Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 11, 2015

Syria: The (Russian Air) Cavalry Is Coming

In light of the catastrophic outcome of the "western" war on Libya the Russian government declared to oppose any further such "regime change" in the Middle East. But the U.S. continues to train, arm and finance insurgents against the Syrian Arab Republic and, under the disguise of fighting the Islamic State, prepares to take down the Syrian government. Eliminating the Syrian government would likely create a radical jihadist state in Damascus and lead to massacres and mass refugee movements.

But Russia means what it says and will now use its military capabilities to confront the U.S. plans:

Elijah J. Magnier
#Russia is providing #Syria with precision military and destructive equipment. #Russia will start soon operating n #Syria sky to hit rebels+

The participation of the #Russian Air Force in #Syria worries #Israel that won';t be able to have a free sky to hit Syrian troops.+

This is THE major change in #Russia approach and support to #Damascus regime, to prevent game change on the ground in #Syria +

The decision of #Russia comes mainly from regional support 2rebels, not satisfy w/ d north f #Syria (#Idlib) and aiming to #Hama & #Damascus

Russian air-support for Syria against the various forces attacking the state will allow for additional air attacks against those forces. The Syrian air force is today already flying more than 100 sorties per day against it enemies. The Russian forces will add to that but not necessarily in a decisive amount.

The main support for Syria by Russian air assets will come by keeping away those foreign air forces forces that threaten the Syrian government under disguise of "fighting terror". With Russian fighters in Syrian skies Israel will no longer be able to use its air force in support of Jabhat al-Nusra (and for its oil stealing endeavors in the Syrian Golan heights).

The U.S., Britain, France and others announced to enter Syrian skies to "fight the terror" of the Islamic State. Russia will use just the same claim to justify its presence and its air operations flying from Latakia. Simply by being there it will make sure that others will not be able to use their capabilities for more nefarious means. Additional intelligence from Russian air assets will also be helpful for Syrian ground operations.

The Russian air capabilities will be supplemented with air defense cover from Russian naval assets on the Syrian coast. Russia announced several air defense drills with live missile launches off the Syrian coast near Tartus. New land based air defense assets are said to be on their way. I would not be surprised to see, over time, some Chinese naval assets joining the Russian presence.

Secretary of State Kerry whined to Russia that its intervention in Syria might intervene with the U.S. intervention in Syria. Well, yes sir, that is the sole purpose:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday coordination was needed between Russia's military and the Pentagon to avoid "unintended incidents" around Syria, where both countries have a military presence.

Lavrov said Russia would continue to supply weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad to help the Syrian armed forces fight against ISIS militants.

He told a news conference Russia was conducting military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, that it had been for some time, and that they were in line with international law.

The neoconned State Department childishly pressured Greece and Bulgaria to disallow Russian military air transport over their countries. But Russian planes can just as well fly via Iran and Iraq and both countries are very unlikely to ever block such flights. As Russian ground forces will not be involved in any fighting the supply needs can be kept limited.

Any attempt by Turkey, pressured by State Department lunatics, to block the Bosporus sea route between Russia and Syria would be in breach of the Montreux Convention and could be interpreted as hostile act against Russia on which Turkey depends for a large amount of its energy supplies. After losing control over the predominantly Kurdish south-eastern city Cizre Turkey also has to take care of its own civil war which Erdogan foolishly ignited to regain a parliamentarian majority. That internal war will hinder resupplies for the Islamic State through Turkey.

The U.S. plan to use the fight against the Islamic State as cover to remove the Syrian government is now in tatters. The months long U.S. supported "Southern Front" attack in south Syria failed to make any gains against the government. The Islamic State attack against Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor was repelled and further moves against Syria in the north will have to defy Russian air power.

Washington will now have to decide to risk war against Russia or to shelf the Syria regime change project.

Posted by b on September 11, 2015 at 13:32 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Gosh it sure must be burn Bibi's ass and his AmeriKan colony that them damned Russians got in the way.


Posted by: farflungstar | Sep 11 2015 13:38 utc | 1

It would be such a humiliation for the US to change their tune suddenly, but it seems it does not have much choice anymore. Then that change must be triggered by some kind of well mediatize fabricated event that would trick the public emotions and provide an acceptable justification.
Exemple: A USA coalition plane's pilote rescued by the Syrian army from ISIS. Some US hostages held by ISIS and freed by Hezbollah etc..

More is left to the imagination of the Pentagon and Moscow..

Posted by: virgile | Sep 11 2015 13:48 utc | 2

Wrote about Genie Oil & Gas (New Jersey) as early as February 2013.
Doesn't Murdoch do quail hunting? Cheney, part of the team, just thinking about his oil assets ...

1967 War - Israel - Rothschild - Cheney - Spoils

Nothing anti-semitic, strictly from a company press statement:

Business and financial leaders Lord Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch invest in Genie Oil & Gas (NJ) .. advisor Dick Cheney [pdf]

Developing shale oil in the state of Colorado and in Israel's occupied territories in West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 11 2015 14:06 utc | 3

@all (off topic) - just deleted various comments by "bhl" and "zed"

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Posted by: b | Sep 11 2015 14:21 utc | 4

b @ 4: They'll be back, under different names. Jobs are hard to find here in the US.

Posted by: ben | Sep 11 2015 14:24 utc | 5

Putin is finally stepping to the plate. Good! The empire, and it's minions, need to be opposed for the good of the planet.

Posted by: ben | Sep 11 2015 14:27 utc | 6

Like this bit...
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday coordination was needed between Russia's military and the Pentagon to avoid "unintended incidents" around Syria, where both countries have a military presence.

Washington's Toothless Tigers will be gnashing their gums and stamping their little feet at the effrontery of Lavrov rubbing their dainty little noses in their own "unintended consequences" bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2015 15:28 utc | 7

Obama can Make My Day by telling the Pentagoons that it's OK to play Russian Roulette ... with Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2015 15:35 utc | 8

Btw, thanks for the 1st Class 9/11 Anniversary story b.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 11 2015 15:51 utc | 9

Wishful thinking, I'm afaid...

as far as I can tell, the war plans are too advanced for the U.S. to pull out now. seems i remember options to not begin the bombing campaign against Iraq and Afghanistan, and they did it anyway.

Posted by: Kim Sky | Sep 11 2015 16:39 utc | 10

b - ditto @9 post..

@10 kim - it certainly looks that way.. more war is all i can see in all of this.. the usa and it's western alliance seem to have their foot stuck permanently on the gas pedal and don't have any braking features anymore.. crash and burn has come to define it, but there is a lot to crash..

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2015 16:50 utc | 11

@Kim Sky - if the resistors can make some gains it will help them immensely in a political sense.. ultimately it's crunch time right now; I'm sure the puppeteers are going to press their terrorist brigades to assault heavily over the next few days/weeks, so the SAA + allies will need to survive and advance. I've never considered the SAA to be very good, so a complete overhaul of their forces should be in order.

Ultimately I think Russia wants a political solution above all else, and isn't committing much to this enterprise.. but who knows

Posted by: aaaaa | Sep 11 2015 16:58 utc | 12

from b's link on Cizre
Analysis: Selin Girit, BBC Turkish, Istanbul

Critics accuse the government of "punishing" Cizre, as 92% of the town voted for the HDP in the June elections.

The HDP's success in those elections had cost the governing AK its parliamentary majority.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 11 2015 17:04 utc | 13

This won't happen:
Turkey 'must ensure access' to besieged Cizre, says Council of Europe
Turkey should grant independent observers immediate access to the besieged city of Cizre, the Council of Europe has said.

Residents in the mainly Kurdish town say they have been unable to buy food or medical supplies since the military imposed a curfew eight days ago.

Turkey launched a security operation against Kurdish militants in Cizre last Friday, which has killed at least 19.

Nils Muiznieks of the Council of Europe called the developments "distressing".

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 11 2015 17:08 utc | 14

Am I the only one that's getting the feeling that everybody is now actually in on this?

The first reports that I heard about Russia doubling down in Syria came from Ynet news, which quoted "unnamed Western officials". If what they claimed is true, as now appears to be the case, it doesn't make sense that Kerry, another Western official, would contact Lavrov to confirm whether the reports from "unnamed Western officials" were true. Surely Kerry would already know? So is it a ruse? Feigning indignation to be seen to be sticking to your principles, when in reality a compromise was reached as part of some grand deal during the nuclear negotiations?

When a temporary truce was reached between the rebels in Idlib besieging the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, and Government forces in Zabadani besieging the rebels, it was mooted that a transfer of the civilians from these two Shiite villages would be made for the evacuation of the Zabadani rebels - ethnic cleansing lite. It was in fact Iran and Turkey that brokered the truce between the two sides, and Iran and Turkey were negotiating the exchange. Is Syria being divided; to be cut up and controlled by different sides? Is Russia now asserting control over the Government designated zones?

After two years, Abu al-Duhur airbase was the final Government position to fall in Idlib province yesterday, leaving al-Foua and Kefraya isolated. Did Iran and Turkey agree that Idlib is to be surrendered to Turkey's Islamists to mark a line between pro and anti Government control?

It is generally accepted that neither side has the capacity to defeat the other, and neither will Iran or Turkey tolerate defeat. So better to draw a line around what you have, to hold it, and to claim some small victory.

I suspect that Erdogan would now quite like things to go back to the way they were - to facilitate regaining a majority in Parliament and become President - and that the Saudis are more interested in Yemen. Did Russia throw Yemen under a bus at the UNSC and support the Saudi war in exchange for concessions on Syria? Has the Daraa "Southern Front" offensive failed because the support has subsequently dried up?

Much will be answered when the Russian bombers begin their sorties. We will see the extent of their operations and whether a line in the sand has been drawn between Government and Turkish Islamist control, and if the rest of the IS mess is to be handled by the US coalition..

(sorry, couldn't be bothered with links)

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 11 2015 17:09 utc | 15

@virgile #2 - the element of theater is truly a substantial piece in this I believe. US foreign policy is obliged to maintain an ethical narrative with the US domestic population. Theater is important, and personally, apart from its still huge global financial heft, theater is about the only weapon I can see left to the US.

Against the US is Russia. Russia's actions are almost invisible in this world, but extremely effective. It may be as some say that the US war plans are too advanced to halt, but I'm sure they're also pretty transparent to the Russians. By finally sharing satellite intel with Syria, what Russia has done is notch the no-fly possibilities one degree higher, as a matching move to the US/Israel covert activities, as a warning to the hot heads to cool down, and as a preparation for further escalation if required. One degree at a time.

To me it is unthinkable that Russia will allow US to control the skies over Syria. This presumably is where the showdowns will occur - IF they even need to. There will be tactical casualties and apparent losses, but strategically I believe the US is finding itself forestalled at every turn.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 11 2015 17:25 utc | 16


Very interesting POV. Definitely worth considering.

Posted by: farflungstar | Sep 11 2015 17:27 utc | 17

Kim Sky @10: No, I disagree, and think Lavrov/Putin have played Kerry/Obama well. Fearful, uninformed, PR-centered, distrusting their idiot generals, they'll hesitate and then hesitate some more, and the warmongers' reality-defying plans won't happen. The US won't escalate and directly intervene. But unfortunately the war and terror in Syria will go on. Russia is not committing to destroy unofficial US ally Islamic State, just to prevent regime change.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 11 2015 17:46 utc | 18

Angry warmonger:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he would try to impose sanctions on Russia from the congressional side if the administration doesn't move in that direction. He said that Russia's military involvement in Syria will only make the terrorism threat and the refugee problems emanating from there worse.

"This is a chance for us to slap Russia hard, because what they are doing is making America less safe," he said. "The Russians are just slapping President Obama and Secretary Kerry in the face. This is a complete insult to their efforts to try to find a solution to Syria. They've made Assad's survivability more likely, which means the war in Syria never ends."

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 11 2015 17:58 utc | 19

HW @9, james @11

I'm confused (again), I've looked all over for the 9/11 anniversary story you mentioned but can't see what you're talking about.

Posted by: sillybill | Sep 11 2015 18:32 utc | 20

@20 - sillyb - you a coincidence of today being the anniversary date of 9-11.. that's all.. no other story to go with it..

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2015 19:05 utc | 21

you - just

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2015 19:05 utc | 22

Dear b,

You mentioned, "I would not be surprised to see, over time, some Chinese naval assets joining the Russian presence."

During the 70th anniversary of World War II, the Chinese government announced it is scaling back its armed forces by 300,000 men in the near future. President Assad should consider offering these well trained men who will soon be looking for employment, an opportunity with financial incentives to fight for Syria, now.

A massive paratrooper airdrop in key locations coordinated with the Syrian army and Russian Federation logistics support would shock ISIS/ISIL and its western coalition of vassal States. Assad's government needs men to fight these terrorists and the Chinese have them. These are critical times that requires bold measures to turn the tide in favor of the government and the Syrian people..

Posted by: PokeTheTruth | Sep 11 2015 19:06 utc | 23

@Pat @15

Did Russia throw Yemen under a bus at the UNSC and support the Saudi war in exchange for concessions on Syria? Has the Daraa "Southern Front" offensive failed because the support has subsequently dried up?

I have seen unconfirmed claims that Saudi Arabia pulled support from the Southern front in July and that was what let the assault fail. But other (more likely true) reports claim that the Southern Front failed because it worked against the military advice it was getting and attacked in the wrong places but had full material support.

It is difficult to see through this mess even though I try to keep an eye on everything. What seems sure by now is that there are various fractions in Washington working against each other on the Syria issue. Not sure which one will win.

Posted by: b | Sep 11 2015 19:09 utc | 24

james - thanks

PTT @23 Oh jeez that would really drive the fundies crazy - they would say thats fulfilling Revelations where it talks about Gog and Magog, the final battle, blah blah, the END IS NIGH!!!!

Posted by: sillybill | Sep 11 2015 19:23 utc | 25

...breach of the Montreux convention. Hmm, AFAIK conventions are observed only during "peacable" times.
So what is Putin up to? Will he send a clear message (12 SU-30) or (more likely) something ambiguous, followed by a firm speech at the UN?

Posted by: Pearshaped | Sep 11 2015 19:52 utc | 27

Unfortunately, this post is mostly wishful thinking...

The US has no "Off" switch anymore.
The confrontation between Russia and the US is probably unavoidable now, although Moscow has been very clear in its actions to avoid a miscalculation.
Even so, now that Washington nabbed Incirlik, they feel obligated to press on. That means Putin will have to deploy the Migs to prevent a no-fly zone from being put into place.

Erdogan will provide the footsoldiers after another false flag helps him win the Nov 1 election.
Erdogan is a man to watch. He's going for all the marbles. He expects to get Aleppo at least for his efforts.

Washington despises him, but they figure they can take care of him after they get rid of assad. Assad comes first, then Erdogan

Putin will have to fight to stop the regime change crazies.
He doesn't want a war, but he'll be ready.

The US hasn't gotten a bloody nose in a while. I can't think of a better time than now.

Posted by: plantman | Sep 11 2015 19:54 utc | 28

Hopeful sign, Germany's change of heart ...

Germany says would welcome Russian role in fighting ISIS | Reuters |

BERLIN - Germany would welcome more Russian engagement in the fight against ISIS, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday. "I think we would welcome the Russian Federation and the Russian president ... getting actively involved in the fight against ISIS given the dangers arising from Islamist terrrorism," spokesman Martin Schaefer said at a regular government news conference in Berlin.

German Espionage Ship Off the Syrian Coast Is a War Act | August 2012 |

Posted by: Oui | Sep 11 2015 20:17 utc | 29

More hopeful signs ...

Poll finds Nato's Europeans wary of Russia confrontation

The report by the Pew Research Center - a non-partisan US think-tank based in Washington DC - surveyed attitudes in North America and across Europe as well as Ukraine and Russia to assess public attitudes towards the current Ukraine crisis.

On average in Europe, only 48% of those polled - less than half - backed the idea of their country using force to come to the aid of another Nato country attacked by Russia.

Among the countries surveyed Germany is the most reluctant: 58% of those polled said they did not think their country should use military force to defend a Nato ally against Russia. [A rise of 18 percentage points in 12 months]

France too was unenthusiastic - 53% of those polled were opposed. Even in Britain - often seen as a staunch Nato member - less than 50% supported the idea of using force to help another member of the alliance under attack.

Overview opinions by nation

Posted by: Oui | Sep 11 2015 20:45 utc | 30

I'm in agreement with the doubters here.

I haven't seen enough from Putin to indicate that he is taking this war serious enough to defend Syria from the oncoming onslaught from Western State terrorists that are building on top of the Wests jihadi terrorist proxies that have laid the ground work. (Oh, and by the way, I despise Putin. But much less so than the evil US Empire and it's Mideast tyrannies.)

Putin might have a few Russian planes in the air, but that low number currently will not be effective against ISIL and Al Qaeda, and the west will be freer to attack Syrias Air-force since they are the far majority patrolling the Syrian skies.

Even if Russian planes are considered a deterrent from a attack, I don't see enough evidence of air defence from the Wests ground/sea launched missiles, being a game changer in Syrias defence. But I'll be glad to be proven wrong since I don't really know.

Since Assads military external control is nearly non-existent now, it seems that a huge battle is going to start with a centrally dug in Syrian defence. The evil empire ealises that it will be a hard and longer battle to achieve for their terrorist proxies, so that is exactly why the U.S. air force of ISIL and Al Qaeda is needed to topple Assad.

As it currently stands, I don't see enough being done to resist Syrias defeat at the hands of the US Empire.

Could you imagine Assad falls, and then this horde of ISIL and Al Qaeda terrorists will be sent to take on Hezbollah.
That would be the empires wet dream.

Posted by: tom | Sep 11 2015 20:48 utc | 31

I doubt that Russia will do a lot. The success of the rebels in Idlib is largely due to the Patriot missiles on the other side of the border, which prevent Asad's air ressources from functioning.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 11 2015 20:49 utc | 32

The Russians are coming to President Assad's aid... or are they?
As yet there is a shortage of proven facts to sustain allegations of a big new Russian military build-up in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
These are exciting stories bringing back memories of the Cold War, but as yet there is a shortage of proven facts to sustain allegations of a big new Russian military build-up in Syria. This is according to a report by Ruslan Leviev and a team of Russian journalists published on the website Bellingcat that has previously investigated Russian military involvement in Ukraine. Not in doubt is that Russia has been Syria’s main military supplier for at least 40 years, and that there have always been Russian military personnel there.

US officials confirm only that Russia has recently sent two tank landing craft, aircraft, and a small number of forces.

Overall, there is little evidence that at this stage Russia has substantially increased its existing mission – providing advice and instruction – probably numbering in the hundreds, plus aircraft engineers and logistics specialists protected by Russian marines.

Posted by: Penny | Sep 11 2015 20:51 utc | 33

German, Dutch and US Patriot batteries on the Turkish/Syrian border have left.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 11 2015 21:25 utc | 34

German, Dutch and US Patriot batteries on the Turkish/Syrian border have left.
Have they? Surprising.

Perhaps the Syrians haven't appreciated the point yet.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 11 2015 21:51 utc | 35

tom@31 "...Even if Russian planes are considered a deterrent from a attack, I don't see enough evidence of air defence from the Wests ground/sea launched missiles, being a game changer in Syrias defence..."

Before any of the current noise started about the Russian invasion, there were reports about Russia finally delivering six of the Mig-31Ms ordered by Syria years ago. These are interceptors designed to take out cruise missiles and bombers. They are not ground attack aircraft.

Then there's this: NOTAM for test fire drills to take place off Tartus by Russian navy

Russia to hold live fire drill off Tartus, Syria. between (08sep-17sep and 30sep-07oct) 70 km west of Tartus

There was also a DebkaFile report about the huge Russian Typhoon-class nuke submarine, the Dmitri Donskoy, heading to Syria earlier this week. Not that DebkaFile would know where it's going, but left the Black Sea for 'somewhere' in the Mediterranean.

Russian submarine with 20 ICBMs and 200 nuclear warheads is sailing to Syria

These two items are interesting because this would be a message to anyone, i.e., the U.S. and Israel, not to try a seaborne attack on Syria anytime soon. A planned Israeli attack on Syria or Lebanon has been rumored for some time. Not saying that it's credible, but the coincidental show of force by Russia off the coast of Syria this week stands in stark contrast to the noise everyone has been making about the supposed Russian ground troop build-up inside Syria.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 11 2015 22:52 utc | 36

forget everything you read or see

just pay attention to the east west divide of the m5 highway running north to south in syria....that is the line in the sand......not sure about aleppo

aleppo has a great history.....see link above......i wonder if the turks will want to declare it a world heritage site

Posted by: mcohen | Sep 11 2015 22:52 utc | 37

I just hope the mighty russian forces are coming to Syria in time to stop the saudi/sionist/US agression on its heels...

Posted by: guy | Sep 11 2015 23:16 utc | 38

By this point in time, the majority of rational individuals in the world can clearly see that the Syrian war is, and always has been, a proxy war. The Syrian war more than any of the other recent (planned) conflicts in the ME (also including Afghanistan) was intended to be the ultimate Jackpot!

On one side (pro-Syria) we have Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
On the other side (anti-Syria) we have USA/NATO, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel.

Defeating Assad and destroying an independent Syria primarily implies (among many other things) the following:

1. Removing Russian forces from the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
2. Cleaving and isolating Hezbollah from it's base of support.
3. Securing territory for an energy corridor from the Gulf to Turkey.

Number 1. - Benefits all of the anti-Syria players tactically (mostly USA/NATO), and strategically undermines Russia.
Number 2. - Strategically benefits Israel with minor benefits to Gulf players, while tactically undermining Iran, and strategically undermining Hezbollah.
Number 3. - Strategic benefits for Turkey and Gulf players, with perks for USA/NATO and Israel, while strategically damaging Russia and Iran.

The Syrian war is a very, very loaded situation and will not go away until something breaks.
For Russia and Hezbollah the stakes are huge (not to mention Syria!). For Iran they're not as bad. Perhaps this is why completing the Iran nuclear deal was suddenly so important for the USA a few months ago (against all the screaming out of Israel and Saudia).
For the anti-Syria group the stakes are not so huge at all. Whatever they stand to gain comes at the expense of their efforts and risks little else. Their determination, opportunism and budgetary restrictions are the main determining factors. As long as there are willing mercenaries and money, they risk little in continuing their efforts.

But...Things aren't going so well for the anti-Syria group after 4 yrs of proxy fighting they have tried several schemes to accelerate their efforts. Methods include: False flag chemical weapons attacks c/w controlled media narratives; destabilzation of Iraq in conjunction with the introduction of ever more radicalized 'islamist' proxies c/w controlled media narratives; crashing the price of oil; opening up another front against Russia and introducing sanctions. All of these were intended to shake Russia's grip and confidence, whilst hurrying up Assad's fall.
All efforts seem to be having serious blow-back issues.

Why all the sudden hysteria and hyperbole over a Russian presence in a proxy war? Perhaps as noted, to counter the blow-back and failures?

Posted by: spinworthy | Sep 11 2015 23:25 utc | 39

spinworthy @ 38: good post, and assessment, of the current situation. Much more critical for Assad's backers, than the empire and their sycophants.

As you said in your post, "The Syrian war is a very, very loaded situation and will not go away until something breaks."

Much of the world waits, for this could be a turning point, blunting the empire's drive toward a uni-polar globe. I, for one, hope so.

Posted by: ben | Sep 12 2015 0:17 utc | 40

Both Kerry and Obama have, in recent days, argued that Russia's support for Assad is responsible for the refugee crisis. I think they are getting very worried that Europe will begin to realize that the civil war supported by the US and its closest allies is causing the crisis. Today I noticed that the foreign ministers of Germany, Austria and Spain have suggested that Russia, Iran and, yes, Assad's forces could play a positive role in defeating ISIS. This is a major departure from the Assad must go policy that they supported at the urging of the US. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a major split between Europe and US over foreign policy. Not just Ukraine but the ME as well.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 12 2015 0:34 utc | 41

- ISIS is a good excuse for Russia to increase their military support for Assad.
- ISIS has been demonized in the US media and it was meant to drum up support for more military action against ISIS. And when one is bombing ISIS then one can easily start bombing Assad & Co. as well, right ? No, US military action against ISIS is simply a smoke screen for action against Assad. And Russia knows it IMO.
- More over: British troops (SAS ??) are disguised as ISIS fighters in Syria. The UK & US have delayed actions against Syria because of the trouble brewing in the Ukraine. But now "Syria" has been put on the "front burner" again.

- I see a more devious reason why Russia increases support for Assad. THis will lead to more "unrest" in Syria and will increase the amount of Syrians fleeing to Turkey. Combined with other economic problems (credit bubble, decreased tourism, collapse of turkish textile exports to Russia) it will be only a matter of time before Turkey's economy will receive a (giant) blow.
And a collapse of Turkey is the last thing the US & NATO want. A military coup in Turkey is coming and will depose Erdogan. But a military coup WILL not solve the economic crisis in Turkey.

So, Russia's actions in Syria could accelerate the end of a solid, stable & reliable Turkey for the US & NATO.
Even if Russia wouldn't support Syria then increased US attacks on Syria will also lead to more syrian refugees.

There're A LOT OF "moving parts". That makes a prediction of what's going to happen very difficult. But I do think the story above gives us a good clue what is likely to happen.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 12 2015 1:00 utc | 42

Historically, the US has only attacked defenseless countries/people. A betting man would bet that the US will back off. The same pretense - attacking ISIS - provides a face-saving out for the US and a reason for Russia to participate.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 12 2015 1:41 utc | 43

by "back off" I did not mean to indicate total retreat. The US will fly some sorties - there will be lots of bluster and false flag ops and that will be it. Past performance indicates that the US will not go head to head with Russia.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 12 2015 1:46 utc | 44

Does anyone seriously believe that USA and Russia are having a row?

Research the Levite/zionist project. You will get a clearer picture of how this world works.

Every thinking human (I hope that is the majority of us) knows it is the juise who are anathema.


Posted by: bud | Sep 12 2015 2:39 utc | 45

"Kerry Confident Regional Powers Will Send Troops To Syria"

Well his call has been ignored by Turkey busy bombing its own people and by Saudi Arabia bombing Yemenis.
Did he mean Iran?
Well Russia has picked up the call and is now preparing to send troops.
Then why is Kerry appeared surprised? To please the Saudis, the Qataris and Turkey? Unless he knew that the Russians will be coming with a double goal.
1) Protect the Syrian government and the army from been bombed in 'incidents' by coalition planes ( some are Saudis) and by any Islamists fighters ( moderates or not).
2) Help the Syrian army (and the US coalition) in their fights againts ISIS

I guess that tolerating and allowing the Russians to intervene directly in Syria appears like a way to dump once for all the 'rebels' and keep Bashar al Assad in power until ISIS is totally eliminated.
The whole process resemble the chemical weapon destruction deal organized by Russia that allowed Bashar Al Assad to get back his legitimacy so he could agree to the deal.

This is a probably the start of a new deal where Russia and the Syrian army commit to eliminate ISIS while the USA agrees to shut off the Islamist rebels and the opposition supported by Turkey and Qatar, and let Bashar al Assad with its government negotiate power sharing arrangements with the 'tolerated opposition' supported by Egypt and most probably by Saudi Arabia.
Maybe it is wishful thinking... but signs are pointing in this direction

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 12 2015 2:45 utc | 46

S-300 and S-400 are decent anti-aircraft weapons, Turkey tested it and lost a plane. But they require a bunch of radars which can be disabled by rebels, I think, and Israel bombed a number of times with impunity. Therefore the logistic chain for SAA would enormously benefit from restoring air defenses, and that would also put rest to any ideas, mooted in American and British press, to declare "no fly zone" over Syria and make short work of Syrian regime.

So how one should go about it? I guess we see step one: radars and missiles on ship instantly bolster the air defense on the coast. I think that they operate with more than 100 mile radius, but against aircraft with countermeasures, multiple missiles are needed. So several land-based system will restore defenses from Latakia to Damascus and Jordanian border, and perhaps over Golan foothills.

Concerning troops on the ground, I doubt if Russian would like to engage the rebels, but they may have guarding duties to secure radar facilities. That cannot be purely defensive to be effective, but there could be a mission creep. Similarly, it is better for Russia if Syrian pilots are engaged against the rebels, but they can improve their aircraft and weapon supplies. After all, barrel bombs were use surely because of the shortage of more effective bombs and missiles.

The news from Germany are almost amazing. From concern at September 9 to support at September 11? Are both dispatches correct? Are the Germans so desperate that they would actually resort to a reasonable policy? After all, end of civil war in Syria, even with some lingering terrorism like in Algeria, could allow to deport/repatriate the refugees Germany suddenly volunteered to accept. Contrary to some interpretations, Germany does not have a shortage of workers given the surplus of workers (i.e. high unemployment) in Poland, Baltics and Balkans, including Greece I presume. Possible (but speculative) scenario: Merkel got a phone call from Israel that was so annoying that she decided to drop niceties and instructed her Foreign Ministry to be frank.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 12 2015 2:49 utc | 47

Great post, b, great comments, everyone.

I think this move by Russia was totally foreseeable seeing as we did their very serious and meaningful actions following the Ghouta attacks. Now, with the usual suspects laying the groundwork for a similar plan, the Russians are again obliged to repeat the actions they took then - protecting the Syrian Government from those who seek to make it fall, and protecting the Syrian people from the bloody, chaotic consequences that would surely follow. To say he is "finally stepping up to the plate", IMHO, ignores the important actions Russia has taken not just to defend major parts of Syria, but to keep the West from bombing, the results of which would be far worse than even what has come to be in Libya. And that's an important point: there is far more at stake than just the chaos of Libya. In the case of Syria, there is the probability that sectarian genocide - run by the Takfiri forces funded by the Gulf States - would occur. Russia simply cannot allow that to take place.

Syria means a great deal to Russia, and on so many more levels than people in the West understand. Syria is far more to Russia than just a base in the Mediterranean. If policy makers in the West are basing their calculus for Russian action on that relatively small issue, they are making grave miscalculations. There are real human and historical links that bind Russia and Syria. There are long standing political links that go deep back into the Soviet Era. A look at (you need to sign up to do searches) shows much concern over the war in Syria. There are Russians, like their counterparts in the West, who feel concerned because of the Christian link - though in Russia's case, this has an interesting historical link going back to the Czar claimed to be the defender of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. I imagine (and see evidence on VK) that Russians must also feel for the Syrian people because of the experience of the Second World War, presumably hearing the stories of their parents and grandparents of people facing conditions of total war. Finally, and this seems to make up the majority, there are those people there who clearly link all of Russia's battles - from Syria to Novorossiya - as all the same contest being directed against them from the United States. After all, the Russians know better than anyone the US links with radical Islam, and having witness the continued enmity of the US even following the dismantling of the USSR, the Russians may truthfully say (compared to the lie of George W. Bush saying it) that "we fight them in the Middle East, or we fight them at home".

The point is that there are links between Russia and Syria at all levels. And it is from these links that comes three things: the willingness of the Russian Government to take risks in the situation, the ability of the Russian Government to formulate and honest and clear policy, and finally and most importantly, the public support which allows for taking those risks without facing backlash at home. Compare the domestic political strength of the Russian position with the general weakness of the Western policy, a weakness which was exposed during the last crisis where the anti-war voice was heard loudly enough that it had to be a part of the calculations of policy makers. Surely this comes from the convoluted policy of the West which falls apart with simple attempts to even describe it, a policy which has no internal consistency that can be explained to the public at all. There are no political links between Syria and the US, evident in the fact that the US could find only exiles to populate its "revolutionary government". The Christian link is certainly there... except that the US is on the wrong side of it. Then there is the idea of an alliance with Al Qaeda - an idea which could hardly be more repugnant to the American people (to be clearly separated from their leaders). So while the Russian Government can count on domestic support, the Western governments have to rely on media gimmicks which have definite shelf life and which are, at their core, untrue and so subject to controversy in the public discussion. The refugee story is an excellent example of this - the issue is real and its emotional appeal is undeniable, but using refugees as a case for more war? This is the same as trying to square the circle. It cannot be done. The same with goes for the promotion (and I do use the word advisedly) of ISIS as a threat ultimately works against the real US policy by opening the way for Russia to call of an anti-terrorist alliance.

That said, there is the "honest" version of US policy, given in Senator Graham's statement posted by fairleft: "This is a chance for us to slap Russia hard, because what they are doing is making America less safe," he said. "The Russians are just slapping President Obama and Secretary Kerry in the face. This is a complete insult to their efforts to try to find a solution to Syria. They've made Assad's survivability more likely, which means the war in Syria never ends."

That's as honest as you can get from a policy maker, of course. Syria is, for the US, another chance to smack Russia. The war is about achieving US aims, and war will continue until the US achieves them. Peace for the sake of peace figures no where in the equation. Those who don't follow the warlike policy are weaklings who are allowing themselves to be "slapped in the face". So it is honest, but bring that to the American people as an excuse for another war in the Middle East and you'll get laughed out of the room, forget about finding some kind of majority. As Grieved noted: "US foreign policy is obliged to maintain an ethical narrative with the US domestic population" and when there is absolutely zero behind the US narrative, then the majority of US citizens will not back it. The only question left, then, is wether the US elite is confident enough (read: anti-democratic enough and disconnected enough) to completely ignore public opinion.

This only covers Russia's position, but the same goes for Iran. Though someone said the stakes for Iran in Syria are not so high, I disagree. I think the very clear threat to Hezbollah makes it a clear threat to Iran. Without Hezbollah, Iran will lose its main connection with Palestine and the struggle there, and this connection is a key to the Islamic Revolution's raison d'être as any. But the stakes for Iran are evident in the huge amount they've invested in fighting ISIS and al Qaeda in both Iraq and Syria. The Iranian's are no strangers to facing war by carried out by US puppets, and certainly they know very well that allowing a radical Takfiri state (allied with KSA and ultimately with the US) to form in the ashes of Iraq and Syria means war on Iran anyway so why not risk all to kill this viper in its nest?


Interesting image from Syria: Poster, Syria, 2015 The inscription reads: "These people kneel only before God"

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 12 2015 4:45 utc | 48

Great post by b, great posts by everyone in the comments, especially:

Pat Bateman | Sep 11, 2015 1:09:51 PM | 15

Grieved | Sep 11, 2015 1:25:08 PM | 16

b | Sep 11, 2015 3:09:47 PM | 24

plantman | Sep 11, 2015 3:54:49 PM | 28 (Though I disagree generally, this is great: "The US has no "Off" switch anymore." Yes! There's an automatic quality to US military/economic aggression these days, unguided but PR-ed by people like Kerry/Obama. But the beast does have at least a reptile brain, and recoils for a period in the face of real danger. But the US proxies will keep on fighting, funding will likely be boosted, "let's have a war to save the refugees" will keep on being uncritically blasted from the 'respectable' media. More generally, the US will keep on coming, with one scheme after another for unipolar world power preservation. Each new one will be a bit less reality-based until the game is lost, I hope.)

guest77 | Sep 12, 2015 12:45:25 AM | 47

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12 2015 5:20 utc | 49

The idea that this is part of a deal to partition Syria is interesting, but the question would be who is in on that deal? In the US, clearly this would be limited to the Obama and Kerry? With Obama eating his tough guy talk about Assad?

Surely the usual suspects in the Senate and elsewhere sound just as rabid as ever. Would Obama be able to deny the warmongers - and on two fronts at once, no less - by signing a deal with Iran, and settle with Russia on Syria?

And who on the Russian side will tell Assad that Syria is partitioned now, and that he's now the President of a rump Syria with ISIS terrorists still in control of huge swathes of the country?

I can't see it personally, but then I don't really know. If I had to bet though, I'd bet on a continuation of the status quo. After what may be another test of US and Russian resolve here in a little bit.

In any case, the US, I am afraid, has no interest in cracking down on their allies who are really making this war. Assad would like to win it, I don't think there is any doubt about that, but he's also seemed ready for honest peace talks at any time. Aren't the Israelis fond of saying "You can't have peace without a partner for peace"? Its a good enough line, though it's not true in the case of Israel, it does apply perfectly to the US who are making quite sure that Assad has no partner for peace.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 12 2015 5:28 utc | 50

HRC joins Republicans in anti-Russia propaganda ...

Clinton Calls For Tougher Response To Russia On Ukraine, Syria

Hillary spoke at the Brookings Institute ... illustrious think-tank on the Potomac river. From a recent presentation:

"U.S. defense analysts argue that the best way to preserve stability is by forward deploying conventional and nuclear forces while sending unequivocal signals of U.S. resolve. This includes sending a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons to Europe, dual-capable aircraft to Poland, and theater missile defenses that would erode the killing power of Russia’s large arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles."

Posted by: Oui | Sep 12 2015 5:48 utc | 51

BREAKING: US drones strike Syrian Army, blame ISIS

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of the US Air Force struck Syrian government forces [at Camac near Hamah] on September 10. This was stated by the senior representative of the Syrian military. He pointed out that this attack was disguised as an air strike by militants of the Islamic State, allegedly using a captured MiG-21.

According to a Syrian air force colonel, militants of the Islamic State successfully managed to capture the military air field [Abu al-Duhur]. However, no current equipment had been there by the time, as everything was previously transferred to other air fields so as to avoid seizure by the terrorists ... militants of the Islamic State physically could not carry out air strikes on the positions of the Syrian military. ... Citing anonymous US officials, the newspaper [Washington Post] writes that the CIA and Joint Command of Special Operations are implementing a joint program of drone flights over Syria. The secret program means a significant strengthening of CIA intervention in the war in Syria.

According to the statements of high-ranking military in Syria, it was drones, and not “terrorist MiG’s” which attacked the Syrian army. This is not the first time that US forces have struck the Syrian army, hiding behind the Islamic State.

It would be nice to see open season on US drones in Syria ... and not only in Syria. In Yemen as well. Someone above, Okie Farmer, calls attention to the fact that ...

Nils Muiznieks of the Council of Europe called the developments [Residents in the mainly Kurdish town [Cizre] say they have been unable to buy food or medical supplies since the military imposed a curfew eight days ago.] "distressing".

... how long has it been since all the Yemenis in Yemen have been unable to buy food or medical supplies? Anyone heard anything from the Council of Europe on that one? Not so much, aye.

The report I read of the fall of Abu al-Duhur yesterday emphasized Al CIA-da's subsequent straight line of attack against Latakia in consequence. Interesting to see them attack the Russians ensconced there. No doubt they'd have US drone support?

Posted by: jfl | Sep 12 2015 6:27 utc | 52

A Russian-Egyptian alliance?

Rapidly expanding instability in the Middle East, coupled with the inconsistency of Washington’s foreign policy, is driving Arab leaders to seek partners and allies on the side.

Several high-ranking politicians from a number of Muslim countries, such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UA, Mohammed al-Nahyan, Vice-President of Iran Surna Sattari, Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation Ali Haidar, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah, all visited Moscow on business trips. It is this last meeting which is of greater interest ...

The problem of combatting the spread of radical islam and expanding the geography of a “Green International” occupies a special place in Russian-Egyptian relations. In particular, the President of Egypt expressed his support for the Russian program for resolving the Syrian conflict, whose main point is the necessity of forming a broad anti-terrorist coalition led by Syrian government forces.

The solidarity of the Egyptian side with Putin’s proposed plan of settling the Syrian conflict means exactly one thing: Egypt not only recognizes the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad, but also believes that “the tyrant doesn’t have to leave at all.” This is a very significant statement, as the main sponsor of Egypt is Saudi Arabia, for whom the overthrow of Assad is a cornerstone of regional policy.

It's still difficult to see who will step up to the plate and dispatch the CIA/Daesh, but it does seem clear that Syria has more supporters now than a few weks ago, and is gaining more, or firmer support daily. Putin would not stick his neck out if he thought it might get chopped off. And if the Russian presence in Syria restrains the Israelis ... that alone is worthwhile. May it restrain European knee-jerk support for the USA, too.

The 'leadership' in the USA is divided, just as b points out. Things are happening 'to' the US and they are reacting. They've done the 'best' they can, conjured up the worst demons whose names they knew, and it still hasn't 'worked out'. Worse, their vassals have noticed that it hasn't, noticed that the US is reacting rather than acting, noticed that things have slipped beyond the US' control.

Multiple-centers of power may well now emerge, beginning in Europe and MENA. The US may well have foolishly, though successfully divided its own power base, and conquered itself.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 12 2015 7:02 utc | 53

Great link in 50: Oui. HRC in the photo would look even better if she had a winged helmet, she really looks as if she sung "Hoioto ho! Hoioto ho! Heiaha" (battle cry of a Valkyrie, Wagnerian music, soprano).

Increasing Russian presence is also reported by Almasdar News

They also reported that Russian are training Syria "at the outskirts of Homs". I think that Putin is dropping half-measures, which were somewhat discrete supplies to Syrian military. On several occasions in the past Israeli air force destroyed some of them, so now Russians are almost ostentatious, and with seriously armed ships, I would imagine, bristling with missiles. By the way, the only sources citing Erdogan as treatening to close Bosporus to Russian ships were Ukrainian, and cited reasons were hilarious -- Erdogan's concern about Russian aggression in Ukraine and the fate of Crimean Tatars. Sure. All to often, Ukrainian propagandists do not even try to be plausible. If true, it would be an act of war like the one Israel used as a reason to attack Egypt in 1967. Even Erdogan is not that insane, and he has like ten fronts of a civil war to fight (PKK, HDP, CHP, Guelinists, ecologists, alcoholics, smokers, insolent laughing women etc.), so Russia would have many options which anti-Erdogan group it chooses to support -- perhaps alcoholics?

I think that Israel was raring to bomb Syrian arsenals once more, and it is currently egged on by Washington, so Putin decided to discourage such ideas as forcefully as he can. And arm Syrians with more modern weapons that may change the game, especially in open areas outside cities. I am almost certain that Iran will send some troops with combat roles.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 12 2015 7:11 utc | 54

Think just about every permutation possible has been covered in the comments. Throwing in my 14 cents (2 cents plus inflation factoring), I'd also commend all who have contributed sometimes lengthy but absorbing, thought provoking comments. Although I cannot visit every day, this site along with the equally important comments section,is one of the most interesting on the web and one which I steer as many people as possible towards.

And no retards tonight either . . . . a good day !!

Posted by: Kiwicris | Sep 12 2015 8:21 utc | 55

The neoconned State Department childishly pressured Greece and Bulgaria to disallow Russian military air transport over their countries."

What is childish about asking Greece and Bulgaria to do that?

Posted by: Bill Smith | Sep 12 2015 11:16 utc | 56

Seems Erdogan might get is wish.. The civil war in Turkey is very close.. The province of Cizre is now in lockdown and people are being killed.. Any chance for a "Friends of Turkey" anywhere in Europe?

Surprisingly, those media organizations that champion freedum and democracy have gone very quiet..I guess being a member of NATO or part of the Western alliance comes with nice perks.

Interesting days ahead...

Posted by: Zico | Sep 12 2015 12:13 utc | 57

Guest77@47 Good comment,thanks. This proxy war on Syria with tens of thousands of Jihadis poring through Turkey and being funded by Saudi Arabia and other Wahhabi supporting Gulfies, is an assault on the 'arc' of resistance Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah, the end game wanted by the West is a destroyed Syria leaving Hezbollah caught in a pincer movement between Jihadis and Israel both of whom want Hezbollah destroyed, then a dismembered Iraq, leaving an Isolated Iran, which the US and friends can destroy with death by a thousand cuts. Because it is existential for so many players, bold moves may be required, for instance if Assad looks in danger [I don't think he is yet] Iran, [who have a military alliance with Syria] should step up to the plate. They, along with Russia know that they are on the regime change schedule, better to fight those battles now than be in a worse strategic situation later.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 12 2015 13:13 utc | 58

More subservience from the tough-talking wankers in Tony Abbott's Cretinocracy...

Australia Could be Key in Removing Assad: Fmr Ambassador to Syria Sept 11, 2015

ELIZABETH JACKSON: A former Australian ambassador to Syria says it's possible Australia could play a significant role in the ultimate removal of Bashar al-Assad.
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is reportedly working with US secretary of state John Kerry on a political solution to oust Assad without promoting Islamic State.
I asked Dr Ross Burns, who was Australia's ambassador in Syria in the 1980s, whether the ambitious plan had any chance of success.
ROSS BURNS: I would think it might have some chance. I mean, it has more chance than any of the other moves which have taken place so far. It's very interesting that we are part of the stimulus behind it - if all this is confirmed, of course.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Why do you say that it's interesting that we would be part of the stimulus?
ROSS BURNS: Well, I think our part is that - I mean, A: we're in the coalition on the air strikes; but B: we've also had this rather interesting relationship with the Iranians over the years. So we have - I mean, the Americans are not in Tehran; we are. So we can be a useful channel in that direction.


To which I would add that Oz's plan to bomb anything in Syria without the permission of the Syrian Govt is Illegal by any and every International Standard. And this story, imo, is intended to gloss over that fact.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12 2015 14:05 utc | 59

Bill Smith @55:

"What is childish about asking Greece and Bulgaria to do that?"

It makes virtually no difference to Russia whether it flies its cargo planes to Syria over Azerbaijan/Iran/Iraq or Bulgaria/Greece. So, the US is bullying Greece and Bulgaria simply to show that it can push them around. That's childish.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12 2015 14:21 utc | 60

In theory of course, it would be perfectly legal and well within International law for Syria to request the assistance of the Iranian armed forces, and for 500,000 or more Iranians to seal off the Turkish border, denying supplies and reinforcements to the Islamists and then gradually tighten the noose. Not saying it will happen, but it would be legal. I could imagine the US sending forces to Jordan in similar circumstances.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 12 2015 14:45 utc | 61

"I hope we shall crush in it's birth, the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

Thomas Jefferson
Nov. 12, 1816

Too bad this advice wasn't heeded.

All the globe's problems stem from a struggle for "market share".

Sorry for the mildly OT post. The battle against corporate dominance is over here in the US, good luck to the rest of the world.

Without support from the "economic royalists, our current monsters could not capture governments.

Posted by: ben | Sep 12 2015 14:47 utc | 62

Kerry's surprise appears totally theatrical and destined mainly to the Saudis and to the supporters of the Syrian opposition

The decision of Turkey to join the coalition has triggered an expected reaction from Russia.
Turkey has been long committed to a regime change in Syria. While Saudi and Qatar's would obey the USA in refraining from bombing the Syrian army, Turkey may find it the best opportunity to weaken the Syrian government, boost Erdogan's credibility and protect the Islamist militias they have been funding and supporting in Syria. The USA has little leverage on Turkey from the moment it uses the Incirlik base.
That's the reason why Russia decided to show its teeth. No way would it accept that the US coalition threatens the Syrian army. It has been expecting this to happen and has been prepared for a long time.
Iran is also preparing for the same and will act in defense of the Alawites and Hezbollah in case Damascus or the coast is seriously threatened.

In view of the tougher attitude of Russia and Iran, the Turks have tried to reassure them that they are too busy repressing Kurds and dealing with their doomed "snap election" that they have no intentions of attacking anybody in Syria. The Russians and the Iranians just do not trust the Turks and took their precautions. I trust that we will not see a single Turkish plane bombing Syria !

The official entrance of Russia in Syria is a game changer and the USA is discreetly playing its part

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 12 2015 15:06 utc | 63

Seriously: Australian plans to prioritise Syrian Christian refugees 'a new low'

"This kind of bigoted fear mongering from the Abbott government is a new tragic low. It's a betrayal of the true Australian spirit. There are millions of people of all religions who have been displaced. This is the greatest human catastrophe in 70 years, yet we have a government that wants to play politics with this to appease the right wing constituents it has been cultivating." - Sydney Islamic community leader Ahmed Kilani

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12 2015 15:06 utc | 64

OT but nice:

Rita Katz, 'counter-terrorism' Islamophobe, exposed again:

The Australi Witness persona fooled members of the international intelligence community as well as journalists, with well-known analyst Rita Katz of SITE Intelligence Group saying the "IS supporter" held a "prestige" position in online jihadi circles and was "part of the hard core of a group of individuals who constantly look for targets for other people to attack". Ms Katz has previously acted as a consultant for US and foreign governments and testified before Congress on online terrorist activities.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12 2015 15:16 utc | 65

@46 virgile.. everyone knows the usa is using ISIS as an excuse and platform to continue on with it's regime change plans in syria, but that article on kerry really lays it out bare... thanks.

too bad about how the media portrays ISIS as some sort of enemy of the usa and the west.. they are a useful tool for the west here and have never attacked israel, saudi arabia, qatar or any other '''good friend''' of the west! connecting the dots is not something the media is going to do, but anyone who has seen how mercenary armed forces have worked since the blackwater yahoo's in iraq - know full well the usa is one evil fucked up country to have as the leader of the west..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2015 15:19 utc | 66

The missing 9/11 story? But you could see it on TV yesterday. The U.S. took revenge for 9/11/2011.

Yesterday on 9/11 the U.S. used its secret HAARP program to create a thunderstorm over Mecca. A huge crane placed there by the BIN LADEN family construction business was hit by a U.S. HAARP directed lightning and fell backwards(!) onto the Great Mosque. The plan was to destroy the Kaaba, the central sanctuary within the Great Mosque, but the falling crane missed that. Still some 107 Muslim got killed and 250 wounded.

Posted by: b (takes off tinfoil hat) | Sep 12 2015 15:20 utc | 67

@47 guest77.. regarding grahams comments - he like hilary clinton have such short memories... after making a cluster fuck of iraq, and then libya, they are onto syria, working hard for the same end result.. those fuckers need to tell us how their actions in libya or iraq have paid off?

the abbott bozo sure knows how to make australia look like a country of losers... i think he might even have the edge over harper here in canada for showing just how braindead the commonwealth leadership is at this point in time..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2015 15:34 utc | 68

Professor Juan Cole at 'Informed Comment' has called for the removal of Assad "On the other hand, Bashar al-Assad has been dropping barrel bombs on kindergartens and has tortured thousands of political prisoners to death. He can’t be allowed to remain in power". Professor Cole seems to believe Assad was responsible for mass murder, exhibited in those pictures. Those photos from an anonymous police photographer and supplied to the law firm Carter Ruck by the Assad hating Qataris have never been investigated, but used as propaganda to further an agenda. Pathetic.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 12 2015 15:46 utc | 69


You seem to be either naturally or willfully ignorant about the actions of the Islamic State. They have regularly attacked the Saudi military along the Saudi/Iraq border and the IS inside the KSA has also been busy. The IS in Gaza has attacked Israel with rockets not long ago.

The Islamic State is busy conquering Syria and Iraq so it may be a while before they get to Qatar.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 12 2015 15:57 utc | 70

Penny at 33 --

I share your apprehension about these rumors. They originated with the Israelis -- Fishman of YNET is described as the dean of their military reporters and seen as credible. Who better then to float some disinformation? There remains no corroboration, but plenty of bluster from the right.

Here's Lavrov from the Times of India's reporting.

Lavrov said in Moscow on Friday that Russia would continue to supply Assad with weapons and called on other countries to help the Syrian government and its ground troops.

"You cannot defeat Islamic State with air strikes only," Lavrov said. "It's necessary to cooperate with ground troops and the Syrian army is the most efficient and powerful ground force to fight the IS.... I can only say once again that our servicemen and military experts are there to service Russian military hardware, to assist the Syrian army in using this hardware," he said at a news conference in Moscow. "And we will continue to supply it to the Syrian government in order to ensure its proper combat readiness in its fight against terrorism."

Meanwhile, the boilerplate keeps rolling off the DC press line. Our Nobel Laureate makes a sage observation.

Russia’s deepening military involvement in Syria will make it harder to dislodge Bashar al-Assad from power and find a political solution to the war raging there, President Barack Obama said.

Obama confirmed reports that Russia has sent additional personnel and equipment to aid Assad’s forces, a tactic that the president said was doomed to failure. [with at least as much evidence as for Russian involvement in MH17 - rm]

“The strategy they’re pursuing now, doubling down on Assad, I think is a big mistake,” Obama said Friday in remarks to military personnel at Fort Meade, Maryland.

With the "moderate jihadi" and Turkish intervention ploys failing to slow ISIL, ONL doesn't need Moscow providing anymore complications. We'll overlook the question if his record makes him the best party to proffer strategic advice.

And the real worries may lie elsewhere, with Jerusalem, says the Guardian. The aims attributed to the move by the Defense Minister look quite modest, unlike some of the hyperbole out of DC.

Speaking to reporters, Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli defence minister, echoed claims by western sources that Moscow has in recent days dispatched military advisers and equipment with the main goal of setting up an airbase in the Syrian government-controlled area around Latakia.

“As far as we understand, at this stage we are talking about a limited force that includes advisers, a security team and preparations for operating planes and combat helicopters,” Ya’alon said in a briefing on Thursday....

Thursday, Lavrov defended Russian military assistance to Syria, saying Moscow wanted to avoid a repeat of the “Libyan scenario” in Syria and would therefore provide greater military assistance to the Syrian president if requested.

WIth sales of air defense systems earlier, it would seem the intent is prevent Syria from being subjected to "shock and awe" while it continues to fight.

If a line has been drawn, it's in the steppes of the Donbas, not the sands around Latakia. Not that the junta didn't jump right on the bandwagon. From the Times of India link above.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday used the Russian military buildup in Syria to lash out at the country's arch-enemy, blaming the influx of refugees into Europe on Moscow's support for Assad.

"Today the so-called little green men are landing in Syria, instigating an increase in violence in the Middle East, and provoking a further increase in the number of refugees going to the EU," Poroshenko said at an international conference in Kiev.

Why the hype? Our Nobel Laureate has been dying to get into Syria ever since his "line in the sand" provocation of chemical weapons was nixed by Russian diplomacy and domestic public opinion. This is another attempt to deepen American involvement.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12 2015 16:18 utc | 71

I would here mention (very good post and comments as far as I've read - kudos, MoA!) the latest Crosstalk on Ukraine at RT - final segment mentions a curious image of a rightwinger/Nazi type seated with an ISIS member in Mariopol at a table containing toy replicas of Western armaments - I don't know if that was staged but it sure is a riveting image.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 12 2015 16:25 utc | 72

Penny at 33 --

I share your apprehension about these rumors.
Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12, 2015 12:18:21 PM | 71

Well, I'm glad to know I was not the lone voice of reason in a forest of insane hyperbole

" There remains no corroboration, but plenty of bluster from the right"

That's a point I've been trying to get across in a rational manner.

"Why the hype? Our Nobel Laureate has been dying to get into Syria ever since his "line in the sand" provocation of chemical weapons was nixed by Russian diplomacy and domestic public opinion. This is another attempt to deepen American involvement."

That is what I suspect also, to justify or deepen American involvement. It's very self serving to hype the Russian involvement at this time And have made that point repeatedly over at my blog. To tread with caution when it comes to unsubstantiated neo con supported gossip.

Spinworthy left an interesting comment here and at my blog that has raised some interesting issues wrt how the Syrian situation has been used against Russia and how the present day propaganda circus serves that agenda

Posted by: Penny | Sep 12 2015 16:34 utc | 73

Virgile @ 63 says:

The USA has little leverage on Turkey from the moment it uses the Incirlik base

WTF does that mean? the USA has used the Incirlik air base uninterruptedly since they built it in 1951. it has always been central to wars both cold and hot in the region and plenty of other imperial subterfuge as well(spawning ground for 'ISIS'?). it sports state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, a 10,000 ft runway and 50 or so hardened aircraft shelters. it's home to the 39th air base wing and about 5,000 airmen and repository for something like 90 b61 nuclear warheads.

i don't think they need no stinkin' leverage.

Posted by: john | Sep 12 2015 16:47 utc | 74

The president of Costa Rica say's NO to Syrian refugees. Too culturally distinct to accept them.
Syrian refugees in Uruguay wish to leave the country because it's too hard for them to make it there.
Venezuela to accept more than 20000 syrian refugees after kicking out 3000 colombians.
I hope Russia is able to kick arse in Syria.
The Chinese need to do their part as well.
I think I see the logic of the Russians and the Chinese.
The less they do, they more the Americans will keep fucking it up in the Middle East.
Why should they send peacekeepers and spend money if Assad is holding out just fine.
Why should they if the Iranians got this?
Why should they if the longer the Americans are stuck in this they will cause less trouble elsewhere?
It's an evil genius plan, this is why Assad knows they will not let him fall.
It's sad but this is true.
They don't need Assad to win, but they can't let him lose either.
So sad, so sad. This is a fucked up world. Ay Dios mio

Posted by: Fernando | Sep 12 2015 16:58 utc | 75

Piotr Berman:

S-300-400 are mobile units, incl the radar & command vehicles. When not in use they are stored, away from both the Zionazi´s and their local proxies.

Posted by: max | Sep 12 2015 17:13 utc | 76

Interesting development around Ahrar al-Shams

Ahrar al-Shams is a Salafist-jihadist entity. On of al-Qaeda's top man was its founding leader. It is similar in outlook and aims as al-Qaeda in Syria and the Islamic State.

Bribed by Qatar Ahrar al-Shams has lately tried to be accepted as "moderate" with nice ghostwritten op-eds in the Telegraph and Washington Post. But experts laughed at that stunt.

Now Ahrar al Shams has selected a new "moderate" leader and al-Qaeda in Syria has condemned various Ahrar al-Shams ideological positions. (That likely was diversion to amplify the "moderate" new cloth.

Ahrar al-Shams will now receive lots of new money and will shun some radicals to attract new members from the former Free Syrian Army.

Brookings Doha seems to be the think tank behind this whole story. The U.S. will probably support that move and accept Ahrar al-Shams as "moderate".

Posted by: b | Sep 12 2015 18:03 utc | 77

An excellent explanation from a Syrian commentator at the Saker
(Too bad Juan Cole does not really understand (never has) what is going on in Syria and the wider ME.)
This post gives a lot of background - some known, some less so, and an explanation of where ISIS is coming from.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Sep 12 2015 19:36 utc | 78

Russia’s deepening military involvement in Syria will make it harder to dislodge Bashar al-Assad from power and find a political solution to the war raging there, President Barack Obama said....

“The strategy they’re pursuing now, doubling down on Assad, I think is a big mistake,” Obama said Friday in remarks to military personnel at Fort Meade, Maryland.

These Obama comments posted by rufus say it all. To paraphrase Our Dear Peace Prize Winner - "The US wants a political solution! (only after we've achieved all our military aim of removing the government)". How gracious.

After this logical blunder, he goes on to give us his analysis of Putin's latest moves as "a big mistake". From the man who never passed up a foul compromised deal, be it on taxes or healthcare, he ought to know a big mistake. But I imagine he is safe from that knowledge safe in his little Presidential cocoon. Obama goes from mistake to mistake, he hardly needs to be giving others lessons in that regard.

America's "HOPE" President, now on track to have initiated more overthrows of governments than Eisenhower and Nixon combined.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 12 2015 19:54 utc | 79

Just on adding to the comment on Turkish leverage with the U.S. By allowing them to use the Incirlik airbase.

No matter what conditions the Turks think they can force onto the US, it will be completely delusional if they believe it. The endlessly duplicitous US Empire couldn't give a fuck about what fake promises they made as they have forever shown.

Imagine during the US bombing campaign in Syria using the Incirlik airbase ( or any over Turkish military facility ) In a way works against Turkeys wishes, hegemony or its interests, what are they gonna do, demand the US stop using our base in the middle of a US war ? The Turks might as well declare war on the US itself if they tried that.

US could arm Turkish Kurds to make life difficult for the Turkish military, and an endless array of other threats.
There's only one current military empire and it's like not like the US doesn't know it.
The Turks know it and the US knows it - in other words, nearly no leverage whatsoever.

Posted by: tom | Sep 12 2015 20:09 utc | 80

g77 at 78 --

I esp. like the way it elides the fact that we created, along with the French, this whole mess in Syria to begin with.

Haven't we learned any lessons about implementing fantasies of transformative regime change? Especially when using fundamentalist proxies supplied by our theocratic Saudi friends.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12 2015 20:25 utc | 81

@69 harry law, @77 goradiva

I think Juan Cole understands completely. He's an army brat, a born and bred American imperialist of the kinder, gentler variety.


The Iranians have a better take on the Saudi crane.

@46 virgile, @66 james

Yes ... that article to the 'insiders' indicates that Kerry/the US expects Saudi Arabia and the Gulfies to finish off their war games in Yemen and swing up to help Daesh/ISIS give Assad/Syria the Gaddalfi/Libya treatment.

There seems to be no limit to the depths to which the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate will sink, and the velocity of my country's implosion continues to accelerate. Like a black hole it is sucking "Western Civilization" into its vortex. Nothing, not even light - if there were any, can escape.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 12 2015 20:39 utc | 82

Speaking of being sucked into the vortex, France suspends Turkey consul over refugees

France has suspended an honorary consul in Turkey’s coastal town of Bodrum over reports that she has been selling rubber dinghies to refugees who wanted to reach Europe.

The consul, who was appointed in October 2014, argued that if she had not sold the equipment to the refugees, they would have bought them from others.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 12 2015 20:51 utc | 83

Regarding the potential of Chinese naval vessels showing up in the Mediterranean, I believe I read that they showed up there during the East Gouda sarin crisis in 2013. I also recall reports of a missile headed toward Syria that mysteriously disappeared.

Posted by: William Rood | Sep 13 2015 2:57 utc | 84

john @ 73 says:

i don't think they need no stinkin' leverage

the Turkey/US deal regarding the use of the Incirlik base was a real big talking point in the nooze a while back. a perfect example of parsable fodder fit for the hoi polloi. any suggestion that the US hegemon asks permission for anything from anyone is risible.

Sibel Edmonds cuts to the chase.

Posted by: john | Sep 13 2015 10:38 utc | 85

“The strategy they’re pursuing now, doubling down on Assad, I think is a big mistake,” Obama said Friday in remarks to military personnel at Fort Meade, Maryland."

I think it is the banana-man, our hapless gay-clown from the White house plantation, that has done too many mistakes or rather his white masters. After all, he´s AIPAC´s Nudelman, Kagan & Pyatt´s little "Schwartze", and let us be honest, the narcissistic teleprompter man is rather spending time with his husband-in-drag Michael Obongo at the Golf course or their favorite "Blue Oyster Club´s" or public lavatories in Chicago like they use to.

The narcissistic and actually quite stupid Obongo is really a perfect face and scape goat for his white sinister massa´s (not a perfect token for the masses though), they can load him with all the puerile crap and bullshit they wouldn´t dare to say in public and try out every sinister plan through him. A perfect house n*gger if there ever was one.

Posted by: mackin | Sep 13 2015 14:37 utc | 86

Interesting discussion. Especially liked "no off switch".

fairleft @60
Don't you think Russia would probably prefer not to send planes over ISIS-controlled territory?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2015 17:00 utc | 87

One of your best posts, b! You managed to uniquely interweave scattered bits and pieces on the topic into a very informative report. Well done. Thanks.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 13 2015 17:53 utc | 88

Penny at 73 --

"Well, I'm glad to know I was not the lone voice of reason in a forest of insane hyperbole."

I get that "lone voice of reason" feeling fairly regularly.

Origins, promoters, lack of independent verification, and congruence with current DC obsessions makes it clear that it's a stick to beat Russia with. "Savoir-Faire is everywhere!" It means more money for defense, less room for dissent.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2015 18:52 utc | 89

in re 86 --

Quite the droll little minstrel show. Did you forget to call him an Uncle Tom, or were we supposed to read that in from the house slave jibe? I'm sure bud at 45 appreciated the "little 'Schwartze'" smear as well.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2015 19:03 utc | 90

One of your best posts, b! You managed to uniquely interweave scattered bits and pieces on the topic into a very informative report. Well done. Thanks.

Posted by: ProsperousPeace | Sep 13 2015 21:35 utc | 91

@89 I am sure that's probably the same idiot.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 13 2015 23:18 utc | 92

The Saker has an interesting analysis of the Russians - Iranians, Hezbolla - in Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 14 2015 0:32 utc | 93

@b, @47 Piotr, with regard to the report I read @52

It looks like Latakia may well be an anchor point in the fight to retake Syria and to expel/extinguish Daesh. It doesn't seem now that Al-CIA-da will be making a bee line to the coast.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 14 2015 0:43 utc | 94

@89 I noticed there is someone on SouthFront who has as their comment avatar an image of Michelle Obama morphed with an ape, who makes generally insipid, empty comments (any with more than one line of substance are generally explicit racism, though the main point seems to be the display of the off putting avatar). Like the comments above, and like the comments of our drooling troll, the purpose is only to put off people with any sense of decency. To make them think they've happened upon someplace not at all worthy of their time.

Its a tactic shown again and again by hasbarists and imperialists, we all recall this mess.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 14 2015 2:10 utc | 95

amazing! US media war dance:
'"This is a chance for us to slap Russia hard, because what they are doing is making America less safe," he said. "The Russians are just slapping President Obama and Secretary Kerry in the face. This is a complete insult to their efforts to try to find a solution to Syria. They've made Assad's survivability more likely, which means the war in Syria never ends."'

does the writer believe what he writes?
a war in syria makes insecure america less safe how? Doesnt the US backed war in Yemen make america less safe?

Obama and Kerry have never sought a solution that didnt involve more chaos and more jihadis.

Americans whether in the backwoods of Oregon or the towers of NY live in ignorance and hopes the rest of us are

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2015 2:59 utc | 96

US and its media continnue to act as agents of ISIS and alnusra as we see in Josh Rogins article... while doing his best to twist reality into a pretzel

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2015 3:36 utc | 97

@94 guest

That was very good work by Common Dreams. I'll certainly save that link, and pass it on.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 14 2015 5:02 utc | 98

@rufus magister and the other political correct "exceptional" Obongo-lover:

Sure, why not call Obongo "Uncle Tom" too? But you must admit that the latter was a bit more humble and certainly more intelligent than our boasting "Russia is finished any minute now" and "we are the exceptionals", token face of the Nudelman´s pulling his strings.

Harry Belafonte would probably not disagree, he would most certainly call the hapless cretin a House N*gger and a war criminal, in fact he already did.

Anyways, Obongo´s monkeying around with words and a hand grenade around the globe has by far outdone even the wildest North Korean characterization of him. Let´s send the clown to an early retirement at the Pyongyang Zoo, that would at least do some justice for all the millions Iraqi´s, Libyan´s and Syrian´s killed in his name.

Posted by: macking | Sep 14 2015 5:39 utc | 99

Obama is certainly not the brightest and most intelligent person the black community could produce but then again, they didn´t produce him. If that were to happen he would probably get shot before he could have made peace with the globe.

Obama is, like the white 1%-ers who invented him, the vilest creep ever to be found at the bottom of our society. Go on call him what you want, he´s not human by any standards...

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 14 2015 5:58 utc | 100

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