Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 22, 2015

Syria: The End Of The "Vetted Rebels" Scam

This was reported yesterday in the London Times. But for some curious reason no major U.S. media picked it up:

A US attempt to relaunch its much-criticised rebel training programme faced a setback yesterday when a second batch of western-trained fighters were detained by other rebel groups in northern Syria.

About 70 fighters from the US-trained group, called the 30th Division, entered the Bab al-Salama border crossing north of Aleppo in a heavily armed convoy of 12 vehicles with US air cover, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Pentagon vetted group was allegedly detained by some Turkmen group which is sponsored by Turkey. More crazy rumors about the fate of the group followed throughout yesterday but the situation has now cleared up. The very carefully vetted and selected Pentagon trained group was not detained, it changed sides within minutes of being injected into Syria:

Pentagon-trained rebels are reported to have betrayed US and handed weapons over to an al-Qaeda affiliate immediately after entering Syria.

Fighters with Division 30 surrendered and handed over "all its weapons" to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, sources alleged on Monday.
"A strong slap [in the face] for America... the new group from Division 30 that entered yesterday hands over all of its weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra after being granted safe passage," tweeted Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, who purports to be a member of the al-Qaeda affiliate.

[Obama's Islamic State War Czar General Allen just got fired - probably over the incident above. He was the genius who gave a free hand to Turkey to bomb the Kurds in exchange for access to the Incirlik air base in Turkey. (Could the ever failing disgraced General Petraeus replace him?)]

The leader of the U.S. trained, paid and equipped group published six reason (Arabic) why he changed sides.

But according to some rather weird Washington Post piece the administration is already thinking about a new strategy which would replace the failed idea of inserting "well vetted" fighters:

The administration is considering providing arms and ammunition to a wider array of rebel groups in Syria and relaxing vetting standards, effectively deepening America’s involvement in the ongoing civil war.

So as the "vetted" rebels change over to Al-Qaeda the remedy is to use less vetting.

But less or no vetting was used all along with the CIA paying, training and equipping 10,000+ anti-Syrian fighters since early 2012. Most of those fighters have, like the Pentagon trained group, sold their weapons and ammunition to Jihadis or even joined them. Vetting is obviously not necessary at all. An AP piece on 14 Syrian civilians killed by rebel shelling yesterday remarks:

The rebel coalition, known as the Army of Conquest alliance, includes Syria's al-Qaida branch, the Nusra Front, and the extremist Jund al-Aqsa group, and is backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

A Reuters piece that attempts to polish the Salafist Jihadis of Ahrar al-Shams notes:

With strong backing from Syria's neighbor Turkey, Ahrar al-Sham (the Free Men of Syria) is playing a significant role in Syria's four year old civil war - if not the biggest among insurgent group apart from Islamic State.
Under its new leadership it is trying to differentiate itself from al Qaeda, angering the Nusra Front and other hardliners. But its al Qaeda-linked background means Ahrar al-Sham still has a special relationship with the Nusra Front.

Rebels inside Syria say Ahrar al-Sham supplied many of Nusra's weapons. It was not clear if it was still doing so.

A former Nusra fighter who has now left the war said Nusra and Ahrar once had strong relations.

"All I know is that Nusra sees Ahrar as their source for weapons, especially in some battles," he said.

The Pentagon carefully "vetted" the few mercenaries it send into Syria and they promptly went to Nusra. It sure would not fail to also "vet" Ahrar als-Shams and come away with a similar positive judgement. The whole "vetted rebels" nonsense is obviously a scam as the U.S. and its allies never stopped supplying the not "vetted" Islamists who fight against the secular Syrian state.

But Ahrar's best days may soon be over. It is currently pampered by and supplied through Turkey but tomorrow the Turkish President Erdogan is supposed to meet the Russian president Putin.

Putin just deployed a considerable amount of equipment and personal to Syria to snuff out the Islamists. The numbers may well grow and end up as a fully equipped expeditionary corps with some 15,000 soldiers. Russia is allied with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hizbullah as the "4+1" alliance and will coordinate the fight through a common headquarter. Russian reconnaissance is all over the Syrian battlefield and its results, as well as new weapons, already help the Syrian government to successfully attack Islamic State concentrations killing dozens of fighters in Raqqa and Palmyra.

Turkey depends on Russian gas for some 30+% of its primary energy needs. Erdogan has great plans for Turkey to become a bigger energy hub by taking part in a new Russian gas pipeline, an €11.4 billion project. But gas will only continue to reliably flow through Russian pipelines if the Turkish weapon pipeline to the Islamic State, Ahrar al Shams and Jabhat al-Nusra closes. Erdogan will have to choose which pipeline better fits his interests.

Should Erdogan decide to continue the supply to the Islamists Russia decided to fight he will put his country into a very dangerous position. Russia could, for example, secretly supply those Kurds who fight the Turkish state in east Turkey. How successful could they be with an endless supply of modern Russian weapons?

I suspect that Erdogan's game is over. Russia decided to end the war the U.S. and its allies are waging against Syria. It will use all the tools of a great nation to support its positions. "Western" installed no-fly zones or protected opposition areas within Syria are now mere pipe-dreams. The genius Petraeus, who started the CIA mercenary program that supplied Nusra and the Islamic State, just again demanded such and other nonsense:

“We could, for example, tell Assad that the use of barrel bombs must end. And that if they continue, we will stop the Syrian Air Force from flying,” he said. “We have that capability.”

The U.S. "has that capability" only if it wants many of its own pilots killed. The country to decide over "no-fly zones" in Syria is Russia. The new S-300 and S-400 air defense systems now seen in Latakia make sure that nothing flies in Syria's airspace without Russian(!) acquiescence.

Posted by b on September 22, 2015 at 17:10 UTC | Permalink


My only question: What took Vlad so long?

Posted by: Steve | Sep 22 2015 17:32 utc | 1

Well, look at it this way - probably all the weapons our "well vetted" mercenaries sold to Al-Whoever were poorly made Bulgarian knock-offs circa 1980's.

Hell, maybe General Allen is a Machiavellian genius! Supplying the enemy with crap weapons while getting rid of unreliable allies at the same time. Wait...did I say genius? I meant - 'super-genius!'

Posted by: AlanSmithee | Sep 22 2015 18:03 utc | 2

My biggest concern is that the US ***can't*** allow Russia to fix syria, get rid of terrorists AND save Europe from immigration disaster and get all the credit for it. One way or another, the USA has to, as in absolutely must, find a way to fuck it up. Does not mean they can. But they sure will try.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 22 2015 18:11 utc | 3

Now that the Ukraine military situation is stabilized and the smell of its corrupted leadership is reaching the EU, Russia has free hand militarily to actively and openly support and help its long term ally when it is fighting against terrorists, many of them from Russia.
The current situation called for a bold intervention to placate once for all the "Friends of Syria"
1) The USA 'vetted rebels' fiasco
2) The ineffectiveness of the "US coalition" fighting ISIS,
3) the gradual withdrawal of Turkey from the equation because of its internal crisis and its determination to "kill its own people"
4) The weakening of Saudi Arabia stuck in the Yemen quagmire
5) The flamboyant Qatar suddenly mute
6) Iran getting off the hook
7) The 'migrants' crisis in Europe
8) The failure of the "safe zone" that Erdogan has been begging for years
9) Cairo opening up to Russia.
10) The change of tune of rigid France now desperate for business in Iran

and more...

Russia could not have found a better time to show its power and determination to Turkey, Saudi Arabia , France etc.. the proud countries who made the "Friends of Syria". These now prefer to avoid been reminded of their commitment for a regime change in Syria. They all look like cynical and ridiculous puppets now.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 22 2015 18:30 utc | 4

#1: My only question: What took Vlad so long?

My question: What took the troll so long?

Posted by: Petra | Sep 22 2015 18:48 utc | 5

Putin’s coalition against regime-change in Syria is coming along just fine. (includes the CSTO, not mentioned in b’s post, 1) Israel has said it is concerned to avoid ‘collision’ with Russia, and agrees to ‘coordinated measures’ (Netanyahu - Putin meet) and Saudi Arabia offered a full seat in OPEC (refused for now) amongst other deals (investments, nuclear, etc.) The US can either join or be left out. (It won’t fight Russia on this terrain. Nor did it in the Ukraine for ex. Not that it won’t play dirty tricks.) So far the noises from the US are maybe Assad need not step down immediately (Kerry) and of course we need to fight terrorism (etc.), a lot of mealy-mouthed posturing.

So that is it for the US allies, or rather US protectorates who share murderous ideologies (wahabism, zionism, etc.)

back to the very recent past:

14 July 2015, the Guardian: The Iran nuclear deal has paved the way for a “broad” coalition to fight the Islamic State group, according to the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. It removes the barriers – largely artificial – on the way to a broad coalition to fight the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups,” Lavrov said in a statement on the ministry’s website on Tuesday. The normalisation of the situation with Iran makes it possible to resolve “a whole number of problems and conflicts in the region” and will have a “positive influence on the situation as a whole”, Lavrov said.


Posted by: Noirette | Sep 22 2015 19:13 utc | 6

i'd love it if someone could sweep away my confusion regarding us-west and isis. not too long ago i read some netanyahu comments (ref. not handy, sorry) that israel has no fear of isis. us loves terrorists, many of whom are from ~russia; us-isr loves breaking up of all strong west asian states; us loves some syrian terrorists, only half loves al nusra, hates isis. i just don't get it.
us needs war so eu goes down with us in coming crash, wants to destroy & loot russia and get strong influence in china. why the schizoid approach to isis? what's not to love? i appreciate the competing psychoses of us foreign policy gods (yo' petraeus...he's baaaack!)though i see their differences as tactical, not strategic. ????

Posted by: bolasete | Sep 22 2015 19:29 utc | 7

Who cared about dictators keeping psychotic fundamentalist morons in check? Pipelines? Refugees? Unending hatred and animosity? Financial ruin? None of that meant SHIT. The Great Satan really became GREAT after 9/11, for sure.
Each move seemed to set the table for failure, which resulted in doubling down on subsequent failure, ass-backwardness and a small slice of the thinking population left scratching their heads in wonder and horror.

There's no possible way the Russians can look like "the bad guys" at this point, after the millions slaughtered, orphaned, displaced and the region turned into Hell - nothing matters except the security and dominance of israel - there's no embarrassment the USSA wouldn't suffer to ensure that.

Posted by: farflungstar | Sep 22 2015 19:39 utc | 8

But do not forget about the US' War By Economic Means:
Wolf Richter just exposed the general content of Trade In Services Agreement TiSA.
Uruguay bcomes the first to reject this monster of corporate privilege.

Posted by: chu-teh | Sep 22 2015 19:41 utc | 9

thanks b.

"Pentagon-trained rebels are reported to have betrayed US and handed weapons over to an al-Qaeda affiliate immediately after entering Syria."

that is a joke right? i thought this was the usa's plan! i know i don't get out to read the msm enough, let alone skipping past the local propaganda wow's.. one of the heads of ISIS was previously trained by the usa.. isn't this just more of the same? slap in the face to america? rof... slap in the face to anyone stupid enough to believe any of the bullshit that the usa and msm in tow want 'thick as a post' folks to believe..

Posted by: james | Sep 22 2015 19:44 utc | 10

My only question: What took Vlad so long?

Russia took back Crimea in a surprise move. More it could not do. Russia could not ‘take over’ the the LPR, DPR, taking the bait from the ‘West’ for a long ‘ground’ proxy war on its borders. Nor could it invade Ukraine massively and forcefully and get rid of the Kiev Junta, that would have been WW3. Time was on its side, and time is what it took, to show that Kiev could NOT win the civil war (which was obvious to anyone from the start except say Biden, Nuland), and the US-EU strategy was mired into gloomy failure, disgust, fatigue, face-saving, propping up of the Coup Gvmt with a lot of bucks. All Russia could do was support the Donbass covertly (aid of various kinds, advice, more certainly, but no boots on the ground) and wait for that failure to be admitted before intervening more strongly in Syria. Russia intervened before, remember, after the Ghouta ‘gas attack’ story, with a peace-keeping move.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 22 2015 19:47 utc | 11

quoting the WSJ:
Russia seen building up two more military facilities in Syria: Jane's

An Airbus Defence and Space satellite image courtesy of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence and advisory firm in Austin, Texas, shows at least 16 Russian combat aircraft stationed at the Bassel al Assad air base near the Syrian town of Latakia September 20, 2015. Russia has started flying drone aircraft on surveillance missions in Syria, U.S. officials said on Monday, in what appeared to be Moscow's first military air operations inside the country since staging a rapid buildup at a Syrian air base.

Satellite photos taken in mid-September and obtained by IHS Jane's show Russian forces developing two additional military facilities near Syria's Mediterranean coast, Rob Munks, editor of IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, said on Tuesday.

Munks said the previously undisclosed work was taking place at a weapons storage facility and a military base north of Latakia, suggesting Russia is preparing to place troops at both locations.

Russia has been dramatically increasing its forces at an air base south of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including positioning combat planes and helicopters as well as tanks and accommodation blocks.
Jane's, a defense intelligence provider, acquired the images from a commercial satellite division of Airbus Group SE, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the imagery.

Munks told Reuters one of the sites was located about 4 miles (7 km) north of Latakia and the second was 2 miles (3 km) west of that. The images showed construction of new buildings and grading of terrain, as well as the presence of new tents typically used by Russian military units.

One of the facilities is adjacent to a surface-to-air missile site, including S-300 and S-400 missiles. Munks added.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 22 2015 19:48 utc | 12

Yep, if they are S-300s and S-400s, that is a big deal.

And if some of those missle systems found their way to Hezbollah, that would be earthshattering for Israeli state terrorists, which is why I think Putin should do it.

Did anyone remember the Saker recently claiming that only six Russian Jets were necessary in Syria !!!! It was ludicrous then, and it even worse now.

Posted by: tom | Sep 22 2015 19:48 utc | 13

more to say.... this ''vetted'' bullshite has got to stop... adding fuel to a fire so that you can get regime change is going to bring world war 3...

it's interesting what you say about turkeys position here and whether it is going to change any thanks to russias involvement.. we'll see..

Posted by: james | Sep 22 2015 20:01 utc | 14

it's interesting what you say about turkeys position here

Turkey is now between a rock and a hard place. They're absolutely going to have to decide.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 22 2015 20:08 utc | 15

Actually, Vlad in Russian would be Volodja ...
I agree, it did take too long - but, of course, Russian involvement is not w/o risks (remember Afghanistan)... but only now is the US strategy more clear (i.e., cultivate IS eventually to start undermining Russ. muslim areas). Enough is enough.
A funny piece from - of all places - - - it does say that Israel has been intervening in Syria for years (not that MSM wld report).
Also, more background at -

Posted by: GoraDiva | Sep 22 2015 20:22 utc | 16

Obvious planned hypocritical bullshit that all this satellite imagery is coming out showing Russian activity in Syria. And imagery we get the day after the equipment arrives.

But over the last four years when ISIL and Al Qaeda proxy terrorists were wrecking havoc, mass murdering, head chopping, and waging battles on cities and towns as well as military bases across Syria and Iraq that went for days and weeks on end, there was no satellite imagery for those battles, was there. Not One.

It just proves that US knew and saw exactly what was going on all the time throughout Syria and Iraq and preferred to do nothing about it, because it was part of their proxy terrorist plan.

Posted by: tom | Sep 22 2015 20:25 utc | 17

Oh and on Petraeus, he just this week apologise to congress, so that could be the set up for his forgiveness and redemption as Obama's new (old ) point man in US imperialism stalling crime spree in Syria.

Posted by: tom | Sep 22 2015 20:38 utc | 18

Quite right Tom @17 Islamic State traversing the Syria Iraq border in hundreds of white Toyota pickups on the main highway in broad daylight, whipping up tons of dust into the atmosphere on their way to take Mosul, and the United States saw nothing. Honest Guv, we saw nothing.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 22 2015 20:54 utc | 19

The most surprising thing about this is of course that such a failure should be trumpeted. Cui bono? Is it the case that there is indeed factional infighting among the gangsters who currently have the US in their pocket? Thierry Meyssan and a few others place on one side the neocons, Gen'l Allen, Petraeus, Hillary. On the other side Obama & a few military who've shown themselves to be anti-Allen. You remember the honey-pot scandal that took down Petraeus & Allen-- quite obviously this had to be factional infighting. But the forces that took them down were not strong enough to keep them down. Allen's "failure" w the "moderate fighters" becoming so public must be another attack on the neocons.

Still from Meyssan: Obama and Putin had an agreement that the Russians should come in & as evidence of good faith, US announced they wd withdraw the Patriots. Imm'y thereafter the other 2 NATO countries also announced withdrawal of Patriots from the Turkish border. These had made Northern Syrian into a no-fly zone for a long while, greatly weakening Assad's control of his territory.

Where did Allen's failure of his "moderates" appear first? What periodical or other media? (Should tell us something about who else is against that faction.)
An important sideline regarding the jihadists: You remember when the Saudis got someone inside a high-level Syrian meeting & assassinated some important members of Syrian govt/military? In an extraordinarily short period of time the Syrians activated somebody inside Saudi Arabia & nearly killed Prince Bandar "Bush"; he was hospitalized 2 years. Well, while he was hospitalized Saudi Arabia lost most of their control over the jihadists, perhaps especially ISIS. More control passed to Turkey since they were supplying the weapons in return for the stolen oil & Erdogan's daughter ran the hospital where their wounds were treated. This perhaps left Erdogan a bit more independent of US.
Incidentally, Thierry Meyssan announced yesterday on Syrian TV that 2000 CST troops are already in Syria, will be activated Oct 1.

Posted by: Penelope | Sep 22 2015 20:56 utc | 20

Erdogan may shortly find himself the fall guy under the proverbial bus. He will be pilloried in the Western media for the extent of his support, not to mention leadership of ISIS. And the gas attacks? Things could get very nasty for Erdo.

The US had no idea of the sheer scale of his involvement, of course. The Turk generals will take over, seal the border with concrete and cosy up to the Russians both for South Stream and to stop them arming the Kurds.

The Chicago real-estate crook, pig-man and the French clown will be given Iraq to clear, which they will probably make a complete mess of. And on to the next round, which will surely be somewhere in Europe.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 22 2015 21:00 utc | 21

Syria has filed a case against Turkey for looting entire factories and carting them of to Turkey, plus the oil, these reparations should be a tidy sum.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 22 2015 21:11 utc | 22

@ GoraDiva re: Israeli response to Putin's plan.

Look at the the top photo!

Little boys waiting to go to Principal Putin's office!

Posted by: kafkananda | Sep 22 2015 21:12 utc | 23

Trump weighs in on Syria....and makes quite a lot of sense.

"If Putin goes in there, and if he’s able to knock out ISIS, which he has a big reason to do it, because he doesn’t want him to coming into Russia, frankly, and other places, but if he goes in and knocks out ISIS, to me, that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve told that to people, and they loved what I had to say."

Posted by: dh | Sep 22 2015 21:26 utc | 25

@17 tom.. exactly.. thank you..

Posted by: james | Sep 22 2015 21:29 utc | 26

Could the Chinese be on their way to Syria. There are many Uyghurs in Syria, Chinese policy is not to involve themselves in the internal affairs of other states, however the Uyghur terrorists now in Syria pose a real threat to China's core interests, its own territorial sovereignty

Posted by: harry law | Sep 22 2015 21:31 utc | 27

Thanks, okie farmer @ 24.

@ 23

And tomorrow it's Erdoghan's turn seeing Principal Putin!

Slow to saddle, fast to ride.....

Posted by: kafkananda | Sep 22 2015 22:17 utc | 28

At least the Obama administration is being more brazenly honest. More support and weapons for the "rebels" means more support and weapons for the Islamic State and that means more cheap labor for Western Europe in the form of a soft Muslim invasion of refugees. Isn't it great how this works? These guys are good. Real good. You have to give them credit. It's positively Byzantine, but it works and is working. In ten years, twenty at most, you'll never have to worry again about a British PM fucking a pig. Swine will breath a sigh of relief. Feminists? Not so much.

Posted by: ? | Sep 22 2015 22:42 utc | 29

I hope China and other BRICs countries join in to cleanse Syria of these murdering clwons then clean out Iraq and Libya. It is sickening wheat has been done to the people of iraq, Syria and Libya by the PNAC, Pentagon, MIC, NWO, NATO, NeoCons and NeoLib murdering animals in Wash DC.

Thank goodness for Putin and Russia. A voice of reason in an insane world.

Posted by: MarkB | Sep 22 2015 23:05 utc | 30

Damn, the jokes of yesterday are so quickly become reality. US policy in Syria is an utter farce - claiming to fight both sides of a civil war, when everyone has known all along that all of their efforts - in the end - were going to help their proclaimed ultimate enemy in the war on terror, al Qaeda. The US press is in another universe as is always the case in systems that lack a free press (and the US certainly does lack it), still exclaiming "Assad gassed his people" and trying to do the laughable magic trick of making conventional weapons like barrel bombs the equivalent of wmds, despite everything the rest of the world knows about these events.

Russia has no such convoluted policy. Their aims are clear, and so are their allies. The Syrian government, the Kurds, the Iraqi government, Iran, and Hezbollah. With that in mind, US invasion of Iraq looks even more foolish - they've not only given Iran a free hand in the region, Russia now has secured the same. And the US can hardly say a world. In fact, as the words of Trump show, Russia's actions may prove quite popular among those who actually believe in ridding the world of terrorism (that huge majority of people who would love, once again, to wear their shoes in the airport and not see images of grandmothers and 3-year old quadriplegics molested by glorified fast food workers).

What choices does the US have at this point, four years following the Arab Spring? Covertly stick with the Islamists as the contradictions of that policy become more and more obvious, requiring more and more control at home?

When the history of all of this is written, it is not going to be kind to the United States. The US created al Qaeda, was "attacked" by it, then started a "War on Terror" only to finally end up as allies with al Qaeda. A perfect circle. The similarities between the relationship of the USA and the Third Reich are remarkable - Nazi Germany was also funded and created by certain elements in the US, who had eventually to wage war on it when it (predictably) turned on the US, with the US finally to end up allied to its remnants for the duration of the Cold War. The strategy is so clear, one has to think that it was the same group of people (and their ideological descendants) who created both.

I do hope that ZBig tombstone reads with his famous quote: "What's a few agitated Muslims compared to the fall of the Soviet Union". Indeed, ZBig? The few agitated muslims and all the shenanigans that lead from there may well mean the end of the US empire. Especially if the Russian example leads to the fall of Saudi Arabia. Then, you can be sure, the US game will be over.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 22 2015 23:43 utc | 31

if putin ran for potus i would vote for him even over trump. many people i know would. as it stands we'll have to settle for trump since he's by far the best candidate compared to the rest. at least he likes and respects putin and perhaps if trump is elected and i think he will be he and putin will globally be great on women's health issues. america and russia will be great again. i can feel it. it's going to happen.

Posted by: tvorog | Sep 22 2015 23:51 utc | 32

from the article in @27 "With Erdogan waging an Islamist proxy war on China, Kurds, Assad, Sisi, Netanyahu via Al Qaeda affiliates, Army of Conquest, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, it is no wonder Syria and Egypt both applied to join the China-led SCO in June this year."

How shameless can you get. The implication is, what, that Israel will apply for SCO membership next? Will the US still fork over the $3B a year in that case?

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 22 2015 23:55 utc | 33

great post b. great comments, great thread.

Can this finally be the beginning of the end?

Posted by: jfl | Sep 23 2015 0:25 utc | 34

while we are breaking down the 'vetted rebels' scam, here is a good overview on saudi arabia's position in relation to the usa/israel as well.. mostly related to yemen, but good insight into what is driving saudi arabia who one of the main financial supporters of isis..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2015 1:24 utc | 35

"Russia decided to end the war the U.S. and its allies are waging against Syria."

Not so sure that Russia is so powerful and it can end alone this bloody conflict. It is rather multilateral effort "...of talks held between Moscow and countries with influence on the situation in Syria."

That Moscow's weaponry is intended to slap "opposition" when/if they refuse (as it was the case so far) to talk with Assad in forming "transitional government". This means Assad must step down, in future Syria there is no place for him. The White Liberals from Washington and Moscow will sent its pro-consuls trough IMF and WB to reconstruct Syria. This essentially means victory of the West.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Sep 23 2015 1:42 utc | 36

Zasypkin: Russian initiative on resolving Syrian crisis to have three stages

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Sep 23 2015 1:44 utc | 37


The first of these stages seems to be pure fantasy especially with rebel groups already attacking the Russians. What does Putin have to offer the rebels to convince them to give up their quest to remove Assad.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 23 2015 2:11 utc | 38

it's more about the usa giving up it's quest for regime change by supporting isis. usa sure is fucked in the head to think the rest of the planet is ignorant of this.. it is one thing for the majority of americans to be ignorant, but it doesn't fly for the rest of the planet..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2015 2:19 utc | 39

Steve | Sep 22, 2015 1:32:26 PM | 1

My only question: What took Vlad so long?

Because, as M.K. Bhadrakumar points out (Asia Times, Russian build-up in Syria puts Israel on the back foot),

" diplomacy timing is always the essence of the matter."

Russia's military build-up in Syria is taking place,

against the backdrop of the massive refugee crisis that is threatening European security. Moscow correctly judged the shift in Europe’s priorities today and in diplomacy timing is always the essence of the matter. In sum, Moscow resorted to coercive diplomacy and its military dimension should not be exaggerated out of proportions.

There are many other variables into the equation (see Virgile@4), among others September marks the 11th anniversary of the Beslam school massacre. In order to avoid a repetition of that disaster, Putin's red line is in Syria, nipping in the bud another Lybia, Somalia or Chechnya, in Russia's soft underbelly.


...Turkey depends on Russian gas for some 30+% of its primary energy needs. Erdogan has great plans for Turkey to become a bigger energy hub by taking part in a new Russian gas pipeline. But gas will only continue to reliably flow through Russian pipelines if the Turkish weapon pipeline to the Islamic State, Ahrar al Shams and Jabhat al-Nusra closes. Erdogan will have to choose which pipeline better fits his interests...

It looks like Nord Stream 2 is about to kill Erdogan's gas hub ambitions, as the Turk Stream is becoming irrelevant, since the Northern Route Outpaces Southern Route.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is approaching a final deal as Gazprom and its EU partners have been dealing with loose ends. On the 5th of September in the Eastern Economic Forum of Vladivostok, the Russian gas company and its partners, namely: E.ON, BASF/Wintershall, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Engie agreed on percentages for each one for this route. Thus, Gazprom will lead the project with a 51% share, whilst the rest of the participants will get 10%, barring French Engie receives 9%.

This project is of outmost importance in circumventing Ukraine's highly unstable territory and be able to deliver around 55 bcm per annum directly into EU markets. Together with Nord Stream 1 and an additional 55 bcm yearly capacity, Northern EU states and primarily Germany are clearly leading the way in the pan-European natural gas market and strive to reap considerable profits in the coming decades as the primal redistribution hub for gas across the Continent.

Amongst things to consider is that this route is being supported by the major energy companies of the states of Germany, France, the UK, Austria and Russia in a clear sign of defiance of Cold War geopolitical logic that has gripped most EU countries due to the Ukrainian crisis since early 2014. Moreover, it leverages the Russian diplomatic position vis-a-vis Kiev which stands to lose at least 2 billion euros per year from transit fees, and most importantly, its strongest leverage both against Moscow and the rest of the European countries. Concurrently a summit including the heads of states of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, will take place in early October 2015 in Paris to discuss an end to the crisis. The Nord Stream 2 project plays a crucial role in ending the brinkmanship by establishing a new “energy security order” in the Continent.

Furthermore this new agreement neutralizes the Turk Stream project which in essence was the Southern-leg of the Ukrainian by-pass. Since large consumers for the Russian gas are to be found in Central-North and West Europe and the quantities to be transferred are rather fixed for the foreseeable future, a project that will deliver an envisaged 63 bcm such as Turk Stream was planned, seems unreasonable and could be even be considered non-realistic...

Thanks, b, for yet another well thought out post with the usual punch.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Sep 23 2015 2:35 utc | 40


...What does Putin have to offer the rebels to convince them to give up their quest to remove Assad.

Tons of lead...and once in a while, an olive branch. If they don't take it, there is tons of more lead.

Russian marines clash with ISIS in Syria

Or what would you like Putin to offer your IS/Nusra/Qaeda takfiris? A seat at the UN? A phony caliphate at Syraq? Guess you're still pipe-dreaming on a victory of your liver-eater comrades. Wake up and smell the...Russians. Checkmate. Game over.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Sep 23 2015 2:55 utc | 41

Why Putin did not escalate the aid to Syrian government earlier? I would assume that he had some valid reasons. The most important reason that I can see is that GCC and the West can easily raise the ante by giving more weapons to the opposition. It happened already, because after all there was a steady stream of supplies from Russia to Syria. What is different now is that in West Europe there is growing exasperation with Ukraine which is a mess. And that stems from the fact that Ukraine is a mess, and it took some time to ripen. Similarly, rather than watching the mess in Syria and chortling merrily, European are even more exasperated. And in USA, Obama was never an enthusiastic imperialist, more like a dutiful student what wants to have all A's so diligently completes homeworks on a subject that he loathes. But it took some time to formulate the thesis that finishing off ISIS is goal number one, and finishing off Assad, number two, and not concurrent but sequential. Neocons are livid, but even GOP bloodthirsty primary voters do not demand to bring them Assad's head. (This Trump who has a rare talent of observing the obvious. Why is this talent so genuinely rare? Luckily, Trump never had an ambition to be a straight A student, so he does not care if he flanks a neo-con foreign policy test.)

To summarize, the situation is ripe. Even so, GCC surely will try to send more arms to the opposition. But that can be hard. Except for the diehard fanatics, there is a realization that giving very powerful toys to the utterly insane may backfire, say a decent toolkit of serious anti-aircraft weapons and tactical missiles. Moreover, high quality weapons cannot be simply purchased on a bazaar, so GCC would need to get them from a producer, which means the West, Russia or China. Therefore waiting for the change of mind in the West was worth it. But still, there is a strategic question how to reduce supplies to the opposition. Assad may declare closure of the borders, so only lawbreakers would cross from Turkey and Jordan, and bomb those who cross. With Western tacit agreement, that may be done. It would still be a long slog, because utterly insane fanatics are very good in urban warfare where the technology gives much less of an edge (unless you replace the respective towns with parking lots).

Needless to say, now that Assad can breath easier, his first priority is to stabilize some siege situation, then to relieve those sieges wherever possible, and so on and so on, so only some of his targets will be under ISIS control. In my modest opinion, in few years Bashir's children will come of age and then the question of succession can be considered.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 23 2015 3:02 utc | 42

Petraeus: “We could, for example, tell Assad that the use of barrel bombs must end. And that if they continue, we will stop the Syrian Air Force from flying,” he said. “We have that capability.”

I actually agree with the general. (Except for "We have that capability.") Barrel bomb is such an ugly an medieval concept, harks back to days when folks under siege would boil tar in barrels and pour over the folks climbing the ladders. Filling steel drums with a mix of explosives and shrapnel and pushing them down from helicopters? War should have some aesthetics. You do not field units dressed in pink-green combination, and you do not use super-ugly projectiles. Luckily, thanks to Putin, days of barrel bombs will soon be over.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 23 2015 3:18 utc | 43

I'm stuck on this one: The Saker, who has been pretty reliable in the past, says the Russians are only building a base and an airstrip in Syria and the rest is propaganda.
But just about every other site including Press TV says the Russian jet fighters have already been delivered.
Who's right and who's wrong??

Also, I think its a bit hasty to think Erdogan is going to give up.
The man is tenacious and determined to topple Assad with US help
In fact, I think Erdogan is in Moscow either today or tomorrow.

BTW, the Turkstream deal was postponed until after the Turkish elections on Nov 1.
But it looks to me like Erdogan and Putin have some basic differences they won't be able to work out.

Posted by: plantman | Sep 23 2015 3:30 utc | 44

russia can wound these rabbi talmud agents starve them
it is all about logistics logistics and border crossings
a few good pilots can destroy and deter daily mile long logistics vehicle chain incoming from the traitorious rapist turk erdogan.
russia has all the logistics locations all the isis centcom command control stations.

i am sure many russian pilots would volunteer to give these rapists a little dose of lead.
ziocon rabbi agents in prada black with white nike girly sports shoes target practice on toyota pick up trucks

iran china russia and hebollah should use this as real world training hunt the hunters mossad,cia and sas and blackwater types

Russian jets. 5-day 08-08-08 war

Posted by: charles drake | Sep 23 2015 3:41 utc | 45

Reading on yesterday, it says that Hezbollah won't be attacking further into Syria.

- Does that mean that Hezbollah has an understanding with Russia that they won't be needed as much in Syria because the Russians are more active ?
- Or does that mean that Hezbollah, with a relatively small army cannot afford to take on a widescale war in Syria ? ( I know they're great fighting force, but don't they only number about 50,000 ? I'm not too sure).

- Or does it indicate that Russia and Hezbolla Will combine and gear up for a bigger battle in their attack against Israeli zionist genocidal maniacs , proceed to wipe those terrorist Zionists off the map, and bring Palestinians into their land that was always theirs, to be shared with reasonable Israelis.
Oops, I I got a bit carried away.

Posted by: tom | Sep 23 2015 3:44 utc | 46


Those tons of lead didn't seem to help the Russians very much in Afghanistan against the tribal fighters. They should have learned a lesson from that humiliating defeat. They have already been attacked with rockets by some rebel group not the IS.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 23 2015 3:52 utc | 47

Petraeus: “We could, for example, tell Assad that the use of barrel bombs must end. And that if they continue, we will stop the Syrian Air Force from flying,” he said. “We have that capability.”

For a US General who has killed untold numbers of people in god knows what sort of horrors to decided that there are "okay" ways to conventionally slaughter people and "not okay" ways to conventionally slaughter people when clearly the only difference is to generate some horse shit excuse to conventionally slaughter MORE people is complete self serving nonsense.


As for WayOutWest - start thinking with your brain instead of your gross little blood soaked hard on. The Syrian government has shown again and again that they are willing to talk and to reform. Syrians who went to the rebel side or simply got caught on the wrong side of the lines are being given amnesty or short sentences. Those foreigners there who won't talk will receive an offer they can't refuse.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 23 2015 3:55 utc | 48


You do know that the Russians are flying Zionist supplied drones over Syria and they are coordinating their actions with their long time ally the IDF who only demanded that Hezbollah not be protected by the Russians.

The long string of setbacks for the Iranians, Hezbollah and the SAA seems to be the main reason for the Russian intervention.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 23 2015 4:03 utc | 49


You lose all sense of history in order to make your entrail-eaters win, by hook or by crook. Afghans have a cohesion that has served them since Alexander the Great against all invaders, your takfiris are a mix- bag without any roots to the land they are on, no families to defend, nothing to fight for other than to satisfy their killing instincts. They are no different than a drug cartel, only a bit more sophisticated, with the help of your masters, CIA/MI5/Mossad et al, who help them sell the oil they steal from Iraq/Syria, and provide them with useful idiots, weapons, training and the logistics needed to keep on dying for what? The phony caliphate? Regime change in Syria/Iraq? A Greater Sunni land? By the time this war is over, all the foreign cannon fodder recruited by IS/Nusra/Qaeda will be trapped in cauldrons inside Syria/Iraq, and massacred by their victims, those they have enslaved, and the relatives of the thousands upon thousands they have killed. By then, you'll be foaming at the mouth, still going with your utter non-sense, and still making your living out of supporting war criminals, crooks, thieves, and cannibals.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Sep 23 2015 4:52 utc | 50

plantman at 44 --

If you parse closely the various MSM accounts, you'll note that the aircraft mentioned are all ground-attack aircraft and will be operated by the Syrian Air Force. So any Russian personnel would be trainers, logistics and maintenance personnel. Several of these accounts make this explicit. The largest no. of personnel mentioned is 2,000, typically described as "troops."

I think many might carelessly assume that these "boots on the ground" are combat personnel. But they are all likely to be trainers, mechanics, avionics techs, drivers, clerks, etc. Jet aircraft require extensive maintenance, though I could not easily find any exact nos.

I looked at several reports, and saw nothing about combat infantry, armor, or artillery. Nor could I confirm Meyssan's assertion of CSTO deployments in Syria.

So I would go with The Saker, and take the MSM with a grain or two of salt.

And I would agree with you on Erdogan, his long game is to force Assad out and set up a "sphere of influence" for his neo-Ottoman sultanate. He's not the sort to be deterred by a little dissent or helpful foreign advice. I said from the moment he sent the Turkmen in, it's not about ISIS in the short term, it's about putting it to the Kurds for the benefit of the electorate.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 23 2015 5:03 utc | 51


I think the Saker is talking about Russian armamaments in Russian hands in Syria and the others are talking about Russian armaments put into Syrian hands in Syria. I think the Turks are getting pretty tired of Erdogan ... what's in all his warfare for them? Civil War? Thanks but no thanks. If he starts to lose men and equipment in Syria , too ...

Posted by: jfl | Sep 23 2015 5:24 utc | 52

Posted by: tom | Sep 22, 2015 11:44:12 PM | 46

It probably means that Russia has an agreement with Israel, that Israel will refrain from overflying/attacking in Syria for Russia not letting Hezbollah gain positions on Israel's borders.

The Soviet Union was among the first to support Israel - against Britain.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23 2015 5:39 utc | 53

I think russia should supply much more modern state of the art bombs to syria as to fulfill Petraeus' demand that syria must end the use of barrel bombs. More and better standards bombs = no more barrel bombs.
Putin should declare that he has come to an agreement to end barrel bombing. Everyone will be happy.

Posted by: radiator | Sep 23 2015 7:54 utc | 54

I make it a point to remind myself everyday that Putin is an unsavory guy. But I'm so heartened by his intervention in Syria. It's immensely satisfying to see the bloodless, Al-Qaeda-backing West checked (though not checkmated) by the chessmaster in the Kremlin.

I also make it a point to remind myself that Assad is one of Satan's sleazier lieutenants. (When you've read about Syria's secret prisons, you won't think that an understatement.) But he's the barbarian holding back the worse barbarians at the gates. So I wish Russia and Assad success in the war against the Syrian mujahedin. If only America had a space shuttle to dedicate to them.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 23 2015 9:08 utc | 55

"The new S-300 and S-400 air defense systems now seen in Latakia make sure that nothing flies in Syria's airspace without Russian(!) acquiescence."

If you are a citizen of any NATO country, that inculpatory gran finale(!) is a little fan-boy, don't you think? What to you suppose with happen to the EU countries, with 120,000 refugees committing the same unimaginable atrocities that you'll see mirrored in Syria and the Levant if RU and US escalate?

Did you not pay attention in your 20thC history class, do you not care if the rubble bounces, on the whole is it worth it, at this point what difference does it make, or are you being just exceptionally goy?

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 23 2015 11:03 utc | 56

fella above who vomits fourth afghan russian wars
humiliation of russia.
iranian and syrian pilots can do the heavy lifting.
these cia,mossad mi6 operations rely on signals.
these rapists seem to have plenty of cutting edge communications equipment solid command control all the real time intel in the world.
russia can counter.
how about disruption of signals command control from GCHQ Mount Troodos in Cyprus centcom jordan incirlik turkey.
yes sir the russians are good at counter operations boots on the ground yes but coordinating disrupting safe in a base.
assad ordering russian hardware and it arriving 4 -6 years later will not cut it any more.
it would seem that hezbollah is spilling an unsustainable amount of blood and will need help from russia and iran.
they should be used for tip of the spear operations.
syrian pilots need modern all weather avionics.
today you are getting bbc reports of depressed isis types wanting to come home to the uk because of the living conditions in syria : )
my guess is if this russian build up is true many sas and vauxhall mi6 queers will be coming home for a shit a shower and a shave and will be back doing the job they do best suiciding folks in bathrooms in cars and filming prime ministers raping children and hogs for rupurt murdoch blackmail.

oded yinon zio nazis will not stop
genie energy run by jacob rothschild dick cheney and rupurt murdoch oil in dem dere syrian golan hills

Posted by: charles drake | Sep 23 2015 13:09 utc | 57

I looked at several reports, and saw nothing about combat infantry, armor, or artillery. ... So I would go with The Saker, and take the MSM with a grain or two of salt.

Agree, except I'd guess there will be several hundred Russian 'combat troops' deployed at each of the airbases where there are Russian military personnel. They will defend the bases and the Russians there from ISIS etc. attacks. Would NOT leave that in the hands of their Syrian friends.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 23 2015 13:32 utc | 58

An interesting POV from a historical and geographical perspective on Russia's geopolitical imperatives for their intervention in Syria.

Why Syria is Russia's Stalingrad

...And now about Syria. Syria is today's Stalingrad. It can not be surrendered and it will not be. The stakes do not allow it. As the surrender of Stalingrad in the 1942 meant geostrategic catastrophe, the surrender of Assad, with the subsequent collapse in the Syrian army and the state will precede an unallowable geopolitical catastrophe in Central Asia. All the words of Americans about the coalition and the fight against ISIS are a lie and hypocrisy. They will not seriously fight ISIS. And they don't want Russia in any form in the anti-ISIS coalition. The decision about the transfer to Syria of Russian arms and military advisers only confuses their plans. How the U.S. will try to push Russia out of Syria, we will learn from the discussions at the UN General Assembly. The pressure will be insane, but we will not budge.

In time the Americans will still have to answer how ISIS got a hold of billions of dollars, the oil fields and weapons. The primary objective of ISIS is to overthrow Assad and destroy Syria. The Americans plan to simulate a war with ISIS for years, as already stated at the official level. In order not to interfere with its actions in Central Asia. Giving the whole of Syria into the hands of ISIS. The time will show how the events will develop in Syria. Having slept through a global geopolitical provocation of Americans in the Middle East and Ukraine, the Russian leadership largely nullified America's success with effective tactical successes . But the overall situation remains extremely difficult. It is necessary to understand without illusions. Our country is going through its 1942.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Sep 23 2015 14:26 utc | 59

russia's stalingrad no

waterloo for the donmeh jewish house of saud a disaster for pimp live organ dealer erdogan a brain anurism for nutty yahoo who knows god willing little king bibi will be in a mossad induced ariel sharon coma soon drip fed 33 months 666 days whatever satanic talmud number works best.

The Secret ISIS Safe Havens Nobody Wants You to Know About

Last week Syrian artillery began decimating hundreds of ISIS fighters fleeing their last hiding places in Zabadani, scene of a month long battle with Syrian and Hezbollah forces, one of a string of successes in reducing the dwindling ISIS footprint in that beleaguered nation.

Within minutes, forward air controllers among the fleeing fear struck terrorists called for air support. There American built F16 fighters took off from ISIS held bases inside Israel and silenced the Syrian Army artillery position north of Damascus.

This has happened many times and been reported many times, never with any attempt at denial.

Daraa Province in Southern Syria has been plagued with forces trained inside Jordan at CIA camps entering Syria and butchering thousands of civilians. These forces leaving Jordan fly the black flag of ISIS. Managing their operations is a command center outside of Amman, Jordan, staffed with US, Jordanian, Israeli and Saudi officers.

The large logistical facility that handles both trucked and air dropped supplies for ISIS in both Syria and Iraq is staffed by members of MEK, a pseudo-Islamic cult established during the 1960s in Iran by the Mossad, the same group responsible for fighting alongside Saddam against Iran and gassing 30,000 Kurds to death between 1991 and 1993.

From October 2014 onward, an endless stream of top of the line TOW missiles has been shipped by Raytheon Corporation to US Army supply depots. There is no record of end user certificates transferring these to any other nation.

These missiles ended up at a US Air Force Base in Constanta, Romania. From there, they were flown to Tbilisi, Georgia and from there trucked by British Petroleum and Bechtel Corporation through Turkey and into Syria where they were turned over to al Nusra/al Qaeda forces.

More high tech weaponry paid for by the American taxpayer was flown into a US Air Force Base in Adana, Turkey. From there it was trucked to an ISIS/al Nusra logistics facility run by the Turkish Army in the town of Rehanli, Hatay, Turkey, only miles from ISIS bases inside the Syrian city of Aleppo.

When tracking down the TOW missiles, it was found they had been consigned to the CIA as secret supplies to the Kiev junta. Evidence is accumulating that Kiev is actively supplying ISIS with weapons and, more interestingly, actively advising and assisting with chemical warfare against the Kurds, in exchange for promises from Turkey which may include a Ukrainian gas hookup to the new Turkish/Russian southern route through Romania. Online maps showing this spur have been purged from search engines and wrapped in malware.

Posted by: charles drake | Sep 23 2015 14:41 utc | 60

i read the other day that isis is getting some of there money off the afgan drug trade.. i don't know if it is true, or how much it is true..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2015 16:02 utc | 61

Hey, don't worry. The glorious Russo-Zionist alliance will mop up those Islamofascists.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Sep 23 2015 19:34 utc | 62

If there's going to be no more, or possibly small additional ground troops from either the Russians, Iranians or Hezbollah to make a difference on the ground, then aren't we just in a stalemate ?

If the Russians have decided to support Syria through more airpower and Missle defence supples, which will possibly Negate or mitigate airstrikes from Western state terrorists, then what about the ground situation of troops ? There are still at least tens of thousands of jihadis that need to be dealt with on the ground.

I know the more recently increased Russian support has been a short-term measure, but thinking longer term, will that mean that the Wests/ mideast tyrannies terrorist proxies will gettting more support and more advanced weapons if the Wests air war will be negated due to Russian actions ?

Stabilising losses with more advanced weapons is one thing, but you havn't a defeated your enemy yet and seemingly will not for a while, so what's the longer term plan ?

Posted by: tom | Sep 23 2015 20:35 utc | 63

Proyect there's some total bullshit in your link:

Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

Most of the article is propaganda. Isn't Pravda one of the official news agencies of the Kremlin?

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 23 2015 20:56 utc | 64

I welcome thoughts and opinions on this Putin initiative to build a coalition with the West in fighting ISIL and other Jihadis.

I saw an Iranians general saying, 'don't be absurd, because ISIL is a US creation'. So, zero alliance with the US on that. ( I fully agree.)

So Is what Putin really doing, is trying to organise a worldwide coalition to fight jihadis, but with actually knowing that US will not get on board because they'll never be dropping their terrorist creation, and then using that reluctance by the US led west, to then go on his own alliance in fighting ISIL, Al Qaeda and those similar, where Putin can claim greater success if he's going to go in more committed to fighting jihadis?

Or will he just use that divergence of actual effort to fight terrorists that will make the west look bad, to take a less heat by Western hypocrites and propagandists when supporting the Syrian regime and others with his support in their fight against terrorists ?

If I was Putin I would be slamming home the message that the Wests war on terror ( mostly pretext ) for 12 years Has been such a spectacular failure that it has created a terrorist caliphate that's bigger in land mass than the country of Great Britain. And just created a refugee crisis that you that the Europe cannot deal with.

I truly wonder how big Putins plans are, and what his real intention is ?

Posted by: tom | Sep 23 2015 21:01 utc | 65

Long term plan?

I think that the stabilizing the losses was already achieved, but it has the nature of position warfare with many areas where spots on the line of control change hands very frequently, i.e. constantly there are attacks and counterattacks somewhere. There are tens if not hundred of "active fronts", various enclaves where either the government or the opposition is entrenched, or "nearly enclaves", plus hot contested areas. More clear air superiority provides a relief to ground troops, thus providing a reserve that is necessary for larger operations where local opponents forces can be overpowered one local theater at the time.

Judging from interviews, the well publicized increase of Russian help was a morale boost for the government, plus some tactical advances are already claimed, most convincingly in Palmyra area -- other seem to be "micro-advances" that are partial reversals of recent rebel advances. It stands to reason that air support gives most clear advantage in the desert where moving around is necessary and cover is sparse. Al Masdar News also reports that the government is in the process of sending few thousands troops to Aleppo where there is a triple Gordian knot of areas of control of ISIS, rebels and the government. For strategic and diplomatic reasons, directing most of the gained possibilities at ISIS, winning the desert connecting to Iraq and the second prong toward connecting with Kobane canton makes sense.

In the meantime, the supplies to rebels and indirectly, to ISIS, will be flowing, but there Russian-Syrian combination has an ace on the Turkish side. Indeed, PKK is no friend of ISIS, and satellite analysis combined with ground intelligence can trace the routes of supplies through Turkey, allowing to attack them on both sides of the border. Supplying PKK would not be particularly covert, because if they suddenly switch to Kornet missiles from IEDs than anyone may ask how could they do it. Like anyone knows why rebels have missiles, they actually brag about it and hope that GCC will give them more.

Perhaps the plot may thicken further, there is a rumor that Chinese navy will make a call to Syria. A bear and a dragon?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 23 2015 21:33 utc | 66

The Russians don't have to do much. ISIS, jihadis, terrorists, 'moderate' rebels whatever will surely attack their base but they are easily dealt with. The locals will know where they are so airstrikes will send them running. The Western media will cry foul if a few Chechen beards get singed but nobody else will care.

Posted by: dh | Sep 23 2015 23:05 utc | 67

We're at a dangerous crossroads: American fascists hardly ever back off. What are their options then?

1. If they enjoy nuclear superiority over Russia, this might lead to the annihilation of Russia.

2. They might intensify their attacks on the CSTO countries or provoke Russia in Ukraine.

3. Putin right now is their biggest headache. Pope Francis, President Xi, the heads of the CSTO countries, are also a problem. All these leaders, apparently, are walking right into the lion's den (NYC) by the end of September 2015. Cheney has been issuing warning of a new 9/11 for a while. Someone has also been spreading rumors about dire Biblical prophecies this coming . . . September. All this could tragically converge into a new 9/11 in NYC. To dispel suspicions, they might sacrifice an American citizens and an marionette as well, such as Obama.

Again, regardless of the nature of their next move, the chances that they would cooperate with Russia in defeating their very own head-chopping ISIS are close to zero.

Posted by: Moti Nissani | Sep 24 2015 0:29 utc | 68

Will Israel Generals speak at the next ANSWER and Stop the War Coalition protests?

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Sep 24 2015 2:11 utc | 69

Qatar has become irrelevant as an international partner in diplomacy after it was given free hands in South Sudan and Libya with the results we saw. The only thing they still have is their natural gas.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24 2015 7:53 utc | 70


Israelis call for arms for Assad to save regime

The Netanyahu government should provide military aid to the Assad regime directly or indirectly in order to guarantee that it does not fall, Tsfrir urged. "Israel should overlook the fact that the Assad regime is using the assistance of Iranian troops and elements from Hezbollah to help him in his battle for survival." Indeed, he added, providing aid to Assad may lead to a rapprochement between Israel and both Iran and Hezbollah, as well as the Shia bloc in general.

[Arab affairs commentator Jacky Houki] accused the Netanyahu government of irresponsibility by not arresting the decline of the Assad regime. He warned that all settlers in Israel may end up paying dearly for the cost of the fall of the government in Damascus.

Well shut my mouth! Can it be that the Israelis are more fearful of the USA/KSA/GCC team than they are of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran? The KSA/Daesh are takfiri fundamentalists ... takes one to know one, and how fundamentally genocidal they are.


KSA is doing to Yemen (528,076 km2) what the Israelis (20,770 km2) periodically do to Gaza (360 km2).

And the US has put the lid on the UN and MSM completely. I suppose the Israelis could nuke Teheran. Cold comfort that would be. Cold and thermonuclear in return, perhaps. Hard not to imagine a North Korean or Pakistani nuke or two landing on Israel after that opener.

Or is it all smoke and mirrors. Divide and conquer. The US with the KSA and 'the Sunnis', and Israel with Syria and 'the Shia'. Keep Russia out of 'the game'? I imagine it is the latter. Israel's 'help' to Assad will probably be of the US variety : occupying the space formerly occupied by Daesh ... in Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 24 2015 8:31 utc | 71

Posted by: jfl | Sep 24, 2015 4:31:51 AM | 71

Neither KSA, nor Turkey, nor Israel can afford US colonialist policy of setting peoples, religions whatever against each other on their own. They can only afford this policy with the unconditional backing of the US. Obama nixed that part - coming to an agreement with Iran, backing the Kurds, talking about the settlements. US democrats also potentially threaten their allies with "moralist imperialism (® Orban, Hungary)", whilst Russia and China accept power structures the way they are.

The rulers of two of the above went to Moscow recently -
this is Erdogan
this is Netanyahu
The Saudi King phoned

There is no way the US can reverse this shift - being seen as an unreliable, dangerous ally - by doing more of the same.

I also guess US government is not really functional with everybody angling for a new job.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2015 8:57 utc | 72

Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for unilateral air strikes against Islamic State in Syria if the United States rejects his proposal to join forces, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Russia has increased its military presence inside Syria and its arms supplies to the Syrian army as it steps up support of longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, drawing warnings of further destabilization from Western countries that oppose Assad.

A Russian diplomatic source told Reuters on Wednesday that Moscow sees a growing chance to reach international agreement on fighting terrorism in Syria and end the crisis that has stretched into its fifth year.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 24 2015 9:03 utc | 73
Will US Grasp Putin’s Syria Lifeline?

The neocons’ obsession with “regime change” in Syria is driving another one of Official Washington’s “group thinks” toward rejecting Russia’s offer to help stabilize the war-torn country and stem the destabilizing flood of refugees into Europe, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

September 23, 2015 "Information Clearing House" Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown U.S. policymakers what amounts to a lifeline to pull them out of the quicksand that is the Syrian war, but Official Washington’s neocons and the mainstream U.S. news media are growling about Putin’s audacity and challenging his motives.
For instance, The New York Times’ lead editorial on Monday accused Putin of “dangerously building up Russia’s military presence” in Syria, even though Putin’s stated goal is to help crush the Sunni jihadists in the Islamic State and other extremist movements.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 24 2015 9:32 utc | 74

Perhaps the plot may thicken further, there is a rumor that Chinese navy will make a call to Syria. A bear and a dragon?
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 23, 2015 5:33:52 PM | 67

It's not a rumour. Last week Lateline ( interviewed a female adviser to Assad (against a backdrop of an utterly normal, peaceful street scene in central Damascus) and she named China as one of Syria's allies.

The Yankees (and Bibi) have lost their marbles if they think the Real World is going to let Syria be Iraq-ified or Libya-ised by a bunch of sociopaths and cretins.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 24 2015 14:53 utc | 75

Re #75
Interview: Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, President Assad's key advisor Sept 17
(Video & Transcript)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 24 2015 15:06 utc | 76

During the cold war, the USSR supported rejectionist Arab states and the Palestinians against Israel, a position that had ideological roots in the competition between Zionism and Communism in 20th century Europe. But the ideological dimension disappeared with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emigration of more than 1 million Russian speakers to Israel in the 1990s, even before Russia's ties with authoritarian Arab states were moderated by improving economic and political ties with Israel and the West.

"Everything has changed since the end of the USSR, and the relationship with Israel is totally transformed," says Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the independent Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in Moscow. "In Israel, one in seven citizens is Russian-speaking. There are now many prominent Russian-speakers, even at high levels of power, who have feelings of closeness toward Russia. In Moscow, there is no more official anti-Semitism and leaders are pragmatic. In some ways, such as the attitude toward the threat from radical Islamism, we are even closer in our views than Israel is with the US."

Trade has burgeoned; Israeli exports to Russia grew almost fourfold between 2003 and 2008, reaching $3 billion. That may not sound like much, but the areas of economic cooperation under consideration include nanotechnology, energy, and joint military projects, including the production of unmanned drone warplanes. Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom is eyeing offshore gas deposits in Israel, while the state-owned Russian Railroads is hoping to participate in a new Tel Aviv-Eilat high speed rail link


Posted by: Louis Proyect | Sep 24 2015 16:38 utc | 77

German Anti-ISIS Coalition Chief Found Dead in Iraq Hotel

MAINZ, Germany — A German army chief in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq was found dead in his hotel room there Wednesday, officials said.

Colonel Stephan Spoettel was found dead at 8:50 a.m. local time in the Cristal Erbil Hotel in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, the German armed forces said in a statement.

Spoettel was the head of the coalition's German training contingent in northern Iraq. There was no information to suggest suicide or "third-party involvement," the statement added.

Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. name for the coalition fighting the extremists across Iraq and Syria, said in a statement that a member of the coalition had died in Irbil on Wednesday, without providing further details.

"This incident is under investigation and further information will be released as appropriate," the statement added.

Posted by: Lipstick | Sep 24 2015 16:47 utc | 78

Moti Nissani @68: "...the chances that they would cooperate with Russia in defeating their very own head-chopping ISIS are close to zero. "

okie farmer @74: "...neocons and the mainstream U.S. news media are growling about Putin’s audacity and challenging his motives."

Much pretended confusion and hysteria about Russia's role.


jfl @71: "Israelis call for arms for Assad"

Not likely to be of much importance.

somebody @72: "Obama nixed that part - coming to an agreement with Iran, backing the Kurds, talking about the settlements...There is no way the US can reverse this shift - being seen as an unreliable, dangerous ally - by doing more of the same."

People have different opinions about the Iran Agreement. I doubt it signals a shift away from Israel/Sunnis. And did you miss the part where Obama gave Turkey a free hand against the Kurds? Watch what Obama/USA does not what he says.

okie farmer @73: "Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for unilateral air strikes against Islamic State in Syria..."

This is just painting a bulls-eye on the back of Russian forces in Syria. Logically, what makes sense for Putin is to just to call the USA/KSA/Turkish bluff by shoring-up Assad. Why would they / why should they put Russian forces into combat when they only need to support Syria, Iraq, and Iran?

Why paint a bulls-eye? Because a quagmire for Russia furthers the goal of Russian regime change.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24 2015 17:03 utc | 79

Painting a bulls-eye

Note that there is no solid sourcing for the assertions made about Russian intentions.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24 2015 17:12 utc | 80

"Solid Sources"?

Shills & Armchair Generals don't need no stinkin "Solid Sources"

Posted by: Lipstick | Sep 24 2015 18:02 utc | 81

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24, 2015 1:03:21 PM | 79

And did you miss the part where Obama gave Turkey a free hand against the Kurds? Watch what Obama/USA does not what he says.

exactly. Who needs an ally like that?

Fact is, Kurds got Western training, support and weapons. No, of course not the PKK (that is what the West says). Turns out though their weapons are German made - there is some irony in this.

We are told by security sources that the arms recovered from PKK militants, who have resumed their terrorist activities in Turkey killing scores of policemen and soldiers as well as doctors, nurses and teachers, have been obtained through northern Iraq. They are apparently arms given to the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq by Germany to support the Kurds against the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Germans also trained the peshmerga forces on how to use these weapons.

Now someone in Irbil and Berlin has to explain to Ankara how these weapons found their way to the PKK and how PKK militants learned how to use them. If Irbil says all the weapons given to them are accounted for, then Berlin has to explain how the PKK obtained these weapons. If Irbil says its weapons are missing then we have to tell our NATO partners they should not be supplying arms to anyone if they cannot control their fate.

The same question - who needs an ally like this - will be on the mind of German politicians. Clearly, Obama outsourced Kurds' military support to Germany - to leave Germany holding the bag when he switched strategy.

Merkel now is on the record with "We have to talk to Turkey to solve the refugee crisis".

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2015 18:14 utc | 82

jfl @71, somebody @72, Louis Proyect @77

The notion of USA foreign policy confusion & incompetence, divisions between USA-KSA-Israel over Iran (Bibi-Obama theatrics), Israeli willingness to cosey up to Russia, etc. all seem secondary to the the neolibcon NWO vision that they all share. IMO, it amounts to baffle with BS. And I doubt that Russia, China, Iran, and other countries are taken in by it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24 2015 18:16 utc | 83

  There is no way the US can reverse this shift - being seen as an unreliable, dangerous ally - by doing more of the same.
  I also guess US government is not really functional with everybody angling for a new job.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24, 2015 4:57:16 AM | 72

  Watch what Obama/USA does not what he says.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24, 2015 1:03:21 PM | 79

  IMO, it amounts to baffle with BS,

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 24, 2015 2:16:47 PM | 83

The US is an unreliable, dangerous ally. Watch what they do not what they say. An array of careerists all trying to cover #1's ass. Baffling us with bullshit - taking their cue from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate himself. That seems about right.

No more speculation on the original topic, the mistrals. It won't be much longer before we can see what they've done.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 24 2015 19:17 utc | 84

"My only question: What took Vlad so long?"

You might as well ask why it took the allies to launch the D-Day invasion of France. The answer is the same. A lot of other battles had to be fought and a lot of logistics prepared.

Putin's interest is Russia primarily. Russia has been under attack over Crimea, the east of Ukraine, numerous financial warfare attacks, the propaganda war especially MH17, attacks on the infrasture needed to maintain reliable supply gas to Europe (the USSR was a reliable energy supplier for Europe even in the worst of the Cold War) and the sanctions regime.

Financially it has had to be sure that Russia can weather the restrictions arising from sanctions, particulalrly if it is going to go to war in the worst case. This has happened. It has also had to be sure it could survive the controlled demolition of the oil/gas price. More importantly, it has had to ensure it can operate independently of the western financial stranglehold of SWIFT etc. It now has its own system. It has had to ensure that China has its back, and China to be sure that Russia has its back, as both know that China would be next after Russia. All of these things take time and consume resources so they should only be done if necessary.

Russia has had to work out adaptable plans giving a multi-facted counter-attack the the US attempts to put gatekeepers or total obstructions in the way of providing energy supplies to Europe.

Russia does not want to get sucked into another Afghanistan, whether in East Ukraine or Syria. It has had to be sure that the people there want their freedom and are prepared to act for themselves with logisitcal support from Russia where necessary. This happened fairly quickl in east Ukraine. It would be very interesting to know what Putin had in mind early on around the time Donbass voted for effective independence. He did not sa no, rather that it was not the right time. In spite of those misgivings, he has supported them, partly because it is in Russia's interest, partly because they are effetively Russians and partly because a great majority of people in Russia expect Russia to support them.

Similarly in Syria, Russia has had to work hard and effectively to get the legal cover in place. If there is one thing alone that distinguishes Putin from Obama, Cameron, Merkel etc, it is the transendency of international law. The most effective part is the use of Americas actions of support for ISIS to trap it in zugswang.

Finanlly there is the obvious - why do anything when the oposition are ably digging themselves into a hole / paiting themselves into a corner (metaphor to taste). Timing is everything. The Anglo-Zionist support for ISIS has gradually been revealed, leaving that as a massive headache for those leaders involved. Will there be a round of war trials in the medium term once the existing USD-controlled world order falls apart? Interesting times.

A final finally: However the much the 'intervene to protect' crowd whine, Putin is not responsible for all the deaths that have occurred in Syria etc. That responsibility lies solely with those running the killers, the Anglo-Zionist psychopaths. Putin is not the world's police man, nor does he want to be. The closest there is to a 'world policeman' is the UN Security Council, but the primary protagonists US/UK have vetos.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 24 2015 19:36 utc | 85

well said

Posted by: Lipstick | Sep 24 2015 19:55 utc | 86

The news about air defense systems in Latakia are hazy, apparently what was seen from satellites is not assembled yet, so right now the stores of new weapons etc. are under the protection of the navy ships which have operational systems. But I bet that Putin does not want repetition of the previous Israeli attacks on Syrian weapon storage. And he wants to make short work of "no fly zone" ideas.

The fact is that supplying weapons, training rebels etc. is an act of war, and under Western enlightenment we have simple jungle law, do what you can get away with. Alas, Russia can get away with more than Lords of the West would wish.

Concerning ground troops from Russia, I suspect that none of them will officially participate. However, in Russian Spring there was a lengthy interview (in Russian) with a manager (?) of a Private War Company (ChVK), and apparently such do exists in Russia and take jobs in various places ("but only to defend interests of citizens of the Russian Federation"). And he was very open to the idea of getting jobs in Syria. According to the interview, a private company like that is basically a channel of charitable donations, it lives from such donations and distributes them. To be employed, one must have a completed military service, higher education, no criminal record (apart from some picayune convictions like simple assault in self-defense, the guy actually stressed that point), and takes jobs of various complexity, like delivering cargo. Like if you have say, ten truckloads of something that we will not named to be delivered from a place that we do not want to name to a location in Donetsk People's Republic. One may suspect that such private companies may deliver an item or two that Russian Federation denies to ever give to DPR. But in a pinch they would join normal frontline combat as well.

By the way, as I was surfing to get some idea about the topic, you apparently cant take 3 hour web based course "Defend A Convoy Against Attack" which is " focused on defending a convoy against ambush and attacks from the air, artillery, NBC, and snipers." Just three hours! And on the same web site, "Dining Services Management" that takes 32 hours. Clearly, the second course starts from basics "how to tell salt from sugar", "cracking eggs", while the first assumes that students already know the basics like characteristics of various types of weapons, all-terrain capabilities (or limitations) of different types of vehicles and so on.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 24 2015 21:02 utc | 87

rufus magister @ 51
"'s about putting it to the Kurds for the benefit of the electorate."

What do you mean by that? I don't seen any benefit to the electorate. I presume you mean the Turkish electorate...

Posted by: Benu | Sep 24 2015 22:59 utc | 88

Russia is doing in reality what the United States only pretended to be doing - creating an international anti-terror, anti-ISIS coalition.

Israel now has to play nice. Like any bully, Israel will back down when Syria, now with Russian protection, stands up to its bombing raids. Israel is playing its usual tricks - now shamelessly pretending as though it has always been fighting ISIS all along, that it has been a Russian ally forever. Its' going into the mode it was in when its UN ambassadors were "on vacation" for the Crimea vote. That's what $3B a year gets the USA.

Hezbollah is now free to shore up its defenses, Syria can now begin mopping up the southern front. What's more, the S-400 covers the entire Syria-Israel border and all of Lebanon. Without Russia's okay, Israel won't be laying a finger on Hezbollah or doing anything in the Golan Heights either. And we all recall Nasrallah's promises of insurrection in the Golan.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 25 2015 2:09 utc | 89

The Soviet Bloc recognized the state of Palestine in 1988.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 25 2015 2:10 utc | 90

@90 guest

And we all remember what happened on Box Day three years after that. I imagine the Russians still remember too. They have a collective memory like ... a bloody Mammoth.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 25 2015 7:31 utc | 91

Daily Sabah: "Now someone in Irbil and Berlin has to explain to Ankara how these weapons found their way to the PKK and how PKK militants learned how to use them. If Irbil says all the weapons given to them are accounted for, then Berlin has to explain how the PKK obtained these weapons. If Irbil says its weapons are missing then we have to tell our NATO partners they should not be supplying arms to anyone if they cannot control their fate."

Daily Sabah is AKP organ. Merkel said already that Turkey should return to the peace process with PKK, and she will account for all the weapons after Erdogan will become Sultan of Germany. And Erdogan himself knows a thing or two about accounting (or not accounting) for weapons. Poor Erdogan, it is not just Putin that does not cooperate with the restoration of Ottoman empire (of course, initial step like introducing the Ottoman version of Turkish as a school subject and reconstruction of Ottoman barracks in Istambul, a cause for riots, started already, but putatively pro-Turkish freedom warriors in Syria spend too much time fighting each other. And who was the clever guy to allow Syrians to cross to Greece and Bulgaria? Mind you, on the scale from Obama to Putin, Merkel scores 5, so one should think at least once before messing with her (bottom of the scale -- mess anytime you like it, top of the scale -- think twice).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 25 2015 14:50 utc | 92

P.S. to my earlier note. Tonight, just before Putin's arrival in NYC, one reads strange news: Putin will be leaving the USA on the same day he arrives! This confirms my suspicion: He knows the risk he is running, entering the lion's den, and decided to give the CIA the slip! See:

Posted by: Moti Nissani | Sep 28 2015 4:58 utc | 93

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