan
'97 Kosovo
'99 Chechnya/Dagestan
'11 Libya
'11 Syria

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 23, 2016 7:03:15 AM | 69

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 6:34:45 AM | 66

SDP ask the US to protect them against Turkey in Jarablus

The US should be now in a position to mediate between Turkey and YPG - but they aren't as they consider PKK a terrorist organisation - and presumably Syria helped Turkey prove that the YPG weapons Syria supplied made their way to Turkey's PKK.

It is quite possible that there is a deal by all parties with Barzani as the acceptable representative of Kurds.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 7:13:16 AM | 70

@47, @49 pw

Yeah, that's the picture I saw. I hadn't realized that the Russian bombers had to cut back on bombs to get to Syria from Russia, so you're probably exactly right. It's easier to refuel than rearm. Following your links makes me think that the older, less specialized tanker adapted from the - 'freighter?' - might be the one to use to refuel on the ground. The newer one seems optimized for refueling in the air. I never realized they could refuel three or four planes at once. They must be ensemble crews, training together, to get that to work. The potential for disaster seems ... high.

Did they just send each bomber to Syria once then? Drop it's bombs fly back to top off and then back home? I had thought there had been multiple sorties per plane, but come to think of it there was just the one burst of news in the media. I guess it was as you say.

I didn't think very much about what's involved with putting the bombs in the bombers ... obviously there's more to it than I imagined. Still, this was the first time they went for operating stagewise from a foreign base, wasn't? Maybe next time they'll send two big planes, one filled with fuel and one filled bombs and equipment. I imagine a bunch of stuff the Russians have done in Syria amounts to 'trying it out', to see if they can actually do what the whiz kids in the labs say they can do, and this is one more of those occasions. Russia's not like the US - always a war going somewhere where they can try out their new stuff.

@51 TS

You mean you disagree, don't you? I believe Paveway said he did not think there was rearmament but refueling going on. Thus far.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 23, 2016 7:54:03 AM | 71

Thanks someone,
I got as far as the YPG, so far--and considering, I gave up last time to wrap my head around Kurdish political matters--I am not sure I have the capacities and/or patience now.

Anyway, yes, now I have two: SDF and "PPU"/YPG. YPG, I stumbled across on a Turkish/German site. It alluded to YPG et al. Will I be able to keep them in mind? I'll try to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Democratic_Forces#Support_by_the_U.S.-led_alliance
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Protection_Units#Spring_2015:_Offensive_with_American_and_Russian_support

More generally, I am not to be satisfied with twitter links. ;)

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 8:32:32 AM | 72

#39-good analysis...I agree with you typical western theatrics of MSM-stupid clowns.

Posted by: sejmon | Aug 23, 2016 8:39:39 AM | 73

@50

You are so 'sure' of yourself: Saying people think Putin is a God (where did that come from?). A good example of a 'straw man'.

Yes, Sir. I am very sure of myself since "installing" a foreign senior officer to any position by a head of a foreign state is impossible, unless, of course, this head of state has some supernatural powers. On the other hand, agreeing with the candidacy is a radically different matter.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 23, 2016 8:50:11 AM | 74

So, can we refer to Hasakah as a no-fly zone now? The pentagon is denying it,
but I hardly see why that would matter.

Posted by: wwinsti | Aug 23, 2016 8:54:21 AM | 75

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 8:32:32 AM | 70

Of course it is all smoke and mirrors - never mind twitter links. The normal Kurdish person has emigrated to France, Germany or Sweden if given a chance.

By now the YPG seem to have concluded that they will not get enough US support and have agreed to a cease fire in Hasakah.

This Ignatius artice in the Washington Post is sublime fun

I do wonder what revelation the article tries to prepare the US public for and how the CIA has been doing recently in Turkey.

I am especially intrigued by this sentence

Instead, Turkish-American relations continued warming last year to the point that Erdogan was among Obama’s key confidants. This practice of separating intelligence issues from broader policymaking is said to be a long-standing U.S. approach.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2016 8:57:19 AM | 76

Adding another level to the complexity of the situation:

Russia seeks deal with Saudi Arabia, too - M K Bhadrakumar
https://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/author/bhadrakumaranrediffmailcom/

“The Russian diplomacy is on a roll. In a surprise development, Russian presidential special envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov surfaced in Saudi Arabia today. He was received by none other than the all-powerful Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, who is usually President Vladimir Putin’s one-on-one interlocutor.

After the meeting in Jeddah, according to Russian state news agency TASS, Bogdanov remarked that Moscow and Riyadh are “inclined to conciliate their positions” to resolve Middle Eastern conflicts. Plainly put, a deal on Syria could be in the works.”

Posted by: pantaraxia | Aug 23, 2016 9:55:06 AM | 77

Russian nationalist website: Russia will open the first official military base in Serbia


"As it became known to the Serbian newspaper "Blitz!", Even during his last year's visit to Serbia, Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic signed a secret protocol with regards to a new military base of the Russian Armed Forces, presumably in the south of Serbia.

The history of the base goes from the last year, but has recently visited Moscow, a member of the Serbian generals, during the visit stipulates the details of cooperation.

While this information did not give publicity in the society, the Serbian edition of reporters managed to get insider information that Russia and Serbia reached an agreement on military cooperation in the years 2017-2020, as well as signed by the Russian Armed Forces base deployment plan in the Serbian city of Leskovac (already there allegedly unofficially, it is the military part of the Serbian Armed Forces, which is prepared to accept Russian guests)."

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 23, 2016 9:58:50 AM | 78

pantaraxia | Aug 23, 2016 9:55:06 AM | 75

If, in fact, that report is accurate, It wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Russia is in a unique position to be able to negotiate with all the middle eastern "partners" as Pres. Putin would likely say.
Russia has avoided choosing sides and thereby maintained a position of flexible alternatives.
A masterful diplomatic play, no?
When it comes to global chess; the U.S. is left wanting; which is a dangerous position; the U.S. is a jealous master not accepting second place...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 23, 2016 10:11:12 AM | 79

I do wonder what revelation the article tries to prepare the US public for ...

Indeed interesting. ... In case you are alluding to my occasional-ill-reflected-drivel-traces-left elsewhere, you're welcome. ;)

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 23, 2016 10:13:36 AM | 80

Looks like ISIS has been paying attention to what is going on in Hasakah and ever the opportunists, is taking advantage of it.

ISIS launches massive offensive in southern Al-Hasakah

That something like this would happen should have been pretty obvious to the SDF and its advisers who have demonstrated a situational awareness more appropriate to an ant.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 23, 2016 11:14:47 AM | 81


Tupolev Tu-22M

Le Tupolev Tu-22M est un bombardier supersonique à géométrie variable et long rayon d'action développé par l'Union soviétique. Un petit nombre d'entre eux reste en service dans les états de la CEI. Par suite d'une erreur des service…
Wikipedia
Maximum speed: 2 300 km/h
Range: 5 100 km

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 23, 2016 11:23:54 AM | 82

Xenotude @ 70
That article from David Ignatius is Mossad propaganda.

The Turkish-Israeli relationship became so poisonous early last year that the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is said to have disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.

Mossad can't admit that the Iranian counter-intelligence services are better than them so Mossad blame it on someone else. This is pretty standard practice for Mossad so it helps to be sceptical about any such claim.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 23, 2016 11:25:26 AM | 83

Putin could gain some good strategic bases if he takes up the offer of former President Saleh. Yemen Offers Russia Use Of Its Airports And Ports In "Fight Against Terrorism" "Yemen, whose former president, Abdullah Saleh, said its newly-formed governing council could work with Russia to "fight terrorism" by allowing Moscow use of the war-torn country's military bases".https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-21/yemen-offers-russia-use-its-airports-and-ports-fight-against-terrorism

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 23, 2016 12:07:34 PM | 84

France. — Roland Dumas (FM under Mitterand, 84 - 93, with an interruption) said on public prime-time F TV, in 2015, that he was approached by the British in 2008-9 (he does not give a date but one can nail it) to inform him an operation in Syria to remove the Assad Gvmt. was upcoming, well err err, would he, Dumas, join or use influence or what not? (He refused.)

1.30 m. in F, the brief extract, vid: https://youtu.be/BH9SHxetO1I

more details: radio 19 mins, F. in which Dumas also talks about the role of the media, and that Hollande’s position is ‘harder’ and more atlanticist than the Sark’s - at the time.

F. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi9iSFpw3CE

France (Hollande) promised x times some kind of “N Syria” at least strip or county to the Kurds (self-determination ++.) Ex: F. Hollande a salué la victoire de Kobané, on lui a dit qu'on était prêt à combattre de manière plus forte encore et qu'on souhaitait qu'il y ait un bureau entre la France et les Kurdes qui permette de coordonner ces actions.. Zaman France (F and Kurds should coordinate..)

T. Meyssan (considered a crazed conspiracist by F PTB-MSM), writes that in 2011 Alain Juppé, then FM, and his Turkish counterpart, Davutoğlu, signed a secret treaty. We know that it included several reciprocal engagements, including that of « resolving the Kurdish question » without « damaging the integrity of Turkish territory », in other words, the creation of a pseudo-Kurdistan in Syria.

Eng. https://www.voltairenet.org/article189562.html

The Kurds are subject to many manipulations. Kurds count on various support (see Iraqi Kurdistan…not a pretty picture, a painful story.) Point is that Syria / Lybia devastations are not just US operations.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 23, 2016 12:20:25 PM | 85

@all A map of Kurdistan by mjr Amin from a few years back

@blowback | Aug 23, 2016 11:25:26 AM | 81 Yes, that's exactly the point.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 23, 2016 12:26:05 PM | 86

Rick Sterling has a great post over at Consortium News titled 'Propaganda for Syrian ‘Regime Change’'. I highly recommend taking the time to read it and to click on some of the links he's embedded.

He pulls together many of the propaganda pieces, who's behind the disinformation, why now, etc. The piece puts you into the weeds without losing you.

"PBS broadcast a story titled “Repeatedly targeted by airstrikes, Syrian doctors feel abandoned.” The story features video from the “White Helmets” along with photos from the reported April bombing of Al Quds Hospital. Currently there is a huge media campaign around the situation in Aleppo. Syrian American doctor Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, has been interviewed extensively on mainstream media as well as DemocracyNow with widespread promotion in Truthout and other sites."

...

"Much of the video purporting to show bombing effects in Aleppo are stamped with the “White Helmets” logo. White Helmets is a creation of the U.S. and U.K. and primarily a propaganda tool. The claims they are Syrian, independent and non-partisan are all false."

...

"Saudi and U.S. State Department-funded Muslim groups which support the aggression against Syria. This includes the recently famous Dr. Zaher Sahloul and the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS and Zahloul are aligned with Saudi Arabia and receive substantial State Department funding."

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/08/23/propaganda-for-syrian-regime-change/

Lastly, there is this update by SOTT on a post dated 8/18/16 that is interesting about the 'boy in the orange chair' apartment building's location -

...

"The al-Qaterji district is in fact adjacent to the exit corridors for locals which were opened recently as part of the Russian humanitarian mission. The bombing of this area by US-backed terrorists appears, therefore, to be designed to disrupt Russian and Syrian government attempts to deliver medical and other kinds of aid for eastern Aleppo residents, including Omran Daqneesh. As a result, the residents of al-Qaterji are basically US-backed terrorist hostages, for now."

"So not only is the Western media covering up the fact that it is most likely US-backed terrorists that are bombing these districts of Aleppo - the fact that adjacent buildings are not damaged strongly suggest a gas canister bomb or mine as used by US-backed terrorists - they are then using the child victims of those bombings to demonize Russia and the Syrian government in an attempt to prevent their humanitarian mission that is designed to protect Syrian children. In doing so, the Western press is ensuring that more Syrian children are killed by US-backed terrorists, about which they can then write more disingenuous articles accusing Russia and Syria of doing what the US government is, in fact, doing."

https://bit.ly/2bqWU4x This bit.ly link is to the Sott article by Joe Quinn.

The neocons/neolibs and the rest of their war loving tribe appear to be ramping up their corporate public relations campaign to convince American's war is the only noble decision left in Syria. By now I would hope the American public/voter is wise to these hucksters, but if not, I'm on bended knee begging any and all who read these words not to fall for their evil propaganda, educate yourselves and fight back against their agenda in social media.

Posted by: h | Aug 23, 2016 12:47:15 PM | 88

**Off Topic**

An item of newsworthy importance not getting proper circulation is Trump's call for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation Fraud and its RICO related crimes, https://www.rt.com/usa/356829-trump-clinton-foundation-prosecutor/ It will be interesting to see how Congressional Republicans react to this very sensible proposal.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 23, 2016 12:53:55 PM | 89

**On Topic**

Southfront reports on the truce in Hasakah, https://southfront.org/ceasefire-between-ypg-and-pro-government-militias-implemented-in-hasakah/ Sure would like more details, however.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 23, 2016 1:43:06 PM | 90


jfl #69 You mean you disagree, don't you? I believe Paveway said he did not think there was rearmament but refueling going on.

Actually I was agreeing with you but cited the response to your post by mistake. Another reason, besides expense of using Hamadan to load ordinance and not just refueling on the ground, is that those planes would be landing with their full ordinance -- this is extremely dangerous. I don't think any airforce tries to land fully armed bombers.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 23, 2016 1:56:30 PM | 91

#85

Correct me if I am wrong, but if memory serves, Hitler attempted to influence "the political process" by killing Russians. Millions of them I seem to recall. I also think I recall that it was Hitler himself who paid a moderately high price for this attempt. Of course, the Russian of today bears no resemblance to the troglodyte semi-humans of the 30's and 40's, but still, it makes one wonder.

Posted by: Burt | Aug 23, 2016 2:14:06 PM | 92

karlof1 @88

From Fars News -

"Media sources disclosed on Tuesday that a high-ranking Kurdish delegation was to arrive in Hemimim Airbase in Lattaki to hold a meeting with Russian officials on ways to end the differences with government forces in Hasaka province."

""The Kurdish delegation is due to meet a Russian General who is to mediate between the Kurdish police of Asayesh and the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF)," the Arabic language Al-Mayadeen said quoting informed sources on Tuesday."

"The Russian military official is to reaffirm a temporary peace-agreement concluded on Sunday nigh between the rebel Kurds of the PKK and the Syrian government officials."

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950602001382

Posted by: h | Aug 23, 2016 2:27:40 PM | 93

Bollocks, bollocks, all this comments thread is USELESS, who the fuck cares about

Posted by: acrimonious | Aug 23, 2016 2:44:14 PM | 94

Bollocks, bollocks, all this comments thread is USELESS, who the f**k cares about "Middle east"?
This is what REAL PEOPLE care about:
Harambe the gorilla: Cincinnati Zoo deletes Twitter account.
Burkini ban in France sparks worldwide sales.
George Orwell was a simpleton, the future isn't "1984" it's Idiocracy, and it's already there!

Posted by: acrimonious | Aug 23, 2016 2:57:43 PM | 95

h @93

Thanks for the Fars News item and other items you've contributed! Would like to sit in on that conference as I don't think much will be reported.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 23, 2016 3:24:14 PM | 96

@92 burt... get a grip dude... it is the usa that has killed, maimed or murdered more innocent people then any country in the world by a long mile... i guess you're american, lol.. i recommend you take a indefinite fast from the western msm with all the drivel it serves up daily...

- regarding the kurds and kurdistan... as others like b and paveway have pointed out - the kurds are not a unified group.. they speak a few different languages and are not all on the same page... barzani - the mafioso leader in erbil iraq area might be a good dictator, kleptomaniac that could serve the usa's interests well, as he has to this point, but no kurd in their right mind will be fooled or cajoled by a guy like this... usa/israel will use him until he backs off doing what they tell him, at which point he will be lamblasted in the same bullshite western media that continue to con anyone stupid enough to follow it..

Posted by: james | Aug 23, 2016 3:31:02 PM | 97

The more US state terrorists occupy Syria and the less they will be "challenged", The easier it will be for them to expand their illegal nefarious presence in Syria. The more it will make Russia look weak and ineffective if the US terrorist state cancer spreads in Syria.

Which makes Putin's invitation an absolute insane disaster, and increases the threat of WW3. Syrian government, and any other half wit, knew that this would come to ahead if the US was invited in and occupied parts of the country.
For all of the illegality, the US can endlessly proclaim that the Russians invited us into Syria.

Posted by: tom | Aug 23, 2016 3:41:49 PM | 98

U.S. Invades Syria, And Warns Russia


“If they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend our forces,” [yet another Pentagon spokesman, Peter] Cook said.

The US can invade any of the world's countries and then assert its right of 'defense' within the country it's invaded and occupied. Did the NAZIs ever bother to make that claim? Then again the NAZIs specialized in Blitzkrieg and the USA specializes in Sitzkrieg. Time for lots of talk in a Sitzkrieg, with your feet up on the victim's furniture.

All the US' spokespeople on Libya now seem to be working for the US Department of War at the Pentagon, whether they are located there or - like the 50 dancing diplomats - at the US Department of War newest wholly owned subsidiary, the former State Department.

The Resident has officially become a Soul On Ice. Why haven't we read of the coup? Only kidding on that last. The TNC media know how to keep a public secret.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 23, 2016 3:43:35 PM | 99

@91 TS, 'those planes would be landing with their full ordinance -- this is extremely dangerous'

Yeah. Sounds dangerous to me. They dropped their full ordnance in Syria and then flew to Hamadan to fuel up for the flight home? The wikipedia article that Paveway pointed to said that the tanker would have to jettison fuel if it had land again before dispensing it. I've heard of commercial flights having to jettison fuel when returning to the airport they'd just left to land in case of emergency. They don't have to jettison passengers though ... presumably bombs have good seats and 'seat belts' just as passengers do. Maybe the bombs were defused for the flight from Russia to Hamadan and re-fused there before heading out to Syria?

I remember Paveway mentioning a re-fusing process in the event that the bombs came on the big plane. But it seems like that would be something done outside the bomb bay of the bomber. I imagine there's no room for anything but bombs therein. And if you take em out to re-fuse 'em, you have to but 'em back in. Requires the forklifts and all else to do that as well.

Otherwise you got to land with fused bombs.

But ... Military first for Iran as Russian bombers based on its territory launch air strikes on Syria


Tu-22М3 long range bombers and SU-34 strike fighters flying from Hamadan airbase in Western Iran struck targets near Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and Idlib on Tuesday morning, the Russian ministry of defence said in a statement.

“Flying with full bomb loads from Iran’s Hamadan airbase, the aircraft carried out group attacks on Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra positions,” the ministry said. Jabhat al-Nusra is the former name of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, a powerful rebel jihadist group previously affiliated with al-Qaeda.


That says the Russians did what I thought they did. Either they landed with full bombloads and no fuel, refueled and took off again, or they loaded up at Hamadan, bombs and fuel. I initially assumed - seeing that big plane in the picture of the Hamadan airfield - that it was bombs that it carried. Our expert opinion says no, fuel. Who knows. Seems like it'd be easy to get fuel in Iran but impossible to get bombs.

The statement above is attributed to 'the Russian ministry of defence', and "Flying with full bomb loads from Iran’s Hamadan airbase ..." is in quotes. I guess they had just enough fuel to get to Hamadan, landed with full bomb loads, refuelled, and took off again for points in Syria, returned to Hamadan, refueled, and returned to Russia.

Whatever they did last time, my bet is that they could/would bring extra bombs with them next time, if they felt the need to do so. That makes the whole of the 'war business' self-contained, portable, and Russian - not Iranian, as well. The Iranians can tell themselves - and any nosy people who ask - that they're just letting the Russians use their base on a temporary, case-by-case basis. And in fact, that's just what they are doing.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 23, 2016 4:31:43 PM | 100

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