Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 01, 2016

The Larger Context Of The Jihadi Attack On Aleppo

Al-Qaeda in Syria and associated forces are currently driving a large scale attack from the south-west into Aleppo city. Their aim is to create a new corridor between the Idleb/Aleppo rural areas they occupy and the besieged al-Qaeda controlled areas in east-Aleppo. Between 5,000 and 10,000 al-Qaeda fighters, using U.S. supplied equipment, are taking part in the battle. Formally some of the fighters are "moderates" but in reality all this groups are by now committed to implement Sharia law and to thereby suppress all minorities. They made some initial progress against government forces but are under fierce attack from the Syrian and Russian air forces.

The Russian General Staff has warned since April that al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra aka Fateh al Sham) and the various attached Jihadi groups were planing a large scale attack on Aleppo. An al-Qaeda commander confirmed such long term planning in a pep-talk to his fighters before the current attack.

This shines a new light on the protracted talks Secretary of State Kerry has had for month with his Russian colleague. The U.S. tried to exempt al-Qaeda from Russian and Syrian attacks even as UN Security Council Resolutions demanded that al-Qaeda and ISIS areas be eradicated. Then the U.S. tried to make an "offer" to Russia to collectively fight al-Qaeda should Russia put its own and Syrian forces under U.S. control. We called this offer deceptive nonsense. All this, it now seems, was delaying talk to allow al-Qaeda to prepare for the now launched attack.

Another step in the delaying, though a failed one, was the re-branding of Jabhat al-Nusra as Fateh al-Sham. Some "western" media called that a split from al-Qaeda but in reality is was a merging of al-Qaeda central and Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria under a disguising new label. Al-Qaeda's Qatari sponsors had demanded the re-branding so al-Qaeda in Syria could publicly be sold to "western" governments and their public as "moderate rebels". But the sham failed. It was too obvious a fake to be taken seriously. The "western" support for al-Qaeda will have to continue secretly and in limited form.

The current attack on Aleppo is serious. The Syrian army lacks ground forces. Significant professional ground forces from Iran were promised but never arrived. Iran was still dreaming of an accord with the U.S. and therefore holding back on its engagement in Syria. The Afghan farmer battalions Iran recruited are not an alternative for professional troops. Defending against an enemy that is using lots of suicide vehicle bombs to breach fortifications and death-seeking Jihadis to storm field positions is difficult. It demands diligent preparation excellent command and control.

If this attack can be defeated the huge losses al-Qaeda will have to take might end its open military style war. If al-Qaeda succeeds with the attack the Syrian army will need very significant additional ground forces to regain the initiative.

But no matter how that battle goes strategically the U.S. is sniffing defeat in its regime change endeavor. It is now proposing to split Syria. Syria and all its neighbors are against this. It will, in the end, not happen, but the damage Washington will create until it acknowledges that fact could be serious. Russia can and should prevent such U.S. attempts of large scale social engineering.

Russia on the other side has now to decide if it wants to escalate enough to create more than the current stalemate. Over time a stalemate becomes expansive and it may, at any time, suddenly turn into defeat. The U.S. negotiation positions so far were obviously not serious. The U.S. delayed to allow for further large attacks on the Syrian government. The alternative for Russia is to either leave Syria completely or to escalate enough to decisively defeat the Jihadis. That is not an easy decision.

Today some Jihadis shot down another Russian helicopter over Syria. The bloody body of the dead pilot was dragged through the mud by some local nuts and the video thereof proudly presented. If the Russian government needs some public pretext to go back into Syria it now has it. Also today the Islamic State threatened to attack Russia within its border. Another good reason to return to Syria in force. Of note is that Russia is already extremely pissed over the unreasonable hostile climate towards it in Washington DC. It will have consequences.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei today acknowledged that the nuclear agreement with the U.S. is a failure. The U.S. did not deliver on its end. Iranian money is still blocked in U.S. controlled accounts and no international bank wants to do business with Iran because the U.S. is threatening to penalize them. The conclusion, Khamenei says, is that no deal with U.S. over any local issue in the Middle East is possible and that all negotiations with it are a waste of time. This new public position may finally free the limits the Rouhani government of Iran had put on Iranian deployments to Syria. Why bother with any self-limitation if the U.S. wont honor it?

How the situation in Syria will develop from here on depends to a large part on Turkey. Turkey is changing its foreign policy and turning towards Russia, Iran and China. But how far that turn away from the "west" will go and if it will also include a complete turnaround on Syria is not yet clear. Should Turkey really block its borders and all supplies to the Jihadis, the war on Syria could be over within a year or two. Should (secret) supplies continue, the war may continue for many more years. In both cases more allied troops and support for the Syrian government would significantly cut the time (and damage) the war will still take. That alone would be well worth additional efforts by Syria's allies.

Will Tehran and Moscow agree with that conclusion?

Posted by b on August 1, 2016 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Thanks b. Here's an encouraging tweet:

#Turkish Ambassador to #Iran Reza Hakan Takin today: #Erdogan has proposed to #Rouhani formation of trio with #Putin to stabilize #Mideast

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmirTaheri4/status/760067823741837312

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Aug 1, 2016 1:00:32 PM | 1

The Russians will answer this downing and the barbaric treatment of their dead pilots.

Sputniknews refuses to print the graphics and notes:

"US-Backed Syrian Rebels Shoot Down Russian Helicopter, Abuse Crew Bodies"

http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160801/1043837719/syria-rebels-helicopter-crash.html

the US views some of them as moderate.

and,

[.]

Al-Nusra Front has long been viewed as a terrorist organization by Russia, the United States and the UN. But Washington blocked Moscow's initiative to add al-Nusra Front's occasional partners, Ahrar al-Sham, to the UN Security Council's terrorist list, claiming that they are in fact moderate rebels and should be treated as a legitimate opposition to the government in Damascus.

The Brits have all the graphic details. The DailyMail obliges with the gruesome – takes a jab - wants to know why an ID of a blonde woman?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3717939/Russian-helicopter-delivering-aid-shot-Syria-rebels.html

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Are there no blondes in Russia? A doctor or a Nurse. The mission was humanitarian.


Posted by: likklemore | Aug 1, 2016 1:18:06 PM | 2

The question of Russia staying or going was posed as 'not an easy decision'. "Should it leave, it will show its weakness and the decision to support Damascus would be presented as misguided gamble to the international community. It will also mean the loss of all prestige and influence in the Arab world. This choice is an extremely difficult one, but sooner or later one will have to make it".
In my opinion it is not a difficult decision at all, as the link above from New Eastern Outlook states, "loss of prestige and influence in the Arab world". I would add loss of prestige and influence in the whole world, plus a complete lack of self respect. That is why it will not happen, Putin and the Russian people are not such fools.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 1, 2016 1:19:13 PM | 3

The only solution is regime change in the US (nov. 6)

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 1, 2016 1:22:17 PM | 4

Turkey got the message: Saudi Arabia has very probably contributed to the coup. The USA knew about Saudi Arabia involvement and stayed quiet. Both are no more reliable allies.
The Turkish media criticism of the USA and Europe shows that Erdogan is looking to justify his important move toward Russia and Iran and away from the USA. He is testing the USA and Europe to see what he can get out to them without giving anything.
If the West continues to antagonize Erdogan chances are that he will move more toward Russia and Iran thus making serious change in his Syria policy.
Isn't curious that ISIS previously active in Turkey seems to have quieted down? Any relation with Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: virgile | Aug 1, 2016 1:34:28 PM | 5

That is not an easy decision.

Orlov's "analysis" is highly flawed, to put it mildly. The fact of Russia establishing Khmeimim as a permanent base, among many others, kills Orlov's argument. While speculations on Kerry-Lavrov (Putin) talks are legitimate, as I stated before not for once--the bottom line here is capability which only Russia has in re: Syria: 48-72 hours deployment of couple of paratroop divisions which will be pretty much over for ISIS in Syria. As per this:

Should it carry on its military operation it will expose itself to the risk of suffering huge financial losses against the background of the ongoing economic crisis.

Orlov, evidently, has a very foggy understanding of the nature of Russia's economic crisis, which is precipitated primarily by the internal policy factors. But that is the whole other topic in itself. Russia does have options in Syria, including this "boots on the ground" option, which will be a decisive dramatic "defeat" for US. Well, I never heard of real wars in which soldiers didn't die as for Russian "public opinion", again it is the matter of...opinion.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 1, 2016 1:45:55 PM | 6

Saw this weekend report (reuters?) that ISIS was streaming out of Mosul heading towards Syria and Kurdish areas. Doubt they will find much of a landing place of any duration.
Preempting Clinton's promised "aggressive stance" by making it unnecessary and redundant (at least in Syria/Turkey/Iraq) seems like a worthwhile plan also arguing for increased Russian engagement.
Americans are getting almost zero news and none that makes sense, like Nusra "splitting" from Al-Qa’eda and/or how a Russian humanitarian corridor is (actually) an evil trick or ploy.
The censorship in the name of thwarting the evil Trump (and Putin) is staggering .. must not criticize Hillary too harshly because, they assume, you've got to vote for her anyway ... Unsurprisingly, they consider any vote for anyone but Clinton, a vote for Trump -- let the namecalling begin.
Greenwald had a tweet from CNN saying we're bombing in Sirte, Libya.
Can't wait to see Turkey's (bird in the hand worth two in the bush) migrant billions evaporate -- better to spend that money on existing underfunded camps or give it to poor EU countries ...
As with Brexit, I hope that all the countries who think that NATO is a leg-up to EU consideration are paying attention. The English hatred of Polish laborers should given the Ukraine pause ... Even with all that shit and hardship, there's never gonna be a pony. That they were sold a pipe dream (and traded away their sovereignty for the dream of following in Poland's footstep) must be unmistakable now.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Aug 1, 2016 1:53:32 PM | 7

Russian planes deliver selective strikes at militant positions near Aleppo

According to Rudskoi, a group of some 5,000 militants tried on Sunday to mount an offensive south-west of Aleppo, the attack was repelled. […]

According to him, by 04:00 am Monday, the attack was repelled by the Syrian army and militias with support of the Russian aviation. "More than 800 militants were killed during the fighting, 14 tanks, 10 infantry fighting vehicles, more than 60 vehicles with mounted guns were destroyed", Rudskoi said.

Posted by: jaqwith | Aug 1, 2016 1:54:53 PM | 8

@3 harrylaw

Generally agree with your assessment. Orlov's (whoever he is) "analysis" is a case in point of basing conclusions on platitudes and lack of tactical (in this particular case--geostrategic) awareness. In the end, it is not about Russians being "fools", which they could be and were not for once, it is about Russia's larger geopolitical objectives and internal Russia's "elites'" struggle, of which Putin is a main culprit who is nearing his moment of truth. Forget Syria and its, however high, stakes, Putin needs to decide what to do with his utterly incompetent government which he supported for such a long time. The faster he sheds his monetarist delusion (and he is shedding it) the better will it play out in the long run, Syria issue included.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 1, 2016 1:54:54 PM | 9

Brilliant post, b.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 1, 2016 2:00:42 PM | 10

While fact of resurgence of terrorists and fears of partition are shared by author with us now, one might have read about it over three months ago at:

https://syrianwarupdate.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/ceasefire-ceased-to-exist-as-ionescoesque-theater-of-absurd-continues/

And other posts there.

I think author is giving too much slack to Russians who seems to be duped by US lies about peace.
After WWII there was no peace with US. not in Korea, not in Vietnam not in Iraq or Afghanistan, only US victory or US defeat.

The same is in Syria US MUST BE DEFEATED there as well, or it will never end.

Posted by: Kalen | Aug 1, 2016 2:02:57 PM | 11

Canthama at SyrPers has a good article about the ongoing battle, plus two updates currently at the bottom of the comments, http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/the-battle-for-aleppo-is-heating-up-as-terrorists-heave-a-last-breath-to-lift-the-siege-terrorist-lies-in-media-rebutted-with-syrian-supplies-of-food-and-medicine-flowing-into-aleppo.html

It appears that the terrorists's attack has stalled and the SAA's counterattacking. Terrorist casualties are very high, "800 militants killed and 14 tanks, 10 armoured vehicles & 60 cars/pickups equipped with heavy guns destroyed," according to Russia MOD.

I think b's mistaken about Syrian troop levels. As With Ukraine in Donbass, The attack was anticipated, welcome even, in order to destroy the terrorists in detail. And the Russians are not going away.

For those who haven't seen it, watch the vid from the Russian news show Vesti that's within this PCR article, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45209.htm

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 1, 2016 2:24:31 PM | 12

B, you're exactly correct. And the problem is double. Russia doesn't want to return to its original disposition of forces unless Iran commits in full to the war. They don't want to bare the burden it's Iran who is so obviously imperiled.

There will be no honest deals while neocons are in control, and that will probably be the case for the next 8 years. Iran need to recognize that the money is not coming back, and commit to winning this war.

If this offensive can be held back, maybe it will help Turkey see this as a fait accompli and withdraw their support for jihadis.

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 1, 2016 2:28:27 PM | 13

Who woulda thunk it?

he Syrian Army has seized a major militant warehouse in the recently liberated Aleppo neighborhood of Bani Zeyd.

Most of captured weapons are from the US and Turkey and include such things as advanced US anti-tank missiles and launchers (BGM-71 TOW).

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syrian-army-captured-major-isis-daesh-warehouse-weapons-made-in-usa/5539123

Posted by: ALberto | Aug 1, 2016 3:20:04 PM | 14

ALberto@14- thank Hanoi radio sensation senator(az) John McCain for those

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Aug 1, 2016 3:25:21 PM | 15

@12, awesome video, long live the translators! Brings into focus Yankee strategy in EU. The reporter asks a smirking lackey, "If Russia is such a threat, why are you hosting only 1000 NATO troops. Surely you'll need more than that?" And it emerges that Washington is building up units of a rapidly re-deployable army to rush into any breach in Russian defenses once hostilities start for real.

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 1, 2016 3:26:45 PM | 16

@12 & 16 Fascinating look at the Warsaw meeting.

It's obvious now that Crimea was the main prize. NATO had big plans for that place.

Ukraine has no real value without it.

Posted by: dh | Aug 1, 2016 3:45:20 PM | 17

#6: Ain't gonna happen. Americans think they are #1, and will vote for Killary.

#12: I'd trust Orlov before I'd trust you. He may be off target at times, but he's no apologist for the Empire.


Posted by: rg the lg | Aug 1, 2016 3:46:27 PM | 18

When Putin made the ridiculous claim of Russian Syrian involvement would last four months The idiot cultists here spread the BS like gospel. I called BS from day one. Remember recently how b said that delusions results in bad policy....and bad "analysis" too.
Russia should immediately demand withdrawal of US state terrorists from Syria. But since the evil US Empire slaughtered at least 200 in just one example, why the silence ? From Putin, Russian leaders and their acolytes.

And how many idiots were cheering the US/Iranian nuclear deal scam. Again, only believable for those cowards who refuse to except how truly evil the US Empire is.
As soon as you get gullible morons concreting their own nuclear plants and shutting down others, and all you have to go on is a promise by the greatest evil the world has ever known in the US Empire....Holy shit.

Posted by: tom | Aug 1, 2016 3:55:34 PM | 20

Turkey is changing its foreign policy and turning towards Russia, Iran and China.

I wonder if Obama can get them for infringing his Trade Mark*?

*Pivot to Asia™

Posted by: Irony maiden | Aug 1, 2016 4:05:47 PM | 21

@19 Putin's ridiculous claim, cite?

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 1, 2016 4:06:45 PM | 22

Bani Zeid was a "moderate" neighborhood, launching pad for shelling inhabitants for "loyal Aleppo" and YPG in Sheikh Massed. I guess because it had shorter supply route and because it was so depopulated (pro-government websites are all over the place how many civilians are in eastern Aleppo, 30-200 thousands, nobody really knows). So the storage was not ISIS/Daesh. And quite probably, the missiles are from a multi-billion contract, KSA purchased thousands from Raytheon. You must give this to Obama: at long last, USA is getting more money out of ME than spending. As Emperor Vespasian observed, "petunia non olet". Of course, really fat contract support the war in Yemen, but this is surely a package deal. It also provides a logical explanation for making and breaking a deal with Iran: it made Gulfies more paranoid and frantic with their arms purchases and bribes.

Jihadists were allowed to advance in south Aleppo for at least a month. The logic is unclear. Most recently, Iranian units were moved from there to Palmyra. Hm. Government had two high quality forces in Aleppo and "slackers" to maintain lines of control. Two two forces, Republican Guard (?) and Tiger Force, made the pincer that closed the siege and took over Bani Zaid, while jihadists prepared huge "final push" in the south Aleppo. Huge mistake or a huge trap? We will see.

The dog that did not bark: on jihadist map, western Aleppo was "almost cut off", but there was no cooperating pincer attack from the east. Now Russian command claims that jihadists lost hundreds, close to thousand troops and a lot of fighting vehicles. So either the Russian/Syrian command was stupid, or they planned a Prokhorovka in miniature: let the opponent advance and bury him there.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1, 2016 4:12:00 PM | 23

Russia's actions have been consistent with a willingness to split Syria, in betrayal of Assad.

Russia flew most of their planes back to Russia and called for a ceasefire to stall the advances of the Syrian forces. And allowed ISIS to regroup. ISIS then was allowed to move these masses of men to the fight without being wiped out from the air.

While packing up and leaving might hurt Russia's rep because they actually engaged in Syria, Russia has a long history of abandoning those they claim to be allies (Iraq, Libya and others).

It seems Russia wants a stalemate that leads to splitting Syria with russia getting the western coast and Assad becoming a figurehead puppet.

Posted by: went | Aug 1, 2016 4:38:35 PM | 24

NYT/AP report

The Russian military says the Syrian army, relying on Russian air cover, has fended off a massive rebel attack intended to break the siege of Aleppo, killing over 800 militants.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff said about 5,000 militants launched an offensive late Sunday southwest of Aleppo in a bid to rupture the government's blockade of the rebel-held part of the city. Rudskoi told Monday's briefing that the rebels also lost 14 tanks, 10 other armored vehicles and over 60 gun trucks. He said the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front spearheaded the offensive.

Rudskoi said 324 civilians so far have left the militant-controlled part of Aleppo through corridors set by the Syrian government last Thursday. He said that 82 militants also have put down weapons.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/08/01/world/middleeast/ap-syria-the-latest.html?_r=0

Posted by: Denis | Aug 1, 2016 5:14:18 PM | 25

Rumors that Turkey has closed the border to takfiris and/or weapons crossing into Syria.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=dac_1469903680

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 1, 2016 5:18:24 PM | 26

#4

Yep

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 1, 2016 5:20:41 PM | 27

Putin and Russia have benefitted enormously from the chaos in Syria. The migrant crisis that it caused is largely responsible for Brexit and it is fueling other exit the EU movements as well as nationalist parties throughout Europe that espouse closer relationships with Russia. It's a major factor in Turkey's current somewhat anti US situation as well and it is revealing US hypocrisy and support for alqaida. I'd argue that it is hurting Saudi too and threatening Jordan's stability.

Why would Russia stop that? Dragging out that situation is good for Russia and Iran too as long as they ensure Assad's survival. The problem is what happens when neocon Hillary is appointed pres of the US.

Posted by: Alaric | Aug 1, 2016 5:27:16 PM | 28

@25 If true then its game over. The southern front has been inactive for quite some time..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 1, 2016 5:33:15 PM | 29

Lozion @28 Let's hope it is true. Even then, the Anglo-Zionists will drag out the killing and mayhem for as long as possible.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 1, 2016 5:45:30 PM | 30

thanks b.. excellent commentary/overview... thanks also a number of posters that i share a viewpoint with - harrylaw, smoothie, and partly karlof1.. karlof1 - the part about syrian troop level i tend to agree with b on..

Posted by: james | Aug 1, 2016 5:56:26 PM | 31

The Iranian Govt won't be a 'reliable partner' for anyone, including Iranians themselves, until all of the individuals who embraced the Fake Nuclear Deal with the US have offered a full and complete explanation for their apparent gullibility and put on trial for whatever doesn't pass the sniff test. Then (excess) asset-stripped, locked up, and barred from participation in govt for the rest of their lives.
They were either very naughty or very stupid. It doesn't matter which.
I'm still in wait and see mode on Turkey. Erdogan is an uscrupulous megalomaniac with an insatiable appetite for too much money.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1, 2016 6:09:12 PM | 32

@27, if that was Russia's thinking they would have stayed out of Syria entirely and let ISIS and her close cousins take over the whole country. Which would have been the inevitable result without Russian involvement. Once it happened the ensuing refugee crisis and destabilization would have been several multiples of what we see now. While Russia acts in her own interests, as it should, it is not acting with anything resembling the cynicism Russia bashers ascribe to her.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 1, 2016 6:19:13 PM | 33

Al-Masdar News: "Moments ago, reports of the Syrian Army’s capture of the 1070 Building Project, also dubbed by local ‘Al-Nasr neighborhood’, have been confirmed. The Syrian Army’s managed to capture the 50-building apartment complex after intense clashes with the jihadists."

If this is a successful trap, we should see some advances in the next few days.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1, 2016 6:19:17 PM | 34

If this 'rebel' counterattack in Aleppo was their last throw of the dice, they're done.

Putin is waiting patiently for the US to agree to an 'anti-terrorist' military alliance in Syria. To be seen within a partnership of equals with the US is what he wants most, not Russian domination or perpetual animosity. A Multi-polar world where Russia is respected, not undermined like some banana republic. Putin has been trying to make clear that, in Syria, Russia is an indispensable partner, but is also pragmatic enough to accept that so too is the US.

Lavrov and Kerry seem inseparable at the moment and it reminds me of Lavrov's middle eastern tour to drum up support for the same anti-terrorist coalition now pursued with the US, shortly before Russia started throwing bombs on Syria from the Caspian.

The Tu-214R is back and the Admiral Kuznetsov will soon be on its way. Something is cooking.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 1, 2016 6:30:17 PM | 35

A personal opinion: Iranian leaders are to sophisticated to view other countries as amorphous "abroad". The problems with the nuclear deal are with USA. They had a separate set of problems with Russia, but Russia apparently delivered SS-300's, which may also signify a wider variety of weapon deals. One can only guess why Iran provided relatively few troops for active combat. You must remember the logic of limited war: different sides avoid escalation by threatening to escalate, while nobody can really afford an all-out conflict (Syria and Yemen cannot afford what happens either).

Now Turkey will be facing financial threats from Gulfies and secret threats from Russia and Iran. But for Russia/Iran, issuing threats is tricky, e.g. supplying overly good weapons to PKK can backfire on Iran. If China were onboard, that alliance could get more leverage, e.g. a fleet delivering humanitarian aid to folks under Sana government in Yemen (with some Tochkas and other goodies on board of submarines under the fleet). But Chinese prefer to continue Zheng He transition closer to home, they really lack wider perspective.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1, 2016 6:40:38 PM | 36

Deception was always important in Soviet military doctrine, (far more so than for the United States,) and it probably is still as important for Russian military doctrine. That the SAA have repelled the terrorists so quickly suggests that there was some major deception going on here to encourage the terrorists to launch an attack where and when they did.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 1, 2016 7:16:36 PM | 37

b, 'more allied troops and support for the Syrian government would significantly cut the time (and damage) the war will still take. That alone would be well worth additional efforts by Syria's allies. Will Tehran and Moscow agree with that conclusion?'

I think your bottom line is the bottom line. Turkey might help, and the Brits might deal with Iran outside of the EU. A crust of bread and such. But god bless the child that's got his own. He just don't worry 'bout nothin', cause he's got his own.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1, 2016 7:19:07 PM | 38

...
If China were onboard, that alliance could get more leverage, e.g. a fleet delivering humanitarian aid to folks under Sana government in Yemen (with some Tochkas and other goodies on board of submarines under the fleet). But Chinese prefer to continue Zheng He transition closer to home, they really lack wider perspective.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1, 2016 6:40:38 PM | 35

Russia and China rarely, if ever, mention each other publicly. Each is being undermined by the Christian Satanists in different ways, using different methods. They've clearly agreed to pretend that neither has noticed the attacks on the other. It's a good strategy because it keeps Great Satan guessing. Don't hold your breath waiting for Russia & China to make a joint statement about military co-operation. It'll never, ever, happen, even if the Nukes start flying.

They'll each keep up the pretense that their interests are purely national and selfish. It'll soon become obvious that not taking the bait, no matter how dire the the provocation, is driving the Paper Tiger(s) insane-er...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1, 2016 7:25:48 PM | 39

Wonder if Russia will give Houthis advanced AA weapons to use against Saudi planes.

Posted by: Vollin | Aug 1, 2016 8:01:48 PM | 40

@38 hoarse, 'Each is being undermined by the Christian Satanists in different ways, using different methods.'

I can imagine one method applied from two perspectives :

CSs to Russia ... come on! It's you and us against the Chinese, the Chinese hordes want Siberia!
CSs to China  ... come on! You need Lebensraum! It's us and you against the Russians!

There's a hard kernel of fact there and both China and Russia can easily imagine the nihilist CSs going either way with the other.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1, 2016 8:03:03 PM | 41

rg the lg @17:

"He may be off target at times, but he's no apologist for the Empire."

My name for the thing is the Outlaw US Empire--does that sound like I'm an apologist for that massive criminal enterprise, the modern version ongoing since 1945!

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 1, 2016 8:04:10 PM | 42

@39 vollin, 'Wonder if Russia will give Houthis advanced AA weapons to use against Saudi planes.'

Hell, I'll be that Iran still has the stingers left over from the US war against the Russians in Afghanistan.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1, 2016 8:06:10 PM | 43


Too funny, I just came across Mr. Orlov's rather schizophrenic article and came here to post it; and lo and behold, B has discussed it and dear commenters here have talked about it already.

Anyways, @ Piotr, I agree with your military/strategic take on the latest action in the Aleppo theatre. The latest offensive by the Al-Nusra and co. was totally predicted for some time now. The south-west district they decided to attack is free of civilians and thus open season for air attacks once they left their not so secret launch point. Also, heavy artillery by the SAA would most likely be concentrated in full on what the jihadi's have essentially created a kill-box on themselves. The Russian and Syrian and Iranian command are not morons. Yes, there will be some back and forth on the field , as this sort of thing in military jargon is called 'battle pulses', but if the Al-Nusra and co. plan on smashing through with an infantry brigade and a few tanks and a few dozen or so trucks, I will walk out on a limb and say that they will fail and miserably. When infantry is on the offensive, they need 3-to 1 numerically against defenders. And then add to those odds serious air power and heavy artillery, it will be a slaughter. I'm surprised Al-Nusra's CIA handlers allowed them to go for it. I imagine their position is very tenuous , to say the least.

Ok, well, that's my take...I'm still checking things out here and there, but its always good to come by MOA. Cheers to all.

Posted by: bored muslim | Aug 1, 2016 8:15:25 PM | 44

@41, karlof

Don't take it personally. rg/lg just fiddles in one key.


There once was a man with a double chin,
Who played with skill on a violin:
And he played in time and he played in tune,
But he never played anything but 'Old Zip Coon'.
'Old Zip Coon' he played all day,
Until he drove his friends away;
He played all night by the light of the moon
And wouldn't play anything but 'Old Zip Coon'.

I guess we all squint through our single-sights on occasion, though some of us are more steadfast than others. I'm sure everyone has had enough of my old saws as well. My dad used to sing me that song.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1, 2016 8:22:54 PM | 45

@43 bm, 'I'm surprised Al-Nusra's CIA handlers allowed them to go for it.'

The CIA only ever light bombs and throws them. They just do not care what happens after they go off. The CIA is chaos institutionalized. For 69 years now and counting. Ever more out of control. Ever better funded. Ever the less human.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1, 2016 8:30:06 PM | 46

Excellent analysis b. Thank you.

I see some harsh comments about Russia's role in Syria. A few days ago I posted a link to an article by a curious guy called Bel Suave. He said: "the commonality of interests between regimes in power in nations all over the world is much greater than the commonality of interests between any state regime and its citizen/victims. Which is exactly what we are seeing right now, as one rogue regime begins the bloody rampage of state terror against it's own people - and other states all across the globe come to it's defense in support!" We have lost sight of the real battle - that of citizen versus state!"

I think of Yeats' poem "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." The US as centre cannot hold anymore.

Posted by: Lochearn | Aug 1, 2016 9:18:12 PM | 47

SmoothieX12 @6

"48-72 hours deployment of couple of paratroop divisions which will be pretty much over for ISIS in Syria. "

Why hasn't this happened then?

It seems Russia is half-pregnant in Syria since they're not willing to go the full way to defeat the enemy. Powell Doctrine makes most sense in this regard.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 1, 2016 9:27:14 PM | 48

""48-72 hours deployment of couple of paratroop divisions which will be pretty much over for ISIS in Syria. "

Why hasn't this happened then?

It seems Russia is half-pregnant in Syria since they're not willing to go the full way to defeat the enemy. Powell Doctrine makes most sense in this regard."

Because the chaos is good for Russia. Hezbollah and Iranian troops/allies were ready to capture Aleppo when Putin made the peace deal. Both Iran and Hezbollah's leadership were against that peace deal. At the time i figured Putin sought to relieve tensions (turkey was basically threatening to invade as the vanguard of the "Saudi Coalition") and win the PR war but now that you had Brexit and all the troubles in Europe I'm thinking Putin was using America's choas against America and her allies. It has worked like a charm.

The extra time allowed the Kurds to seize addition territory which pissed off Turkey. The chaos and violence spilled into turkey directly too which lead Erdogan to change his position which lead to an attempted coup against Erdogan that was linked to the US. If Erdogan closes his borders or at least limits movement across them then the US will have to try and move Jihadist central from Turkey to Jordan. That would rapidly become an existential threat to Jordan which would turn Jordan away from the US.

Meanwhile the immigrant crisis is destroying the EU. If Putin saw this and planned it, then that man is a genius.

Posted by: alaric | Aug 1, 2016 9:48:42 PM | 49


@ jfl, ya, the CIA is a lost cause, ..the most sinister org. on the planet. Too bad JKF didn't live long enough to disband it. He was going to.

Hey, take a look at this garbage from the supposed anti-war Guardian. Then help yourself to the comments section. You will clearly see they are not in harmony with their readership.

Posted by: bored muslim | Aug 1, 2016 9:52:59 PM | 50


oops, forgot the link...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/01/syrian-rebels-launch-operation-to-break-aleppo-siege

Posted by: bored muslim | Aug 1, 2016 9:53:47 PM | 51


For those who think Russia will waiver or cut and run because of a few tragic helicopters being shot down, take a look at these :

129 helicopters and 24 fixed-wing aircraft have been reported by media to be lost in Iraq https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_shootdowns_and_accidents_during_the_Iraq_War
and Afganistan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_accidents_and_incidents_in_the_war_in_Afghanistan
not forgetting Vietnam losing 2,251 aircraft: 1,737 to hostile action, and 514 in accidents.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War

no....Russia just got started.

Posted by: bored muslim | Aug 1, 2016 11:01:25 PM | 52

I am a one tune player ... and I will readily admit that. I haven't always been ... I volunteered to be in the military after HS. At that point I began to ask why ... and then I was focused simply on Vietnam. Over the years my thinking (produced by reading, and listening) has been transmogrified from a simply one issue question ... why Vietnam ... to why any of the activities of the US.

Yes, I see the evil empire, led by malignant overlords hiding in plain site, as a long term activity. At it's base is a rapacious capitalism ... a communal greed that is part of the AmeriKKKan DNA. It came to the western hemisphere from Europe ... and Columbus, John Smith and the Puritan fathers were all infected with it. It was refined in the US and now AmeriKKKans believe that dominating the world is our right ... bestowed upon us by god, gawd, our own righteousness, and the fact that we are #1 ... even when, or maybe especially when, we lose.

Thus, Killary really does represent our values. But then so does Trump. To believe otherwise is naive at best and simply stupid/ignorant by choice.

So, I vent ... I try to remain consistent. And therefore can be accused of having a one note tune.

I won't stop ... it is a view that many find very off putting.

Tough.

Posted by: rg the lg | Aug 1, 2016 11:10:52 PM | 53

@ rg the lg

My one note samba is to try and get people like you to understand the control tenets of our form of social organization that you call rapacious capitalism.

Capitalism does not exist and except to confuse the focus on private finance, private property and the ongoing accumulation of it through carefully managed global inheritance laws and rules. When the global plutocratic families fart, it is considered "animal spirits" and the world economy responds accordingly. Capitalism exists as a myth to cover reality just like religions do for those easily led.

That question you keep asking about why Vietnam I keep asking about why are we here, how did we get here and what key things would need to change for all the incentives we live by to change. I believe that eliminating private finance and neutering inheritance, both globally, would kill the Gawd of Mammon incentives of possession, greed, avarice and such.

I also make no apology for sharing my perspective and thank the barkeep for the opportunity.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 1, 2016 11:43:38 PM | 54

@27

The problem is what happens when neocon Hillary is appointed pres of the US.
That may be precisely why we're seeing progress. Best to have it mostly decided by the time Hillary takes office. If there are no terrorists left in Syria for her to support, it limits the evil she can do.

Posted by: William Rood | Aug 2, 2016 12:30:43 AM | 55

@31 The Iranians lost nothing in the fake deal. They weren't developing a bomb anyway, and didn't want one. They're assured of a supply of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. European companies are allowed to deal with them on a cash basis, and the US is seen by the world as treacherous. What's not to like?

Posted by: William Rood | Aug 2, 2016 12:35:26 AM | 56

Thank you, b.

Assad: "The greatest number of ISIS commandos are from Norway. They're not Muslim; they go directly from hard rock to terrorism." As quoted by Vanessa Beeley following her interview w him (in company w other journos probably). The admirable Vanessa Beeley continues the tradition of the war correspondent. She's been in Syria & Lebanon off & on for months.

Vanessa segment starts @ 100. Previous segment is Wm Engdahl. http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/07/31/episode-146-sunday-wire-gladio-gestalt-with-guests-f-william-engdahl-vanessa-beeley/

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 2, 2016 1:34:30 AM | 57

You either kill them all in Syria or you will fight them in Russia.Thats the choice Russia has.Europe hasnt that choice.It will have to fight in Europe.No escape.

Posted by: Valhalla Rising | Aug 2, 2016 1:42:32 AM | 58

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 31

Its not black and white. Everyone and their mothers knew US will sabotage the deal, Khamenei said as much before and after the deal was signed (and it was he who had the final say on the matter, not Rouhani).

Why Iran signed it? They decided semi-win is better than continuous isolation and embargo. They havent really sacrificed anything in the deal (non-existent nukes is a non-factor), while got connected to Swift and are allowed to freely trade and export oil/gas. Without the deal even Russia/China were reluctant to openly engage with Iran, now the gates are wide open, with EU rushing to join the party.

Surely banks reluctance to finance and freezed ~100 bln. of funds arent very pleasant, but how that would be any better without nuke deal? In this case US is shown as a treacherous and deal-breaking. Good news is, with US's slowly diminishing influence this sabotage wont last very long, or at least shorter than without the deal.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 2, 2016 4:36:01 AM | 59

@ Lysander | 32

if that was Russia's thinking they would have stayed out of Syria entirely and let ISIS and her close cousins take over the whole country

If that happens, US would move to the next target, with jihadis transported to Iran and Russia's Caucasus for Libya 3.0 scenario. Russia absolutely cannot allow this to happen, neither does Iran (or Iraq, or Lebanon).

While Russia acts in her own interests, as it should, it is not acting with anything resembling the cynicism Russia bashers ascribe to her.

There is no level of cynicism greater than displayed by Russia in Syria or Donbass. No wonder both Hezbollah and Iran in disgust are leaving Allepo's zone over Russia's betrayal (going along with US balkanization (cue Churkins speech) and allowing permanent safe havens for terrorists in Syria with bogus peace deal, while blocking anti-terrorists campaign). Russia only asks for US some concessions for itself, but US isnt giving that, therefore stand-off continues.

The Russia's crossroad in Syria mentioned in this thread will be reached when (if) Killary gets elected, after that Russia will have to choose, no more stalling.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 2, 2016 4:55:10 AM | 60

My one note samba is
Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 1, 2016 11:43:38 PM | 53

This and the ones above made me think about what my "one note samba" might be. Haven't come to any relevant conclusion yet, except that it's a good way of formulating that question to once in a while ask oneself. Which some people here obviously do, which makes this a nice place to read into regularly. Cheers.

Posted by: radiator | Aug 2, 2016 5:08:33 AM | 61

Great post b, as always, kudos for keeping up with the state of affairs.

I have one request though - could we, please, have a RSS feed for comments?

That would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 5:09:31 AM | 62

@ blowback | Aug 1, 2016 7:16:36 PM | 36
"Deception was always important in Soviet military doctrine, (far more so than for the United States,) and it probably is still as important for Russian military doctrine."

Yes, and not only in their military, but in intelligence (some times foreign policy) as well. I believe it's called maskirovka

As I said before, the Russians have been playing by the Sun Tzu book a lot, they favorite seems to be:

"Appear week when you are strong, appear strong when weak

Russian outlets like Orlov or the Saker have been putting a lot of effort
to make Russia appear week when necessary.

Of course AngloZio propaganda have been exploiting blatantly that Russian strategy each time casting doubts and trying to crush the spirit of the Resistance supporters.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 5:19:22 AM | 63

Also a lot of Russian military PR is "fog of war" and unfortunately many commenters fall for that - loosing patience, having doubts, ...

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 5:22:13 AM | 64

bored muslim @ 50
With the Guardian's comment section, it depends when they open it - if the Americans get there first, it's all neo-lib.
William Rood @ 54

it limits the evil she can do

I've been thinking that for the last few days. Obama has tried to avoid all out conflict with Russia despite the rhetoric so leaving things hanging so that psychopath HRC can get her war on, damages his legacy. The best thing he can do is cut off weapon supplies to the head choppers. After this attack on Aleppo, if the head choppers complain about a shortage of weapons, we'll have a better idea of what he's up to..
All
As for greater Iranian and Russian army involvement in Syria, this is about persuading the funder and armourers that the Syrian regime will not go away and that it's sustainable with limited outside support. So if the Russian and Iranian armies become heavily involved, the head choppers will melt away until the Russian and Iranian armies pull out, then they will come back. This could go on for decades. However, if the Syrian army with volunteers from Iraq and Lebanon, and paid fighters from Afghanistan can demonstrate they can do the job, the funders and armourers are eventually going to go away. If the Russians could launch a few Kalibr cruise missiles at the palaces and the government offices of the GCC members involved, then I suspect the funding would disappear sooner but that would upset the US and UK too much so they can't. So far Russia and Iran, the odd adviser here or there works, "boots on the ground" doesn't. BTW, people do know that the US had 40,000 odd advisers in Vietnam before they "put boots on the ground", so there are opportunities. As for China, the best thing they could do would be to develop a $25 simple JDAM kit and supply them free to the RuAF and the SAAF.
It's like the Iran Nuclear programme, demonstrating how advanced it was, even if it was all civilian, persuaded Obama that he had to deel.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 2, 2016 5:22:38 AM | 65

# Pat Bateman | Aug 1, 2016 6:30:17 PM | 34 "something's cooking"

Yes :-) Charles de Gaulle is coming to the ME theater, 4 Polish F16 too, things are heating up in the Ukraine, Deutsche Bank is close to bankruptcy, Brexit resolution due in Autumn, some more important deadlines then too...

October will be full of surprises apparently.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 5:27:29 AM | 66

Pope's message to the villains from the AngloZio global anti-human cabal who, like Erdogan (but also from lower places), want to cross onto "The light side of the Force":

» Pope Francis: WYD Krakow 2016 final Mass homily (full text)


...An amazing encounter then takes place, with Zacchaeus, the chief “publican” or tax collector. Zacchaeus was thus a wealthy collaborator of the hated Roman occupiers, someone who exploited his own people, someone who, because of his ill repute, could not even approach the Master. His encounter with Jesus changed his life, just as it has changed, and can daily still change, each of our lives...

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 5:46:32 AM | 67

Pecunia non olet ("money does not stink") is a Latin saying.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 2, 2016 5:51:08 AM | 68

Good read: Britain’s Incorrigible Warmongering Towards Russia

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 2, 2016 6:31:52 AM | 69

US Military Chief condemns coup attempt in Turkey


Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford has met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in an attempt to mend strained ties with the strategic American ally in the aftermath of last month’s attempted coup.

Dunford, who was the first international leader to visit Turkey since the coup, said his meetings with Yildirim and other Turkish officials, including Chief of the General Staff General Hulusi Akar, were positive and “not accusatory at all.”

Dunford also paid a visit to the Incirlik Air Base, a strategic platform in the Turkish city of Adana which houses a huge NATO nuclear arsenal and is used by the US to carry out airstrikes against Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Dunford told media that despite differences with Turkey in the fight against Daesh, “we will have all the access we need to Incirlik” and other US military bases across Turkey.


Over 800 Terrorists Killed by Syrian Army & Russian Bombers in Aleppo

“The Syrian army troops and Russian air force repelled a massive militant attack today. More than 800 militants were killed, and 14 tanks, 10 infantry fighting vehicles, and more than 60 technical vehicles with mounted weapons were destroyed,” the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said on Monday.

“The Russian Aerospace Forces actively supports government troops in repelling enemy attacks, carrying out selective strikes on militant positions,” Sergei Rudskoy said.


Turkey Demands to Stop Bombings on Aleppo Cityy

“All attacks on Aleppo, including air strikes, must be discontinued immediately. Turkey’s support for the Syrian people will be continued,” the Anadolu news agency quoted the words of Cavusoglu.

Doesn't sound like Turkey is leaving NATO or that Turkey has seen the light on Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 2, 2016 7:04:09 AM | 70

Funny - I find NOTHING about the al-Qaeda attack on Aleppo in U.S. newspapers. Even the agency list at Yahoo news only has one AFP piece that goes into it.

Instead we get some Kerry nonsense asking Russia to stop "offensive actions".

As the attack seems not to happen at all, will the resulting defeat of the attackers, now likely, also not happen?

Posted by: b | Aug 2, 2016 8:03:25 AM | 72

48;The refugee crisis is all Zionist based,and Putin might have recognized what would happen from our war of terror,the Zionists and their American toads didn't give a flying f*ck what would happen,as we and they are garbage.
My one note tune of course is the horrible rot caused by zion on america,its future and people at the mercy of bean counting atheist scum with absolutely no noble spirit at all.
And contrary to rg,Trump is the only answer.
Contrary to some here,who seem to feel a Hell Bitch inevitability,I disagree heartily,as the MSM is a far out of touch with the American people as Mars.
What they spew,we know is untrue.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 2, 2016 8:34:39 AM | 73

b @71 More on Kerry's nonsense.."Speaking to reporters today, Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia and the Syrian government both halt all offensive operations inside Syria, making no moves against any rebel factions, saying Russia had an obligation to ensure that the Assad government also stopped trying to gain territory in the civil war".http://news.antiwar.com/2016/08/01/kerry-russia-syria-must-stop-all-offensive-operations-against-all-rebels/ Also an excellent new article by Professor Tim Anderson here..http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Syrian-Endgame-Aleppo-and-Plan-C-20160801-0005.html

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 2, 2016 8:49:29 AM | 74

@71 b 'I find NOTHING about the al-Qaeda attack on Aleppo in U.S. newspapers ...'

Life behind the corporate-media-drawn curtain is grey and bland ... the sunlight never peeps in ... the USSA is a closed police state ... its citizens zombies ... enlivened only during 2-minute hates ... U-S-A-! U-S-A-! U-S-A-! ... then they plunge back into the twilight ... till next time ...

Posted by: jfl | Aug 2, 2016 8:51:01 AM | 75

Read this.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/02/there-are-no-democratic-or-green-saviors-get-in-the-streets/

Seems like I'm not the only one saying revolt.

Posted by: rg the lg | Aug 2, 2016 9:12:52 AM | 76

@b

Kerry's remarks aren't nonsense ... John is the weathercock of the White House, his remarks indicate in which direction the wind is blowing. The Obama administration thrives by division of foreign policy on the Middle East and specifically Syria. It appears VP Joe and aggressive Octogon Ashton are allowed to play their hand for a while. Obama hasn't got a clue, so no decision yet on the survival of Assad.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 2, 2016 9:32:46 AM | 77

On the state of Turkey, no surprises ...

Turkey In Alliance with ISIS - Undermining Obama's Policy In Iraq - Sept. 2014

Posted by: Oui | Aug 2, 2016 9:34:12 AM | 78

@likklemore #2
In the dailymail article they're still pushing the idea of 300,000 in Aleppo but crediting the UN with the count/estimate.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 2, 2016 9:56:23 AM | 79

And we have this rubbish posted today in The Telegraph, (UK) with a Gallery of photos of destroyed hospital.

“Britain needs to fill the global leadership vacuum that is allowing Bashar al-Assad to starve Syrians”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/02/britain-needs-to-fill-the-global-leadership-vacuum-that-is-allow/

“Aleppo is the new Srebrenica.” That simple phrase from the former UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, should send chills down the spines of leaders around the world. The massacre of thousands of men, women, and children a little over 20 years ago at Srebrenica represents a monumental failure by the international community – a failure that we are repeating today in Aleppo.


= = = = =

Nary a word was written when Russia liberated the beautiful city of Palmyra.

When was Andrew’s last visit to Aleppo? Oh wait.


Global media representing the established governance hold the view their readers’ IQ register south of 50.

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 2, 2016 10:04:56 AM | 80

@71
So if a jihadist falls in the desert, does it make a sound?

Posted by: xLemming | Aug 2, 2016 10:28:37 AM | 81

Turkey will be a force for Syrian unity and against a long-term stalemate. The Syrian Kurdish region would have to be autonomous rather than independent, and Assad surely will agree. As long as the Kurds can accept that -- which I assume means no Kurdish military but maybe some kind of fancy regional police force -- a deal can be made. But everywhere else the Western mercenaries/jihadists need to be gotten rid of.

OT fun: Houthis explode incompetent Saudi sitting duck tanks and 4x4s, shouting 'f##k America, F##k Israel, F##k Saudi America' after each hit. Don't trust my translation though. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcRgGctYwJc

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 2, 2016 10:40:32 AM | 82

While I generally agree with the analysis, my impression is that it's getting increasingly difficult to even speak of a 'US position'. State department, Pentagon and CIA seem to pursue very different strategies, sometimes with conflicting tactics and goals. So it may be wrong to say that 'US negotiation was not serious' - it may well have been from the side of the State department, without this having any effect on CIA activities in the region.

Yes, I know that this could be a typical case of 'good cop, bad cop', but I have my doubts. What if this split is actually real?

Posted by: smuks | Aug 2, 2016 10:44:06 AM | 83

It's sad to say but the Syrian army is not up to task without Russia/Iran/Hezbollah's support. They can't defend against swarm attack and are always caught off-guard.

Their inability to hold territory is just unbelievable.. The terrorist army are always able to advance without air cover and quickly gain ground whereas the Syrian army can't defend a block with artillery or air cover. That says a lot!! Anytime they capture an area, instead of them fortifying defences (mines, traps etc) and taking the initiative to go on the offensive, they just sit there and wait for the rats to attack them again and again.

Unless Iran physically intervenes, I don't see how things will change. The mercenaries have the upper hand in terms of numbers because there're far too many dumb "Sunnis" waiting to join their "revolution". The situation in and around Aleppo is not looking good. The entire city is in real danger.

Posted by: Zico | Aug 2, 2016 11:15:09 AM | 84

...
Everyone and their mothers knew US will sabotage the deal, Khamenei said as much before and after the deal was signed (and it was he who had the final say on the matter, not Rouhani).
...
Posted by: Harry | Aug 2, 2016 4:36:01 AM | 58

Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of Khamenei's before and after statement(s). All I recall, on the day the deal was signed, was everyone and their mothers (and Leveretts) dancing in the street and shedding tears of Joy. And while the Rapture was proceeding Hw was following b's link to the non-agreement agreement, getting the gist of it, and thinking "WTF is everyone and their Mums (and Leveretts) talking about!!??"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 2, 2016 12:46:39 PM | 85

@ likklemore - #79

"The massacre of thousands of men, women, and children a little over 20 years ago at Srebrenica..."

If that is an accurate quote from Egeland, the U.N. reprsentative doesn't know shit about their previous failures in Bosnia. Bill and first lady Hillary were fully aware the UN Arms Embargo was circumvented by black night flights into Tuzla coordinated by the U.S. with support from Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and with planes from NATO partner Turkey. Look up the Croatian [Arms] Pipeline in the Dutch Srebrenica report. This left the first imprint of a base of Al Qaeda in Europe.

Everyone still remembers the scenes at the Dutch military camp where men and boys were seperated from women and girls. The women were forced into buses and transported north. The forces of Milosevic executed the males from the citizens of Bosnia.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 2, 2016 12:52:40 PM | 86

Erdogan blames ‘foreign powers’ for coup and says West is supporting terrorism | The Independent |

ANKARA, August 2, 2016 - Turkey's president has accused the West of “supporting terrorism” and said the coup in his country was organised by foreign powers.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Turkey would be unable to continue its strategic allegiance with the US if it continues to “harbour” the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish government of instigating the coup attempt.

And he also took aim specifically at Germany, after a German court ruled against allowing him to appear on a video link to address a crowd of about 30,000 supporters and anti-coup demonstrators in Cologne over the weekend.

In an address for foreign investors in Ankara which was broadcast by the TRT network, Mr Erdogan said: “I have to say that this was done by foreign powers. This was not done only domestically…the scenario was written outside of Turkey.”

He repeated a complaint that no foreign leader had visited Turkey since the failed coup on 15 July, which left more than 270 people dead.

Turkey summons German diplomat over Erdogan ban

Posted by: Oui | Aug 2, 2016 1:05:41 PM | 87

@ Oui 85


But, but ….. I just read Slobodan Milosevic, the late former President of Yugoslavia, ( is that the same Milosevic ? ((/s)) was exonerated for war crimes:

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/354362-slobodan-milosevic-exonerated-us-nato/

The ICTY’s exoneration of the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, for war crimes committed in the Bosnia war, proves again we should take NATO claims regarding its ’official enemies’ not with a pinch of salt, but a huge lorry load.

For the past twenty odd years, neocon commentators and 'liberal interventionist' pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated) was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s. Repeat after me in a robotic voice (while making robotic arm movements): 'Milosevic's genocidal aggression' 'Milosevic's genocidal aggression'.

But the official narrative, just like the one that told us that in 2003, Iraq had WMDs which could be launched within 45 minutes, was a deceitful one, designed to justify a regime change-op which the Western elites had long desired.

The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.” [.]


= = = = =
(emphasis mine)

Is this credible?

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 2, 2016 1:34:07 PM | 88

Slobodan Milosevic and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague

I meant to speak of Ratko Mladić, the Army commander at Srebrenica - proceedings at ICTY in The Hague. A stone's throw from where I reside momentarily.

Due to his death while on trial, the proceedings against Slobodan Milosevic was terminated and there will be no judgement.

    What can be salvaged from the terminated Milosevic trial? One candidate for substitute judgment was the Decision on the Motion for Acquittal brought under the Tribunal's Rule 98bis. Halfway through the trial, when the prosecution rested, the Trial Chamber had to decide whether there was a case to answer. The Chamber declared that the trial should go forward, though what the judges actually decided was necessarily ambiguous: The prosecution had presented enough evidence that a court could find Milosevic guilty-but they didn't say that this court would. Since there never was a final verdict, the decision has become a site of contestation and ambiguous value.
    [Source: A Kind of Judgment: Searching for Judicial Narratives After Death]

I do recall that genocide was not proven at the ICTY, most suspects were convicted of war crimes.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 2, 2016 2:10:03 PM | 89

@87 likklemore

More detail here:
http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/smorg-aw071816.htm

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 2, 2016 2:12:11 PM | 90

Iranians are not working on nuclear weapons. They are depending on EMP weapons to do the job. No deaths but the enemy brought to his knees.

Posted by: mischi | Aug 2, 2016 2:14:11 PM | 91

Current battle update by Canthama at bottom of this threads of comments. It appears terrorists have committed their reserves, http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/the-battle-for-aleppo-is-heating-up-as-terrorists-heave-a-last-breath-to-lift-the-siege-terrorist-lies-in-media-rebutted-with-syrian-supplies-of-food-and-medicine-flowing-into-aleppo.html#comments

Current Battle Map, https://twitter.com/PetoLucem/status/760445007966994436

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 2, 2016 2:48:48 PM | 92

Just posted at Sputniknews - developing:

"Militants Use Chemical Weapons in Syria's Aleppo"

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160802/1043874842/militants-aleppo-chemical-weapons.html

Terrorists have fired shells filled with a toxic gas in the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing five civilians, local popular defense forces told RIA Novosti.
"Terrorists have used a weapon causing asphyxia and damaging the nervous system. Five people have died from suffocation," a militia member said.[.]

Aleppo is partially controlled by Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as the al-Nusra Front), an terrorist group outlawed in Russia and other countries along with Daesh.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 2, 2016 2:56:16 PM | 93

@87,88,89

Don't you understand that Milošević was a useful idiot sent by City of London, where he had worked few years, to destroy Yugoslavia in what was first color revolution after the fall of USSR. And, yes, stupid Serbs jumped on his nationalistic band wagon to rape and pilage, and now most of them are regretting taking leading role in destruction of our country on behalf of Western bankers.

Posted by: ex-sarajlija | Aug 2, 2016 3:03:41 PM | 94

@93
No.
Go Google jihadists Milosevic

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 2, 2016 3:37:47 PM | 95

Chlorine was front page of the bbc for most of the day.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 2, 2016 4:00:46 PM | 96

@95
I guess they say Putin dit it?

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 2, 2016 4:06:56 PM | 98

They say not sure who did it, first but then mention it happened precisely where the Russian helicopter was shot yesrerday and that they would have proven the Syrian army did it before. Strangely enough no mention yet on any French msm.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 2, 2016 4:14:00 PM | 99

@Piotr Berman / @35
By economic threats from gulfies, what do you mean?
The main reason for Erdogan even considering repaired relations with Russia is because of Russia withholding its tourists and targetted exclusion from Russian market; these moves threw an already struggling Turkey into serious economic trouble. This point can not be over emphasised.
The US nor its allies have such an immediate economic relation with Turkey.
Russia has not even agreed to restoring full economic ties - fruit and vegetable imports to Russia, for instance, will not be restored,and yet Ersogan is willing to do Russias bidding why?
Because Erdogans key standing domestically is his economic 'miracle' he understands this reality and will not have it threatened. And yet Turkey is experiencing a third summer of very low economic activity ... businesses are not working, they are waiting... Erdogan is rightly very nervous.
For Turkey NOT to turn to Russia, at least partially, would take a massive play from the US or its allies - is anyone ready to do that?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 2, 2016 4:33:39 PM | 100

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