Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 07, 2015

Syria, Iraq: Russia Shows Its Cards And Wins

He he ... Russia is now really showing off :-)

Four Russian Navy warships have fired a total of 26 missiles at the position of the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced. The missiles were fired from the Caspian Sea.

“Four missile ships launched 26 cruise missiles at 11 targets. According to objective control data, all the targets were destroyed. No civilian objects sustained damage,” Shoigu said.

The missiles flew some 1,500 km before reaching their targets, probing their efficiency.

"And a happy birthday to you dear Vladimir Vladimirovich," Shoigu added.

These Russian Klub (3M-14 KalibrN) cruise missile, with some interesting capabilities (vid), crossed Iranian and Iraqi airspace (vid) with the consent of those countries. There is a video of the launches and pictures of the left-overs of a night of "Russian Klub'bing" in Raqqa governate.

These launches have several aims:

  • destroy some Islamic State assets in Syria
  • provide that Russia, while giving intense air support (vid, 22 bombs in 5 min) to the Syrian army in its attack in Hama, is fully committed to the larger aim of destroying the Islamic State
  • demonstrate that Russia can and will engage in the fight from afar should its forces in Syria be attacked. (The earlier "offer" to the U.S. to join the fight against ISIS with Tu-22M(3) long range strikers of even Tu-160 strategic bombers made a similar point.)
  • challenge the U.S. to take up the war against the Islamic State in a serious matter.

The U.S. command has bragged about having flown such and such thousands of sorties in its operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State. What it did not brag about was that only 20% of those sorties included a weapon release and that many of these releases were only against minor targets. Destroying an "ISIS excavator" with a guided weapon is not war fighting but very expensive pinpricking. Others also noted the differences:

In Tel Aviv, Israeli military analysts have noted that the first Russian airstrikes in Syria seem much more aggressive than those of the U.S.-led coalition.

The Russian forces have now made sure that they have all the assets in or around Syria that are needed

Despite a lot of noise from U.S. politicians, any U.S. controlled "no-fly zone" is now completely out of question. The Russians though could create such a zone in Syria in no time. Already U.S. reconnaissance drones over Syria get intercepted. The announced additional U.S. weapon deliveries to some Kurds and the newly formed Syrian Arab Coalition, which is just another collection of unreliable looters and thieves, will do nothing to free Raqqa or have any other major impact. The Kurds will not fight outside of their territories and the thieves will just sell their weapons, travel to Germany and become "refugees".

The other "relative moderate" rebels the U.S. armed have either turned over their weapons to Al-Qaeda or joined it. The public now learns that up to 80% of the weapons the U.S. delivered to Syria have ended up in the hand of Jihadis. Relaunching such programs again and again will not change that pattern and can no longer be publicly justified.

The U.S. and NATO also make loud noise when two Russians planes violate Turkish airspace (to test the Turkish radars and reaction times :-). But 11 nations in the U.S. coalition regularly violate Syrian airspace to pinprick ISIS and I have yet to see any "western" complaining about that. There will now be more talks between Russia and Turkey, Israel and the U.S. about avoiding air incidents. The Russians will likely simply say "just stay away."

The Russians are offering the U.S. a wider alliance than just some airspace deconfliction. But the U.S. so far rejected that. An alliance with Russia against the Islamic State does not fit its plans of splitting Iraq and Syria into many smaller U.S. dependent entities. The Iraqis, like the Syrians, have noted that and seek a larger role for Russia. The long planned for 4+1 coalition of Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hizbollah now leads the fight against the Islamic State.

The U.S. lost the game. It should take up the Russian offer or leave the table.

Posted by b on October 7, 2015 at 12:57 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I've noticed that Russia is very open, PR-friendly, with their Syrian air campaign. A lot of information detailing their skirmishes is frequently being released for public consumption. Guessing it partially has to do with the information war that's being waged by the west against Russia with regards to Syria, partially to strike awe and fear in the viewer.

Don't mess with Russia, is the message I'm getting.

When and if this matter is settled in due time, and the terrorists occupying parts of Syria and Iraq are finally removed, I wonder if there'll be a UN analysis to how and why Russia could perform so successfully where NATO failed so spectacularly.

Posted by: never mind | Oct 7 2015 13:19 utc | 1


' But 11 nations in the U.S. coalition regularly violate Syrian airspace to pinprick ISIS and I have yet to see any "western" complaining about that. '

That's the 800 kg gorilla in the room. None of the NATO planes are any more welcome in Syrian air-space than are the Russian planes in Turkish air-space. And the NATO planes have been bombing ... someone, they mouth 'ISIS' ... in Syria. That's an act of war, of aggression each and every time it is done.

NATO needs to talk to Syria before NATO does any more bombing in that country. Undoubtedly the Syrians will tell them to coordinate woth the Russians ... if they accept any 'help' from NATO at all.

The Syrians ought to take NATO before the UNSC. Have the UN order NATO to stop its aggression ... or refuse to. One or the other outcome ought to be forced - to remedy NATO aggression in the first case, or to instruct the world in the hypocrisy of the UN in the second.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 7 2015 13:31 utc | 2


The U.S. lost the game. It should take up the Russian offer or leave the table.

Having lost, they have to save face, and reconcile the different trends inside the Beltway, e.g. the "realist" Zbig advocating retaliation, the neocons spewing hate and evermore warmongering, and the US army feeling emasculated and sidelined by the Russian masterstroke. It won't be easy for lame-duck Obama to trace a course for Syria, at the best he can try to reconcile the different factions by making concessions to each without fundamental changes. Accepting defeat is not in the US geopolitical book, as we know, they are still trying to win the VN war.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 7 2015 13:33 utc | 3

Michael Fallon UK Defence Secretary said "Britain is still seeking to conduct airstrikes in Syria even though Russia’s military action there is making the country extremely dangerous"

The senior cabinet minister said it was unhelpful that Russia was “conniving with and propping up” the regime of the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, when countries should be working together to fight Islamic State.I wish he would explain why the West only striking 'IS' also does not prop up Assad, since 'IS' is by far the biggest of the Jihadi groups. Also how can the west strike anyone in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government, any such attack would be against the UN charter and an act of aggression. Sorry I forgot, the US/UK does not do International law.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 7 2015 13:36 utc | 4

There is no winning and losing in The Game, so no, America didn't lose. It's just reconfiguring after Putin was lured into a trap. There's still time for Russia to get out unscathed, but that window of time will close quickly. A quick Russian in and out won't keep Assad in power and it won't prevent Syria from becoming a failed state. The only chance Russia has of accomplishing its stated objective of maintaining Syria as a viable Nation-State and keeping Assad in power is a significant military footprint — and, I would add, probably a massive genocide at this point — something not beyond Putin as we saw with Katyr-Yurt.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2015 13:40 utc | 5

From harry law's #23 in the previous thread:
"The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland," Brzezinski wrote in an article published by the Financial Times on Sunday. "They could be 'disarmed' if they persist in provoking the US.

I guess that Putin wanted to demonstrate that his homeland is not that far after all. In particular, Turkish military bases are the perfect targets would Turkey decide to engage on the side of the "Army of Conquest", so you could see "an ounce of prevention" here. Secondly, those missiles have to be tested in combat situations. So far, no word what did they do, I suspect this is not the last use of medium range strategic missiles.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 7 2015 13:41 utc | 6

@ Yeah, Right |

"What then?"

100,000 Revolutionary Guards, and if that doesn't work then 250,000 Revolutionary Guards.

"More Airstikes?"

No. 100,000 Revolutionary Guards, and if that doesn't work then 250,000 Revolutionary Guards.

Have to admit, I laughed out loud :D

It will be under the radar operation with "volunteer" Iranians (and some Russians specnaz). Iran wont go for it openly for many reasons, one of major ones - they dont want to rock nuclear deal, its too sensitive for now.

For years I thought Iran (same as Russia) will try to avoid their boots on the ground at any cost, but Syrians are running out of soldiers, while Axis of evil have much greater supply of cannon fodder from over 100+ countries. Its simple math, there are over billion Sunnis to recruit from, as well as several billions of very poor people, who could be attracted by high salaries (from their point of view), and petro monarchies have almost unlimited funding.

Resistance axis recruitment pool is vastly smaller, even though they are fighting for survival. Its human nature - most citizens may support their government, but few will take arms on their own. Like most Libyans were sitting on the sidelines too, and now they are royally screwed, its just how it is. Thats why Iran will HAVE to send some soldiers to Syria as "volunteers", there is no other way for this war to end, Russia's bombing in the end will achieve nothing if there wont be boots on the ground to mop up. How many soldiers will be send is another question, 'as much as needed' I guess.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 7 2015 13:48 utc | 7

Nobody seems to ask a rather fundamental question in all of this. Where are the Chinese ships that went through the Suez Canal? The answer and of course their intent changes the equations radically.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 7 2015 13:59 utc | 8

I suspect the plans laid out by Syria, Russia and Iran will not [sensibly] be telegraphed to the usual suspects, the manpower the head choppers can draw on is very limited and will be even more so when it is shown that their life span will be very limited Whereas Iran can and will, if the circumstances merit it, provide unlimited highly trained troops. I can hear Putin not too far in the future whispering to himself that phrase uttered by John 'Hannibal' Smith [the A Team] "I love it when a plan comes together".

Posted by: harry law | Oct 7 2015 14:01 utc | 9

@8 Only one Chinese war ship crossed the Suez and it will only join maneuvers. No Chinese troops coming yet I am told.
Russian warplanes in Syria destroy U.S.-trained rebels' weapons depots: commander

Russian air strikes have destroyed the main weapons depots of a U.S.-trained rebel group in Syria, their commander said on Wednesday, in an expansion of Russian attacks on insurgents backed by foreign enemies of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, whose fighters have attended military training organized by the Central Intelligence Agency in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, was also hit last week by Russian raids as Moscow began its air campaign in support of Damascus.

New strikes targeted the group's main weapons depots in western Aleppo province and completely destroyed them late on Tuesday, its commander Hassan Haj Ali told Reuters on Wednesday via Internet messaging service.

Posted by: b | Oct 7 2015 14:12 utc | 10

@ b | 10

No Chinese troops coming yet I am told.

Probably not, but I hear persistent rumours China is sending bombers though. Will see soon enough.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 7 2015 14:19 utc | 11

Certainly feeding facts and open and transparent (as much as possible) shows shrew awareness that (a) the global/western audience fed on plain vanilla truth will more likely reject the the junk-food media spew; and (b) in these days truth is stranger than fiction (and has higher variety -see Ashby's 1956 requisite variety)

Here is some vid of a control room at work etc.

Posted by: doveman | Oct 7 2015 14:32 utc | 12


I'm sure that your sources are more credible than mine since I only rely on what is available on the internet. For the past week I have seen nothing about this subject.
Maneuvers coincidental with the naval buildup off the Syrian coast seem that they are sending a message. I read this quiet as a face saving gesture to the US since only demonizing Russia is much different than both Russia and China. The rhetoric coming out of the US including direct confrontation would be interpreted much differently if China were involved. That prospect is much scarier.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 7 2015 14:33 utc | 13

Thanks b, I still believe it'll take " boots on the ground " from someone, to keep Syria off the list of "failed states". Also, a massive infusion of cash to rebuild. Can the Russian coalition afford that, given the financial warfare directed at them? We'll see. The coalition can't just win the war, they must win the rebuild.

Posted by: ben | Oct 7 2015 14:37 utc | 14

Assuming it comes down to boots on the ground there's no better ally than China. With Russia taking the lead from the sky, wouldn't it be a great opportunity for Xi to demonstrate prowess of People's Army. And earn some serious XP cleaning up
Jihadi wahabist nutjobs.

Posted by: Tk | Oct 7 2015 14:45 utc | 15


The US/Obama doens't want to get entangled more in the Middle East. They - IMO - know where all the (political) landmines (think: Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran) are buried. Both in the Middle East & here in the US. So, they simply don't want to get burnt once more. On the surface it looks like the US doesn't know what to do next but I think the White House/State Department is very well aware of what's going on.

That's why the Russia is allowed to bomb ISIS. It's also good Public Relations for russian arms manufacturers. And that is also why people here in the US are howling. They see potential for more arms sales in the Middle East.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 7 2015 14:51 utc | 16

If this is correct then it looks like the White House may be an empty house sooner than expected.

The sound of a Nobel Peace prize hitting the floor? Roll over Mr Nixon, 'ISIS-Gate' Barry is coming on thru....


Posted by: doveman | Oct 7 2015 14:58 utc | 17

How much does it irk Obama that this missile launch was done on Putin's birthday?

A day after the mocking tweet by the Russia embassy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 7 2015 15:12 utc | 18

@anon48 Oct 7, 2015 9:59:06 AM #8

Nope, it may never arrive, started by Debkafile soon everyone spread the rumors..... Sorry, unable to find my original bookmarks from debkafile and will post it here when I find it. :-)

DEBKAfile Wikipedia...."an Israeli military intelligence website based in Jerusalem, providing commentary and..."

Further read this..

Chinese Uyghur terrorists establishing base in Syria.

".......Some pundits may point to China’s non-interference principle as an impasse to action. However, China’s non-interference principle is more in reference to meddling in other countries’ domestics politics, such as US/western penchant for intervention and violating other countries’ sovereignty to overthrow autocratic regimes they dislike. Non-interference policy does not mean inaction when China’s security and interests are threatened......"

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 7 2015 15:22 utc | 19

@anon48 Oct 7, 2015 9:59:06 AM #8

Russian presence in Damascus, NOW CHINESE!!!

A Chinese landing craft with 1,000 marines for Syria – reports
DEBKAfile September 6, 2013, 12:31 PM (IDT)

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 7 2015 15:34 utc | 20

Debkafile is only useful for seeing what the Zionist apartheid entity is having existential wet dreams over on the day -- take it, or leave it (and do delete your cookies after any visit).

Posted by: doveman | Oct 7 2015 15:35 utc | 21

"Destroying an "ISIS excavator" with a guided weapon is not war fighting

Haha, yes, I noticed that too. Excavator, spades, assorted power tools possessed by the devil..

Although not wishing to play devil's advocate, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that without extensive ground intelligence from Syrian troops, US intelligence is simply dreadful and they haven't a clue what to hit. The perception that the US isn't interested in defeating IS, but rather to contain and control it, seems to me as a reasonable inference - given alleged weapon drops to IS fighters, limited airstikes. But these can also be attributed to stupidity rather than cunning.

Anyway, it is interesting that the Russian cruise missiles were launched from the Caspian and not the Mediterranean, and that the video illustrated their flight path bisecting zones patrolled and targeted by the US coalition. I guess it was just good fortune that there were no accidents, rather than US complicity in Russian missile strikes on John McCain's boys in Homs..
But I am as convinced that there will be no public displays or announcements of partnership between the US and Russia on Syria as I am that there will be no Russian ground troops.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 7 2015 15:40 utc | 22

Excellent observations, b. The Yankees are caught between Russia and their own pathetic Superpower Myth. Wrecking pissy little countries which can't shoot back (for 50+ years) has left them ill-prepared for conflict with a country which can. They're starting to look as if they don't know what to do next. And I don't blame them. And I'll bet they don't.
Big difference from the Libya cakewalk eh, Obama?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 7 2015 15:41 utc | 23

@doveman Oct 7, 2015 11:35:36 AM @22

Thanks, always delete after every secession either with browsers Opera 12.17 and Opera 32 and again with Beclean and EasyClean.

BTW Opera 12.17 excellent bookmarks and Opera 32 so, so bookmarks

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 7 2015 15:45 utc | 24

I wonder how helpful Israeli intelligence was in this blitzkrieg from the sea.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Oct 7 2015 16:03 utc | 25

@26 -- Yes, sure, so they can get their ISIS (Israeli Secret Intel Service) guys out B4 the BBQ!

Posted by: doveman | Oct 7 2015 16:25 utc | 26

Sorry everyone, here another debkafraud, I may be wrong?

BREAKING_ Chinese Warplanes Join Russian Airstrikes in Syria!

Please watch carefully behind the bear image an Israel fighter and listen "...this just came out from debkafile just 12 hrs..... and in the end asked for donation

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 7 2015 16:31 utc | 27

@18 follow-up:

26 missiles, 26 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the subsequent and the December 1989 Malta Summit where Bush and Gorbachev reached an understanding that the USSR would not use force in Eastern Europe and the US would not “take advantage” of changes there.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 7 2015 16:33 utc | 28

Harry @7 "Its simple math, there are over billion Sunnis to recruit from, as well as several billions of very poor people, who could be attracted by high salaries (from their point of view), and petro monarchies have almost unlimited funding."

That may be true but there's the issue of training them, which isn't going to well

And leading them in the field which as Assad says here are mainly Europeans, quote;

"The fact today is that the most important terrorist leaders in Syria and Iraq are Europeans. Probably the largest number of terrorists comes from Muslim countries, and particularly Arab countries, but most of the leaders come from Europe, and specifically from northern Europe which is relatively far from our region and has a rich and sophisticated society. Nevertheless, terrorism comes from those countries to our region."

Also, can Turkey become more overt in it's support? Once the borders are secured there are going to be lots of people sitting around in camps = more refugees?

Posted by: Optimist | Oct 7 2015 16:39 utc | 29

@28 Wow! What next ...the Four Horsemen?

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2015 16:43 utc | 30

thanks b.. excellent coverage as per usual.

i got a kick out of the link that took me to the fox news report on the predator drone being shadowed when i read down into the comment section.. the readers at fox are clearly dismayed at the fact the usa isn't kicking butt in all of this..
@2jfl.. indeed the fact NATO would never address this major inconsistency in it's actions, tells one all they need to know about the nature and intent of NATO.. that is kids stuff to figure out..

@ 23 pat bateman.. "stupidity rather than cunning".. never underestimate a person or country.. if left with a choice, i say cunning.. from all i've seen/read, the usa has supported ISIS by choice... 80% of the military gear in the hands of ISIS.. isis - al qaeda version 2.. too many coincidences pointing to the usa's time flying over syria/iraq while ISIS continued to expand.. cunning, not stupid... that is a safer bet.. @17 dovemans link is more reinforcement for this view.. it is not the view one is going to get in the MSM, but it is the conclusion one has to come to in all of this..

regarding the paid mercenaries, verses syrian armed forces.. saudi arabia, qatar, israel and the usa have plenty of mullah to throw at this and paid mercenaries can be found everywhere with poverty and unemployment such a good send to capitalism/tyranny and whatever you want to call this cluster fuck of countries wanting more of the same here in syria... i think pat lang might be right - more ground forces from russia/china/iran will be needed, especially if those same fuckers keep on pouring money on this thing.. and they have no shortage of that..

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2015 16:47 utc | 31

Russian tanks getting shit-canned.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Oct 7 2015 17:01 utc | 32

@ lp.. didn't look.. i assume they are the ones ISIS stole from syria that russia had to get rid of!!!

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2015 17:15 utc | 33

More to the point (from LP's link):

"Meanwhile, Israel’s former Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, has called for direct cooperation with Iran and Hezbollah in order to protect Israeli interests. Maariv newspaper quoted Livni as saying on Friday, “Netanyahu must understand that the world looks at Iran and Hezbollah as legitimate partners in the confrontation against Daesh.” She warned that Tel Aviv’s geostrategic position will be hurt if the Israeli leadership does not realise what must be done do to influence the shifts in the balance of power in Syria."

The deeply conservative, chauvinist regimes in Israel and Russia make perfect political bedmates. So too with the Hungarian regime. They are all fanatical Islamophobes, and Russia, like the US, is a former settler state, just as Israel is today.

Further, I wouldn't be surprised if next year we see some high Israeli officials shaking hands with mullahs in Iran, or a truce with Hezbollah. So you've been given fair warning, O Moonies, that you may have to turn the crank on your propaganda machine and adjust your lines accordingly.

Posted by: matt | Oct 7 2015 17:29 utc | 34

thanks matt. i guess you came over with lp to try to rattle a few of the folks here at moa.. good luck with that!!!

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2015 17:36 utc | 35

@33 you seem to be cheering it

Posted by: bbbbb | Oct 7 2015 17:36 utc | 36

You Germans should kick my 'fellow Americans' out and ask the Russians to come back.

Posted by: par4 | Oct 7 2015 17:39 utc | 37

Russian rappers hail Putin on his 63rd birthday as 'a super hero' in this lively clip shot on Moscow's Red Square:

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 7 2015 17:50 utc | 38

From Russia Insider, on the pompously called Syrian "Observatory for Human Rights." This clown reminds me of infamous "Curveball," another clown from another war eons ago.

Man Behind the Vaunted 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' Shown in All His Full Absurdity

His name is Rami Abdul Rahman and he is the number 1 source for Western corporate media's material on human rights and casualties in Syria. The impressive-sounding 'Observatory' is actually little more than an internet connection and a phone line inside his dilapidated, two-storey home in Coventry, UK, but that's neither here nor there.

A Syrian-born Sunni Muslim, Mr. Abdul Rahman has not stepped foot in his native land in 15 years. However, thanks to his extensive group of 'contacts', he has somehow managed to make himself the leading source for information on all the tragic happenings in Syria for the mainstream media.

It is said that when Mr. Abdul Rahman is not at the 'Observatory' providing the world with the latest news on Syria, he is just down the road busying himself at his clothing shop that he runs with his wife.

Hilarious! A man who was not in Syria for 15 years is Western media's key source on Russia's targets

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 7 2015 17:55 utc | 39

"They are all fanatical Islamophobes, and Russia, like the US, is a former settler state, just as Israel is today.

Further, I wouldn't be surprised if next year we see some high Israeli officials shaking hands with mullahs in Iran, or a truce with Hezbollah"

Well, I'd be surprised, what with all the islamophobia...

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 7 2015 18:24 utc | 40

I hope you're right that a NATO no-fly zone is now out of the question. It might explain why current and former US officials are calling so loudly for it, and calling for retaliation against Russia (as in, insane calls to shoot down Russian planes). That would mean all these calls for NFZ are just bluster and not a real threat of starting WW3.

But I don't think it's that simple. The plans for a no-fly zone were all drawn up with targets selected, etc. I don't see what stops US and/or allies starting to hit Syrian air defenses and other military targets if they decide to play hardball. There seems to be a lot of pressure to play hardball. What does Russia do if that happens? What kind of hotheads are out there and what can or might they do?

Then you have the intelligence agency crews and really nasty operators, false flaggers, etc. God only knows what they might come up with.

Posted by: gemini33 | Oct 7 2015 19:20 utc | 41

Interesting and intelligent coverage of the situation. I would like to offer a few other thoughts on the matter IN ADDITION TO those mentioned above.

1. The Russian economy is a bit stressed as late. Nothing boosts home morale as much as a military victory. Ask the ancient Roman emperors, or (first term) Dubya.

2. One of the few strengths of the current Russian economy, other than fossil fuels and rocket engines, is weaponry. Russian weaponry is a lot cheaper than American weaponry, but lately there has been a track record of states equipped with Soviet-era weaponry being trashed by American technology. If the Syrian intervention suggests that modern Russian weaponry is good enough to prevent the Americans from intervening, that might really boost sales (even if some of this effect is due to the MAD effect of all those Russian nuclear missiles back home and not to the effectiveness of Russian tactical weapons per se.).

3. I still don't get why there has been no discussion of what really happened in Syria. The Baathist government deliberately created a population explosion, outlawing the sale or possession of contraceptives, and propagandizing that women all had to have six kids each as their patriotic duty. The population doubling time since 1950 has been less than 20 years - no society without an open frontier has EVER avoided misery and collapse with this kind of explosive population growth. Syria would have torn itself apart even without the incompetent meddling of the United States. For that matter, every time the rich and the rulers of a state take it upon themselves to ignite a forced population explosion, it has never tuned out well. Ask the residents of the Ivory Coast, or Iraq, or South Africa, or pre-WWII Japan, or 1950's China, or post-shah Iran, or ancient Rome, or current-day Mexico, etc.etc.etc....

Posted by: TG | Oct 7 2015 19:27 utc | 42


I submit that Russia just demonstrated what it might do with its cruise missile attack as those 26 missiles could easily have targeted Incirlik air base. The behavior of several key Outlaw Empire politicos demonstrates their ownership of Daesh, particularly Clinton and McCain since they formed it in Libya.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 7 2015 19:30 utc | 43

Putin engages in Syria due to the wish, not to lose Ukraine to EU. Because Turkey wants to come in the EU by the Migrant-crisis fueled by Erdogan and ISIS.

Erdogan wants no EU-visas for Turkey, the same wish is for Poroshenko. EU can`t cope with Turkey and Ukraine in EU. Game-over for EU. Anglo-saxon dream fulfills. Ukraine in EU is nightmare for Putin, so Putin has to act. Again Poles are the bitches surving anglo-saxons aims.

Posted by: xz | Oct 7 2015 19:32 utc | 44

@45 I think Putin conceded Ukraine to the EU after retaking Crimea. it was Strelkov going over and rallying the Donbass resistance that put a monkey-wrench in the works.

Ukraine reacted with ethnic cleansing but where beaten and chased off - Putin then rammed through Minsk to stalemate his opposition and buy indefinite time for a peaceful solution that eventually won't include the current Ukraine leadership

Posted by: bbbbb | Oct 7 2015 19:39 utc | 45

The cruise missile strikes from the Caspian Sea are highly significant. Somebody called it Russia “showing off.” I think it shows two things. One, that by upping the ante Russia is confident it can respond to any possible threat in this theatre and two, that Russia realizes that large sections Western public opinion appear to be overwhelmingly on Russia’s side.

This was simply not the case in Ukraine where mainstream media were on the whole successful in presenting “Putin” (never Mr or President) as the aggressor. In matters of war once public opinion settles on a side it is mightily difficult to shift it, especially in this case as ISIS produced an intense, visceral reaction in people prior to any Russian involvement. They want to see it smashed, its combatants herded into an area and liquidated with brutal force. If the other groups have to go too in order to achieve this well tough luck to them. And who better to do the dirty work than “bad ass” Putin? In this sense the pariah becomes the saviour and the sweet talker Obama suddenly looks ineffectual, weak, dithering… This explains his body language at the handshake photo-op with the Russian President at the UN. He was furious and could barely conceal his anger.

Mike Whitney is consistently producing great (and humorous) stuff on the ongoing events. On the 9th of July 2014 he predicted a major false flag in Ukraine. MH 17 occurred 8 days later.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 7 2015 19:42 utc | 46

Once more.… What happens to IS fighters? If one agrees that they are in the main, mercenaries, paid by the week not too much, they will not fight on under Russian or other determined airstrikes. It is fine to do so when the chance of dying exists and is reckoned like 1/100 and things are rolling on, power and unpunished violence becon, women can be taken, courage in battle is a badge of honor, forward march, but if the risks increase and morale sinks, commanders give up, scamper, some of their families are at risk, etc. they melt away. As for hangers on, volunteers, etc. this applies to ‘foreign’ fighters, they will just leave. The djihadist who wants or accepts to die for Allah and a new Caliphate and fight to the death is a myth. (Barring a few psychotic or suicidal persons.) And what of the foreign powers who fund? They will back off, then it is game over. IS has taken over territory but has not managed to set up a State that has a population or local organisation that wants to, or can, defend itself. It is a parasite on existing, older structures, it’s revolutionary appeal is close to zero for the ppl who live in the controlled areas. Imho.

IS was always easy to defeat, no problem. It only existed and flourished while some of the PTB instrumentalised it. When the support dies there is poof! nothing left.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 7 2015 19:56 utc | 47

Don't know of this has been posted. USA looking dumber and dumber:

Moscow ready to establish contacts with FSA, help it unite forces with Assad against ISIS

Posted by: ShadyLady | Oct 7 2015 19:57 utc | 48


They ARE showing off & it's glorious. 26 candles from Putin's warship for his birthday!

Thanks for your articles & your fast-paced site.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 7 2015 19:57 utc | 49

b: "demonstrate that Russia can and will engage in the fight from afar should its forces in Syria be attacked."

This point from b is a very important one, especially in light of war criminal and psychopath - Z. Brzezinski - who has a demented hard on for WW3, were he said that Russia was isolated from their theatre in Syria and was vulnerable to attack.
But those missle attacks that Russia launched from the Caspian sea has shown that Russia can hit the US empires potential involvement in Syria, so Russia there is not so isolated after all.
And that demonstration from Russia straight after Zbig statement, well, you could add Zbig to the killer clown list as well, if not already.

Posted by: tom | Oct 7 2015 20:03 utc | 50

Reference? Total fertility in Syria was last on the order of 7 in the 1980s. By comparison, Jordan was the same. As was Iraq, Libya (8), Oman (ditto), and Egypt and Morocco weren't that far ahead. But this is a cop-out on your part. Many societies with higher birth rates and population densities failed to tear apart. The inability to allow your favourites authorities to be held accountable for their actions, speaks volumes.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | Oct 7 2015 20:11 utc | 51

@48 noirette.. good overview on it to which i'm in full agreement with..

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2015 20:25 utc | 52

TG, your "facts" don't check out, from CIA Fact book:
213 Syria -0.16 2015 est.
There are only 20 countries with lower reproduction rates than Syria, ie, they're 213 of total of 233. I've been reading Landis' blog for years, never heard about "deliberately created a population explosion" or anything resembling it.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 7 2015 20:34 utc | 53

They ARE showing off & it's glorious. 26 candles from Putin's warship for his birthday!

I know, right! It's awesome. Who doesn't love a little death & destruction on their birthday? How about this early birthday present for Vlad. Sweet. Thanks Fadi. You've made Vlad's 63rd birthday a special and memorable occasion. All's fair in love & war, Fadi, so suck it up like a real man even though you're still a child. Go Russia!!

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2015 20:37 utc | 54

Cold, that's not shrapnel, it's a rock. Plus that's one of Murdock's rags - full time propaganda 100% of the time.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 7 2015 20:51 utc | 55

Okie, no doubt Daily Mail is a propaganda rag, but the comments are what I found interesting. The Russian Cyber Patrol in full force defending any and all civilian casualties of which there will be many at the hands of the Russians just as there were many at the hands of the Americans. The Syrian people will continue to suffer for quite some time. That tends to get lost in all this analysis, or in the least, taken for granted.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Oct 7 2015 20:59 utc | 56

The West's political leadership is overwhelmingly mediocre. The military is run by men whose main concern is eventually cashing in through positions with weapons manufacturers. The media, with a few exceptions, consists of courtiers and suck ups. Russia's action in Syria exposes all three groups as the pathetic idiots they largely are. I hope their bubble of self-regard is forever popped and the people of their countries look for something better.

Posted by: jayc | Oct 7 2015 21:08 utc | 57

Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, who supposedly hates all things European, applied for and received a 300,000 EU grant to put a fancy little conservatory on his hunting lodge in the Scottish highlands, which he rents out for £4,250 a week. It is not a Murdoch organ but is owned by the very aristocratic Viscount Rothermere AKA Jonathan Harmsworth. Dacre is the Brtish equivalent of Roger Ailes of Fox.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 7 2015 21:10 utc | 58

This is Putin's lesson to the US, France and the UK of having made a fool of him when they used the UNSC resolution "protect the Libyans civilians" to kill Ghaddafi and make a 'regime change' in Libya.
It is also a revenge for having demonized him by accusing him of breaking the international laws when he indirectly helped the East Ukraine Russians in their opposition of the 'regime change" that the USA orchestrated in Ukraine. Now, the US, France and the UK are blantantly breaking the international law by directly interfering and bombing a country that has a legitimate government recognized by the UN without a UNSC resolution.
The victory of Russia in Syria will be the victory of the international law. He should get the Nobel award, not Obama

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 7 2015 21:25 utc | 59

Wonder what the Russian reaction will be if Saudi Arabia sponsors terror attacks in the country as they have apparently threatened to in the past. Will this kingdom of evil finally get bombed?

Posted by: Andoheb | Oct 7 2015 21:31 utc | 60

I seems that everyone agrees that the salvo on the Caspian Sea was a weapon exhibition, augmenting conventional bombardment in a minor way. Who would be interested? One can think about some customers. But more immediately, this is a signal to countries that can be on the target list if they conceive an idea of attacking Russians in Syria, and the most vocal among those was KSA. KSA actually has rather large air force, so they have a theoretical capability and a sufficiently insane leaders that this cannot be ruled out completely.

Thus we see the emergence of a no-fly zone. Flying over Syria requires the permission (if tacit) of Syrian government, and if it is just to bomb ISIS, why not. But it is to interfere with the activities of government allied forces, including Russians, thanks but no thanks.

Incidentally, Al Mansar reports a major government offensive, and surprisingly, in a direction that was NOT bombed by Russian to my knowledge, from Hama to the north, against the Army of Conquest, quite a few villages were taken on day 1. I see an old tactical principle, attack at a time and place that is not expected. Time was more or less clear, but the feint was for an attack to the south of Hama, on a very important rebel enclave.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 7 2015 21:31 utc | 61

TG @ 43, re your concern about the growing population in Syria:
1. Life expectancy in Syria in 2013 was 79.5, so they can't have been as impoverished as you indicate.
2. Education and healthcare were free.
3. Even w the war on, basic foodstuf & fuel are subsidized.

The "drought" you speak of was caused by Turkey's building many, many dams on the Tigris-Euphrates.

Contrary to your claim that Syria has outlawed contraception, the govt SUPPORTS CONTRACEPTION:
"The Government’s involvement in family planning began in 1974, when it announced plans to integrate family planning into its health-care programme by establishing the Family Planning Unit as a component of its maternal and child health programme. The Family Planning Unit works in collaboration with the Syrian Family Planning Association, which began providing family planning services in the Syrian Arab Republic in 1974. The Government supports family planning activities through a network of MCH centres. It sets no major limits on contraceptives and directly supports their use. National statistics report 94,513 new acceptors and 460,258 clinic visits to the family planning programme in 1988, numbers that have risen steadily over the years. In 1988, 71 per cent of new acceptors chose oral contraceptives, 17 per cent used an intrauterine device and 11 per cent chose other methods. Efforts are under way to provide a wider mix of contraceptives and to reduce the dependence upon oral contraceptives. The modern contraceptive prevalence rate rose to 28 per cent by 1993. To improve the success of the family planning programme, local leaders have been consulted, and greater use has been made of traditional birth attendants. Cooperation has been encouraged among a wide variety of organizations, such as women and youth groups, and literacy and agricultural extension programmes have been used to disseminate information. "

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 7 2015 21:46 utc | 62

The Russians currently have limited strike capability in the west of Syria. It is outside the range of the Mi-x helicopters and the Su-25, based near the coast. Only the Su-34 has sufficient range. The use of the cruise missiles is a logical solution to the problem. Unlike the US, where the 'arms sales' aspect is primary, for Russia it is at best secondary. Real military targets are primary.

The second important feature of the Caspian Sea attack is that it shows to the US that Russia has very capable, very mobile naval assets in a sea that it has ~0% chance of influencing. The only way to take out these vessels (other than by nuclear force) would be direct attack by aircraft. Interestingly US Congress is considering a bill that would lead to it bypassing the INF treaty.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 7 2015 21:56 utc | 63

War and Bombing is tragic. However, it is better news to learn of Russia (or ANY entity!) to meaningfully cut down ISIS than hearing the incessant bullshit from our leaders and MSM that ISIS head-chopping, oil-vending bogeymen are virtually unstoppable in their Toyota Pick Ups.

And the extended narrative that ISIS cannot be stopped without first "taking out Assad" and second - permitting Israel to occupy the Golan Heights and murdering more Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 7 2015 22:15 utc | 64

"The Russians currently have limited strike capability in the west of Syria. It is outside the range of the Mi-x helicopters and the Su-25, based near the coast. Only the Su-34 has sufficient range. The use of the cruise missiles is a logical solution to the problem. "

I do not think so. In Wikipedia, the combat range of Su-25 is listed as 750 km, assuming two tons of munitions and external tanks. Driving distance from Latakia to Hasakah is 550 km, and to Ar-Raqqah,390 km, most of the targets of the cruise missiles were near Ar-Raqqah. More then that, the targets were in the vicinity of recent airplane targets.

In short, Russian had alternatives which were probably more economic, but they demonstrated the capability of hitting targets in the oil-producing eastern region of KSA. Would KSA send airplanes into Syria, the retaliation could be swift.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 7 2015 22:36 utc | 65


Not all terrorism's the same. For example, the terrorism of the KKK would require a different policy to eradicate versus the terrorism of the Zionists. Daesh resembles the Zionists. I'd argue the British lacked the resolve and resources to eradicate the Zionist terrorists from Palestine. By contrast, the FBI had plenty of resources to eradicate the KKK, but lacked the resolve--and in some cases helped promote it: Lots of racists in the FBI then and now. Daesh being founded by the Outlaw Empire and used as a pawn in its regime change plans is an irregular military formation at present within the Syraq theatre, whereas elsewhere it's a more "traditional" sect of subversives, both of which require different policies to eradicate.

In both Syria and Iraq, once peace, security and stability are re-established, their economies must be revived hastily and fervently to repair all the war damage, plus employ all those who might revert to being terrorists--and that will be the real challenge: Winning the Peace.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 7 2015 22:46 utc | 66

1) NFZ is out of question because Turkish election on Nov 1 likely to result in new foreign policy. Inshallah erdogan & co booted or seriously hobbled. All three parties opposing AKP are against Turkey's war on syria.
2) msm has been talking about Soleinani running the ground ops in Syria for years. There was a new yorker feature on him. bullshit then as now. same for reports of russian and iranian troops.
3) the 'd' in debka usually stands for disinformation.
4) did folks see the report of the Russian Mig-29 locking on Turkish F-16 as Turkey put up TEN jets along border. That was day AFTER the Russian jet 'accidental' intrusion into Turkey air space. Russian AF not intimidated. Turkish jet under radar lock by Russian jet for 5 minutes:

Posted by: rick sterling | Oct 7 2015 23:05 utc | 67

There is a confusion of west and east in this thread. The airbase is in western Syria and of course the Russian fleet covers western Syria. The cruise missles fired from the Caspian are closer to eastern Syria.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 8 2015 0:04 utc | 68

@6 I don't think Brzezinski is talking about anyone attacking Russian forces inside Syria to "disarm" them.

The key is his babble about "geographic isolation".

He is talking about cutting those forces off from any resupply, at which point they'll have to scuttle back to Russia.

He appears not to have noticed that the Iraqis are making all the right noises to jump from the American camp and hop into Putin's Pocket, in which case it'll be quite impossible to cut Russian forces off from resupply.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 8 2015 0:10 utc | 69


Iraq is essential but without Iran doesn't directly help the Russians in supply chain. The Caspian to Iran and then through Iraq bypasses the Black Sea route and would be more discrete. We can name that as the "Cruise Missle Route".

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 8 2015 0:18 utc | 70

82 and 84

Good points. The USA - its Congress, Executive and Judicial Branches have been so very caught up in the fiduciary aspects of war - war profiteering and campaign contributions, pay to play, legalized insider trading for members of congress, legalized propagandizing on "the News" - that any "thoughtful" policy has been superseded by all these money issues.

Ergo, Iraq and anyone with a lick of sense will run as fast as they can to Russia. Russia is Steady Eddie and the USA is insane.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 8 2015 0:41 utc | 71

You always know you're on to something when the trolls come in force. I also don't understand why they're not banned yet - except that the moderator presumably is one person and has to have a life sometime.

The point is that trolls = successful analysis happening. Reverse everything they say. Never feed them of course.

One further observation, this attack from yesterday went straight for ad hominem and has remained there. Are the sponsors short of qualified manpower during these difficult times for them?

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 8 2015 1:08 utc | 72

@bbbbb #46

That's pretty much it. The Strelkovite neo-Czarist nationalists put the squeeze on Putin to annex the Donbass (and strengthen the neo-Czarists in Russia), but they didn't anticipate Putin's measured response geared towards stalling and grinding down the Ukrainian occupation forces while pushing the resistance to become a center of opposition within the Ukraine. Russian aid was quid pro quo with purging the hardcore nationalists from DPR/LPR leadership. But I still wouldn't bet on the Ukrainian State emerging as a single entity, as the centripetal forces are too deeply rooted in the west as well as the east. The long-term result still might resemble the Novorossia sought by the Strelkovites, only without formal annexation.

Russia's show of force from the Caspian seems like a riposte to Brzezinski's statement on the Russian force's vulnerability. They've demonstrated that they can neutralize land-based threats anywhere from eastern Turkey to the northern KSA.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2015 1:33 utc | 73

Israel's game with Russia is kind of a hard one to figure out. I look at Israel's goal as gaining influence over Lebanon for water resources. Hezbollah is their main stumbling block. Now that the strategy of aligning with Jabhat al-Nusra against Hezbollah and waiting for Hezbollah's Syrian ally to collapse seems to be going south, are they seeking to influence Hezbollah through some sort of future deal with Russia that would affect Iran and Syria? Israel is a long way from dealing with Iran and Syria directly, but they could be seeking a de facto deal with them over Lebanon through Russia.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2015 1:58 utc | 74


al manar has a purpose here, and that is to divert us from keeping the thread on target. We have had many others like him, they come and go once they realize their effect is marginal, which may be the reason b does not ban them. They relish the attention, and return with another nick. Not worth the time and the effort. Keep on posting as normally as if al manar (what a nick for a hasbara troll) doesn't exist.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 8 2015 2:28 utc | 75

thirdeye at 88 --

This notion of "neo-Czarism" interests me. I see headlines on Russia Insider and elsewhere about a certain nostalgia about the old autocracy, but this is usually about the glitz and pageantry and not as a serious political movement.

There is one area where there is a certain resurgence of the Russian ancien regime -- the increased influence of the Orthodox Church, who canonized Nicholas II.

How is it that our "neo-Czarist" vehicles are the Lugansk and Donetsk Peoples' Republics? Who exactly would be these "neo-Czarists," of what significance are they politically? Of less influence than the "liberal opposition," were I to hazard a guess. And if they are of note, what does it mean that they are out (if they are) and the communists and internationalists of the late Mozgovoy's "Prizrak" Brigade remain with the colors?

Strelkov has been pretty quiet politically since his departure from the front. Could his removal have been, at least in part, due to the need to move from the start-up, entrepreneurial phase to the more structured build-out?

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 8 2015 2:40 utc | 76

I wrote this tree days ago on Facebook:


I suspect a US citizen died in this Russian airstrike on a FSA / al-Nusra ammunition depot in Jisr al-Shughur district in Syria. I base my conclusion on my general knowledge of Facebook "soft" censorship and of the US system in general.

The link to a video on the Russian Ministry of Defence YouTube channel is the target of a weird form of soft censorship. The link does not render properly: no image, no tile. This is a technique Facebook sometimes does to suppress unwanted content. Other videos in the same playlist are rendered normally. What makes this video so hated?

My suspicion is this: the request to suppress has come from US officials. This is done out of courtesy to the "next of kin" who may not have been informed yet. Or they know, but this is done to lighten the emotional stress.

One must also take into account the special circumstances. Soft censorship of YouTube would be the perfect channel for the CIA and American military to signal to the Russians their displeasure in this particular strike.

Besides, this may just have been the giant weapons IKEA known by the "FSA" trademark. Is this where CIA agents handed out weapons to "vetted" rebel groups?


The title of the suppressed video is "Su-24M bomber hits an ammunition depot in the mountain area in the district of Jisr al-Shughur".

Full playlist:

Photo: Russian MoD tweet:


Now I notice that this article on MoA is under the same kind of soft censorship. And again the issue discussed is Russian strikes at CIA assets on the Turkish border near Idlib.

Tweaking the link bypasses the URL-based filter. Like this:

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 8 2015 2:45 utc | 77


Kiev junk bond default in 3 - 2 - 1. Then Syria will be forgotten, as Kerry-Kohn is forced to make good on his pledge for USA to backstop the ZiMF bond loans with the $58 BILLION, already looted from US taxpayers by New RINO Congress last July.

Syria, schmeria, let it simmer like borscht. NeoCons have bigger fish to fry, taking over complete control of the US government Executive, Congress and SCOTUS. By then, Obama-bots will be a faded memory, as They go to All War, All The Time.

It's a Long March, but inevitably, inexorably, a Global NeoCon-ocracy will win.

Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 8 2015 3:17 utc | 78

@68: "I think the word you're looking for is "quagmire""

That's utterly correct, because it is a demonstrable and irrefutable fact that all land campaigns inevitably end in a "quagmire".

No land campaign has ever ended in the defeat of your opponent and the pacification of the general population.

Not once. Not ever.

They always, inevitably, end in a quagmire.

That must be true, because we have been reminded of that truism Oh-So-Many-Times.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 8 2015 3:31 utc | 79

@90, @91

Yes this person shows up from time to time under different handles. I believe that his/her goal is not to disrupt but to highlight nonsense (illogical, presumptive, self-serving, etc.). I will call this person, the 'Critic'. The Critic uses irony and ridicule, and that can be annoying.

Yesterday the Critic argued against assuming that the operation against ISIS would be quick and easy and also took issue with Penelope's thoughts on Washington's factions. These are not outlandish positions, just delivered in a mocking tone.

Along those lines, the Critic took issue with 'Somebody' or 'Yeah, Right' (not sure which) who said that Putin could "use" Iranian forces. Well Iran may commit these forces, but they are not Putin's to do with as he wishes. Instead of re-thinking, Somebody/Yeah attacked back. And so we got a useless back and forth between the two.

The Critic's current peeve is armchair generals and "socks" (sock puppets) who repeat tired imperial phrases like "winning the peace". If this is trolling, it is a strange sort - one that uses wit and humor to keep commenters honest and mindful of the language that they use.

Yes the Critic can be annoying - especially to those he/she badgers - but then people often cling to a position even when it is shown to be faulty or to (unknowingly?) further a certain agenda. Yes the Critic is not always right and can be argumentative. But aren't there better ways than banning to handle that?

In my mind, what many call the "Empire of Chaos" is first and foremost an "Empire of Illusion". In case you haven't noticed, we a bit short of people that seek to bust illusions and eliminate bullsh*t. The Critic is more ally than foe.

My 2cents.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 8 2015 4:03 utc | 80


Israel's game with Russia is kind of a hard one to figure out. I look at Israel's goal as gaining influence over Lebanon for water resources. Hezbollah is their main stumbling block. Now that the strategy of aligning with Jabhat al-Nusra against Hezbollah and waiting for Hezbollah's Syrian ally to collapse seems to be going south, are they seeking to influence Hezbollah through some sort of future deal with Russia that would affect Iran and Syria? Israel is a long way from dealing with Iran and Syria directly, but they could be seeking a de facto deal with them over Lebanon through Russia.

Water is a scarce resource in the Levant, but Israel's main goal in Lebanon is not the Litani River, it is the offshore gas fields. Lebanon & Israel remain officially at war, making it impossible to demarcate the borders between them, and there are about 900 kms in dispute with Israel that Lebanon considers under its EEZ claims. Hezbollah and other patriotic Lebanese forces are the only obstacle for Israel to take control of Lebanon's water and gas.

Lebanon has been unable to start exploring and exploiting their gas fields due to the border conflict with Israel; however, they are now in talks with Russia about weapons acquisition, and under the Russian umbrella, Lebanon might be able to start their gas exploration, with a little help from Russian technology. Same in Syria, which gave the Russians exclusive access to Syrian gas and oil fields. Russia's policy in the region seems to be one of support for traditional allies, and non-intervention in conflicts such as Lebanon-Israel or Palestine-Israel. Abbas was Putin's guest of honor, along with Erdogan, for the inauguration of Europe's largest mosque in Moscow. At the same time, the military cooperation between Russia and Israel remains strong and untouched by the most recent events.

Difficult to fathom Russia's position before the ME chronic conflicts, but Russia's adherence to the rule of international law, and their preceding prestige as a reliable partner, may allow it to be accepted as an intermediary for the solution of historic/border conflicts in the ME.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 8 2015 4:23 utc | 81

Israel's game with Russia is kind of a hard one to figure out.
Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 7, 2015 9:58:26 PM | 89

There's nothing to figure out.
"Israelis" are Chosen racist supremicists who can do no wrong.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 8 2015 4:37 utc | 82

@rufus #92

Maybe I didn't make it clear enough that purging neo-Czarists such as Strelkov from influence in DPR/LPR was to assure that DPR/LPR would not become instruments of neo-Czarist ambitions within Russia itself as well as in the Donbass. Given that there is a backlash against the Russian liberals that no doubt feeds neo-Czarist sentiments, the challenge for Putin is to take that energy and channel it in a forward-looking direction that won't impede relations between Russians and other ethnicities that are also very important to Russia's future. Communists don't have the same potential to divide other ethnicities against Russians that the neo-Czarists do. Their view is more inclusive.

@doveman #96

The question is, what is Israel hoping to get in return for licking the ass of the biggest dog on the block? My guess was that it might be seeking a way to influence Iran without dealing with them directly, but I'm certainly open to other suggestions. The prospect of the US giving Israel the gift of militarily confronting Iran is definitely glimmering, so they might be looking for alternatives.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2015 4:38 utc | 83

Bhadrakumar is optimistic based on US action in Ukraine and inaction in Syria; always worth a read: Obama may not be averse to a reset with Russia. But, he writes:

Such optimism, however, will seem out of place when dark clouds are gathering in the horizon. The signs are that the ‘hawks’ won’t give up easily. Farkas’ [The V. Nuland of the Dept of Defense] protest resignation apart, there should be no doubt that the neocons and the ‘cold warriors’ in the US will continue to fight on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets hills. A commentary in Fox News entitled Ukraine parallels seen in Russia’s Syria push, Obama under pressure to do more underscores the range of interest groups within the US and abroad who are arrayed against any sort of rethink or course correction in the US policies toward Putin’s Russia.

This reminds me of the age-old debate at MOA, whether there 'really' is a split between 'moderate' and 'neocon' globalists in the imperial headquarters. It _is_ true that the non-militarists' approach is more effective and recently has been pushing forward nicely with TPP and such. On the other hand, when you look at the corporate media the upset with 'Obama doing nothing, letting Putin get the better of him' and the fake outrage over minor Syrian incidents and non-incidents seems to be the consensus.

Jackrabbit: You have a point, but trolls will often latch onto what seems on the surface to be a weak point of a good analyst's argument, and just post many many 'ridicule posts' and personal attacks on that supposed point, ignoring any attempts at diplomacy, explanation or to move on. That very accurately fits al manar's ugly and distracting behavior toward Yeah Right in the previous thread.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 8 2015 4:44 utc | 84

@98 jackrabbit.. i hadn't followed 'The Critic' that closely, but you raise good points.. my comment was a passing observation, not a broader view over the past few days.. good comment on your part regardless.. i think going against the grain is helpful to a point..

Posted by: james | Oct 8 2015 4:44 utc | 85

@Lone Wolf #99

Thanks, that's the kind of discussion that can get us somewhere.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 8 2015 4:46 utc | 86

Another brilliant column by Bhadrakumar on Turkey's foreclosed Syria options, the Kurds on its borders, and Russia's potential 'look East' generosity: Turkey’s ‘bear trap’ option in Syria. Bhadrakumar narrates what is really happening in the airpower shenanigans at the Turkish-Syrian border. The story is more or less what b has been relaying, but with more juicy detail. And note the last paragraph below, that Israel is getting the same treatment:

An unnamed Turkish official bragged on Friday that the country’s radar system had ‘locked on’ the Russian aircraft operating in northern Syria. If so, no doubt, it was an unfriendly — and needlessly provocative — act by Turkey. At any rate, the very next day a Russian SU-30 violated Turkish air space, forcing Ankara to scramble jets. Indeed, Turkey became furious at the loss of face ... and protested to the Russians, who of course promptly clarified that it was all due to ‘navigational error’.

But then, the very next day, it was the turn of an unidentified MIG-29 to a ‘lock-on’ for over five minutes when two Turkish F-16 were patrolling the border region with Syria. It stands to reason that an early attempt is afoot on both sides to explore the ground rules, so to speak, in the emergent backdrop of the Russian intervention, which phenomenally shifts the balance of forces in Syria.

Clearly, Russia has quietly, firmly signaled that its aircraft will operate all across the Syrian airspace, including the regions close to the Turkish border. Russia has frontally challenged the dictum that Turkey has been unilaterally enforcing so far by threatening to shoot down any Syrian aircraft operating in the Syrian airspace near the Turkish border.

The Turkish dictum had enabled Ankara up until now to ensure that the Syrian rebels could operate with impunity in a significant belt in northern Syria without fear of air attacks by Damascus. ...

By the way, Israel also is traveling in the same boat as Turkey — clandestinely supporting al-Qaeda affiliates operating in Syria, launching wanton air attacks on targets deep inside Syria, and systematically wearing down the Syrian state and its sovereignty. Israel too is livid that Russia will apply ‘red lines’ in Syria aimed at squashing Israeli interference in Syrian affairs. Israel is furious with Moscow — like Turkey — but has no option but to fall in line with the Russian ground rules.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 8 2015 4:59 utc | 87

Grieved @87:

"The point is that trolls = successful analysis happening. Reverse everything they say. Never feed them of course."

What Grieved wrote!

"One further observation, this attack from yesterday went straight for ad hominem and has remained there. Are the sponsors short of qualified manpower during these difficult times for them?"

Not short of qualified manpower, but short of any reality-based leg to stand on. Thus their desperate measures, not unlike their sponsors.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Oct 8 2015 5:37 utc | 88

@105 ... and add the subsequent 'unrelated' announcement by Gazprom to reduce Turkstream capacity:

“At present, we can say that the maximum capacity of Turkish Stream can be 32 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. […] this is a realistic negotiating position, on which we will work in the nearest future." Link

Posted by: doveman | Oct 8 2015 5:45 utc | 89

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 7, 2015 9:58:26 PM | 89

That is simple.

From Wikipedia

"Russian citizens living in Israel

Hundreds of thousands of Russian-Israeli citizens live in Israel. During Russian elections, the Russian government sets up polling stations across many Israeli cities as well as smaller towns, in order to enable the Russian citizens who are living in Israel to cast their vote. During the 2012, Russian Presidential elections, hundreds of thousands of Russian-Israelis cast their vote in Israel.[23] Election polls found that in the 2012 election, Mikhail Prokhorov was the most popular candidate for Russian-Israelis to vote for, with Putin coming in second place. However older Russian-Israelis were more likely to vote for Putin.[24]"

Israeli community of Moscow

Moscow has the largest Israeli expatriate community in the world, with 80,000 Israeli citizens living in the city as of 2014, almost all of them native Russian-speakers.[27][28] Many Israeli cultural events are hosted for the community, and many live part of the year in Israel. (To cater to the Israeli community, Israeli cultural centres are located in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.)[29] There are 60 flights a week between Tel Aviv and Moscow.[30]

Military collaboration

In 2004, a three-way deal was signed between Israel, Russia and India: Israel supplied the $1.1 billion EL/W-2090 radar to the Indian Air Force, with the radar fitted onto the Ilyushin Il-76 platform by Russia.[31]

On 6 September 2010, Russia and Israel signed a five-year military agreement.[32][33]

In April 2009, Russia purchased its first package of drones from Israel (the Bird Eye-400, eight I-View Mk150 and two Searcher Mk.2 UAVs). The deal was worth $53 million.[34]

In a second deal, at the end of 2009, Russia purchased an additional 36 drones from Israel, in a deal worth $100 million.[35]

In October 2010, in a third deal, Russia purchased an additional $400 million of drones from Israel Aerospace Industries. The Israeli drones are to be assembled in Russia.[36] The production of the Russian-Israeli drones began in 2012, with delivery to the Russian military scheduled for 2014.[37]

In 2015, one of the drones was reportedly shot down by Ukrainian military near the city of Donetsk, Ukraine. [38]

In September 2015, the Russian army purchased another $300 million package of drones from Israel, its fourth purchase of Israeli drones.[39]

There's nothing to figure out.
"Israelis" are Chosen racist supremicists who can do no wrong.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 8, 2015 12:37:23 AM | 100

Would your label include Palestinian Israelis? Or are you a racist suprematist?

Add to the discussion on "Israeli" strategy above: Hezbollah (and Hamas) checkmated all agressive former military doctrine which stated that they would carry the fight to their neighbourhood to avoid the war in their own country. Israel - as in Israeli civilians - would not survive any serious modern war. And among Israeli civilians are 1.7 million "Arab" Palestinian Israelis and a similar number of "Russian speaking" Israeli's who are part of Putin's definition whom he should protect abroad.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2015 6:49 utc | 90

I could use a break from all the military issues. My question is about why any of this “action” in Syria (and, for example, Libya) is happening at all. Before this insanity, all I really knew about Syria was that they were probably the inventors of Syrian bread, which is great.

I'm coming round to the notion that all this insanity is basically about job security for a bunch of U.S. spooks, who literally have nothing better to do (at great cost to Joe Sixpack) than to destabilize reasonably “normal” nations. That's how they get to live in fancy digs and launder drug money.

What would your average Joe Sixpack American care about Syria? Oil? There are better ways of handling that sort of thing. Like avoiding “free trade deals” that leech away American industrial productionality.

This whole nightmare exists so that a few sociopathic spooks can get rich fast. So now the unelected greedy pirates finally got too close to Russia. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: blues | Oct 8 2015 7:19 utc | 91

So... that's why the French MSM did not say ANYTHING about Putin's recent visit to Paris to discuss Ukraine, apart from the fact it ended up being about Syria (it was on day 2 of the Russian intervention). Surprisingly they did not have anything NEGATIVE to say on Putin for a change.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 8 2015 7:56 utc | 92

[offtop] After being absent for a while, I came back to this blog to find that the troll mantle was usurped from Old Cold by a rookie. The King is dead, long live the King! [/offtop]

What worries me most is the silence from Banderostan. If you take a look through their news and blogosphere, the Ukies are going jelly that they aren't the center of attention anymore. I mean, how come everyone has forgotten their heroic struggle against the Mordor hordes? The International Community (c) MUST be reminded of the brave Fascists fighting the good fight!

In other words, it is after such displays of prowess that I believe we should expect a false-flag. A big one at that.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Oct 8 2015 8:08 utc | 93

Lone Wolf@99. It must not be forgotten that the recent find of billions of barrels of oil on the Golan Heights, is in fact Syrian oil. I think a consortium has been set up by no less than Dick Cheney and gang to exploit it. As you know the de facto annexation by Israel of the Golan Heights is contrary to International law. UNSC Resolution 497 [December 1981] read Inter Alia.."Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without International legal effect. The Israelis tried to pull the same stunt in the occupied Sinai, but even the US would have none of that. I suspect with Russia on the side of the Syrians and Lebanese the application of International law regarding a fair share for all parties will be far easier to achieve. Also Russian expert ease in all these fields can earn everyone a pretty penny.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 8 2015 8:59 utc | 94

"There will now be more talks between Russia and Turkey, Israel and the U.S. about avoiding air incidents. The Russians will likely simply say "just stay away.""

In case it wasn't mentioned yet - Gazprom just announced halving the envisioned capacity of the "Turkish stream" due to lack of need for it, now that the North Stream 2 is happening. Quite a coincidence...

Posted by: zedz | Oct 8 2015 9:28 utc | 95

"Their ability to never learn anything is remarkable if a little bit dissappointing
Posted by: al Manar | Oct 8, 2015 3:07:51 AM | 111"

It's not about ability, it's exactly what many of them are here for.

Like you give a damn about Palestinians"

Oh he very much does, but only about dead ones. Those are always useful for murder-porn propaganda purposes.

Posted by: zedz | Oct 8 2015 9:38 utc | 96

@117 - "UNSC Resolution 497 [December 1981] read Inter Alia.."Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without International legal effect."

Exactly, and given Putin's penchant for law and UN efficacy, the odds are Russia will be in the Goland Heights UN peace keeping effort -- especially if Syrian oil reserves there would help Assad pay the bill for the Russian operation.

Unless the nut-job cult there ruling Palestine play the game very smart they may well be back to earlier UN authorized borders. Jordon may even swing over to a 'free Al Aqsa' project if Putin implements the Orthodox Patriarch's request to protect the Christians in the holy lands.

Posted by: doveman | Oct 8 2015 9:44 utc | 97

Russia! Fuck yeah! Comin through to save the muthafuckin day yeah!

If it wasnt for all the bodies piling up, I would celebrate. I have to admit to being torn between seeing the Empire get a bloodied nose, and the inevitable collateral damage. Its like slowing down while passing a car wreck.
I guess this is the start of a new global military paradigm, right? Nobody has ever had the balls to bend the Empire over a barrel, pull its pants down, and tell the world with every bit of its diplomacy that its "only trying to help!"
Either Putin has gonads of steel, or the military and economical depth to cover himself here...

Posted by: Dan | Oct 8 2015 9:45 utc | 98

Just deleted all the 50 some comments "al manar" aka "Bill Kristol" aka the troll made over the last two day and blocked it. One liners attacking other commentators are not worthy the bandwidth costs.

I also deleted some comments by others here as they were in direct response to the troll and would now have no context.

Such deletions renumber the comments and may lead to confusion, sorry for that.

Posted by: b | Oct 8 2015 9:58 utc | 99

Jackrabbit says:

In my mind, what many call the "Empire of Chaos" is first and foremost an "Empire of Illusion". In case you haven't noticed, we a bit short of people that seek to bust illusions and eliminate bullsh*t. The Critic is more ally than foe

i have to agree. and at least 'the Critic's' redundancies are brief, whereas those of too many others around here are tediously long winded.

Posted by: john | Oct 8 2015 10:00 utc | 100

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