Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 16, 2018

Syria - Pentagon Hides Attack Failure - 70+ Cruise Missiles Shot Down

The U.S. military seems to hide that its attack on Syria last Saturday largely failed. We checked the numbers and sources and said so in our weekly review published yesterday. This post is extending yesterday's analysis.

The U.S. attack on Saturday was launched as revenge for an alleged 'chemical attack' by the Syrian government forces against the then 'rebel' held Damascus suburb Douma. The alleged 'chemical attack' never happened but was theater staged by the 'rebels' and their supporters after some people suffocated in a collapsed building.

There is a very large discrepancy between the Russian Ministry of Defense report of the strike as well as other sources and the description in the Pentagon briefing on the strike. According to the Pentagon only three places related to a nonexistent Syrian chemical weapon program were targeted:

This combined military strike was directed against three distinct Syrian chemical weapons program targets.
...
We are confident that all of our missiles reached their targets.
...
In summary, in a powerful show of allied unity, we deployed 105 weapons against three targets.

One hundred and five weapons against three targets would be a remarkable overkill. Just consider that the U.S. Tomahawk and JASSM cruise missiles and the British Skalp EG cruise missiles used in these attacks carry 450 kilogram (~1,000 pounds) of high explosives each. Did the U.S. military really plan to use 15 metric tons of high explosives against each target. That would be enough to blow up a whole town.

The U.S. claims it sent 76 cruise missiles against the non-hardened, non-defended Barzeh research center. This was a small two story building complex and had just recently been declared free of chemical weapons and weapon research by the OPCW.


Barzeh Research center before and after - bigger

Sure, the facility is destroyed. But by 34 tons of high explosives? Or by maybe 2 tons?

The Barzeh center was a civilian facility next to a densely populated suburb of Damascus. It was concerned with agricultural and medical research, not with chemical weapons. The U.S. certainly knew that from the recent OPCW report. The U.S. claim that it was a chemical weapons facility is ridiculous as it would (hopefully) never consider attacking a real chemical weapons facility in the middle of a civilian population center. That would be mass murder and a serious war crime.

The Pentagon also claims it hit two undefended military storage facilities near the Lebanese border. It says that those three were the only targets of its attack.

But on April 12, two days before the strikes, CNBC reported that the Pentagon planned to attack eight targets:

[A] source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNBC the U.S. was considering striking eight potential targets. Those targets include two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility.

The strikes commenced on April 14 between about 1:00 and 2:30 UTC, 4.00am to 5:30am local time in Damascus. At 7:00am local time (4:00 UTC) journalist Danny Makki reported from Damascus:

Danny Makki @Dannymakkisyria - 4:06 UTC - 14 Apr 2018

Thread: Here’s how the U.S led strikes on #Syria developed from here in the Capital #Damascus in the early hours of this morning

  1. At around 4.30 Damascus time I awoke to initial large sounds of over 10 rocket attacks, it immediately was clear from the types of missile being heard that it was a Western Attack conducted by the #U.S #France & #U.K
  2. The strikes were heard clearly in all parts of the Capital and continued on and off for a duration of 50 minutes, Syrian state media reported the strikes but didn’t provide information as to the locations
  3. All In all over 50 different strikes were heard or reported in different locations around #Damascus
  4. The strikes had targeted a number of military sites across Damascus and further north in #Syria reportedly in #Hama & #Homs
  5. Barzeh research facility which sits on the Eastern stretch of #Damascus was hit by numerous missiles
  6. #Jamraya was reportedly hit as well, from my current location which is quite close to the site its clear something big was hit in Western #Damascus , the last barrage shook the neighborhood im In to the core
  7. Mezzeh Military airport was reportedly struck as well (...)
  8. A research facility in #Masyaf was reportedly attacked as well
  9. Also, a number of sources in #Homs have reported strikes with additional information that Russia air defenses participated in countering the strikes in #Homs
  10. A string of other locations have been cited as being targeted by U.S led strikes, its not clear at the moment, but it seems this attack was limited to a number of locations
    ...

It seems clear that Mr. Makki refers to more than three attacked sites.

Another source, Wael al Russi, also reported some eight targets including the coordinates of some.

The Syrian opposition outlet SOHR in Britain, which works from local sources, reports a multitude of targets:

[T]he Trio Coalition “the USA, Britain and France”, .. targeted .. the scientific research centers in Jamraya north of Damascus, and Barzeh in the north-west of the capital Damascus, arsenals of the 4th Division and the Republic Guards in the area of Al-Mazza Military Airbase, the arsenals of Al-Kiswah area in the southern countryside of the capital, and the scientific research center in the outskirts of Homs city, where the missiles fired on the latter position, fell away from the target, also violent explosions heard in the Eastern Qalamoun, while no missiles fell on Al-Dumayr and Al-Naseriyah Military Airbases.

Those are 8 targeted places or installations.

SOHR also reports that more than 65 of the 105 missiles failed to hit their targets:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights managed to monitored interception by the regime forces to tens of missiles which targeted their positions and military bases in the Syrian territory, where several intersected sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory, that the number missiles that were downed, exceeded 65 missiles, of the total number of missiles fired by the Trio Coalition, while the air and rocket strikes, caused great material damage, while no information about casualties was reported yet.

The report of the Russian Ministry of Defense quoted below is consistent with the multitude of independent sources quoted above. The Russian briefing (video with English subtitles) was held at noon Damascus time, hours before the Pentagon issued its report. It mentions 103 cruise missiles against eight targets:


Target map from the Russian briefing - bigger
In total, 71 cruise missiles have been intercepted.
...
Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.

18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.

12 missiles targeted the Shayrat air base, all the missiles shot down. Air bases were not affected by the strike.

Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.

Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.

In total 30 missiles targeted facilities near Barzah and Jaramana. Seven of them have been shot down.

Another Russian military briefing (Ru) (added: English transcript) given today claims the following success numbers for each type of air-defense systems the Syrian army used. It lists the numbers of cruise missiles shot down by each versus the number targeted:

  • Pantsir - 23 hits with 25 engagements, 
  • Buk-M2 - 24 of 29,
  • Osa - 5 of 13,
  • S-125 - 5 of 13,
  • Strela-10 - 3 of 5,
  • Kvadrat - 11 of 21,
  • S-200 - 0 hits with 8 launched missiles.

Pantsir and Buk-M2 are new systems, the Osa, S-125, Strela, Kvadrat and S-200 are Soviet era systems, some of which might have been partially upgraded.

Some 'expert' claims that the high number of hits the Russians assert are impossible as the systems would be overwhelmed with such a large attack. The 'expert' obviously didn't consider the relevant facts:

  • Eight geographically distinct places were targeted. The research lab had no short-range point-defense but was only covered by the older medium-range area-defense systems S-125 and S-200. The attacked storage areas had no point-defense. The military airports all had point-defense systems especially the impressive new Pantsir-1S (video) of which Syria recently received 40 units.
  • At least two Pansir-1S are stationed near each Syrian military airport. Each Pantsir has 12 missiles ready to fire and two machine cannons with 700 shots each.
  • Cruise missiles, developed from the German V-1 (vid) used in World War II, are small compared to fighter planes. But they fly relatively straight, slow and low. They are easy targets for any newer point-defense systems.

Therefore the number of eliminated cruise missiles the Russians and others claim have been downed is completely plausible.

Had the Russian air-defense area around its bases in Latakia been attacked, the excellent electronic warfare systems of the Russian military would have provided an additional layer of defense. These systems can divert cruise missiles from their path by messing up their electronic systems. The Syrian army has, to my best knowledge, no such capabilities.

The Pentagon had planned to hit eight targets in Syria two of which were research labs. Six airports or storage areas were targeted according to the Russian and other reports.

The Pentagon reports no strike on Syrian airports but claims to have launched a way too high number of cruise missiles for each of the claimed three targets it hit. Its claim that 76 missiles were used against Barzeh alone is ridiculous. The generals just added up all the failed and downed cruise missiles targeted at the well defended airfields and attributed them to Barzeh.  

At least three other sources confirm the Russian version of events. The Pentagon is lying. The attack was a U.S. attempt to disable the Syrian air force by destroying its airports. It failed miserably and the Pentagon is hiding this failure by claiming that all its cruise missiles hit the undefended targets some of its missiles reached.

The Russian briefing today (Ru) (added: English transcript) puts the finger into that wound. Will any of U.S. media follow up on it?

---
Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the 'chemical attack' in Douma and its consequences.

April 8 - Syria - Timelines Of 'Gas Attacks' Follow A Similar Scheme (Update II)
April 9 - Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation
April 11 - Syria - A U.S. Attack Would Be Futile - But Serve A Purpose - by M. K. Bhadrakumar
April 11 - Trump Asks Russia To Roll Over - It Won't
April 12 - Syria - Threat Of Large War Recedes But May Come Back
April 13 - Syria - Manipulated Videos Fail To Launch World War III - Updated
April 14 - F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria - Who Won?

Posted by b on April 16, 2018 at 03:36 PM | Permalink

Comments
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I don't know who to believe about the missile success rate. Will we ever know? But the before and after pictures look like what could happen to an empty presidential palace if we get another 'gas attack'.

Posted by: dh | Apr 16, 2018 3:51:03 PM | 1

Two great links at OffG

"The Skripal event and the Douma “gas attack” – two acts in the same drama?"
http://off-guardian.org/2018/04/14/the-skripal-event-and-the-douma-gas-attack-two-acts-in-the-same-drama/


“More on the Skripal/Douma false flag connection"
http://off-guardian.org/2018/04/15/46325/

Posted by: Neve | Apr 16, 2018 3:52:13 PM | 2

Thanks for the posting b.

The US media will not follow up on this because they are purveyors of propaganda rather than truth.

I think the focus is going to turn to money now. Trump is calling China and Russia currency manipulators and I expect to see a "nuclear type" financial war commence fairly soon.....because the other type are going so well..........

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 16, 2018 3:56:46 PM | 3

@psychohistorian

I had a fun moment this noon when I saw a tweet saying something like "Russian rubel falls in expectation of new U.S. sanctions" followed by a Trump tweet saying something like "Russia is artificially holding its currency low".
Well - you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: b | Apr 16, 2018 4:12:59 PM | 4

Israel won’t accept limitations on ‘actions’ in Syria from Russia, others – defense minister
https://www.rt.com/newsline/424307-israel-syria-russia-lieberman/

Posted by: Anon | Apr 16, 2018 4:14:05 PM | 5

Do not encourage them, they will do it again!With small nuclear bomb, just to prove how tough they are!

Posted by: padre | Apr 16, 2018 4:14:18 PM | 6

Damage most certainly doesn't match more than 3-4 warheads going off - 3 hits can safely be located. If 10-20 warheads with a CEP of 10 meters would had leveled the place that place would indeed be flat, literally!
I'm not familiar with the exact warhead properties other than that it has a titanium casing loaded with military grade explosive. However, given the warhead casing is made of titanium it is safe to assume that about 45-50% of its total weight is explosive. Now with 10x225 kg of trialene, trixogen or H6 (roughly 110-140% TNT equivalent) in use, or worse with a most modern fill (about 190-220% TNT-eq.), the damage would be much worse.

Posted by: Hmpf | Apr 16, 2018 4:14:48 PM | 7

I wonder what kind of military strategists came up with idea to shoot flying bullets or missiles and not their launcher locations. what is that? Some video game, theatrical performance?

Or war on pretend, as long as nobody of oligarchic class or their egos are hurt.

It is a spectacle. Russians had all the US, UK and French ships in the range if this was not a theater no launching would have happened knowing this common and only rational procedure on both sides namely attack the launchers forget missiles as priority otherwise they will keep coming. And with such response they will.
Whose interest is to play chicken playing on fear of real people in Syria and served peddling fears of nuke WWIII to subdue populations after western establishment lost all credibility.

If anything about that spectacle was true, ships would have been attacked or at least warning shot would have been fired. All lies chemical non-attacks and western none-response

It looks there is a lie for every audience in US and in Russia but nobody want to spell it openly.

Posted by: Kalen | Apr 16, 2018 4:16:25 PM | 8

From when is this photo of destroyed Barzeh? There is that 4 stories high building in the upper right. If some bombs have hit a building so it is totally levelled (looks like not enough rubble to me either, but I digress: I'm obviously no bomb expert), why are the windows in that building all still intact?
A single bomb should have deglassed all the windows you can see in this picture.

As for why Barzeh: it was supposedly the place for the scientists doing the work in the old chemical weapons program and nowadays an administrative place for the OPCW to conduct their ongoing inspections in Syria. So no matter which one it is, or both, it's from the US' point of view a good target.
However, attacking places you claim have chemical warfare agents stocked, like in Homs, with conventional bombs and not thermobaric ammunition, simply shows what bad liar you are. or war criminal or of course: both.

Posted by: nervos belli | Apr 16, 2018 4:16:46 PM | 9

thanks b.. lying is yet another propaganda tool.. i agree with @3 psycho - "they are purveyors of propaganda rather than truth."

when does the next round happen? there is no way this insanity is anywhere near finished... one only has to read the msm to know exactly where this is headed.... now maybe this is where the neo cons are headed, and no one else wants to go along with them, but judging by the usa- uk and sycophants here - there will be more of this to come... i like how pt framed it on sst....

Posted by: james | Apr 16, 2018 4:23:48 PM | 10

#3 psychohistorian

China has been moving slowly in the Chinese way toward de-dolorization and they are partnering with Russia on some.

China makes announcements no one in the West listens. A little over a year ago China announced that in five years the yuan would be a fully convertible international currency. Just recently it started trading oil futures in Shanghai in yuan and convertible to gold. Step by step as Russia develops its SWIFT alternative and unhackable quantum communications are coming on line in China and Russia.

My dream is to see the USD no longer the reserve currency and I may yet get my wish - maybe in about four more years. Take note of how many Chinese announcements were made and achieved over the past 40 years. They tend to do what they say. The Bundesbank is already using yuan in its reserves.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Apr 16, 2018 4:24:48 PM | 11

According to South Front, the Pentagon is

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 16, 2018 4:27:03 PM | 12

I think Mattis and co are playing it down not because they're pathological liars that want to gloat and pretend they're the best, but because they fear the neo-cons and media uproar if they knew they weren't nowhere near as successful as hoped for or claimed. Then they'd ask vehemently for bigger attacks. And Trump would also require bigger attacks, obviously - he cannot accept a US failure. Therefore, I really think Mattis first of all wants to avoid escalation - bigger attack is riskier and the odds of Russia hitting back increase significantly - rather than just the usual US posturing of "We're number one".

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 16, 2018 4:27:23 PM | 13

Test. Did my last comment get truncated at the beginning of link text?

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 16, 2018 4:28:17 PM | 14

The German V1 was a heck of a good weapon for its day and its ancestors are only have a few tweaks. It flew at 400mph vs the Tomahawks 600mph and okay the latter has some more fancy guidance. When I read about the British counter-measures, it seemed like all of them could have been evaded had they fired the V1's at dusk or night.

When I reviewed the Pentagon's briefing, I did hear the Gen. claim that the SAA fired all of their weapons after the strike, he was having flashbacks to Libya, circa 1980's. That was a total fabrication.

While the SAA performance was good, it looks like the Russians did confirm that almost all of the the fancy new JASSM missiles dropped from the B1 did hit the Syrian buildings. The Pentagon claims that 19 were used during the attack and the Russians said that there were 16 hits.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 16, 2018 4:30:29 PM | 15

Mattis told Trump, "don't hit anything significant or where there are Russians, or you will have sunk ships and/or downed aircraft." Just as Putin promised. So Bolton has the bright idea, "lets use this to test Syrian-only air-defense." Mattis agrees, but while watching the first 103 wave of the intended 300 missiles get decimated and most of the rest not hit the targets, Mattis saves US taxpayers about $200million and calls it off after 1 hour. And I'd bet the Russian defenses had "lit up" nearly all US/UK/French assets tasked with firing the missiles, just in case the FUKUS screwed up big time.

And I guess Trump finally figured out and new US space programs and spy satellite scam are on hold as Russia has cut off the US supply of RD180 rocket engines. So a "pause" in the sanctions Haley screeched were coming.

Posted by: A P | Apr 16, 2018 4:31:51 PM | 16

All War Crimes are Serious! They are all Capital Crimes!

Always pays to recall this old adage: You can always tell when a politician's lying--their lips move. No media or government official connected with/controlled by the Outlaw US Empire has any credibility whatsoever. Hell, Trump's tweets are more often than not Fake News as linked item explains. To be sure, the Hybrid Third World War wasn't unleashed by Trump, but he's prosecuting it just the same. Current "reasoning" being utilized at Depravity Central would deem Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor not an act of war. Here's an article plus video of an amazing tunnel complex discovered beneath Douma. Pretty sophisticated engineering for a supposedly rag-tag group of terrorists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 16, 2018 4:32:49 PM | 17

If the fukustanis really think they have committed a surgical strike, haha... Heart surgery with a 2' auger. Blindfolded.


Let's get this straight, the "allies" attacked the "regime" and it was like V-1s against a swarm of Mosquitos.

Let's pose the question:

Dear Gen. Mattis, Ge. Dunfrod,

1/ Was it your intention to hit actual repositories of chemical weapons thus killing untold innocents in the resultant cloud of toxic material? Or did you know that you were not going to hit anything of value and the purpose was just to let off some steam for the benefit of the home fans?

2/ If the intel was available for targeting purposes, would it not have been more prudent to send in the OPCW to inspect the sites in question? Why blow up the most useful evidence that the Syrian government was engaging in CW mischief?

Posted by: Stumpy | Apr 16, 2018 4:35:17 PM | 18

They've had a weekend to work on the damage control strategery (as they say) and the Wall Street Journal has a slobbery article about how Bolton yielded to Mattis and agreed to fewer targets. If it's true that 2/3 of the missiles were intercepted and the WSJ article is mainly cover up propaganda, it's actually pretty cleverly done (and scary, frankly). I wonder how much of the war history I've been taught over the years is accuarate.

"Trump Bowed to Pentagon Restraint on Syria Strikes"
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-bowed-to-pentagon-restraint-on-syria-strikes-1523837509

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Apr 16, 2018 4:35:56 PM | 19

Trump, lying sack of shit bragging about Bolton and successful hit on Syria.: They didn't shoot one down. The equipment didn't work too well their equipment! blah-blah-blah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W9jS3-gt7w

This is the lying ass many of you still can't condemn! Get over it already - he's a Zionist quisling, always was and still is!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 16, 2018 4:37:08 PM | 20

I have been wondering why Russia put all it planes out in the open on the runway of the Latakia International Airport. The suspect the secret is the Pantsir-S1. There are reports that it intercepted Grad rocket attacks on the airbase. To do this it would use its autocannon instead of its limited number of missiles.

Four years ago there were reports that Ukrainian OTR-21 Tochka fired at Donbass has mysteriously exploded in the air, just before hitting their targets. At first it was thought they had been intercepted by S-300 of S-400 missiles fired from the Russian side of the border. Later footage emerged of a Pantsir-S1 in Donbass.

If a Pantsir-S1 can shoot down a salvo of 40 supersonic Grad rockets or a OTR-21 Tochka, then surely it can handle a shipload of subsonic Tomahawks. More on Sputnik:

Pantsir-S1 Repelling US Strikes on Syria Showed 100% Effectiveness - Russian MoD

According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air defense system deployed by the Syrian forces showed almost 100% effectiveness in repelling the Western missile strike.

"In anti-aircraft combat, the Russian-made Pantsir S-1 system that had been previously supplied to the Syrian armed forces was actively used," he added.

Konashenkov went on to say that the Syrian air defenses used 112 ground-to-air missiles to repel the attack that targeted not only facilities in Barza and Jaramana, but also military facilities, including airfields.

The spokesman also denied the reports that S-200 air defense missile system had underperformed while repelling the attack, saying the system is designed to hit aircraft, in the course of fending off the strike.

Konashenkov reiterated that Syrian air defense systems S-125, S-200, Buk, and Kvadrat took part in repelling the joint strike.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Apr 16, 2018 4:38:58 PM | 21

The latest spin from MSM news is how Russia and Syria are blocking OPCW from carrying out their inspections, with NPR doing their usual awful job of providing historical context to their enlightened listeners (of course always blaming Russia and the Syrian "regime" (why do you never hear in the media, "Israeli regime", US regime", etc.?). And of course U.S. Is accusing Russia of using the extra time to doctor the evidence.
Has anyone heard credible reports of what's happening regarding OPCW going in?

Posted by: kabobyak | Apr 16, 2018 4:42:49 PM | 22

(continuation of #12)

...not happy about the results of the barrage.

If you look at video of the interceptions, many of the incoming missiles were on a high, vulnerable flight path instead of the low paths that cruise missiles were designed for. Those wounded ducks were malfunctioning, most likely as a result of Radio Electronic Combat (REC) measures. Blowing them up in the air seems mainly about mitigating hazards from random ground strikes.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 16, 2018 4:51:04 PM | 23

One hundred and five weapons against three targets would be a remarkable overkill. Just consider that the U.S. Tomahawk and JASSM cruise missiles and the British Skalp EG cruise missiles used in these attacks carry 450 kilogram (~1,000 pounds) of high explosives each. Did the U.S. military really plan to use 15 metric tons of high explosives against each target. That would be enough to blow up a whole town.

I have it on good authority that there was no missile slavo at all at all. The whole thing is a Russkie psyop.

Safely ensconced in the comfort of his favourite easy-lounger in his plush Kremlin offices our Mr Putin simply flicked a switch and downed any and all missile launches immediately upon launch and then immediately disabled the US ZATO ships which launched them. He did all this with his super-duper ultra-seekrit EW weaponry which certain nameless geniuses at MOA are utterly convinced he has been keeping hidden up his sleeves.

The russkies then photoshopped some pics to make it look like Trump managed to wreck some havoc in Syria, and the Yanks are keeping schtum because they are so embarrassed by the whole affair.

Putin plans to reveal all in the middle of the next Presidential election in order to prevent Trump from gaining re-election.

I know this is true because I read it not only at Webster Tarpley's website but also at Voltairenet, and as we all know neither of those two have ever been know to peddle bullshit. No siree.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 16, 2018 5:08:16 PM | 24


@13 and @19,

I think this is likely to be true, and if so it *in part* explains the inefficiency of the strike--but only in part. The WSJ piece does not directly adopt a qualitative tone re: Mattis, but if the Pentagon account fails to convince (as it will), then the WSJ information can be brought forward to scapegoat Mattis for failing to slap Russia hard enough (as b and P. Lang have both earlier predicted will happen).

It may be that Mattis, by providing Russia with advance notice of the location of the strikes (as he *had* to do by any rational standard), recognized going in that the efficiency of the strike would be decreased. But I think he and others were nonetheless surprised and embarrassed by how inefficient it was.

@15,

Which "Syrian buildings" did the JASSM missiles hit? If they were Syrian buildings *not* protected by Pantsir-Buk 2 systems, then their success tells us nothing. If they hit buildings that were protected by such systems, then that would be more interesting, as we could gauge the relative efficiency of the two weapons against each other. Do you know?

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 5:13:49 PM | 25


Well - you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: b | Apr 16, 2018 4:12:59 PM | 4

You can if you are the Exceptional Nation.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 16, 2018 5:15:07 PM | 26

RE 23

There are a few possible reasons for the CM flying a low-high pattern

1. Just like the Russian fighter bombers, to avoid MANPADS
2. To allow a steep dive onto the target to reduce surrounding collateral damage
3. For those coming in from the west, launched in or over the Med, climbing over the mountains west of Damascus.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 16, 2018 5:23:24 PM | 28

This site needs a voting mechanism whereby trolls and the like can be banned by other participants. A mechanism to flush out the shitheads.

Please keep up the good work of journalism on this site.

Posted by: imoverit | Apr 16, 2018 5:25:28 PM | 29

Thanks b that was a great analysis and I appreciate your effort to assemble these reports. Off topic a little I have to say, having just seen a video of tunnels and armaments in east Gouta on al Masdar, I am amazed as to how all the construction materials were smuggled into surrounded enclaves. The tunnel system alone under the hospital is purpose built clad and ceilings of steel! That is a lot of large truckloads.

Perhaps these supplies were rushed in when the terrorist occupied areas were linked some years ago but the SAA is discovering vast numbers of weapons and mortars and these are all short life disposable items. How did the re-supply work? Can anyone enlighten me?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 16, 2018 5:26:28 PM | 30

This fits with Elijah Magnier's claim that Israel has been forced out of Syrian airspace, although it could also be compatible with a claim they've only been forced out of the hotspots.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 16, 2018 5:28:54 PM | 31

@22,

I am doubtful that, in the case of an actual military chemical attack, one week is enough time to "scrub" the site in a way that would not be blatantly obvious to professionals in the field. This lie, I am betting, will not be the "official lie" that later emerges, but will be forgotten sometime within the next few days--much as the lie about the Novichok coming through the air ventilation systems of Skripal's car, remember that one? The "official lie" will involve the smuggling in of a "discovery" of a "chemical that is or of a type related to chlorine" in the OPCW summary report. This has been set up already by the repeated mention of "chlorine gas" by Western officials and media as if this were in fact a designated chemical weapon. But who knows. The only way any of this matters at all is if it is publicized widely enough to create real domestic political consequences, but the media won't let this happen.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 5:31:17 PM | 32

And now the cyberattack again - huge, affecting Millions of Computers, coming from - guess! Yes, you guessed it, from Russia! Says who? Guess again! Yes, you guessed it again, very smart! UKus.
On behalf of the OPCW Douma mission: Who is acting at the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS)which currently impedes the start of that mission? Who is the boss? Let us guess again; a German, French, u.s., UK national? Who knows it?

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 16, 2018 5:41:42 PM | 33

here is the latest spin from russia, but it doesn't sound like spin....

"“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

Posted by: james | Apr 16, 2018 5:43:06 PM | 34

By the way--@22--if Russia really does have "irrefutable proof" that the Douma attack was "staged" by the U.K., then--as Den Lille Abe @231 noted on a prior thread--this would be "really bad news, with far reaching consequences, very far." I take it that this "irrefutable" proof would have to involve the Russian interception of one or more explicitly self-incriminating communications between very high-level U.K. officials. This would lead to a constitutional crisis, and quite possibly riots, in the U.K.


"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," the Russian Statement said. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 5:45:08 PM | 35

Well - you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: b | Apr 16, 2018 4:12:59 PM | 4

You can if you are the Exceptional Nation.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 16, 2018 5:15:07 PM | 26

Does the Exceptional Nation hold Russian government treasury bonds? That would be interesting to know. Russia held just over US$100 billion worth of US Treasury bonds in early January 2018.
https://www.uawire.org/russia-buys-us-government-bonds-at-7-year-record-rate

So who's got its cake and is eating it too?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 16, 2018 6:11:26 PM | 36

- Who cares that these missiles missed their targets/were shot out of the air. The manufacturer makes a ton of money, right ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 16, 2018 6:21:25 PM | 37

@27 Good job, another thread has its format screwed up, now unreadable on a tablet..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 16, 2018 6:22:34 PM | 38

Syrian news reports that Israel is bombing Homs now.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 6:26:19 PM | 39

I like this guy.
https://dispatchesfromtheasylum.com/2018/04/15/the-beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves/

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 16, 2018 6:27:53 PM | 40

Shayrat Airbase being attacked: https://twitter.com/SalvinYula?lang=en

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 6:28:18 PM | 41

Posted by: Jen | Apr 16, 2018 6:11:26 PM | 36

The complete lack of a sense of humour causes me to conclude that "Jen" is "James" in drag.

Ps: these are gov bonds we're talking about here. 100 billion really ain't a lot of money when you're talking T bill ownership by a sovereign nation. But if you think it's highly significant then good for you.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 16, 2018 6:29:09 PM | 42

Robert Fisk reporting from Douma (report filed 2 hours ago in the Independent) has basically blown apart May's rationale for going all guns blazing. There was NO gas attack.

Posted by: Kaima | Apr 16, 2018 6:34:33 PM | 43

Regarding the inferred success rate of the JASSMs (as opposed to the ancient Tomahawks), I got that from Southfront.

The Russians said "30 missiles were launched at targets in the areas of Barzah and Jaramani. Seven missiles were intercepted."
https://southfront.org/russian-military-provides-details-about-repelled-us-led-strike-on-syria-trump-says-it-was-perfect/

This would include the harmless research institute. The Pentagon claims that 19 air launched JASSMs were launched at the research institute
(one of the few of their claims that I find plausible). I assume that most of these were among the 23 that got through.

I do not believe that this should be surprising. Being air launched to a site near Damascus would have one of the shortest time to targets
and this would be the most challenging missiles to defend against. This does not tell us what the Russians would be able to do
against this class of missiles.

The Tomahawk missiles launched at the air bases were virtually all intercepted.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 16, 2018 6:38:50 PM | 44

WJ @35 In the house of commons debate this afternoon, May was asked by one MP if she could look him in the eye and say with certainty it was Assad. She said "I can give him the absolute assurance that, from the intelligence that I have seen, from the analysis that I have seen and from the assessments that I have heard, I am in absolutely no doubt that the Syrian regime was responsible for this attack in Douma."
I'm not convinced with her reply, but I can't put my finger on it. It might be word trickery.

Posted by: duplicitousdemocracy | Apr 16, 2018 6:45:07 PM | 45


@WithinSyriaBlog reports:

Update2: Buk SAM launched 5 missiles and intercepted all Israeli missiles over Shayrat, no hits reported.


This apparently so-far meaningless attack by Israel comes the same day it is announced that Pentagon is opening inquiry into strike failure. These five missiles fired by Israeli jets and brought down (reportedly) by Buk2 defensive battery: is this part of the inquiry? If not, then what?

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 6:46:05 PM | 46

A setting on the webpage setup for this article has changed.
Lines do not word wrap and run off the right end of the page.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 16, 2018 6:46:13 PM | 47

@45,

Indeed. Only an Oxfordian could avoid "Yes" so volubly.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 6:50:15 PM | 48

Re #36

China Holds over 1Trillion US debt. Every country in the world, bar maybe North Korea and Iran, each individually holds billions of US debt. But foreign holders of US debt are Lead by China and Japan. See here for details : https://chinapower.csis.org/us-debt/

Russia doesn't even rate a mention, because outside of China and Japan, the rest of the world's combined holdings of US debt add up to a paltry 20% max

Russia's 100 billion is a drop in the ocean of existing US debt, and is likely to be purely for US dollar reserve/forex purposes.
Russia's paltry 100 billion is nowhere near as significant as "Jen" (or James in drag?) would like people to think it is

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 16, 2018 6:59:01 PM | 49

A P @16:

The Russians are in a tight spot regarding the RD-180 engines. The US is determined to find a replacement where the BE-4 and AR-1 are being considered. Granted those engines are not as powerful as the RD-180, but eventually the Russians will lose that monopoly. Since the Chinese have their own rocket engines, there isn't many places the Russians can turn to.

Posted by: Ian | Apr 16, 2018 7:10:33 PM | 50

@45 It is because she is hiding behind her advisors.

Here is a simple rule of thumb.

When a politician prefaces an answer along the lines of:
"I have been advised that..."
then they may as well have answered
"I'll get to that, but first let me place this fall-guy under this bus....."

It is a sure giveaway that the politician is lying, and knows full well that there is evidence out there that can expose their lies. So they are setting up their advisers to take the fall.

Now, go back to May's sentence, wherein she sets up Everyone But Herself to take the fall if/when her lie is finally exposed.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 16, 2018 7:12:16 PM | 51

Is this the inflection point where Trump feels let down by the military?
His 'Bay of Pigs" moment?
WaPo
Nikki Haley finds herself under the bus as Trump shifts course on Russia
here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 7:13:40 PM | 52

@44 Not to mention that a US Navy ECW aircraft (the USAF has no ECW aircraft) accompanied the B-1 bombers that launched those JASSMs. So the Syrian SAM sites that had to defend against the JASSMs were the only ones that had to fight in a fog of electronic jamming.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 16, 2018 7:16:41 PM | 53

JohninMK | Apr 16, 2018 5:17:29 PM | 27

If you cannot use HTML for long links, break them up by putting in some spaces.
Only the first line will appear as a link but the full link can be copy/pasted to an address bar or search engine.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 16, 2018 7:20:02 PM | 54

I would think it is pretty easy to work out who's version of events is correct.

The Russians gave the following scorecard:
4/4 aimed at Damascus International Airport
12/12 aimed at Al-Dumayr airdrome
18/18 aimed at Blai airdrome
12/12 aimed at Shayrat air base
5/9 aimed at Mazzeh airdrome (an abandoned airport)
13/16 aimed at Homs airdrome
7/30 aimed at Barzah and Jaramana

The first four are no help: the Americans are simply sneering that they never had those on their target list.

The last is no help either: both the Russians (22 hits) and the Americans (76!!! hits) agree that this was pulverised.

The clue is to be found at the Mazzeh and Homs airfields.
If the Russians are lying then there shouldn't be any new damage at either site.
If the Yanks are lying then there will be 4 news craters at Mazzeh and 3 new craters at Homs.

Has anyone looked at any satellite photos for either?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 16, 2018 7:33:57 PM | 55

@52 Well yes but I wouldn't get too excited. They are working on Nikki's excuse right now and Donald will still get accused of being Vlad's buddy.

Posted by: dh | Apr 16, 2018 7:43:39 PM | 56

well, looks like trump is using the isralei proxy now to continue attacks

israeli missiles fired at Syria:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6069343/syria-israel-air-defence-warplanes-damascus/

Posted by: A bee | Apr 16, 2018 7:50:47 PM | 57

Given they've gone deep into Big Lie mode, I don't expect much domestic political damage to stick to the 3 War Criminals, Trump, May, and Macron as they'll just continue to double down with their denials and refuse to accept any factual proof proving they're lying, of which there's an abundance, as that's what pathological liars do. Effectively, until a revolution occurs, the West's core states are Nazified, or perhaps Orwellized is better.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 16, 2018 8:01:01 PM | 58

@A bee 57
. . .trump is using the isralei proxy
I believe it's rather the other way 'round.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 8:04:23 PM | 59

news report...

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected on Capitol Hill Tuesday for House and Senate briefings in the wake of U.S. air strikes against Syria, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning.

That's tomorrow, and they've got all those lyin' slides to produce.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 8:13:07 PM | 60

One report says that only 7 missiles out of 105 hit their targets and the Russians are downplaying the success
rate.From the photos of damage seven is more believable than 30+ but it begs a question.....

Posted by: Winston | Apr 16, 2018 8:14:34 PM | 61

b,

This problem of long links pasted into the comment section messing with the width of the site, making it unreadable on smaller screens can be easily solved by adding to the CSS stylesheet a max-width to the #content rules, as below:


#content {
background-color: #dee3e9;
color: #000000;
padding: 1.5em;
font-family: georgia, verdana, arial, sans-serif;
max-width: 650px;
}

Posted by: Laninya | Apr 16, 2018 8:15:22 PM | 62

Damning

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201804171063629688-us-reporter-douma-wa/

Posted by: cdvision | Apr 16, 2018 8:16:55 PM | 63

@45 re May's comment.

"I can give him the absolute assurance that, from the intelligence that I have seen, from the analysis that I have seen and from the assessments that I have heard, I am in absolutely no doubt that the Syrian regime was responsible for this attack in Douma."

In other words she is simply confirming that she's seen someone's reports; not that those reports are correct. She's simply confirming she can read.

Posted by: cdvision | Apr 16, 2018 8:26:00 PM | 64

Could be Israel throwing a tantrum over proposed sale of S-300 to Syria.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/244454

Posted by: WJ | Apr 16, 2018 8:28:08 PM | 65

Sky News cuts off the former commander of British Armed Forces Jonathan Shaw over Syria . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 8:43:23 PM | 66

re: security problems in Douma
Clashes underway in Douma between Syria’s National Guard and militants

DAMASCUS, April 16. /TASS/. Clashes are underway between the government units of the National Guard and militants in the city of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, and there are casualties, a TASS correspondent relayed from the scene.
Clashes erupted in the Rahmani neighborhood. According to the locals, before the city changed hands, terrorists used a nearby building as a warehouse.
The Russian Defense Ministry earlier reported that the evacuation of militants from Douma had been completed on April 13. More than 21,000 militants and members of their families were transported from the area.
OPCW experts were expected to get down to work in the city on Monday. They arrived in Damascus on Saturday to probe into an alleged chemical attack in Douma. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 8:54:39 PM | 67

was css for the comments page changed from floating to fixed width, at a high width? I'm vision impaired and can no longer read it!

Posted by: mireille | Apr 16, 2018 8:55:31 PM | 68

Yes, karlof1 @17. Those tunnels are heavily-engineered. And with 8 meter ceilings? Even tanks don't need that sort of clearance. All I can imagine is artillery pieces.

I've read that Hamas was accused of providing ISIL with the training to build tunnels, but I've never seen anything approaching this in Gaza.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 16, 2018 9:04:06 PM | 69

@mireille 68
I'm vision impaired and can no longer read it!
See 27.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 9:12:35 PM | 70

@ 70
SORRY -- didn't mean to be rude. But that's where the problem is.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2018 9:13:59 PM | 71

@all

MoA, this site, just had another maintenance which unfortunately too a bit longer than anticipated.

Please excuse the inconvenience.

Posted by: b | Apr 17, 2018 4:23:38 AM | 72

Syira attacked again, this time probably by israel

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/04/16/558747/syria-homs-airbase-missile

Posted by: Anon | Apr 17, 2018 4:27:43 AM | 73

@B Glad you're back up. I thought you had been targeted by a "nice and new and 'smart'" DDOS attack.

I just got done watching Lavrov's interview on Hard Talk, which was painful. It's deja vu all over again for anyone who remembers MSM tactics in 2002-2003.

Sergey Lavrov's interview with BBC

Posted by: HD | Apr 17, 2018 4:35:28 AM | 74

Thank you, Mr b.

I guess we can't know for sure without photos of Tomahawk wreckage.

I've seen several fetching monuments to North Vietnam's air defence force, often in the form of 'sculptures' constructed from bits and pieces of downed US aircraft.
Maybe the Syrians should create something like that?

Posted by: adamski | Apr 17, 2018 4:58:49 AM | 75

@72...

Yeh, I think there is a pattern developing here.

Every time TSHTF things start flying around Syria (or where ever the us-ual suspects hangout) then
Bill Gates starts mega-downloads of Windows 'updates' to my PC; Norton security starts its downloads;
and then my Telco drops out telling me my monthly pre-paid limit is reached (even when it's saying 10gb to go).

I'm usually out of action for 60+min and blood pressure at 'red' critical.

Now I could just be paranoid but ... :-/

Posted by: imo | Apr 17, 2018 5:27:04 AM | 76

Seriously - Why doesn't Russia donate a handful of nukes to both Iran and Syria. That would change the entire equation.

Posted by: Qualtrough | Apr 17, 2018 5:33:51 AM | 77

@b | Apr 17, 2018 4:23:38 AM | 72

Whenever your site MoA under maintenance the same happened in Colonel Pat Lang's Outpost Sic Semper Tyrannis . I believe MoA and Sic Semper Tyrannis same web hosting: Cloudflare Location: San Jose

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

We’ll be back soon!
Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re performing some maintenance at the moment. We’ll be back online shortly!

Web server is down
The web server is not returning a connection. As a result, the web page is not displaying.

Ray ID: 4092d1b570586cfa
Your IP address: XXXXXXXXXXX
Error reference number: 521
Cloudflare Location: San Jose

==================================

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/

We’ll be back soon!
Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re performing some maintenance at the moment. We’ll be back online shortly!

Web server is down
The web server is not returning a connection. As a result, the web page is not displaying.

Ray ID: 4092d11717cd6c58
Your IP address: XXXXXXXXX
Error reference number: 521
Cloudflare Location: San Jose

Posted by: OJS | Apr 17, 2018 6:20:10 AM | 78

In case people haven't seen it due to maintenance shut down, Robert Fisk's story of his interviewing the doctor at the Douma hospital where the child victims of a supposed chemical attack - he says it was dust - were taken (and filmed), can be accessed here:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

Its worth emphasising - because a lot of dirt is being thrown at Fisk at the moment on social media because of this story - that Fisk is a longterm opponent of the Assads, Bashar's dad having demolished Fisk's house because of an article he wrote.

Very carefully, like a good journalist, Fisk presents what he sees but does not draw definitive conclusions. Its also worth reading because he scotches the lies that the civilian population in Douma were supporters of the murderous "rebels."

Posted by: johnf | Apr 17, 2018 6:40:25 AM | 79

Yeah, Right @53 good point about the ECW aircraft. So we used our best missiles and our best aircraft to bomb the three buildings.
Wow, we really wanted to take out that Aspirin factory. A Southfront article linked to an OPCW news link that showed that they
inspected the institute last November. The symbolic value of that target was just what our lazy MSM needed.

B and to all others, how does it feel to know that the Pentagon monitors the websites for activity. What are the odds that we are
on that list? A 2000% increase, who would have guessed that bombing a country would create a flurry of interest by people interested
in world events, our Pentagon are a bunch of geniuses. My tax dollars at work.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 17, 2018 7:21:21 AM | 80

@78 The bizarre thing about it is that the Pentagon was reporting that the ECW aircraft was an EA-6B Prowler, which is an aircraft that the US Navy retired in 2015.

Why they wouldn't use its replacement the EA-18G Growler is.... I dunno. Granted that the electronics is the same but, still, the Growler is a much more survivable aircraft, not to mention being less decrepit that the Prowler.

Maybe it was a Marine EA-6B, they always end up with the hand-me-downs.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 17, 2018 7:53:31 AM | 81

Just did some math.

Cost of Tomahawk Missile: $1.78 million (not counting expenses related to deploying and launching)
Average annual US schoolteacher's salary $55,259 (not counting expenses related to deploying and launching)

one cruise missile = 32,211 teachers' annual salary (or roughly one one thousand teachers' lifetime salary)

multiply that times 70...and you start to see what the problem is

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 17, 2018 7:59:27 AM | 82

Russian reports of high success in shooting down missiles are incredible, in my opinion.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Apr 17, 2018 8:06:46 AM | 83

@ralphieboy

your point is valid but your "math" is crap..

Posted by: BillHunt | Apr 17, 2018 8:09:47 AM | 84

When I first saw the before/after of the building complex I was puzzled by the debri field being so contained (the neighbourhood seemed pretty clean). In addition there's a big highhoe on the left, how did that get there so quickly. Nice to get some information that perhaps clears up my confusion, it was already under demolition before the attack.
https://russia-insider.com/en/syria-planned-demolishing-barzah-facility-trump-fired-76-2-million-cruise-missiles-it-pentagon-says

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 17, 2018 8:22:37 AM | 85

@81 In a good way? Or a bad way?

The top speed of a Tomahawk is around 550mph, which is about as fast as the WW2-era ME-262 jet fighter. I doubt that it is as manoeuvrable as the ME-262, but undoubtedly it is much smaller.

But they are comparable.

Now, ask yourself how a WW2-era fighter would do against an ultra-modern Pansir point-defence system, even if it had an ace pilot flying the damn thing by the seat of his pants.

I would suggest that the Pansir would be swatting those fly-boys out of the sky without raising a sweat.

So why is it so fantastic to believe that the Pansir can't do the same to a subsonic cruise missile that does nothing but follow a pre-programmed flight path?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 17, 2018 8:24:49 AM | 86

Here is a Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry official Major General Igor Konashenkov on the missiles:

http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12171611@egNews#txt


In total, the Syrian AD systems eliminated 71 cruise missiles of 103 ones.

Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.

18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.

12 missiles targeted the Shayrat airbase, all the missiles shot down.

Two missiles targeted the Tiyas airfield, all the missiles shot down.

Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.

Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.

Almost 30 missiles and corrected air bombs were targeted research-and-development objects located near Barza and Jaramana. Five of them were hit by Syrian AD systems.

In total, Syrian air defence systems fired 112 air defence missiles.

Pantsyr AD system fired 25 missiles and hit 24 targets;

Buk system fired 29 missiles and hit 24 targets;

Osa system fired 11 and hit 5 targets;

S-125 system fired 13 missiles and hit 5 targets;

Strela-10 system fired 5 missiles and hit 3 targets;

Kvadrat system fired 21 and hit 11 targets;

S-200 system fired 8 and hit no targets.

Posted by: A bee | Apr 17, 2018 8:34:14 AM | 87

ah yes, 1 tomahawk is 32 teachers for a year or one teacher for a lifetime...still a big waste

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 17, 2018 8:57:35 AM | 88

I see a lot of discussion about (non)usage of Russian/Syrian air defence systems in Syria. People often think of extreme ranges of interceptor missiles (more than 100km), and associate that with some “protection umbrella” with 100+km radius. It is then hard to understand from that point of view, how can something enter within 100km of SAM site and survive?
Air defence of Syria is directly dependent on terrain configuration. One must understand the concept of radar horizon and radar shadow, and how they impact air defence systems. Radar horizon is the limit of target detection zone, and it scales with height of radar antenna. That is why AWACS fly high and see far away. And that is why sea based radars don’t have much of a range except for high flying targets. Anything beyond this zone won’t be detected. Then there is a radar shadow. To put it very simply, radar shadow is an area within normal radar range that is blocked by some terrain feature, like mountain range. Radar is ineffective in that area.

Terrain features of Syrian Latakia province can be seen on this image. Light blue dashed line represents radar horizon for radars located along the coastline (i.e. Latakia city and Tartus). Beyond that line inside Syria, those radars can't see aircrafts, except those flying at extremely high altitudes. This means that S-400 systems located along the coastline can be used to the maximum range to protect only from attacks coming from the sea. Inlands, it only protects against targets flying over small strip of coastline (around 40km from the sea). For example, TUAF drone flying at 2km altitude over Khan Sheikun (70km from Latakia) or over Jisr Ash Shugur (55km from Latakia) can’t even be acquired by S-400 sites along the coastline. While that drone can surely be acquired by other radars elsewhere in Syria, and eventually target trace can probably be exchanged with S-400 systems along the coast, it is doubtful that it can be engaged with S-400 missiles. Of course, this assumes that S-400 long range missile needs midcourse target updates via direct line-of-sight link from battery command site. This also suggests that recently launched US/UK/F cruise missiles used some alternative approaches via Turkey/Lebanon/Israel/Jordan, in order to avoid early detection by Russian coastline radars.

Approach from Lebanon is regularly employed by Israeli Air Force attacks at Syria. Terrain features there can be seen on this image. Light blue line is the trajectory of Israeli aircraft, which use Bekaa valley radar shadow to hide their approach. Lebanon mountain to the west of Bekaa valley protects them from Syrian coastline radars, and Anti Lebanon mountain to the east of Bekaa valley protects them form Damascus radars. Red lines are flight paths of stand-off missiles that are launched towards Syria while launch aircrafts are inside Bekaa valley. Missiles are picked up by Syrian mainland radars only in terminal flight phase after those missiles hop over Anti Lebanon mountains.

This attack vector puts SAA air defences at severe disadvantage, because reaction time is very short. For example, JASSM missile launched from an aircraft flying above Baalbek, Lebanon at Dumayr airbase in Syria (60km away), would be ideally detected when it hops over Anti Lebanon mountains. From that point, flying at 800Km/h, missile impacts in less than 4 minutes. In that time, central air defense must classiffy threat, identify possible target, alarm the units that can intercept, and communicate approval of engagement to those units. Units then have to chose engagement profile - one or more missiles, intercept near or far, engagement radar acivity, where will missile debris fall on civilian settlements etc... all in less than 4 minutes.

Let me tell you this as someone who had endured NATO missiles - SAA air defence is doing GREAT job.

Posted by: Misa | Apr 17, 2018 9:14:00 AM | 89

Another day, another messed up thread on Moon of Alabama. Discouraging.

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 17, 2018 9:21:12 AM | 90

@Misa 87
Thank you for that extraordinary air defense lesson.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 17, 2018 9:26:40 AM | 91

I wonder whether this 'Kalen' of 4:16:25 PM ever knew what was at stake or what s talkin about.
The reasoning is about OTHER things than simply ''it should be A or B. Since it was no A, it must have been B. And if neither of them the Amerikans or Russkies
are both nuts.
a mental abstraction as applied on an ideal field or object is one thing.
On a multitude of factors, among which a few turn things unthinkable, is quite another.

Posted by: augusto | Apr 17, 2018 9:41:26 AM | 92

Tax dollars well spent
In a rare display of competent news reporting, a major news NW criticized a 911 dispatch and police for failing to respond to a child who called
911 on his cell phone after getting trapped underneath a minivan seat. He was able to describe the car and his location to no avail (the dispatch
call was beyond creepy, wanted to strangle the first responders).

So we have $700B as a 'down payment' to rebuild our broken military that already has big beautiful missiles (as DT puts it) but not
a nickel to add geolocation to 911.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 17, 2018 9:53:17 AM | 93

Why was there no chemical gas dispersal from the Barzeh Site in Syria? . . .from the Air Force--

US officials have only said that the strike was designed to “mitigate” such a dispersal of toxic gases.

Asked what those ”mitigation” efforts may have been, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes, in an interview Monday, declined to comment specifically on the Syria situation, “because I wasn’t involved in it.” However, “in generic terms,” he said, when attacking a chemical weapons site, the calculus involves “a thorough target study,” that models “the wind, the weather, and everything else.” Then, “the weaponeering solution is to choose the right weapon and the right number of weapons, to reduce the risk” of a chemical weapon getting out.

Holmes advised paying close attention to the number of weapons employed against the target; numbers put out by the Pentagon itself on Saturday morning. “Numbers matter in terms of reducing the risk of stuff being spread around, and how much you … burn up on-site.” The Barzeh research and development site was struck by 57 Tomahawk Land-Attack Missiles (T-LAMs) and 19 JASSM-ER missiles, each with a warhead of at least 1,000 pounds of explosive, but with considerably more destructive effect, meaning the site was hit by more than 76,000 pounds of explosive. By contrast, hardened targets struck in the two Iraq wars were typically taken out by two 2,000-pound bombs.. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 17, 2018 10:01:25 AM | 94

DB 92

Wow, what a load of rubbish. Mitigation! What fools we are taken for!

"If the wind be blowin' a certain direction, we just wait until it changes, see?....
Yeah, That's the ticket! Or maybe we just give it a little love tap instead of the
whole banana - ya know?... I'm speakin' in layman's language so y'all understand."

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 17, 2018 10:21:47 AM | 95

Not sure but i guess the average tonnage of one cruiser missile is more about 450 kilos, not 1 ton. Anyway 34 missiles have capacity of 15 300 kilos which is absolutely too much for one small target. As estimates by experts normally about 10 missiles (maximum) is reserved for one target size of this. So those three civilian soft targets took hardly more than 30 missiles.

Now the question is: what happened to those about 70?

Posted by: Mathias | Apr 17, 2018 10:22:50 AM | 96

--from Wall Street Journal (paywall)
U.S. Seeks Arab Force and Funding for Syria
Under plan, troops would replace American military contingent after ISIS defeat and help secure country’s north; proposal faces challenges

By Michael R. Gordon
April 16, 2018 9:18 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 17, 2018 10:28:25 AM | 97

To b.

I'm not certain that your 'declared free' link is correct, this seems to be a summary report for OPCW activities in Syria in 2016.

Perhaps more significant is the following document produced by the OPCW:

54th Monthly Report by Technical Secretariat

This says (Note 6a) that the OPCW has verified the destruction of 25 of the 27 declared Syrian Chemical Weapons Production Facilities. Note 11 states that the last two facilities (Barzah and Jamrayah) are set to be declared free of chemical weapons and related activities. In short, the OPCW doesn't think the Syrian Arab Republic has any more chemical weapons production facilities, storage facilities, or CW research facilities. This directly contradicts what western governments and mainstream media are trying to have us believe.

Posted by: Ant. | Apr 17, 2018 10:31:03 AM | 98

@95
--from another source on the Arab idea.
Some of the roadblocks: “Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are involved militarily in Yemen, and Egypt would be reluctant to defend territory that wasn’t controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.” Too, Lister said, Arab states would not “be eager to send forces to Syria if the U.S. military didn’t agree to keep some troops there.”
A big fan of the idea: Erik Prince, who reportedly “said Monday that he has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect of building a force in Syria but that he was waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 17, 2018 10:32:01 AM | 99

For all we know, they fired a shit ton of missiles into the ocean.

Furthermore, I recall reading on this site a short

while back about the ineffectiveness (futility, perhaps) of "Missile Defense"

by blasting them out of the sky (like Iron Dome, for example) with another missile.

Now we have a claim which indicates the exact opposite.

That RU has the ability to do this effectively.

Now it seems sensible that the best way to counter a missile strike, in the long run,

Is to target the launch site which obviously eliminates that site's further capability.

Why keep taking hits? Makes no sense not to attack the launch site.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 17, 2018 10:32:34 AM | 100

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