Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 17, 2017

How The U.S. Enabled ISIS To Take Deir Ezzor

The city of Deir Ezzor (Deir ez-Zur) in east-Syria is on the verge of falling into the hands of the Takfiris of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). More than 100,000 civilian inhabitants of Deir Ezzor and thousands of soldiers defending them are in immediate danger of being murdered by the savage ISIS forces. The current situation is a direct consequence of U.S. military action against the SAA and non-action against ISIS.

Deir Ezzor is besieged by ISIS since September 2015. But the city was well defended by its garrison of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and all further attacks by ISIS were repelled. Supply to the city was hauled in by air through the Deir Ezzor airport and through air drops by the Syrian and Russian airforces. Relief by ground forces and ground supplies are not possible as Deir Ezzor is more than 100 km away from the nearest SAA positions west of Palmyra and as the desert in between is under the control of ISIS.


Google map - bigger

Four days ago a new attack by ISIS on Deir Ezzor was launched and has since continued. ISIS reinforcements and resupplies had come over months despite air interdiction from the Russian and Syrian airforces. Yesterday ISIS managed to cut off the airport, where the local SAA command and its main supplies are hosted, from the city proper. It is now attacking in full force from all sides. Bad weather makes air support from the outside sporadic and difficult. Unless some unforeseen happens it is only a question of time until the airport and the city fall to ISIS.


Map by Peto Lucem - bigger

The U.S. has condoned and/or even actively supported the imminent ISIS taking of Deir Ezzor by (at least) three measures:

  • a massive U.S. air attack on SAA forces in September 2016 enabled ISIS to take a controlling position and to cut off SAA resupplies
  • a U.S. attack against a power station in January disabled the last electricity supplies to the city
  • U.S. non-intervention enabled ISIS reinforcements from Mosul and west Iraq to Deir Ezzor in east-Syria

On September 16 2016 an hour long U.S. led air attack on SAA positions on the Tharda hills to the south of the airport killed over 100 SAA soldiers, destroyed a big SAA supply dump and several SAA tanks and artillery pieces. Immediately after the U.S. attack ISIS took the hills and has since held them. The positions allow for fire control over the airport of Deir Ezzor.

The U.S. military claimed that the attack was a mistake but a thorough reading of the investigation report of that "mistake" shows that the U.S. military attack was intentionally targeting the SAA to make a political point against an announced U.S.-Russian cooperation agreement to fight ISIS. (Danish airforce F-16 planes and drones under U.S. command had taken part in the attack. After the report was published, the Danish government pulled all air elements from its participation in the U.S. coalition against ISIS.)

Since the U.S. attack in September no significant air supplies have reached Deir Ezzor. Even helicopter landing at the airport is only possible at night and by taking very high risks. The city inhabitants and their defenders are completely cut off.

Early January U.S. airforce attacks destroyed the electricity plant at the Omar oilfield near Deir Ezzor. The plant was the last one to supply the city of Deir Ezzor. Since then only a few military generators and dwindling fuel supplies are left for medical and communication equipment.

When the Iraqi Army plans for retaking the ISIS held city of Mosul were developed and commenced in October the U.S. insisted on leaving a western corridor open for ISIS forces inclined to flee from Mosul into the direction of Deir Ezzor. Hundreds if not thousands of ISIS fighters used the corridor. The U.S. controlled Kurdish forces in north Iraq let ISIS pass from Iraq to Syria. Fearing (correctly) that an ISIS move out of Mosul towards Deir Ezzor would mean the fall of Deir Ezzor Russia and Iran intervened with the Iraqi government. Despite U.S. wishes the Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi ordered his Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) to cut off the western exit:

Iran was not the only country pressing for the escape to be closed west of Mosul. Russia, another powerful Assad ally, also wanted to block any possible movement of militants into Syria, said Hashemi. The Russian defence ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

One of Assad’s biggest enemies, France, was also concerned that hundreds of fighters linked to attacks in Paris and Brussels might escape. The French have contributed ground and air support to the Mosul campaign.
...
Still, the battle plan did not foresee closing the road to the west of Mosul until Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi agreed in late October to despatch the Popular Mobilisation militias.

Despite a fast advance by the PMU from the south against Tal Afar to cut off the escape road many ISIS fighters in west Iraq were able to flee across the border and towards Deir Ezzor with their equipment in tact. They reinforced the ISIS troops now attacking Deir Ezzor. The U.S. has uncontested air superiority over west Iraq and east Syria but did not once intervene against the large scale move.

If ISIS takes Deir Ezzor it will likely kill (as it did on other occasions) all captured SAA troops and anyone it believes to have cooperated with them. The soldiers know this. They will fight down to the last bullet. But without any reinforcements and resupplies their chances are slim.

When the Syrian government besieged al-Qaeda forces in east-Aleppo the "western" media and the various "Syrian opposition" propaganda outlets were running an all out campaign in support of the besieged Takfiris. There is no such campaign in support of the civilians and soldiers in Deir Ezzor. In their few reports about the imminent fall of Deir Ezzor "western" publications even resort to outright lying. Thus claims the Daily Telegraph:

The US-led coalition, as well as the Russians, have been bombing the jihadists in Deir Ezzor for the last 18 months but have been unable to dislodge them.

No significant U.S. air attacks have been flown against ISIS forces around Deir Ezzor at all. All attacks flown by the U.S. in the area have been against Syrian government troops or their supporting infrastructure.

The U.S. official rhetoric about fighting ISIS is not supported by observable facts on the battle field. One can only conclude that the U.S. military does not only condone but supports ISIS in gaining control over Deir Ezzor despite the extreme high risk for anyone left in the city.

This likely to further the larger long term plan of installing a "Salafist principality" in western Iraq and eastern Syria that creates a justification for the U.S. military to stay in the area to "fight ISIS" and which can be activated against the Syrian and Iraqi government whenever convenient. U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have both admitted that they earlier allowed ISIS to grow in Iraq and Syria for exactly such political purposes.

Posted by b on January 17, 2017 at 06:53 AM | Permalink

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Posted by: b | Jan 17, 2017 7:53:05 AM | 1

I thought the SAA had retaken the hills after the September air attack that gave cover to the ISIS assault.

Posted by: Heath | Jan 17, 2017 8:02:03 AM | 2

OMG. Unforgivable ... These are War Crimes ... preceded by specific, targeted, deceitful and duplicitous breaches of the Laws of War ...

What did any of the trapped, civilians ... grandparent, parent, child, or soldiers, do to deserve any of this!

We are become, Death ...

All wars are civil wars, for all men & women are but brothers & sisters, as all humans are relatives within a single family, known as, humanity, on Terra.

Though not according to the wealthiest 0.01%, who own it all, and ultimately drive these events ... the Old Grey haired Men. Soulless they are.

@ b

Re Meta. Is there any way to enable/move to verified, registered or email associated accounts ? Re ID hijacking ? Just askin' ...

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 8:08:01 AM | 3

b:

... the U.S. military attack was intentionally targeting the SAA to make a political point against an announced U.S.-Russian cooperation agreement to fight ISIS.IMO this is a misreading. You are being too kind in giving Kerry (and by extension, Obama) the benefit of the doubt. You acknowldge this later when you say that "US official rhetoric about fighting ISIS is not supported by observable facts on the battlefield . . . likely to further the larger long term plan to install a 'Salafist principality'".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 8:48:28 AM | 5

Thanks for calling attention to this, b.
I found some of this at Southfront, Antiwar, and here (even BBC) but not reported much anywhere else and definitely not in US media. It's not showing White Helmets pulling kids out of rubble. It doesn't support the doctrine of R2DOC - Responsibility to Destroy Other Countries.

The US is dropping supplies to forces moving on Raqqa.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/01/17/united-states-planes-dropping-supplies-isil-syria/96558314/

"The fight in Syria is being waged by tribal and other irregular forces. Airdrops are a lifeline to the forces there."
And when US media covers the war, somehow lies get thrown in.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces, which consists of Kurdish and Arab units, have been growing in size and have made advances toward Raqqa in recent months."
And who are these guys? What happened to FSA? And Arabs ... from where?

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 17, 2017 8:56:04 AM | 6

Looking at twitter, there is a lot of calls for this or that intervention, to protect rebel-held areas (#savewadibarada), by dubious social media activists. But where are the calls, by the same people, for this or that intervention to protect government-held areas? They couldn't care less.

Posted by: never mind | Jan 17, 2017 9:08:39 AM | 7

you called this a while back b. it looks like syria, russia, and iran have written off deir ezzor ... and with it eastern syria. they know better even than yourself what's up there, and have known for at least as long as you have. relief was not in their calculations. it looks like the end for the saa in eastern syria, the slaughter of the brave soldiers there who have held out for so long, abandoned now to their fate in place, and the establishment of the sunni salafist state over their dead bodies. relief at this point seems too expensive for syria, iran, and russia to provide. surely they would have provided it before things got to this point if they were going to make the effort at all.

maybe i'm wrong. i certainly hope so.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 17, 2017 9:26:36 AM | 8

Very well done. Yet another tragedy is coming and all we can do is watch - while not reading about it in the M$M.

Posted by: Mantiq al-Tayr | Jan 17, 2017 9:34:57 AM | 9

@ jfl | 8

Russia might be indifferent about Sunnistan, but Syria and Iran absolutely not. If path Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon is severed, it would significantly complicate situation for them.

Reason why Deir Ezzor isnt relieved yet is simple - no man power. If SAA still havent taken back Palmyra, and even such crucial point as restoring water supply to Damascus goes very slow, it shows how thin army is spread. Taking back Deir Ezzor and securing the region would take tens of thousands of extra soldiers Syria doesnt have, Russia wont commit, and Iran already doing the best they can without rocking the boat too much (sanctions can be restarted at any moment if Iran oversteps).

Posted by: Harry | Jan 17, 2017 9:40:38 AM | 10

The previous attack on Palmyra and push Westwards was then obviously a calculated move. By making the T4 airbase - halfway between Damascus and Deir es-Zor - unsafe at worst, and at best by actually capturing it, ISIS greatly limits the capabilities of airplanes to help DeZ.
At this point, I'm not sure precision or targetted bombings could save the day, and I don't think Putin and RUAF is ready to carpet-bomb and fire-bomb the whole place - civilian casualties and even collateral damages hitting SAA would be high.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 17, 2017 9:41:57 AM | 11

http://time.com/3916518/isis-syria-photographs/
https://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/comments/2wrxv2/how_did_isis_manage_to_defeat_the_alshaitat_tribe/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/10/sunni-tribes-oil-smuggling-syria_n_3250157.html

Local Beduin tribes who already have internal fights about the actual borders of each tribe's land + one-century-old refugees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_ez-Zor_Camps) who don't share the same religion + modern urban citizens who look at education and hospitals and a functioning state as a positive environment + a desert strech to the Iraqi border and behind it, other Arab Sunni tribes with family connections to the ones living in and around Deir el Zor.
Call it 'complicate'

Posted by: Mina | Jan 17, 2017 9:59:45 AM | 12

Obama/Carter have only a few days left to take Deir Ezzor. This has been awhile in the planning, from moving fighter from Mosul to the US attack to the retaking of Palmyra and the cutting of of water supplies to Damascus. All co-ordinated from the very top.
Be interesting to see how long it takes Trump to turn the Pentagon around and turn them against ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 17, 2017 10:15:23 AM | 13

The one word missing from this analysis: Putin. Where the fuck is he? Has he cut bait and run (again)?

After the USG blew up the SAA, it was alleged here Putin took control of the airspace. Guess not.

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 10:22:30 AM | 14

Denis at 10:22:30 AM 14
To some extent I agree, but then again I assume russian aerial attacks on IS positions near Deir Ezzor would have hightend the danger of a direct clash with the u.s. Putin is not the one who will risk that. In any case it is realy bitter to have to admit another u.s.-win by IS. I have little hopes this will change in the future.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 17, 2017 10:43:15 AM | 15

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 17, 2017 10:15:23 AM | 13:

Be interesting to see [1] how long it takes Trump to turn the Pentagon around and [2] turn them against ISIS.
(1) Will Trump be allowed to make any true about face?

(2) Its possible that Trump will cease any support for ISIS as he tries to reach a deal with Putin BUT other allies will just increase their support.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 10:43:32 AM | 16

On September 16 2016 an hour long U.S. led air attack on SAA positions on the Tharda hills to the south of the airport killed over 100 SAA soldiers, destroyed a big SAA supply dump and several SAA tanks and artillery pieces

For any reality denying apologists, and anyone who doubts the Hour long attack, or any of the other duplitious and criminal events leading to this new horror of Stalingrad in Syria, without a Soviet Front Army surprise counter-attack coming to turn the tide and save the inhabitants of Dier-Ezzor ?

Review these events re even a supposed US ally, NOT a declared enemy, Pakistan, and and it's forces, when the Empire, wished to send a 'Message' ... oh, and conveniently, the multiple repeated, desperate, pleading calls/comms were delayed, discounted, misunderstood, and denied, until after the Pakistani corpses had gone cold ...

The supposed US investigation of those undeclared Acts of War, and War Crimes, against an Ally, were also explained away as simple and unnacountable, unpunished ... mere mistakes. :(

MOA - November 27, 2011
Why Are They Patrolling On The Border Line(Afghan/Pakistan), by b

Memogate and the U.S. attack on the Pakistani border post that killed 28 Pakistani soldier increases the chance of Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party to win the next Pakistani election. Kahn is against the U.S. Pakistan alliance. It also increases the risk of a coup by some lower rank officers in Pakistan.

This is all well known by the U.S. and that is why there is something with the deadly attack which I do not get:

A NATO spokesman, Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, offered details suggesting that allied and Afghan troops operating near the border came under fire from unknown enemies and summoned coalition warplanes for help.

“In the early night hours of this morning, a force consisting of Afghan forces and coalition forces, in the eastern border area where the Durand Line is not always 100 percent clear, got involved in a firefight,” General Jacobson said [...]

“Air force was called in into this activity,” he said, “and we have to look into this situation of what actually happened on the ground.”

The Pakistani border post that was attacked is on a high point some 1.5 miles within Pakistani territory. The actual border line is not always clear, there are no markings, and at 2:00am in the middle of the night no patrol in the area will be able to tell on which side of the border it really is.

...

To a US Ally, with Nukes!

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 10:47:41 AM | 17

Time for the Russian to make the ground glow.Throw everything in.No civilians anywhere.Carpet bomb these tiny pieces of land, napalm,FAEs,Father of Bombs..let it rain fire and brimstone.The small approach doesnt work here.How about lifting Airborne Assault Troops in,Combat jump.

Posted by: Valhalla Rising | Jan 17, 2017 10:52:06 AM | 18

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 10:22:30 AM | 14

The one word missing from this analysis: Obama. Where the fuck is he? Has he cut bait and run (again)?

Before the USG blew up the SAA, it was alleged here Obama had complete control of the airspace. Guess it was so.

Respectfully, these events cannot be understood nor resolved, nor any ever held accountable to the bright light of Day, when it is discussed or referenced in ultra-simplistic, cartoonish, terms such as 'Evil Obama', or 'Evil Putin', did this or that ... Pleeease.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 10:56:27 AM | 19

Continuting @5

Obama, Kerry, et al aren't stupid and they have the institutional power and responsibility to know what is really going on.

We should not ALLOW political leaders to be let off the hook because they are crafty enough to position themselves as good-hearted peace-lovers.

This kind of bullshitting is are FAR worse than the "following orders" non-excuse.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 11:02:32 AM | 20

Harry | Jan 17, 2017 9:40:38 AM | 10: Reason why Deir Ezzor isnt relieved yet is simple - no man power.


Bingo. And no Russian air support, apparently. Kurds are 50 mi N. SAA 115 mi E, dealing w/ Palmyra redux. Nobody else in sight except Daesh. Turks? No way. Hezbollah? Probably not, they don’t do desert.

Liveaumap reports 5 hrs ago: US increasing airdrops of supplies to forces battling ISIS in Deir Ezzor area. Yeah, I wonder where those goodies will end up.

This one always looked really tenuous for Assad. However, it doesn’t look like Daesh poured into town after the assault on Mosul began, as many predicted. But with all the head-choppers Assad/Putin let escape from Aleppo and Palmyra I, an attack on the DE airport was all but guaranteed, if for no other reason than to take pressure off of Raqqah

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 11:06:26 AM | 21

re:14

IMHO, Putin has his hands tied not wanting to accept the escalation sought by the salient Administration. It is patent to many observers that
the wreckage of the TU 154 going to Mehmin was explosion related considering the spread of the debris, the altitude and the silence of the pilots
preceding the disaster. Yet Russian dismissed sabotage or bombs as possible culprits.

It did look like Russia was being inflicted a series of retaliation provoking blows in order to short circuit the prospective thawing of the relationship
between Washington and the Kremlin. So Putin let his pieces be slaughtered trying to preserve a possible peace upon Trumps installation.

Probably for that reason the S400s and other means were not used to blow these supply aircraft to oblivion.

In the case of the dog wagging his tail, Israel attacks the vicinity of Damascus repeatedly and, again, Russia stays mum. Probably
again a maneuver coopted to bring some kind of reaction from the Russians.

All this restraint from Putin may well prove fruitless as Trump is already conditioning the lifting of sanctions to unattainable concessions from Russia.

Meanwhile again, the forward momentum is lost because Russia also has to react to the building of hostile forces along its border.

Iran is the only player that could spare some additional boots on the ground as it must defend its interests. But will it?

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 17, 2017 11:07:42 AM | 22

I'm feeling sick to my stomach while and after reading this post. Most unpleasant as I'm just over the actual nausea of a stomach flu....

I always wonder how the US laws against supporting terrorists can be used against those in office and part of the power structure.... And, of course, given that it's those in power doing the unlawful deeds, with support of the Deep State and the monied powers, it means there is no use of such laws as might hinder their evil. Banks which caused the near collapse of the economic system were deemed Too Big To Fail, so I'm sure there will be no actions taken against those responsible for what Curtis @ 6 labeled R2DOC (Responsibility to Destroy Other Countries).

Will Trump try to tie the Obama administration to this? Will he demand investigations into who did what was necessary to achieve this movement of ISIS terrorists into Syria? Or will he too become part of this evil? The actions of our Nobel Peace Prize winning president. Sheesh

So, probably no demands for action. I can't see Comey or Sessions allowing a real investigation. I can't see the Repubs in Congress ever doing a real investigation. Trump wants to savor his victory, to keep his office, and to avoid assassination. Impeachment may happen, but then the US is lumbered with a President Pence.

OK, gotta get to work, before I actually throw up in disgust at this latest US military/diplomatic atrocity.

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 17, 2017 11:08:01 AM | 23

@ Posted by: Valhalla Rising | Jan 17, 2017 10:52:06 AM | 18

Unrealistic.

The Russian Federation's Military has EXTREMELY limited Conventional Military Force projection/expeditionary capabilities due to the degradation subsequent to the collapse of the USSR and the utterly rapacious and wholly destructive Yeltsin years. In any case, even if it weren't so, other than the SF/MP base Guard units operations & the existent relatively comparatively minor expeditionary Air Force elements already deployed & committed, such operations as you describe are determined by LOGISTICS. Not moving forces around on a battlemap, like plastic toy soldiers, as if it was some sort of board/war game.

There is no RF capacity to sustain nor supply any kind of such endeavor, nor cover the huge financial costs it would entail

Respectfully, not a snowballs chance in hell.

And what would the worlds MSM & suborned governments & NATO scream in response to such an endeavor ?
WAR! WAR!, WAR!

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:08:36 AM | 24

Thanks very much b for your hard work and this excellent report. The U.S. allying with ISIS is a major disappeared scandal, and you are doing your best to un-disappear it.

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 17, 2017 11:08:39 AM | 25

Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 10:56:27 AM | 19

WTF are you doing modifying my comment [14] to remove "Putin" and insert "Obama" and attributing it to me in order to justify your ad hominem.

Have a look at b's META and dial back on your crap some.

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 11:11:31 AM | 26

@ Posted by: CarlD | Jan 17, 2017 11:07:42 AM | 22

The RF under Putin, is displaying and has shown extraordinary exercise of restraint to ongoing, relentlessly escalating provocations, in numerous spheres ... hopefully the provocations may diminish, and extreme tensions de-escalate, post 21st ... who knows, only time will tell.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:14:57 AM | 27

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 11:11:31 AM | 26

The premise can be reversed, as in the post, and appears just as silly, either way, don't you think so ? It would seem from your reply, you may.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:17:22 AM | 28

All events taken into consideration now throws another light on the Kerry/Lavrov peace deal. Kerry signed up it largely on Lavrov's terms to cause Russia to hesitate/hold back on the S-400 air defence for the critical hour or so required for the Deir Ezzor attack to take place, which was already planned when Kerry signed up to the peace deal.
Obama, Kerry, Carter - whitehouse/pentagon all in lockstep on this one.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 17, 2017 11:33:54 AM | 29

Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:17:22 AM | 28

If you understood the recent Hx of the battle for Deir Ezzor, you'd understand that:

1: Your duplicitous substituting "Obama" for "Putin" in my comment [14] makes no sense at all b/c Obama has not taken de facto control of the airspace around DE;

2: Putin more or less claimed control of the airspace over and around DE when he threatened to shoot down any aircraft that did not file flight plans w/ GoR;

3: Since air attacks and air re-supply are just about all SAA has in DE, and since GoR has taken control of the airspace, it follows that GoR has responsibility if SAA falls.

Now, dude . . . what do you see as being "silly"? I understand points 1-3 present a sort of syllogism that you might have to struggle to see. Try.

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 11:35:43 AM | 30

@ posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 10:43:32 AM | 16

... possible that Trump will cease any support for ISIS as he tries to reach a deal with Putin BUT other allies will just increase their support.

Consider what happened to Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

A lifelong CIA agent/asset and an unofficial ally, up until he pulled on the leash ... vassal States, and even 'Allied' ones, don't get to action independent geopolitical policy where it is in conflict with the Empire, they suffer economic disruptions/destabilization, cessation of Military support/co-operation/parts/support, as well as Intelligence sharing and co-operation, cut.

If they're lucky enough not be targeted for an internal leadership coup, or a messy public one ... far too many examples through even recent history ... look at the Ambassador/CIA bloodless supposedly lawful coup of Whitlam(?) down-under in AUS circa '75. Asutralia was and is a member of Five-Eyes, didn't stop the overthrow of an unpalatable to the Empire, elected western Democracy and it's Government, no ?

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:46:38 AM | 31

Right now in Deir Ezzor Russian air force is doing its best to bomb the crap out of ISIS.

Leith Abou Fadel (‏@leithfadel}: "Russians have conducted more airstrikes in Deir Ezzor today than they did in the entire month of December."

https://twitter.com/leithfadel/status/821361048217391104

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 17, 2017 11:47:08 AM | 32

https://twitter.com/timand2037/status/820402681898381312
FB censoring Beeley

Posted by: Mina | Jan 17, 2017 11:50:17 AM | 33

@ Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 11:35:43 AM | 30

Supply to the city was hauled in by air through the Deir Ezzor airport and through air drops by the Syrian and Russian airforces. Relief by ground forces and ground supplies are not possible as Deir Ezzor is more than 100 km away from the nearest SAA positions west of Palmyra and as the desert in between is under the control of ISIS.

...

Since the U.S. attack in September no significant air supplies have reached Deir Ezzor. Even helicopter landing at the airport is only possible at night and by taking very high risks.

...

The U.S. has uncontested air superiority over west Iraq and east Syria

1. Re-read b's post.

2. See above.

3. See above.

Respectfully, request you do not address this poster, as 'Dude'.

Will not respond to the previous remarks in the previous post, nor other than above re this.

re b's META.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 11:58:41 AM | 34

thanks b.. i certainly hope the rest of the world can be brought up to speed on what you provide here. the usa has a lot to account for.. it is hard to imagine trump making much of any change... i hope this developing catastrophe can be averted.. it doesn't look promising.. i guess we have ash carter to thank for it... the suadi/qatar headchopping cult and the zionists must be delighted.. they have ash carter to thank..

Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 11:59:01 AM | 35

another zillion posts from outraged.. why am i not surprised..

Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 11:59:35 AM | 36

@Outraged @3 Is there any way to enable/move to verified, registered or email associated accounts ? Re ID hijacking ? Just askin' ...

It would be either for all or for no one. I decided against that a long time ago and see no reason to change it. A cleanup every two month is usually enough to bring the overboarding commenting back into acceptable lines

Posted by: b | Jan 17, 2017 12:07:37 PM | 37

@ Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 11:59:35 AM | 36

Perhaps we could discuss the actual 'content' of the article, or of the posts made, in direct relevance, support of and the context of the Article posted and Thread ?

See b's META. ... just random one-liners irrelevant to any discussion.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 12:08:55 PM | 38

@ b

Didn't expect it would be realistically feasible/practicable in any case given Typepad, and truly open access.

Ah well. Thank you :)

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 12:11:59 PM | 39

Outraged @31:

vassal States, and even 'Allied' ones, don't get to action independent geopolitical policy where it is in conflict with the Empire
You're preaching to the choir here. Maybe you didn't read what I wrote carefully?

I was writing to correct what I thought was an over-optimistic view. Bad actors of the 'Deep State' will be difficult to root out.

What I suggested is very much in tune with your view. T wit: even a US President may not be allowed to act against what is deemed the 'interest of the empire'. The most he may be allowed to do is stop US direct support while his policy of detente is circumvented with the blessing of another 'Deep State' faction.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 12:15:16 PM | 40

Mina 12
Good. You made a case for the tribal aspect of Deir-ez Zor (and addressed my post on Raqqa). After the ISIS massacre of '14 I wonder how much of the tribes are left, if they've dispersed to join other militias (IS, alNusra), etc. Some of this sounds like the takfiri aspect of IS. But how large is the tribal portion of the fighters (compared to foreign imports) and who are they allied with?
I did not like USAToday selling the idea that the Syrian war is just tribes and locals resistant to Assad. But I agree with the point made by others here that it looks like SAA is not rushing into these areas.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 17, 2017 12:21:28 PM | 41

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 17, 2017 11:47:08 AM | 32

RuAF is doing what they can today; weather was too bad to fly earlier. Also, it seems ISIS is moving in very small groups to avoid being a bombing target.
I do not know what is going on. There are messages speaking about 14K ISIS fighters. One can find maps showing the area cut in two by ISIS forces (so Army airbase is currently separated from City), and both area fully surrounded by ISIS attack formations. That looks like serious fighting requiring lots of soldiers on both sides. But then very few casualties are reported - less than 100 overal (ISIS + SAA + civilians). That doesn't seem to match three days of intense fighting along many frontlines.

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 17, 2017 12:22:37 PM | 42

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 12:15:16 PM | 40

Jackrabbit, intended as 'supportive' nuance and relevant prime example, to your post. ;)

If such as Asutralia can be coup(ed)(sic) for merely unacceptable domestic social changes, not even Geopolitical issues, so recently, as an ultra-priveledged Five-eyes member, what hope/chance do others have, as you posted, yes ?

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 12:22:52 PM | 43

Enabled?..or is the enablers doing their best to attain their wet dream of 'moderate' head chopper raping and massacring more in their last week of power?Dang is not public knowledge by now that 'daesh' [refuse to call it isis as preferred by Americanos,it like saying love is rape..isis stands for something else that is real],was founded by the alphabetical agencies in Americans name and funded by nato,Israel,gcc and the 'secret international agency'?Its not some ragtag army of no good doers!

But the match is set never underestimate the power of honor and justice of the defenders of DZ,the angst of nearly half million 'holocausted' souls are backing them!Karma is a bitch 'prostitutes' as evil putin so eloquently fingered enjoy your last days in power:-)...who is going to pay you so highly after this?..serco?

Posted by: Nur Adlina | Jan 17, 2017 12:46:48 PM | 44

The silver bullet is Russia pulling out its big gun - paratroopers. Which I don't think it will. Russia is not strong enough now to use up its best resources in Syria. If it doesn't do that, and Deir Ezzor is taken, it will be catastrophic - not just because of the 100k civs and the troops there who will be massacred (tho that will be horrendous and totally blacked out by the MSM) but the loss of eastern syria in totality including the oil wells. Assad will never get Eastern Syria back if it loses Deir Ezzor now. Which is why I think it will not happen - they will do something. I just don't know what, but surely Zahreddine can't be left to be butchered by isis takfiris. What will that do to the fighting spirit and morale of the SAA? Would they like seeing his head on a spike or a gruesome video that isis will probably put up on youtube?? No, something will be done! This is too important to let go

Posted by: ancient archer | Jan 17, 2017 12:49:51 PM | 45

Finally, Jeff @42 mentions the fact of bad weather being an influence yet again, just as in the assault on Palmyra, greatly limiting CAS and reinforcing by airdrops. Might Russia use its Airborne forces to give them needed combat experience? Here's the latest on the SAA counter-attack, https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-attempts-lift-siege-deir-ezzor-airport/

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17, 2017 12:55:13 PM | 46

Has anybody thought about the possibility that Russia's trump card is... Well... Trump. For all I know they have been procrastinating until that fuckwit in the whitehouse leaves. Maybe they helped Trump get this far. It is definitely not an impossibility that this conspiracy has merit, and has taken years to foment. Unlikely, but the US has easily undermined democracy in other countries on multiple occasions, whose to say they aren't succeptable to the very same scam? Not I. Maybe, just maybe, Trump is a Russian plant, and the world can hope for something better. These assholes in charge of the coalition will then find themselves in thick shit. We will find out soon enough. Hopefully before the complete destruction of Eastern Syria.

Posted by: dan | Jan 17, 2017 1:11:49 PM | 47

Has anybody thought about the possibility that Russia's trump card is... Well... Trump. For all I know they have been procrastinating until that fuckwit in the whitehouse leaves. Maybe they helped Trump get this far. It is definitely not an impossibility that this conspiracy has merit, and has taken years to foment. Unlikely, but the US has easily undermined democracy in other countries on multiple occasions, whose to say they aren't succeptable to the very same scam? Not I. Maybe, just maybe, Trump is a Russian plant, and the world can hope for something better. These assholes in charge of the coalition will then find themselves in thick shit. We will find out soon enough. Hopefully before the complete destruction of Eastern Syria.

Posted by: dan | Jan 17, 2017 1:11:49 PM | 48

Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 11:59:35 AM | 36
another zillion posts from outraged.. why am i not surprised..

What a phenom, eh? This dude doesn't hijack threads in the traditional sense of turning the subject matter in a new direction; rather, he has virtually hijacked b's entire blog, while staying (pretty much) on topic.

Smells to me like a megalomaniac Lebanese taxi-driver trying to parasitize MoA b/c his own blog failed.

Now the dude is using dirt-ball tactics like misappropriating and altering other contributors' comments. It really is outrageous, eh?

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 1:27:36 PM | 49

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17, 2017 12:55:13 PM | 46

Are you familiar with the situation faced by the German Wehrmacht once it became trapped in Stalingrad, re logistical re/supply, purely by airlift ? Even at it's peak, the Luftwaffe, even using medium bombers as additional adhoc transport aircraft, could only achieve 1/6 of the needed tonnage of daily supplies, IIRC.

Now, consider, there are also ~100,00 civilians who also require, food & medicine & heating, etc, in addition to the defending troops already in deir-ezzor.

They have diminished and reduced supplies & materiel already, having been cut off since Sept as detailed in b's post. There is NIL prospect of supply by land through 100Km+ of enemy held territory.

Adding additional troops only exacerbates the existing logistics crisis re supplies, ie more mouths to feed, heat and supply with ammunition & materiel.

What would be needed for an extended period would be massive supply drops, not more troops. How would such supply aircraft deal with Air-Defence losses from the known lethal surrounds of dier-ezzor and still maintain Ops ? Where will this massive Air Transport fleet come from, since it doesn't exist ? And that would only be the first step ... and the season and weather only compounds that :(

If such a miracle could occur, then that supply by Air Corridor Only would have to be increased and, most critically sustained, were additional troops & combat materiel be dropped into dier-ezzor, and if they were in a heightened tempo of combat Ops, would require yet even more logistical supplies ... it is a cruelly 'catch-22' & vicious dilemma dier-ezzor civilians & soldiers find themselves in ... slim prospects indeed :(

Only an extended break in weather and round the clock air sorties may help ... yet it is the wrong time of the year and season ... :(

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 1:28:24 PM | 50

@42 Can you show me the source you have for that particular casualty figure? That doesn't seem anywhere near what I expected either. Was it just Al Masdar or SANA or something? Its hard to browse the web where I am, a link would be much appreciated. I really hope it's that low but it makes little sense given the reports coming out today.

@b Excellent analysis. Seriously this type of reporting is so hard to find, especially from sources that are particularly pro gov as they will downplay the advances and strategic success of the militants. Sad day for the SAA surely. I dont even believe in god but i know I'll have to say a prayer for the soldiers in Deir Ezzor tonight just in case I'm wrong. Makes me sick thinking about this but I kind of had an inkling that part of Syria has already been written off in the minds of Russia (and maybe Iran). Must be so demoralising for the soldiers on the fronts however, especially after what happened in Palmyra. Though this advance by daesh is likely going to be a bigger deal. I'll be curious to see how the political ramifications play out.

And b, also major kudos on cleaning up the comments a little. The bickering and casual accusations of being shills/trolls and the antisemitism gets a little ridiculous here sometimes. I feel some commentators just want an echo chamber instead of a discussion. Even some of the people I find myself agreeing with frequently on here are just so virulent and seem to start arguing with every single person that it makes me start to dismiss what they have to say almost unconsciously. Like two or three days ago where half of the thread was devoted to a couple people bashing on Circe. He has opinions, some I agree with some I don't, but if people can't discuss the issue at hand instead of just screaming 'Your a Troll!!!' back and forth then it turns this simple comment section - which is already frustrating enough to browse as is - into something people will not want to look at anymore. I guess I can't/don't speak for everyone but it sucks when the great links and discussion I come here for (which i often find nowhere else) gets pushed off the front page. Most people will never look through 100+ comments to get there. Hell, most people probably will leave when they see "all Jews = evil Zionists" or just general bickering and name calling. I mean, I often find these people are making good points, but its useless when sandwiched b/w fighting and racism.

I really advocate getting rid of messages from people who can't simply get along with others or engage in discussion. Actually I feel kind of silly I am posting this. I feel like even the young children i know dont have to be told to play nicely. Im suprised people need to learn they can passionately defend their position without mud slinging, or that you dont have to respond to every single person (especially when you know its leading nowhwre produxtive). I just wanna alert you that if this trend continues, you might be disappointed with where this board ends up. I'm still here everyday (lurking) after years and years tho so what can I say.

Sorry b/everyone for the long post before the 100 post wraparound but this has just been killing the site for me lately and i had to thank you/vent.

Tldr. Amazing journalism I can't find anywhere else = good. People fighting in comments thereby overtaking any actual discussion = bad.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Jan 17, 2017 1:36:46 PM | 51

@ ancient archer | 45

Assad will never get Eastern Syria back if it loses Deir Ezzor now.

I dont think so. Deir Ezzor is vastly smaller and easier to recover than E.Aleppo. On top of that it wouldnt be so difficult from political point of view. US and its allies were pretending Al Qaeda in Aleppo were "moderates" or civilians altogether, it will be much harder for them to push such propaganda with ISIS, thus less pressure on Russia/Syria to use airforce or blockade. Especially with Trump in power.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 17, 2017 1:40:05 PM | 52

Denis #49,

“dude…. megalomaniac Lebanese taxi-driver…. dude” after a respectful request to refrain. My take is those are ad-hominems.

Again, my take is that Outraged’s posts are usually pertinent and valuable. His personality may rub some, even me at times, like 60 grit sandpaper, but I have, over the years learned from him and developed a strong respect for his background and experience. He has been a contributor to MoA much longer than most contributors here and I think he deserves more respect than you give him. Disagree if you want and express your disagreement but please refrain from trying to antagonize him by ignoring his polite requests.

Thank you.

Posted by: juannie | Jan 17, 2017 2:10:52 PM | 53

Juannie @ 53
I'll second that. Outraged is a valuable poster.

Posted by: dan | Jan 17, 2017 2:25:06 PM | 54

Then again so is Denis. He's a dude...

Posted by: dan | Jan 17, 2017 2:26:24 PM | 55

For a good taste of how the U.S.-British government propaganda system is covering this story:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/islamic-state-deir-ez-zor. . .

Noticeable, there is zero mention of the U.S. military attack on Syria forces fighting ISIS directed by Ashton Carter on Sep 2016, almost certainly part of his effort to derail any Russian-American cooperation over fighting ISIS:
http://journal-neo.org/2016/09/23/america-accidently-strikes-syria-could-it-have-a-different-meaning/

Every once in a while the truth of the matter slips through, however: http://www.nbcnews.com. . .

A feisty Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said on Tuesday in the Senate Armed Services committee hearing that the U.S. effort in Syria is a "half-assed strategy at best," and said that the U.S. is not doing a "damn thing" to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Carter on Tuesday pushed back against that notion.

Just need to read into that what Carter meant, i.e. "We just bombed the Syrian army, doesn't that count?"

The neoliberal/neocon press outlets are also mostly ignoring the fact that Trump's foreign policy agenda on Russia and the Middle East still looks good, from a rational perspective at least: NATO is obsolete and we should go back to the nuclear arms reduction deals with Russia, that Obama suspended.
https://www.adn.com/nation-world/2017/01/16/trump-calls-nato-obsolete-and-floats-russia-nuclear-deal/

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 17, 2017 2:36:34 PM | 56

juannie | Jan 17, 2017 2:10:52 PM | 53

You're welcome.

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 2:44:23 PM | 57

The Sen. McCain ape/clown chimera has been mumbling "the Russians will not act, the Russians will not act." more a few times recently. We now know why. 27 minutes during the US attack in Sept. Was enough time for Russian fighters to intercept the coalition aircraft (the actual attack was well over 30min.).

So, Putin will risk war to protect the Syrian gov. but has given up on the integrity of Syria's territory. As long as Deir Ezzor held out, I could maintain the opposite illusion, but no longer.

2017 is going to be another hell-of-a' year.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 2:53:53 PM | 58

@b:

First of all thanks for hanging out with me and everyone else at the bar. The next round is on me. I appreciate the effort you put into all of this and the risks you take running it. If you ever want me to leave you won't have to ban me, all you have to do is tell me to go away and I will.

Anyway, in comment #1 you wrote:

I have deleted a bunch of comments in some recent threads that
... used various anti-Jewish claptraps

The point where I really started waking up was when I was at a bar in Alaska with this older bald guy talking about 911. I was trying to explain to him how building #7 is proof that it was an inside job. He cut me off by saying: "You just think the Jews did it". At that point in time I still didn't know about the dancing Mossad agents, or Silverstien or all the other arrows pointing in the same direction.

So anyway I have read a few complaints in the bar's comment section about "anti-semitism". But the reality is that Palestinians are far more Semite than the majority Ashkenazi jews who presently occupy Israel. I doubt it is the Semite Palestinian Moslems and Christians that these PC police are referring to when they rage about "anti-semitism".

Voltaire is quoted as saying "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize". I can understand that you must also live a world whose laws you are forced to accept.

What I would like you, b, to describe to us before you censor us for being it is:

- What is anti-semitism? Is that restricted to true non-semites or can anyone be a semite?
- Do the events in Syria that this current take over of Deir Ezzor represent not represent the interest of the "semite" homeland, Israel?
- Are commentors allowed to comment on this relationship, and others such as Israels providing medical care to Isis and providing the munitions, or is that "anti-semite".
- Are we allowed to compare Israel's treatment of Gaza to that of Assads treatment of East Aleppo?
- Could Israel's treatment of the West Bank (and gaza) be considered ethnic cleansing? what about genocide of the true semites of Palestine?

So you see, I could go on and on. And the hypocrisy is even thicker and staler when we look at the founding of the country of Israel from '45-'48. Is discussing the actions of this people anti-semitism? Because it directly relates to current events in Syria.

Posted by: Kenny | Jan 17, 2017 3:09:12 PM | 59

If I read it well, 5k troops on the verge of being massacred in the most cruel way and 100k civilians either victim of the same faith or added as Daesh recruits. Best option would be full evacuation (by air) which at this stage is probably impossible. Still I would put all my effort (even including biological and chemical warfare if usable) persuing that path... that with my limited knowledge about the facts on the ground. The potential losses + recruits justify the means.

Posted by: xor | Jan 17, 2017 3:13:36 PM | 60

It seems that the RuAF has been VERY busy bombing the ISIS crew who have recently split the airport from the main city of Deir Ezzor (https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-jets-nonstop-bombing-isis-deir-ezzor/) - would not like to be in their shoes. Q. Where, or what, is the US-Air force in all this - have they been grounded by Syrian-friends, Russia, who are stating that anything other than Syrian or Russian air forces will be subject to S400 defense attack? Answers on a postcard!

Posted by: fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 3:15:14 PM | 61

FecklessLeft @51:

. . . a couple people bashing on Circe. He has opinions . . .
Maybe you missed Circe's vomiting on b? Maybe you missed his obsessive Trump bashing? Maybe you missed his blatent exaggerations and misinfo?

Are you saying that trolls don't exist? Or that we should not care if they pollute the discussion?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 3:17:38 PM | 62

This clip if undoctored is very edifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR3RqMMIwD4

Who's the boss?

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Jan 17, 2017 3:21:27 PM | 63

@fredjc at 61:

Don't worry Fred, I've found the coalition airforce.
They've been some busy little bees.


http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/01/17/506597/US-increasing-airdrops-for-militants-in-Syria

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 3:43:48 PM | 65

Big attempt by SAA to retake their supply route in Deir Ezzor - and signs that there is a SAA push towards Palmyra, which could be quick, given no civilian hostages, and this opens the way for a major push to relieve Deir Ezzor. If the US coalition is barred from the skies above Deir Ezzor then ISIS is in for a rough time!

Posted by: fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 3:47:54 PM | 66

Most of what the US has been doing the last few months seems to be setting the pieces for the taking of Deir Ezzor.
Kerry surprisingly signing up to the peace deal on Lavrovs terms to provide the hour or so cover needed to take out the critical defence point at DE. The retaking of palmyra to help prevent government reinforcments from pushing through to DE although they did not manage to take the T4 airbase which would have been the main objective. The cutting of the damascus water supply to tie up gov forces there and the sudden move of US troops onto Russia's borders to try and prevent Russia sending forces directly to DE.

These psychopaths are in too deep now to ever let Trump take power.

Putin - "And then there are people who keep saying goodbye but don’t leave. I believe the outgoing administration belongs to the second category."

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 17, 2017 3:53:50 PM | 67

That link also claims Syria retaliated against the last Israeli attack:
OCCUPIED PALESTINE:  Many of you will doubt what you are about to read.  In an unreported event, the Syrian Army and HZB, on the night of January 14, 2017,  fired long-range rockets at the Zionist Hatzor Airbase causing massive damage in an interesting warning to the Zionist weasels that their airbases, their runways and hangars are all fair game in any new war.  Even the Zionist media only reported civilians seeing billows of fiery smoke emanating from the base.  This was Syria’s response to the unprovoked aerial missile attack which originated over Lake Tiberias and which destroyed some infrastructure at the Al-Mazza Airbase.
Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2017/01/syria-and-hizbollah-retaliate-against-the-zionist-khazar-state-for-attack-on-damascus-ab-u-s-terrorists-of-zionist-alqaeda-assassinate-brig-gen-ahmad-al-ghadhbaan-in-ayn-al-feeja-powerful-c.html#z10LswrHuUKImQIa.99

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 17, 2017 3:57:09 PM | 68

Putin - "And then there are people who keep saying goodbye but don’t leave. I believe the outgoing administration belongs to the second category."

Don't go, stay, and get in line...

Posted by: fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 3:59:19 PM | 69

Fredjc:

...and signs that there is a SAA push towards Palmyra, which could be quick, given no civilian hostages, and this opens the way for a major push to relieve Deir Ezzor.

Sorry FredJc, but when they first took Palmyra in 16, there was an eastward push towards Deir Ezzor, Isis simply waited until the salient was long enough to sever with a handful of VBED attacks.

Also, it's pretty safe to say Russia will not pull the switch on a no-fly-zone over all of Syria. They don't have enough aircraft to enforce it. Besides, they'd have to go against a un resolution stating that bombing Isis over Syria is permitted.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 4:17:13 PM | 70

Outraged @50--

Yes, I'm aware, but I'd say the comparison's apples--oranges. News I've read depict a serious situation, but not desperate; although for those defending, knowing there's No Quarter provides a higher degree of motivation which can be seen as desperation. The commander, General Issam Zahreddine (link to picture, https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C2W27kPWQAAqV12.jpg ) is described as revered by his troops, fights alongside them and known to be fanatically anti-Takfiri. There are unconfirmed reports of Hezbollah and SAA special forces being airlifted as the combat continues into the night. Dawn will soon arrive and judge the effectiveness of SAA'a counterattacks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17, 2017 4:24:19 PM | 71


Denis | Jan 17, 2017 10:22:30 AM | 14
Putin. Where the fuck is he? Has he cut bait and run (again)?

Well, it looks like Putin has not cut bait after all;
he just sent the Kuznetsov home to get a new shovel for
the guy who stokes the boilers w/ coal. RuAF is still
lighting up the Syrian night.

H/T to
karlof1 | Jan 17, 2017 12:55:13 PM | 46 and
fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 3:15:14 PM | 61
for links to AMN articles on RuAF kicking some butt in DE.

The desert must be full of Daesh convoys moving from Mosul,
Raqqa, and Palmyra to DE. After all, head-choppers need
re-supplying, too. One might expect to see endless lines of
sitting-duck Toyotas crossing the open desert. So what’s the
problem here?

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 4:25:11 PM | 72

We know that they(ISIS, et al) won't stay - this is the Syrian movement for reconciliation, which has been outstanding, and has been overseen by Russian methodology. This strategy has turned many, so-called, FSA rebels back to the fold of Syria and likewise returned many mercenary 'jihadists' to the Idlib province, where they bicker and murder each other on a regular basis. Syria has even identified foreign forces from UK US Israel SaudiArabia Morocco as being in Eastern Aleppo, and let them go to Idlib with all the other cut-throat bastards. They will receive their just rewards - I have no doubt!

Posted by: fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 4:29:57 PM | 73

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but, B, wasn't it your analysis initially that the horse shoe gambit in the battle of Mosul was NOT the likely source of the surge in IS fighters needed for the Palmyra and Deir Ezzor offensives? I seem to remember you casting doubt on the logistics of moving such a large number of forces across such a large distance, especially while under Russian eyes. I have grown to significantly rely on your analysis to interpret these developments, and I would be quite curious as to why, if I am correct, you changed your stance.

Posted by: WithAllWindsAhead | Jan 17, 2017 4:55:17 PM | 74

Wwinsti - It's not the same now - the Quatari's and the Turk's(apparently) are now on the other side - then Palmyra had citizens wo were hostages - now we don't - and the SAA have got wise to vehicle-bombs - so go figure!

Also, Russia doesn't have to 'pull a switch' on a no-fly-zone - up until now I don't think they've employed it because they 'trusted' the 'coalition' - however all of this changed whern the US, cynically, bombed the SAA positions in Deir Ezzor.

I believe that after this atrocity the Russians turned on the S400 system, which they had been holding in reserve. The gloves are off.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 4:17:13 PM | 70

Posted by: fredjc | Jan 17, 2017 4:58:53 PM | 75

lmao
russia EXTREME limited
Russia no troops!

GTFO with that propaganda. Russia could most definitely direct airstrikes on ISIL in that region.

Posted by: aaaa | Jan 17, 2017 5:35:03 PM | 76

apparently there's cloud or dust cover over the area on mondays, wednesdays, fridays and sundays.. that's when isis moves.. alternatively, they only move in small numbers so as to look like tribal groups wandering around in the neighbourhood.. take yer pick..

Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 5:48:27 PM | 77

Fars news so make of it what you will...


"A military source disclosed minutes ago that hundreds of Syrian Army soldiers and fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah Movement have been dispatched to Deir Ezzur today to reinvigorate government forces and confront advancing ISIL terrorists.
The source said that while the Syrian and Russian fighter jets have intensified their anti-ISIL combat flights in Deir Ezzur, hundreds of army soldiers and Hezbollah combatants have arrived in the region to take part in an imminent operation to take back the lands lost to the ISIL in the last 24 hours.

The source rejected reports about collapse of the Deir Ezzur airbase, and said, "The ISIL has suffered heavy casualties but due to the huge number of its forces, they are trying hard to approach the airbase."

Local sources said yesterday that a large number of ISIL's injured members were transferred to terrorist-held Raqqa city.

Another senior Syrian military official also in remarks earlier today rejected media claims that Deir Ezzur airbase is on the verge of collapse due to ISIL's repeated offensives, and said the army forces and their allies have resisted against the terrorists for over two years and will continue their counterattacks in future.

"Despite ISIL's penetration in 22 positions in Southern Deir Ezzur, the army operations to drive them out have prevented them from establishing their military presence," the official told FNA on Tuesday.

He underlined that the security ring of the Syrian army around Deir Ezzur airbase is highly strong, and said that they have been resisting against the ISIL for over two and a half years and didn’t allow its collapse and "the collapse of the airbase now will be impossible".

The official said that the Syrian troops' aerial, artillery and missile attacks against the ISIL have blocked the terrorists' advance in the region despite their massive offensive against the army in the past few days."


http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951028001139

Posted by: dh | Jan 17, 2017 5:55:48 PM | 78

Fredjc: You know that I respect your opinion, I am not like aaaa,


...but I have to mention that you are almost right when you brought up Russian "trust" of the coalition. It isn't trust as much as it was an actual plan to include coalition efforts into Russian/Syrian goals.

Think back to October 1st of 2015, the Russian presence in Syria consisted of: a single air wing plus a few support aircraft, a single ship at Tartus back providing air cover, a thousand give- or- take personnel, mostly for security and logistics.
and until the Nov. Shoot down of a Russian bomber, that's all there was to it. In January, Putin slapped a dossier on a podium and assured the world he had all the evidence he needed to demonstrate collusion between Isis and Nato member Turkey, and the world yawned.
After the tapes of Isis oil trucks entering Turkish border crossings were released, even the UN yawned.

Russian and Syrian forces went on to take Palmyra, it was portrayed in the West as a minor tragedy.
Coalition aircraft destroyed a company of Syrian troops holding the most key defensive position in Deir Ezzor, it was portrayed in the West as an accident.
Aleppo was retaken by Syrian/Russian and Iranian forces. It was portrayed as a great humanitarian disaster, one that the leaders of said forces may be tried as war criminals for.

There is no way to mullify the plans of the US deep state. They only pretend to be reasonable behind closed doors. After Syria falls, the central Eurasia states will be targeted for similar treatment. The the 2 front war against Russia can begin.

So Putin has a choice. He can stop fighting US efforts to label him as a villain and make a stand of some sort in Syria or, he can fold his cards and go home knowing that war with the US is close to 2 decades away, and he will probably won't be around to see it.

The US deep state will risk ww3 to collapse Syria.
Putin will not. This is what we have learned from the last year. I had hoped that a nuclear exchange might paused especially state machinations, but apparently not.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 6:29:54 PM | 79

b, sorrie OT

https://www.rt.com/usa/374014-cheslea-manning-sentence-commuted/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

US President Barack Obama has cut the bulk of whistleblower Chelsea Manning prison sentence just days before leaving the White House, causing an outpouring of reaction on Twitter.

Manning, who has served 7 of a 35 year jail term, will now be freed on May 17 instead of her scheduled 2045 release.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-17/president-obama-commutes-remaining-prison-sentence-chelsea-manning

Manning will be released in May 2017 according to the White House. The move is part of a final push of pardons and commutations in the closing days of the administration, and Obama has now shortened the sentences of more federal inmates than any other president, bringing the total to 1,385 as of today...

Please note NOT FULL PARDON.....????

Look pretty fishy to me, preempt to FULL PARDON for KILLARY???
Anyone inside info?

Posted by: OJS | Jan 17, 2017 6:46:29 PM | 80

Kuznetsov left. What Putin is doing about that. They have strategic forces to pulverize the ISIS. KALIBR and strategic air forces, that do not need good weather just GPS system and local target designation units.
Something is really fishy here.

Is that a deal with Obama, are they crazy, do they play a Syrian partition game after loosing Tadmor?

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 17, 2017 6:59:14 PM | 81

OJS @80

Best discussed on the Open Thread.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 7:14:21 PM | 82

Kalen@81 - "...Is that a deal with Obama, are they crazy, do they play a Syrian partition game after loosing Tadmor?

You need to keep in mind the long game here. This is not about Syria, this is about IRAN. The U.S./GCC/Israel always needed to take out Iraq and Syria before they moved on Iran. As time went on, they simply adjusted their expectations: an economically devastated Syria and Iraq without sufficient resources (or internal will) to defend their borders would work OK, too. If Syria and Iraq are busy keeping themselves from being torn apart further while simultaneously struggling economically and politically to remain a state, then they ARE NO THREAT - to Israel - to the GCC - to anyone. They will neither be an asset nor a liability in the war with Iran - they simply won't exist as a factor. Operation Inherit Resolve has one single job: manage the controlled opposition (FSA, al Nusra, ISIS, Kurds, etc.). There is no territorial goal as such - they all just need to be kept alive to keep both Syria and Iraq destabilized.

dan@48 - Trump is the president (or maybe his replacement, Pence) to take the U.S. to war with Iran. Russia doesn't like that, but it's uncertain how far they will go to prevent it. Putin would rather it didn't happen, but he might be willing to negotiate something. Trump's job is to mollify Russia enough so they don't nuke us when the Iranian war starts, or else make them think we are crazy enough to nuke them (Russia) if they interfere with our Iranian war. Hopefully, Trump can negotiate some deal with Putin (like limited invasion/destruction, partitioning, etc.) When I say 'our' (as in U.S.) war, that may not mean U.S. troops marching into Tehran. In fact, it probably won't. Some kind of proxy war will be triggered, and Iran will be forced to move first (so everyone can blame them for starting it). The U.S. will cobble together a coalition if they need to attack Iran directly so it looks like it wasn't just us.

dh@78 - If that's true, then it will be the third failed attempt to chopper in reinforcements. Neither of the first two lifts could land. CENTCOM's strategy of taking over the string of Turda - Thardah - Kroum mountains southwest of the airport means we (or ISIS, I guess) have complete fire control over that airport including air defense coverage and electronic/visual observation. If the SAA and allies are not wiped out there, they will be permanently pinned down and eventually fall to the siege. CENTCOM is probably telling ISIS where every last RuAF/SAAF aircraft is and if any choppers are attempting to approach. Reinforcements are useless without controlling those mountains - it just prolongs the siege.

The World Food Program was barely keeping the civilians there alive with air drops to SARC of maybe 10 - 15 tonnes food/medical aid per day. They haven't been able to make a drop since Saturday. The casualty figures reported by the hospital are useless - most residents know the hospital has nothing and it's pointless to go there if you're injured. By this weekend, there will be people starving to death there if they can't afford black market food. None of that will change if ISIS takes over - they don't have any food or medical supplies, either. This is slow-motion genocide - exactly what CENTCOM and the OIR butchers want. Deir EzZor is where they want to herd ISIS to and those damn civilians are just in the way. I'm kind of surprised OIR hasn't rolled the B-52s from Qatar to carpet bomb those pesky civilians to oblivion. They probably would have if they could cover it up. Starving them to death or beheading by ISIS works just as well. "Operation Inherit Resolve: One Mission, Many Nations"

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 17, 2017 7:47:26 PM | 83

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17, 2017 4:24:19 PM | 71

Was not intent to imply one wasn't, not at all. :)

Maintaining and sustaining a Military Airhead and concurrently engaging in combat operations, without consideration of the additional burden and demands of ~100,000 civilians co-located, is one of the most extreme of difficulty of military operations ... few examples of success exist in military history, especially without the hope(?) for/of, if not the actual successful breach and subsequent lifting & relief in place of the siege, by a sufficiently large and oversupplied land based force.

Can be a way of bringing to an audience the broader explanation or broader analogy re the comparative issues involved that a wider audience can more readily refer/relate too, or if interested research. There being detailed and accessible materials at all levels readily available on that situation.

Another accessible example would be the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French Indochina circa 1954), where an arrogant and over-confident commander with 3 months warning of what was to come, had only set in ~6 days of supplies ?! IIRC

Clearly, given the tenacity & competence displayed, prior to & over the last ~4 months, General Issam Zahreddine is no 'Christian de Castries' and nor is the proxy ISIS commander any sort of Võ Nguyên Giáp. Clearly Zahreddine and forces, very highly motivated, prepared & prepared well for just such an eventuality ... many indicators were there that this was coming. See post @ 3 ... one wishes them luck, they will need it.

Truly, nothing more than absolutely dedicated, disciplined, wholly committed forces could possibly sustain a defense for ~4months now without any significant supplies ... the civilian population, predominantly their very own families/tribal groups ? will no doubt have been and still are the crucial motivator :(

Is it enough ? How many casualties are ISIS prepared to accept to sustain the siege, even without significant on the ground assaults against the besieged ? Only time will tell ...

Cheers.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 8:18:05 PM | 84

Nawaf al-Bashir, the leader of 1.2 million tribesmen and women in his Der Ezzor region, has repented and now supports the Syrian government. This will aid government efforts to eliminate ISIS and other Western backed terrorist groups:
http://www.syrianews.cc/top-opposition-figure-nawaf-al-bashir-repents-returns-syria/

"Sheikh Nawaf al-Bashir, the highest figure in the western fabricated opposition in Syria, the chief of Baggara Tribe in northeast Syria, returned to Damascus and declared his loyalty to the Syrian people, the Syrian leadership and praised the Syrian Arab Army and put himself under the command of the Syrian president Dr. Bashar Al-Assad."

Posted by: Krollchem | Jan 17, 2017 8:42:06 PM | 85

xlnt interview

Bacevich and Mearsheimer on Obama’s Legacy

too much to summarize, must read whole story

http://lobelog.com/bacevich-and-mearsheimer-on-obamas-legacy/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 17, 2017 8:53:30 PM | 86

PavewayIV@83

Your analysis makes sense, but then it also would make sense for Russia to avoid that fateful day of decision (about defending Iran) by defending Deir Ezzor now. So the question remains, why aren't they?

Posted by: Berry Friesen | Jan 17, 2017 8:57:41 PM | 87

This is from twitter so, take it as is. Looks like SAA just lost a general.

https://mobile.twitter.com/TerrorEvents/status/821429270274838528

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 17, 2017 9:19:02 PM | 88

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 17, 2017 7:47:26 PM | 83

The casualty figures reported by the hospital are useless - most residents know the hospital has nothing and it's pointless to go there if you're injured. By this weekend, there will be people starving to death there if they can't afford black market food. None of that will change if ISIS takes over - they don't have any food or medical supplies, either.

Truly crucial points, that will never be touched on by the MSM.

MOAs, the priority will always be, ruthlessly due to necessity, to the defending troops, as they must be kept nourished, fit and healthy in order to be capable of defending the besieged. See the most extreme example in history, to gain an insight of the horrors involved.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 9:19:19 PM | 89

An Iran invasion is a complete pipe dream. Russia and China both cover Iran, for all the reasons that The New Silk Road is central to their vision of their economic future. Iran will not be moved no matter what the nutters in the Likud Party believe or don't believe. The United States went into the Vietnam War as a rich country with its own significant manufacturing sector, and now only rides on the coattails of the financial sector, and is riding the fast freight elevator to hell. This is the last historic opportunity we will probably see for the Empire to throw off the shackles forged by hubris, along with the fantasy of being "the indispensable nation". A tapped out empire with its military assets spread paper thin over the surface of the Earth, is whistling at distant frontiers, much as the Romans were. The Roman first shaved and then completely adulterated their money; and they were overextended militarily. They snuffed out the Republic and fought civil wars, and made emperors out of patricians and soldiers.

Even though paranoia and hysteria is having a last wild orgy among the ruling class; I hope there is still a chance that some consideration of reality will prevail, through the efforts of ordinary people. Neither the US nor NATO is going to put boots on the ground in Iran. All the Western leaders have managed to do, so far, is to increase chaos and multiply uncertainty exponentially, while their own societies succumb to rot and incoherence. The Russian leadership may believe that under Trump there will be more emphasis on business deals, and less fixation of brinkmanship.

Posted by: Copeland | Jan 17, 2017 9:20:46 PM | 90

From RT on Syria..

https://www.rt.com/news/374011-deir-ezzor-offensive-airbase/

Posted by: ben | Jan 17, 2017 10:06:53 PM | 92

@ Posted by: Copeland | Jan 17, 2017 9:20:46 PM | 90

A germane reminder in broader historical context and direct relevance. Well said.

Uniformed cowardly bullies march on Grenada, Panama, Haiti ... the Balkans, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria ...

Real men march on Iran, North Korea, China, Russia.

The Empire, always has been and are repeatedly proven, the former ... cowards.

The 'Threats' are to sustain a calibrated 'Strategy of Tension', to grease the ultimate rort that is the Military-Industrial-Corporate(&Media)-Complex(MICC) and therefore, the profits of the obscenely, and beyond human imagining, wealth of the 0.01%.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 10:13:03 PM | 93

OJS | Jan 17, 2017 6:46:29 PM | 80
Please note NOT FULL PARDON.....???? Look pretty fishy to me, preempt to FULL PARDON for KILLARY??? Anyone inside info?

Looks fishy to me, too, OJS. Why hold off on this pardon until May17th?

It may be that Obama took Assange up on his offer to be extradited in return
for Manning’s release, and Obama is putting the release on ice until May to
be sure Assange carries out his part of the bargain. Not sure what I’m talking
about here – that presidential pardon power is so spooky. I don’t know that a
president can give a conditional pardon that doesn’t take effect until after
the president is out of office. Marc Rich’s pardon was signed the morning
Bilton left office and it was effective before the ink dried, so far as I am
aware.

Anyway you cut it, it’s a very significant move on Obama’s part. No wonder he’s
headed to the golf course in Palm Springs, California on Friday. He wants to
get out of D.C. while the gettin’s good. If he could have just found some way
to lock up (or execute) those assholes in that Apache that the Manning tape
outed.

My prediction is that we're in for some big Obama surprises between now and
noon on Friday. Preemptive pardon for Hilton?? The remaining 45 "residents"
of Gitmo being released to Palm Springs so they can play golf w/ Obama?

Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 10:19:07 PM | 94

@ Posted by: Denis | Jan 17, 2017 10:19:07 PM | 94

OJS @80

Best discussed on the Open Thread.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17, 2017 7:14:21 PM | 82

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 17, 2017 10:27:15 PM | 95

Berry Friesen@87 - Russia has stated over and over again that they are there to ensure the Syrian government does not fall - that purpose alone is in Russia's interests, and is worth the lives of Russian soldiers. They are not in Syria to fight its war FOR them, nor are they there to defend all Syrian land and borders. Russia will help Syria do that, but will not do it for them. Sure, Putin argues for maintaining the territorial integrity of Syria, but he is not willing to sacrifice Russian solders to that end if Syria is incapable of or unwilling to do so itself.

Putin insists Syria needs to defend itself. If Syria has been so weakened economically and militarily that it is unable to defend its frontier territory in the east today (even with all it's oil and gas), then so be it. It is Assad's goal to retake and defend every square inch of Syria land - and rightfully so. But the reality is that his country and economy have been absolutely decimated by the U.S./GCC/Israeli cabal. He may not be able to retake all of Syria back - at least not right now.

Holding on to Deir EzZor is important psychologically, but Putin isn't going to have his airborne troops die merely to preserve Syrian pride or morale. It would be tragic if Deir EzZor fell and certainly a humanitarian catastrophe, but it would not be the end of the Syrian government. It's not that Putin is indifferent to a de facto partitioning of east Syria, but if Syria can't retake or hold it, then Putin isn't going to have Russian soldiers dying for it. Putin obviously understands the importance of Deir EzZor to Syria and has provided amazingly intensive air support for the troops there, but that's it. If the Syrians can't hold Deir EzZor with all that air support because of the U.S.-orchestrated ISIS attack, then they can't hold it. Retreat and come back when they can.

Is Deir EzZor more important to Syria than East Ghouta right now? Than Homs? Idlib? Is it more important than water for Aleppo or gas for Damascus? I don't know, but the reality is that Assad IS forced to make those uncomfortable choices. He (or rather Syria) is simply not able to march back onto and hold every square inch of Syrian land today and defend every last bit of infrastructure. The U.S. economic war against them is over - Syria lost, their economy has been destroyed. They simply cannot maintain eighteen different fronts at once today. I'm not suggesting they quit or cede land, but they can't expect to be successful on dozens of fronts at once, especially since the U.S. is orchestrating the simultaneous attacks on land and infrastructure BECAUSE they know Syria can't defend them all - even with Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah help.

Putin might think differently if there was a set number of ISIS with finite supplies of food and ammo, but Deir EzZor is the (or at least one) end of the CJTF-OIR ISIS pipeline from Iraq. There will be head-choppers straggling in from al Qaim and herded across the Syrian/Iraqi border for months, and the U.S./GCC will keep them supplied - directly or indirectly - as long as they're fighting the SAA. Why should Russia feed Russian solders into that meat-grinder? There will come a time when Syria can retake and hold Deir EzZor, and Russia and Iran will still be there to help them. Yes, it sucks. The civilians will be slaughtered. It won't be for lack of effort on Syria or Russia's part. They didn't create ISIS, the U.S./GCC/Israeli cabal did - it's on us, not them.

Deir EzZor also has nothing to do with the war the U.S./GCC/Israel is planning for Iran. Syria has been effectively neutered - whatever happens now in Syria will not impede our schemes to force Iran into a war. Syria can neither help nor hurt those plans. I feel for the 120K Syrians about to be slaughtered in Deir EzZor, but I feel REALLY bad about those one million Iraqis that died for nothing. And that's only the top layer of the mountain of corpses the U.S. has left behind over the yeras.

Iran? I don't even want to think of the human toll that unjustified war will cost all of us - and for absolutely no reason. But there it is, staring everyone in the face.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 17, 2017 11:18:53 PM | 96

OjS@80, Jackrabbit@82
After reading about the Manning pardon I was inspired to do some wikileaks digging into the background on Syria prior to the Arab Spring and found a few interesting documents on how the Syria-Iran economic cooperation was drawing lots of State Department interest. Beginning in Oct 2008:

. . . Iran agreed to sell Syria three million cubic meters per day (cm/d) of natural gas to be provided through an as-yet-unfinished pipeline network connecting Syria with Turkey. After three years, the Iranians promise to increase the gas production to nine million cm/d. On October 14, the official Syrian news agency SANA announced that the Russian Stroytransgaz had been awarded a USD 71 million contract to build a 38-mile (62 km) gas pipeline from Aleppo to the Turkish border over the next 18 months. (Note: While the SARG may spin this project as the final “link” in the “Arab Gas Line” project to export Egyptian gas to Europe, industry experts believe the pipeline’s actual purpose will be to bring Iranian gas to the Syrian market. End note.)

And here, also from Oct 2008, a direct quote on Homs:
The Refinery of Evil
8. (SBU) In October 2007, Syrian Petroleum Minister Sufian Allaw returned from a visit to Tehran with two MOUs in hand. The first MOU confirmed Iranian participation in an oil refinery project originally proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during an August 2007 visit to Syria. The project is advertised as a USD 2.6 billion joint venture between the national petroleum companies of Syria, Iran and Venezuela with the private Bukhari Group of Malaysia to construct a 140,000 bpd refinery in the Furoqlos region east of Homs.

And here’s a May 2009 discussion of deals in Aleppo & Deir Ezzor:
First, the Syrians and Iranians agreed Iran should export oil to Syria through the Iraqi pipeline network from Basra and Kirkuk to the Syrian port of Banias. Next, the Syrians announced they had increased the pace of construction on a gas pipeline from Aleppo towards the Turkish border in anticipation of receiving Iranian natural gas through Turkey. Further, both sides expressed a desire to link their electrical grids via the Deir Ezzor power station in eastern Syria and the Al Qaim station in western Iraq. Finally, the two delegations agreed they should facilitate bilateral trade by connecting their railroad network, with the Iranians noting their existing track is only 10km from the Iraqi port of Um Qasr.

Then, the Arab Spring breaks out – and over the period Jan 2011 – Jul 2011, the U.S. commits to a program of regime change in Syria aimed at replacing Assad with a regime that won’t cooperate with Iran. At the same time, Hillary Clinton is busy emailing the US Bahrain embassy and complaining about their appearance of support for Bahrain opposition parties – regardless of the fact that Bahrain’s crackdown on protests is apparently identical to Syria’s crackdown on protests. In August 2011, Obama publicly condemns the Syrian crackdown on protesters, while saying nothing about Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. John McCain starts promoting military intervention in Syria in the press in Oct 2011. By Dec 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department is promoting Syrian opposition groups that promise to cut economic and military ties with Iran. (All the above from Hillary Clinton server documents at Wikileaks). Then we have this meeting in September 2012 between Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Saudi Prince Bandar in Istanbul - cutting a deal on ISIS support? Apparently Bandar then went on to meet with House and Senate Intelligence committee members like Dianne Feinstein to push his arm-the-Wahhabi-Salafists agenda. Then, in 2013, ISIS, armed and supplied, takes off across Syria and Iraq.

The only thing I can't understand is, did they really believe they were supporting "moderate rebels?" Did they just not care, just threw weapons and money at whoever was anti-Assad? Or did they deliberately support the Saudi agenda of exporting radical Wahhabist-ISIS fanaticism to Syria, as the preferred option? Batshit lunatic idiots were running this show, no matter how you look at it.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 17, 2017 11:24:04 PM | 97

Copeland@90 - I respectfully disagree. Trump is being steered into the Iranian war and he's gearing himself up for it. His whole cabinet is made up of Israeli-firster - Iran must be annihilated types. Clinton's cabinet would have been from a different team, but woudl have had the exact same end goal.

FWIW, I hope I'm completely wrong and you are right. But if I were a betting man...

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 17, 2017 11:24:05 PM | 98

latest from al masdar..Syrian helicopters land in Deir Ezzor for first time since ISIS offensive..

Posted by: james | Jan 17, 2017 11:27:52 PM | 99

The US and it's partners in crime have done some filthy deeds trying to depose the Syrian President but this will go down as probably the single most murderous. The frustration and despair is palpable amongst commenter’s posting here. The fall of Deir Ezzor (I hope you are wrong about this one, PavewayIV) will create the start of the most sickening massacre, particularly of Syrian Arab Army soldiers and it's allies. It depresses me that there aren't more people who care about the fate of decent people that never did anything to deserve the wrath of these dogs claiming to be Muslims. If they had the brains to work it out, they would realise that the only people who will benefit from all this will be the squatters.

Posted by: Andy | Jan 17, 2017 11:36:23 PM | 100

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