Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 17, 2015

Syria - The New South Aleppo Campaign

Yesterday the Syrian Arab Army supported by Iraqi and Iranian forces and the Russian air force launched a surprise attack to the south and east of Aleppo. Progress at the beginning was rapid but resistance has by now grown and the current progress is at a slower and more sustainable pace. As the front lines are constantly moving the the news about actual positions vary.

An excellent map of the ongoing operation via TexMapMaker1. (Again with green=insurgents, red=Syrian government and allied forces)

big version

There are three important axis. The first one (the upper left marked 1 and 2 in the map) towards the besieged cities Nubl and Al-Zahra developed when earlier this week foreign paid insurgents lost some of their positions north-east of Aleppo in fighting with the Islamic State. The SAA took the opportunity of that fighting in the area to extend its position towards the besieged cities. Extending that position to relief the cities would also cut off the supply line of the insurgents within the northern parts of Aleppo city.

Towards the east SAA troops are fighting to relief the besieged military airport of Kuweiris (on the right of the map). Coming from the south they bypassed the direct west to east road that connects Aleppo city with Kuweiris but is under insurgent control. They made decent progress and might reach the airport tomorrow or the day after.

The main surprise attack yesterday and today was southward from Aleppo city. The troops progressed some six miles south before turning right towards the west and the M5 highway (in dark yellow on the left). They will try to reach the insurgency held highway or at least the controlling range of hills directly east of it.

This operation came as a surprise for the insurgents. Operational security was obviously tight. Several hundred Iran supported fighters from Iraq under Quds force commander Suleiman were transferred overnight from Latakia to Aleppo to support the south Aleppo attack.

There has also been news of some additional 3,000 Hizbullah fighters coming in which would bring up the number of fighters on the Syrian government side from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to 10,000 total. The Pentagon is estimating the number of Russian soldiers in Syria at 3,000, much higher than the 1,250 I am aware of.

Some months ago I estimated the Syrian army would need a division sized (15,000 men) outside support to again gain ground. The current influx of foreign government allies has nearly reached that mark. Should the rumored about new armored brigade run by Hizbullah join the current forces a sustained large attack towards Idleb and then towards the Turkish border could be sustainable. That would close the main supply lines of the insurgency and would likely be the beginning of its end.

But that attack has not started yet. Instead we are seeing several smaller operation around Rastan where Russian helicopters help (video) to slice and dice an insurgent bubble, in Latakia, in the Ghab plain and now in Aleppo. We must keep in mind that the whole campaign is now influenced by Russian operational thinking. Maskirovska, the feinting here and there before hitting somewhere else, is part of every bigger Russian military operation. What we currently know about the disposition of Syrian government and allied forces is mostly what someone wants us to know. It might or might not reflect the real dispositions and plans. Expect to see more surprises.

Posted by b on October 17, 2015 at 15:21 UTC | Permalink


I wouldn't say I'm surprised that much but I'm very happy that the end game has started.

Posted by: jo6pac | Oct 17 2015 15:37 utc | 1

Massive thanks for the wonderful, detailed coverage of the Syrian front. None else has the details like you.

Posted by: Eddie | Oct 17 2015 16:06 utc | 2


Yesterday the Syrian Arab Army supported by Iraqi and Iranian forces and the Russian air force launched a surprise attack to the south and east of Aleppo.

I am surprised you don't mention Hezbollah as one of the participants in the Aleppo offensive, when even MSM has been mentioning HA as part of it for days now.


Russia, Assad, Iran and Hezbollah to Begin Offensive Against Rebels in Aleppo


Breaking: Syrian Army and Hezbollah Launch Their Southern Aleppo Offensive – 4 Sites Captured


Syrian Army, Hezbollah Seize Back More Towns, Area near Aleppo

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 17 2015 16:11 utc | 3

thanks b.. i wonder what saudi arabia sheikdom, gcc fiefdoms and rogue exceptional nation are thinking about all this and what they can do? my guess is they are going to let the cannon fodder they paid for die a sad death until another point in time where they can try to light a match on syria again. i suspect they won't wait that long - maybe until the next neo con maniac is running things at the black house..

Posted by: james | Oct 17 2015 16:24 utc | 4

You say, "Should the armored brigade run by Hizbullah join the current forces a sustained large attack towards Idleb and then towards the Turkish border could be sustainable. That would close the main supply lines of the insurgency and would likely be the beginning of its end."

It seems to me the US will have to act fast to keep the border open so they can continue to support their assets on the ground. This might be why they suddenly joined forces with the Kurds.

Posted by: plantman | Oct 17 2015 16:30 utc | 5

@Lone Wolf - I am surprised you don't mention Hezbollah as one of the participants in the Aleppo offensive

Didn't mention it because no source I trust said it is taking part. says so and it is relatively good but they have been wrong before. It is mostly a Syrian (4th division) operation and, as far as I can tell, mostly Iraqi fighters with it.

Posted by: b | Oct 17 2015 16:32 utc | 6

I am surprised you don't mention Hezbollah as one of the participants in the Aleppo offensive, when even MSM has been mentioning HA as part of it for days now.

Maybe I'm just HA (Home Alone), or simply obtuse, but all the acronyms here make some stuff Hard To Read (HTR).

Posted by: blues | Oct 17 2015 16:35 utc | 7


Didn't mention it because no source I trust said it is taking part.

I fully understand your concerns, unfortunately most of the news on HA's participation come from Al Masdar. HA's Al Manar makes no mention of it today, and while waiting for more reliable sources, here is another link that mention HA in that offensive, just FYI.

BTW, thanks for the map.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 17 2015 17:02 utc | 8

Talk of ‘moderate’ Syrian fighters is nuts. Gvmt. forces vs. Islamists (mercenaries in the main), and hooo! the ‘moderates’ are expected to fight both at the same time, how can that work, from a common sense, on the ground, perspective?

Who, what, are the FSA forces? Ghosts?

In such situations, ppl take sides, and a third force…nah. Yet, it all depends on how one frames the conflict, particularly the role played by outside actors, US-Isr, Iran, Turkey, Russia, KSA, HezB, etc.

A list of the various ‘groups’ fighting IN Syria from Institute for the the Study of War, a so-called think-tank (supported by arms contractors etc, 1.), Close to 80 groups are listed, classified in function of power-point color-code criteria, tick-box analysis.. Hilarious !


What role such an org. plays Idk. It correponds, of course, to the US narrative of possibly influential ‘moderate’ forces…

1. wiki:

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 17 2015 18:02 utc | 9

Thank you, b. Terrific coverage; we're all in favor of surprise attacks.

Guess you all have heard by now that the Oct 11 attack on the electrical substation 20 km from Aleppo was REAL. MSM had censored the story! Why am I surprised? It was covered in the Russian military press briefing @ 16.

Briefer said (approximately) "Strikes took place for a couple days & finally destroyed the TPP?? & electrical substation. I have a feeling purposely to make it impossible to stay there due to the temperature, and increase refugees."

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 17 2015 18:11 utc | 10

The US state department through its UN Ambassador Samantha Power, refuse to condemn rocket attacks on Russian Embassy in Syria. Webster Tarpley said: I would say first of all this is a sad day for United States. This is a disgraceful behavior, it is shameful, hysterical and it goes against the general idea in international law of the sanctity of diplomatic posts, embassies, diplomats in general and the statement that had been submitted to the Security Council simply for signature, and it is not a resolution, it is simply an expression of the sense of the Security Council. What Lavrov brought in was a kind of boilerplate, standard text which has been issued a number of times by the UN Security Council when diplomatic missions, especially embassies, have come under attack.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 17 2015 18:35 utc | 11

"Russia has restored much of its Soviet era military capability"

So what the hell happened to the MSM narrative that Russia was declining year after year, during the whole Putin presidency...???
Western propagandists will have to resort to some vertigionous verbal acrobatics to weasel out of their ideological cul de sac.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 17 2015 18:49 utc | 12

If Russia and Assad wins in Syria, and the same goes for Iraq, after the war will there be a lot more more shia replacements of the Sunni population where they were the majority ?
The Kurds are doing something very similar now in northern Syria.

You could easily imagine the displacement will take place through repression and discrimination with the excuse so to try to prevent the likes of ISIL and Al Qaeda destroying these countries from happening again.

Posted by: tom | Oct 17 2015 18:57 utc | 13

@11 harry law

Completely normal. Small-minded people show small-minded behavior. It could never be otherwise.

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 17 2015 18:58 utc | 14


The power plant was destroyed to cut water even more to Aleppo - the lift stations bringing water from the Euphrates are affected. The U.S. borrowed this very Israeli (and ISIS) tactic to create more chaos in the city. That and the limited supply of chlorine mean water-borne illnesses are almost guaranteed to explode in Aleppo. The purpose of this undisputable war crime is to create a flood of refugees from all areas of Aleppo. A secondary purpose might be to affect the Syrian Army and allies fighting in the area - they are also dependent on city water.

The flood of refugees leaving (which has so far failed to transpire) are suppose to curtail Russian efforts to attack supply lines or mask the movement of rebels. The refugees fleeing to camps on the Turkish border would be flooding the very roads and towns along the supply routes with a 'moderate rebel' presence.

The has the U.S. censored - to the degree possible - news of the F-16 strike and destruction of the power plant. Almost at the same time, the dark forces that control Twitter started deleting accounts reporting the serious humanitarian effects of the loss of water and electricity. Water and power were very sporadic in Aleppo to begin with because of the conflict - maybe an hour or two a day of either one. Now there's none to speak of.

Instead of masking the voices of the Aleppo victims, the U.S. has created more of a crisis via blowback: people that had their Twitter accounts deleted for reporting the water shortage have gone on other social media and are bringing attention to the ham-handed U.S. government attempts to control the narrative via censorship on Twitter.

There's no easy way to 'prove' Twitter's censorship other than reports of deleted accounts, but one only need to do a search on Aleppo and Water to see the awkward results remaining: 1) No individual reports of water cuts or hardship if they directly attribute the bombed power plant (those accounts deleted), 2) An odd number of NGO (Red Cross, UNICEF) tweets on where to find water wells in Aleppo - which is mostly polluted and unfit to drink.

And any tweets of the power plant bombing left are all ones pointing back to Veterans Today. See? It's only the nutjob conspiracy sites reporting it, so it must not be true.

Goebbels would weep in admiration - he had nothing on the U.S. Ministry of Propaganda

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 17 2015 19:14 utc | 15

@MMARR, 12
Re. "Russia has restored much of its Soviet era military capability"

The story originates with the CIA-linked NYT. FYI, the guy who runs 'Next Big Future' also runs 'WarNewsUpdates'. He's an ex-Soviet emigre to Canada, a major Zionist, and he can be relied upon to repeat mainstream propaganda most uncritically. (I'll be frank: he's repulsive and dishonest.)

Personally, I think that NYT sings the Mockingbird's song pitch perfectly, alternating between "Russians poop in the cooking pots and their tanks are made of twigs" to "Russian atomic dinosaurs will kill us all!" It's the 'ideal' blend of dehumanisation and fearmongering, if you're trying to brainwash an uncritical news-consuming populace in advance of a new cold war (or, god forbid, a new hot war).

From 1991 to the early 2000s, the financial crisis meant that Russia lost huge numbers of weapons platforms (Russia's active, seaworthy navy shrank by 90% up to 2002, for example) and the development of new weapons systems lagged (anyone remember the MiG 1.44). Russia also lost the territorial defence in depth provided by the USSR (NATO troops are now in the Baltics and Ukraine, after all); and the military forces of Ukraine, Belorussia etc. were split from those of Russia. Training and maintenance went to pot, too.

Russia has recovered much of its military capability, since 2005. New weapons systems are being designed and fielded. Great progress has been made, and Russia is the most potent military power in Europe; but at the same time: Russia still relies on improvements to Soviet-era tech e.g. the Kalibr missiles fired into Syria recently are essentially 1980s/1990s tech, and they took a long time to be fielded, due to budget shortages; Russia suffers terribly because of sanctions restrictions on Western miltech (e.g., an entire class of corvette, the technologically impressive Gremyashchy-class, has been cancelled after two examples were finished, because the German-manufactured engines can no longer be imported); the Mistral class landing craft were retained by France; etc.

Russia can do some things superbly (e.g., the S-400 is probably the best air defense missile system fielded anywhere on earth; eg., EW jamming) yet in other areas Russia is operating at at 1980s level (chronic lack of Night Vision monoculars/sights for infantry; very few GPS/Glonass-guided weapons actually in stock; etc.)

Posted by: BiffaBacon | Oct 17 2015 19:45 utc | 16

@Tom, 13
Re. "You could easily imagine the displacement will take place through repression and discrimination"

Well, I couldn't Tom. Syria is 74% Sunni, 11.7% Shia (including Alawites). Kurds are 9% of the population, and Sunni. (

Neither the (relatively secular) Syrian Kurds nor Iranian-backed Shia have shown a propensity to ethnic cleanse. Shia Hezbollah proclaimed it a religious duty to protect non-Shia minorities in Syria and elsewhere. (;

Further, most Sunnis have suffered under ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Al-Nusrah/I-can't-believe-it's-not-Mossad. Most of the SAA are Sunni.

Posted by: BiffaBacon | Oct 17 2015 20:00 utc | 17

Am I reading too much into this? From the Guardian

"UN peacekeepers will protect world heritage sites from attacks by Islamist militants, Unesco has said.

Italy proposed the move in the wake of the destruction of sites including Palmyra in Syria by Islamic State. The Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said 53 countries, as well as permanent members of the security council, had voted in favour of the idea."

Its not clear what was agreed and who agreed to it but could this mean UN troops in Syria and Iraq? Whats the Russian view on this? Who will provide the troops?

Posted by: Bob | Oct 17 2015 20:19 utc | 18

Is there a reliable source documenting "Battle of Aleppo" since the war began? Widipedia's "Battle of Aleppo" I'm finding suspect.

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 17 2015 20:27 utc | 19

I may have missed mention of them, but what do the black narrow rectangles represent? Future troops?

Posted by: jawbone | Oct 17 2015 20:38 utc | 20



several articles there by Patrick

Posted by: crone | Oct 17 2015 20:51 utc | 21

PavewayIV @ 15

Thanks for your post! Same mojo as 1991 in Iraq. Pretty much proof positive that the Outlaw Coalition's efforts are as nefarious as they are illegal.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2015 20:57 utc | 22

@18 bob

Shows that even some US vassals believe that Russians are doing fantastic job on ISIS. Otherwise, no such resolution would ever be tabled.
Russian position would depend on the details (after all, that's where the devil is...).

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 17 2015 21:19 utc | 23

@15 pw4 @22 karlof

Liars, murderers, war criminals ... unadulterated, this millennium + Bill Clinton.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 17 2015 21:27 utc | 24

@24 List too short. Carter & Ford are the only exceptions since Eisenhower.

Posted by: rkka | Oct 17 2015 22:13 utc | 25

Remember the ludicrous claim when some people said that a big part of the nuclear energy deal between the Iran and the US, was partly about getting Iran to help the US defeat ISIL proxies ( US proxies ) ?

How much worse is that opinion, now that Russia is militarily involved in Syria and Iraq fightin ISIL and other terrorists, and they are both fully on the side of Russia. Completely now ignoring the US.

Now it's played out this way, I look forward to the nuclear deal being sabotaged by the US. Oh wait, it has other actual purposes like weakening Iran, so to attack them later. Seems like Russia fucked that plan for the US too.

Posted by: tom | Oct 17 2015 23:32 utc | 26

rkka @25

Carter and Ford aren't innocent either. Ford pardoned Nixon and aided the genocide on East Timor. Carter nominated Volker who destroyed a large percentage of US middle class with his interest rate hike caused Depression, continued expansion of Empire and support of fascist dictatorships. Other than those who died too soon to do anything while in office, every POTUS is a criminal.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2015 23:32 utc | 27

@13 hopefully Russia will hammer through some 'right to exist' initiative. I think that's what led to the widescale support for ISIL among sunni

Posted by: vvvvv | Oct 17 2015 23:35 utc | 28

@ biffabacon.

Well if you happily ignore a lot Sunni refugees that left and many claiming not wanting to come back. And can you really blame them.
In Iraq there's been sertarian atrocities, By the government and buy shia militia. And there's a chance that similar things could happen in Syria. That's why I framed it as a question. Not some doubtless fake bullshit egocentric certainty that you exhibited with your answer.

in northern Syrisa, many Kurds have been doing exactly that. read any news it contradicts your fake world view lately ?

Don't let human suffering of actual people get in the way of your propaganda. As long as it makes you feel better, I guess it's alright then.

Posted by: tom | Oct 17 2015 23:43 utc | 29

tom @29,

Perhaps they know how the game is played and want to steer clear of any chance at all of being arbitrarily or collaterally reprocessed as human scrap based on the luck of the draw, and I don't mean at the poker table. And can you really blame them.

Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 18 2015 0:13 utc | 30

@25 rkka

I was just counting the millennials. When you start to dig it's hard to find innocents ... all the way back to GW, and before.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 18 2015 2:18 utc | 31

tom @ 29 - Seems to me biffabacon was purely citing well known stats in his comment. I had to go back and re-read, but I don't see the attitude in his comment that you detected, for what it's worth. Might be worth letting that one cool down a little. Just a peacekeeper thought in passing ;)

Also for what it's worth, I've read several Levantine sources lately who emphasize that the supposed Sunni/Shia antagonism is manufactured and largely untrue. Sorry, no links for that to hand at the moment.

PavewayIV @ 15 - thank you for that comprehensive report of the bombings and the Twitter psy-op following it. Greatly appreciate the information.

biffabacon @ 16 - thanks for that ordnance sitrep, it's hard for non-military people like me to gain perspective on these things.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 18 2015 5:47 utc | 32

True meaning of Маскировка

Posted by: NoReply | Oct 18 2015 5:59 utc | 33

Lot of Western disinfo out there. Wasn't Al Q supposed to have done 9/11? Now US gives em TOW, Toyotas, ammo etc. Im from Au and like here the good people of the USA have been hijacked by the baddies.

Posted by: Jak Jones | Oct 18 2015 5:59 utc | 34

Syria related from Ft Russ:

Posted by: ben | Oct 18 2015 6:00 utc | 35


GAG! Jesus Christ! I hope the CIA is paying that man.

He attacks Russia AND china AT THE SAME TIME? And every post he has is an attack on one or both, he doesn't talk about anything else

Posted by: Massinissa | Oct 18 2015 6:10 utc | 36

18, Peace keepers to protect sites,
i.e. "now that the main stuff that was bothering the Saudis' reconstruction of history has been razed to the ground, the UN can try to make a bit of cash out of it"
-Yemen (see here, article pulished yesterday, on bombings that happened 5 months ago)

Posted by: Mina | Oct 18 2015 6:47 utc | 37

Sounds familiar?
The Saudi-led air coalition targeting Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen has mistakenly hit a pro-government position, killing at least 20 troops, security officials and witnesses say.

What happened to the link to pics of the destruction of Yemenite archaeological sites i posted? here it is again

Posted by: Mina | Oct 18 2015 7:26 utc | 39

comment by Ghufran on SC:
"If jaish alfateh ,aka nusra terrorist group, is a Syrian rebel army why it needs to hide in civilian areas and be led by foreigners and funded by the GCC ?
It is a proxy war and Syrians are just tools. A revolution that made the lives of Syrians a living hell and failed to unite the people is a step backward and a national disaster not a national movement.
Russian intervention can not end the war but it may reduce chances of a total collapse of what is left of Syria since the Islamists can not rule and can not build a state.
The proof is in every place Islamists had a chance to conquer, those lunatics have no concept of nationalism that is why they only allow black flags that are 1400 years old, their Umma idea means that a Chechnyan Muslim has more rights in Syria than a Shia or a Christian Syrian, much like militant zionists."

Posted by: Mina | Oct 18 2015 7:34 utc | 40

Re the topic: when Putin was in Kazakhstan last week he said, and seemed confident, that kurdish fighters would co-operate with the Russia-Syria alliance. Imo, Russia going to Syria merely to "Fight ISIS" is a waste of time unless pressure can be applied to 'every' identifiable 'rebel' group, and every identifiable country supporting 'rebels' to declare whose side they're on and suffer the consequences if they choose the wrong side or 'speak with forked tongue.'

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 18 2015 8:15 utc | 41

Posted by: tom | Oct 17, 2015 7:43:44 PM | 29

Well, it is your world view that the middle east can be split Shia and Sunni. And that "Sunni" is one identity including Sufis and Wahhabism.

In Iraq there were "Sunni" suicide attacks blowing up "Shia" market and holy places - in case you did not notice. What these attacks were trying to do, of course, was to cause just this split. The US introduced a political system of sectarian representation in Iraq which made things worse.

To me it is very obvious that Assad is still in power because he is supported by the Sunni majority of his country - who have no desire to live according to Saudi Arabian rules.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 18 2015 8:33 utc | 42

@39 Yes, I've thought that from the beginning - the easiest way for Putin to tilt the playing field in his direction is for him to induce the Kurds to jump out of Washington's pocket and jump into his.

And from the Kurdish PoV there is a real attraction to that, in the sense that while Washington may well whisper sweet nothings in the Kurdish ear the Kurds have to worry about what the Americans are also whispering in Turkey's ear. Obama must - sooner or later - shaft one or the other of those two sweethearts.

Not so with Russia - the Kurds know that if they switch support to Putin then he will
a) accept that help with open arms and
b) have no reason to betray them later.

They'll jump. It's just a matter of when they make that announcement.

And what's the bet that when they do then Washington will be utterly and completely dumbfounded.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 18 2015 10:20 utc | 43

It's just words so far ...

Collective efforts needed for anti-terror fight: Leader's aide

... but the Iranians and Hezbolla are openly entering alliance now. Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds are needed as well.

I read that Jordan has said it approves of Russia's helping Syria as well. And ... Hamas Asks Russia to Help Stop Israeli 'Aggression'

According to a statement on the group's website, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal spoke with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov Saturday evening.

The leader of Hamas, the Palestinian resistance group currently running affairs in the Gaza Strip, asked Russia to use its global influence as a world power in order to demand Israel stop the aggression against “our people and our holy sites.”

According to the statement, Bogdanov expressed discontent over what is happneing and promised that Moscow would do its best.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 18 2015 11:46 utc | 44


I've been coming here on/off, since you began MOA. Usually, from my POV from where I've lived at any particular time (California/SF area and New Mexico for 10 years) when something happened that I thought could be pivotal. Russian actions in Syria is one of these times.

My experience here, from the "Georgian crisis" about 6 years ago, to much of what U.S. has done in and since Iraq, is more then any other source I've found, you do 2 things exceptionally well:

1) "Sniff out" major lies (especially fed to U.S. public via media and Federal government), but even more: provide excellent, verifiable information/data/links to back up what you say. This takes your statements out of the realm of "opinion", of which there have been so many on critical issues in direct contradiction (basically opinions expressing what some "interest" wants, but has no justification for), to verifiable fact.

2) Intelligently build on (point 1), quite reliably extrapolating true motives and from that consequences... which have also proven to be remarkably prescient. More so then any other source I'm aware of.

So, as others I see this last week have expressed, I just want to "tip my hat" and acknowledge your unique contribution here. In the near (how time flies, and how much of it has been wasted) 15 years since "blogging" has taken hold, many good ones have come and gone. MOA is one of the few still standing, but even more: still doing the excellent service it began years ago.

So again, big thanks. There's huge opportunity for people of good conscience, able to correct "perceptions" often created by dishonest sources, here. Huge value created. Excellent!


Observations: I have no idea how things will play out, but there are big shifts seemingly occurring internationally (U.S. and Europe especially), since Putin "stepped in" to Syria. This is observable in many "slices". Reading comments, especially on articles written expressing U.S. & British government "criticisms" of Putin's actions, comments everywhere are overwhelmingly both supportive of Russian action and simultaneously (and many years late) expressive of U.S. policy/action fecklessness. I see this on our major media (NYT, WP, CNN, even WSJ) but also on BBC, GUARDIAN and several others. Even more striking, I see this response to articles on all these sites authored by long standing "experts" and "talking heads" regurgitating "echo chamber" talking points, for many years, relied upon by a large portion of readerships. Amazingly, I'm even seeing this on FOX's website now... something I've never seen there since GWB was first elected.

A common theme in all these comments: they simply do not believe statements by leaders (especially US & British) anymore.

It's also very interesting so see, considerable acknowledgment and respect for PUTIN across the board, despite best efforts of our leaders to demonize him with attempts at decades old "Cold War" rhetoric. I'm very cautiously optimistic U.S.'s utterly blind and myopically destructive leadership beginning wih Bush's Iraq "liberation", fueled by (bluntly) lies masquerading as "out interests", have "cried wolf" (finally) one too many times.

There is significant moral substantiation underlying both Putin's actions and well expressed motives for Syria intervention, and a lot of people outside of Russia, long "bullied" by rhetoric he's "dangerous", seem to be recognizing this.



Fort Russ has a partial transcript from the 7th Russia Calling! Investment Forum organised by VTB Capital on October 13. It's chocked full of many (IMO) very well thought out, intelligent and poignant "nuggets":

Now, we often hear that our pilots are bombing the wrong targets, not ISIS. First of all, we briefed US leadership in advance, although the United States has never done this. We were the first to do this out of respect and a desire to establish a working relationship. Now they tell us, “No, first, we are not ready to cooperate with you, and second, you are bombing the wrong targets.” We said at the military level, appealed and asked, “Give us the targets that you are 100% certain to be terrorists.” The replied, “No, we are not ready to do that.” So then, we thought about it and asked another question: “Then tell us, where shouldn’t we be bombing?” No response there either. So then, what should we be doing? This is no joke, I did not make this up, this is what happened. Just recently, we said to the Americans, “Tell us the facilities we should strike.” There was no response. How can we work jointly then? Do you have an answer? I don’t have one either, yet.
U.S. media could do us and the world a huge favor by broadcasting more of this stuff. Let our people here it from the "horses mouth", rather then the filtered echo chamber that "translates" stuff like this into some unrecognizable, demonized caricature unrecognizable from the man's own words. Putin said above (obviously true, but part of U.S. policy's fundamental continuing myopia) of the inter-connectedness of... everything. True more then ever in history now. So why not give unedited coverage of some of these consequential foreign leaders here, let our people make some of these decisions themselves.

Perhaps this may produce a demand here, that instead of all this wasted time from U.S. leadership only expressing unspoken criticism and danger of Putin's intervention, an accounting why BO's admin was entirely unwilling to respond to his requests for U.S. cooperation. . Given what I've seen from commenters (as I mentioned @ the beginning), I see signs the time may be "ripe" for Americans to come to grips with some of this stuff.

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 18 2015 12:15 utc | 45

3;The MSM mention Hezbollah as a factor because to the general public,because of Zionist slurs,Hezbollah is a terrorist org.,not the freedom fighters of terror that they are.
No mention by b of Trump and his shrub complicity accusations?To me,its the biggest breath of fresh air in America since that day that changed everything.
And the MSM will not accentuate his claims,because then they are complicit,as they made the zero a hero,how do they explain that one?

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 18 2015 13:34 utc | 46

@43 -- Just watched some "The Seventies: Peace with Honour" Link to trailer

I think that 70's rebel America is largely dead and gone. Now it's just a Wall St shinny-shoes shuffle.

Interesting shot of a younger John Kerry around 17:22-19:22 in this "Vietnam Lost Films 6/6 - Peace With Honor (1971~1975" Link considering his current role in keeping the peace.

Posted by: doveman | Oct 18 2015 14:27 utc | 47

Hezbollah can also mean Iraqi Hezbollah. Lebanese Hezbollah has considerable prestige, and some militias in Iraq have that label, perhaps also training from the "genuine Lebanese Hezbollhah". If so, a Hezbollah unit far away from Lebanon may have mixed composition even if it is mostly Iraqi. HA may be an acronym of Hezb Allah, in Arabic vowels change between grammatical forms, e.g. Ansar Allah becomes Ansarullah (homework: where do they fight?)

Today Al Masdar News informed about another event to the south of Aleppo,

This Wadihi is probably the same as Al Waddihi on this map,

The strategic, and not achieved yet (according to Al Masdar News) target of the operation is Khan Touman, which is in the south-west corner of government controlled area on the map of October 12. If you read news from Syria more carefully, you realize that each side took the country several times over if you just add what they took, but same places appear multiple times. Thus barring some totally unusual news it is hard to declare which way the things are going. There is an impression that the rebels are still very energetic and that they retake government new positions very often, but they are slipping, both to the government and to ISIS. On the other hand, ISIS so far took back everything they lost, but the latest is an advance by the government.

The attack yet further south on the rebel position and the attack of rebels on Khan Touman and Waddidi may be related, all sides in Syria are stretched and attack in one place may cause thinner position elsewhere. This warfare of hundred fronts is hard to follow and hard to address from the perspective of "regular military" like Russians or Americans.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 18 2015 15:00 utc | 48

@ Yeah, Right | 41

They'll jump. It's just a matter of when they make that announcement.

Kurds can do that temporarily for tactical advantage, but lets not make mistake here - they are wholesale in US pocket in geopolitical game.

1) Kurds leadership were in USrael pocket for decades now.

2) US can give Kurds independence (if it chooses to), what Russia could give the most - another unrecognized Transnistria. Without US say so, UN wont recognize Kurds. US is a fading superpower, but still with vastly more pull than Russia.

Turkey wouldnt like it, but US can make sure Kurdistan is only carved from Syria and Iraq (maybe will try from Iran too in the future), while maintaining Turkey's territorial integrity. Kurds from Turkey might even be "inspired to migrate" to Kurdistan, and give iron clad promises not to rise up against Turkey again, otherwise it would be followed up with complete economical blockade and declaration as a terrorist state. So yes, Kurds would play nice. They'll be happy enough in their new country, as completely subordinate statelet to US.

What Russia could do for Kurdistan? Piss off their biggest ally in the region - Syria? Piss off Iraq and Iran? And the most they could achieve is Transnistria, unrecognized in UN and surrounded by hostile states.

3) Economical benefits. West + Gulf monarchies have vastly deeper pockets and greater markets than Russia, 20x or so.

Bottom line, Kurds geopoliticaly will remain in US pocket, and cooperation with resistance axis will be per case basis for tactical advantage, nothing more.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 18 2015 15:20 utc | 49

@ jfl 42

Why would Hamas ask Russia to plead with Israel? Hamas is supported by Qatar and Turkey and flirting with Saudi Arabia, while keeping Iran in case..
Meshal is totally untrustworthy. He has betrayed his only loyal supporter, the Syrian government.
Hamas is now alone, looking of a new protector. No one trust them anymore..

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 18 2015 15:59 utc | 50

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 18, 2015 8:15:52 AM | 43

I see signs the time may be "ripe" for Americans to come to grips with some of this stuff.

The neoliberals and neocons promised peace and prosperity and the people went along as long as it seemed that they could deliver. We may have reached a point where those promises are shown to be false/unsustainable - and that is what you may be sensing.


But TPTB will fight that dawning realization tooth and nail. MSM propaganda will continue to spin reality and push-back on dissent. For example, Zerohedge labeled Syria the biggest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam. I haven't seen MSM come close to such a proclamation.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 18 2015 15:59 utc | 51

"I think that 70's rebel America is largely dead and gone. Now it's just a Wall St shinny-shoes shuffle."

I agree, and the irony is that the whole reason Communism collasped/was dismantled was because of the image of the US as being "70s Rebels". People who climbed onto the Berlin Wall and who rejected the 1991 "hard liner" coup in Moscow (apart from the fascists who knew well what they were doing, but were small in number) didn't make their stand for Wall Street and Neoliberalism, they did it for Rock n' Roll and the idea of US rebellion on display in the '60s, '70s, and even 80s. But as they were climbing onto the tanks and the walls half-heartedly (yet probably wisely, considering the 'shock therapy' to follow) thinking that they were opening their countries to this American idea of "freedom" the real power waiting in the wings to sweep over the East Bloc were the "Wall St shiny shoes" and "Pentagon/Langley flat-topped goons". And they did.

It's a thread that started in Prague in 1968, but it was a fiction that is dying its last death throes on the plains of Syria right now. It's no mistake that the rhetoric flows together, "Prague Spring" to "Arab Spring", and indeed the National Security State latched on to the aesthetic of its greatest enemy at home - the 60s radicals, freedom, individual rights - and used it all over the world to help collapse governments (even while it was doing everything to smash, co-opt, and dilute them at home).

But just as the flowerings of democracy were always quickly followed by a clamp down of a new, neo-liberal dictatorship (see 1993 in Russia and US electoral trickery all over Eastern and indeed Western Europe) so the Arab Spring, sparked on hopes of democracy and rebellion was so quickly exposed as a US catspaw. I have to laugh when I note that even the scum of ISIS whose ideals couldn't be further from the hopes of individual and civil rights of 1960s America, still look - with their long hair dirty fatigues and "romantic" idea of "revolution" (such as they define it) look to the eye more like 60s hippies and rebellious US soldiers than anything else I can think of. Though their about as far from them, mentally, as it is possible to be. If only people like Louis Proyect and others on the feckless left could see past the thin, false veneer and see the blood-soaked fascists behind the sleight-of-speech calls of "revolution".

But the Arab revolutions are the last gasp of the establishment of the US using the most appealing parts of Americans ideals (ideals they never, ever believed in and always battled) to dress their attempts for world domination in. Its all exposed and it is all over. And it has been a tragedy both for America, the world, and for the idea of democracy and human rights. Though it made a few people very very rich!

And I can only think of one phrase now: "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing ever came out straight".

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 18 2015 16:16 utc | 52

oops. should be: "But as they were climbing onto the tanks and the walls half-heartedly (yet probably wisely, considering the 'shock therapy' to follow) set up against them thinking that they were opening their countries to this American idea of "freedom" the real power waiting in the wings to sweep over the East Bloc were the "Wall St shiny shoes" and "Pentagon/Langley flat-topped goons". "

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 18 2015 16:17 utc | 53

"Kurds leadership were in USrael pocket for decades now."

You're right there, but I would stress your mention of "Kurdish leadership". The Russians have a lot of pull with the Kurdish street it seems, and with the radical left parties who are doing the bulk of the fighting now.

The US, as usual, has created a wealthy Kurdish comprador establishment, built them a little Disneyland "It's a Small World" USA in Erbil. This elite admittedly have all the trappings of "legitimate" establishment power, seats in the Iraq Government, an army in the Peshmerga, and even the oil wells. But the Russians have a tremendous card to play with their close connections with the PKK and the YPG I imagine.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 18 2015 16:24 utc | 54


Interesting you mention that. I just turned 60. My draft # was called, I was prepared to go (utterly ignorant then what was really going on). Nixon did his thing (ended it), and I was told not to report just a couple weeks ahead of my date.

I've been learning Vietnamese, am moving there in March... planning to spend rest of my life there. Preparing for this & really getting to know modern VN, it's been starkly awakening... both how much VN has changed, and how little it's on the international "radar". In news of SE Asia, VN is little more then an afterthought. Among other things, I'm more and more aware how many of those my age had their entire lives "colored" by the war. Even more now, however... how VN's "maturity" since then is a reality to only a few US Vets.

Agent Orange's footprint is still affecting health. Debilitating birth defects are still occurring, both where we stored the stuff and by people living in areas where runoff from where we dropped it infects water supplies. Vietnam has made huge progress economically, but still a poor country. They've made some progress on this, particularly in medical treatment, but the residue remains largely "not cleaned up"... an ongoing U.S. legacy we seem to replicate everywhere (including U.S. shores BTW).

With Syria in mind, brought to mind this Truthout OpEd several years ago:

For the past 51 years, the Vietnamese people have been attempting to address this legacy of war by trying to get the United States and the chemical companies to accept responsibility for this ongoing nightmare. An unsuccessful legal action by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies in US federal court, begun in 2004, has nonetheless spawned a movement to hold the United States accountable for using such dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. The movement has resulted in pending legislation HR 2634 hot spots, lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent-Orange-related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent-Orange-exposed US veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

What is the difference between super powers like the United States violating the laws of war with impunity and the reports of killing of Syrian civilians by both sides in the current civil war? Does the United States have any credibility to demand governments and non-state actors end the killings of civilians, when through wars and drones and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the use of Agent Orange, the United States has and is engaging in the very conduct it publicly deplores?

I'm acutely aware of this, because part of what I'm going to be doing there is (improving) agriculture related. VN Universities and government are just beginning to "come of age" in understanding, planning and translating this to (a still primitive) growing sector. I'll also point out, a large contigent of US Vets, well organized, make annual trips there and substantial contributions to this effort. It's a wonderful thing to see them side by side with the Vietnamese they fought (literally), having become very good friends working together on this.

As long as we're talking about this, I'll point out we did the same thing in Iraq with depleted Uranium (with photos if people can stomach them):

The United States may be finished dropping bombs on Iraq, but Iraqi bodies will be dealing with the consequences for generations to come in the form of birth defects, mysterious illnesses and skyrocketing cancer rates.

Al Jazeera’s Dahr Jamail reports that contamination from U.S. weapons, particularly Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, has led to an Iraqi health crisis of epic proportions. “[C]hildren being born with two heads, children born with only one eye, multiple tumours, disfiguring facial and body deformities, and complex nervous system problems,” are just some of the congenital birth defects being linked to military-related pollution.

In certain Iraqi cities, the health consequences are significantly worse than those seen in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of WWII.

A decent summary also in this video @ RT. Among other things, they note DOD "denies" any connection between DU and these obvious health consequences. "Mission accomplished" indeed.

One more thing about this, as it directly ties to the non-discriminating consequences of our endless quest for more and more weapons development. I live in Albuquerque New Mexico. Los Alamos (home of Manhattan Project) is just a stone's throw away. Both local economies, 60 years after WWII, are still utterly dependent on the Military, DOD and DOE "industrial complex". ABQ's Kirtland Air Force base is US's largest host of nukes (over 2500 warheads). Sandia Labs continues development, largely classified.

Thing about this: Sandia has refused to acknowledge radio active residue on their "campus", significant as their "waste" going back pre-50's was dumped into unlined, open pits. We are just concluding a 10+ year fight to both get DOE and Sandia to acknowledge high level waste (they call this dump: The Mixed Waste Landfill, or MWL) which they deny, let alone excavate it. Our FOIA'ed records of what they put in the MWL show vast amounts of high level waste. It looks like we have (just as of last week) lost this fight: EPA is rubber stamping Sandia's utter lack of anything at the MWL as "protective of public health".

Thing is, cancer rates amongst Sandia employees are +/- 18x that of NM average.

The MWL is close to affecting our water supply. A 20 million gallon jet fuel leak from Kirtland already has: now a 1.5 mile long plume of EDB in our aquifer, which the AF is just beginning to address after 20+ years of official denial.

Los Alamos Labs has polluted the local water table significantly with both radioactive and industrial (VOC) waste, and they also have evaded responsibility. Water runoff from Los Alamos affects much of the state, making NM... looking pristine and beautiful on the surface, America's most radioactive state. Statistics are not kept here, to monitor health affects from Los Alamos.

Worst part IMO: highest earners in these 2 areas work for the Labs and Kirtland, along with vast local businesses doing well in "support services" and very politically connected. Their is no political will to break the $$ addiction, and it's keeping this area in the dark ages.

This DOE/DOD "pollution industrial complex" is not unique to NM BTW: similar damage well distributed around the US.

Without trying to "beat a dead horse" with this, just making the point as vividly as I can: as in my prior comment above in which Putin (in link I provided) mentions how "every thing is connected", these mindless and unending military incursions always omit all this "connected" consequences. And they are real as rain. Health consequences (aside from suffering) are huge financial rabbit hole, not too mention all the military spending sucking every last $$ from what we should be doing on U.S. shores. With that said, one more example here: the uranium mined for the "Manhattan project" largely done on Navajo land in NM's west. The custodianship of that mining's waste was literally nonexistent, and the uranium "tailings" stored behind crude dirt dams broke loose and devastated Navajo water and health... on a level not unlike Iraq and Vietnam's Agent Orange. Best known "event" was ChurchRock: never addressed, never cleaned up, and the health consequences still being felt today.

This is all the more "galling" (to put it mildly), because DOD/DOE is quietly close to getting budgeting for "refurbishment" of several hundred of U.S. B-61 nukes, now (after linked article budget has grown) up to $400b. This is a "make work" project for the labs and Kirtland: NOBODY in the know thinks we need these things. As part of this "refurbishment" budgeting, a new round of uranium mining in Navajo's AQUIFER. They are promising "clean" mining below NAVAJO drinking water, but there is no history in the U.S. of mining Uranium in groundwater that does not leave that groundwater badly contaminated.

So anyway, this senseless wars are having huge consequences, lasting for generations, beyond just the gruesome suffering we see only on the battlefield.

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 18 2015 16:31 utc | 55

@guest77 #50:

I have to laugh when I note that even the scum of ISIS whose ideals couldn't be further from the hopes of individual and civil rights of 1960s America, still look - with their long hair dirty fatigues and "romantic" idea of "revolution" (such as they define it) look to the eye more like 60s hippies and rebellious US soldiers than anything else I can think of.


Even Salafist mercenary terrorists imitate 1960s American counterculture. What a crazy world we live in.

As for Russians in the late 1980s/early 1990s being seduced by the American narrative, that's a good example of what comes of restricting the free flow of information. Now Russians have as free access to Western news and mass media as anyone in the West, so they will never make that mistake again.

Based on what a relative told me about his experience, most Russians who were enthused with the "fall of communism" in 1991 already figured out what was really happening when Yeltsin shelled the parliament building in 1993.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 18 2015 16:47 utc | 56

guest77 and jdmckay, impressive comments

some thoughts on @guest77 #50:
this "Prague Spring" to "Arab Spring" parallel deserves to be deeply thought over; among many things that come to mind, is that we must concede that great numbers of young people in the ME took to the streets because they really believed in western ideals, just like when the Berlin wall fell; I never thought the Cia, etc had the power to mobilize people for a fake uprising; but Hoolywood does have the power to change our imaginary, what we desire, what we deem worth fighting for;

and your thoughts on Isis militants reminded me of Nasrallah's question: where did they get this idea of publicly beheading people? his answer: from Hollywood!

but in particular, the relationship between the "70's rebel America" and the reality of the neolib policies that followed (and later on, the neocons') deserves thought; clearly, neolib policies were enacted in a political vacuum, which the "rebellion" contributed strongly to create; today's rising admiration for Putin reflects a longing for a political power able to contain, if not oppose, plutocracy and militarism, and pursue rational policies

Posted by: claudio | Oct 18 2015 17:02 utc | 57

@53, 45

With this retrospective, worth pointing out:

1) US overthrow of Mossadeq/installation of SHAH... based and justified on a LIE.
2) Vietnam escalation: based and justified on a LIE (Tonkin)
3) GWB's Iraq "liberation": based and justified on a (plethora of) LIES.
4) Same with U.S. multiple "incursions" (Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua etc.): all based and justified on LIES.
5) U.S. objectives, policy, actions (arming Al Qada etc.): based and justified on LIES.


The neoliberals and neocons promised peace and prosperity and the people went along as long as it seemed that they could deliver. We may have reached a point where those promises are shown to be false/unsustainable - and that is what you may be sensing.

I think what I mentioned is more certain then "sensing": large swaths of publics (US/Britain), for several decades largely accepting policies of their gov. leaders while accepting also demonization of (in this case) PUTIN, are openly rejecting this with new Syrian developments. We (U.S.) have endured financial/economic stagnation because of this for 15 years. I'm keen to see if the "moral stomach ache" may be initiating a long overdue reconsideration of "things".

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 18 2015 17:04 utc | 58

@ guest77 | 52

The Russians have a lot of pull with the Kurdish street

As far as I know, Iran has even more pull than Russia in Kurdish streets, but still Axis of evil have way, WAY more to offer. Starting with Kurdistan and finishing with economic prosperity. From moral point of view we all would want for Kurds to ditch the Terror Axis and join the Resistance, but geopolitical decisions are made based on pragmatism, and Russia/Iran have little to offer in comparison to US and its puppets.

Its not just about Kurds leadership, what do you think common guys would prefer, their own country or staying as parts of n countries? Prosperity or poverty?

For foreseeable future, Kurds will remain USrael puppets, things might change couple of decades down the road.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 18 2015 17:39 utc | 59

From Sputnik News.

Infamous, "isolated" Russia, is becoming very popular...

Rallies Supporting Russia's Operation in Syria Held Across Europe, Mideast

Rallies supporting Russia's operation in Syria have been held Sunday in European and Middle Eastern states, including Berlin, Lebanon, Hungary and Serbia [...]

[...] Similar rallies have also been held outside Russian diplomatic missions in Belarus, Lebanon, Romania, Hungary, Serbia and India, where the participants expressed their heartfelt gratitude for Russia’s assistance to the Syrian people’s fight against terrorism.

"We gathered to express support for the Russian government in the fight against terrorism. We can not be satisfied with the policy of the United States and the European Union in the Middle East because they are acting only in their own interests, maybe for access to oil and gas, they are destroying the region," Syrian student Lamak Cooder told a RIA Novosti correspondent in Belgrade.

Meanwhile in Beirut, participants of a rally supporting Russia's military operation in Syria handed over a letter expressing gratitude to the Russian Embassy.


The two articles below complement each other.

Russian Success in Syria Shows US-Dominated World 'Falling Apart'

With the ongoing Russian anti-ISIL campaign in Syria, one no longer hears about US airstrikes in Syria; Washington is quickly losing its position in the international arena, while Moscow, on the contrary, is proving there is an alternative to a US-dominated unipolar world [...]

[...] Russia's example that one could successfully act without the approval of the United States might become a wake-up call for other countries and regions, which haven't decided yet whom to align themselves with. Previously, these countries were unwilling to go against Washington, as there was no real alternative to the US-dominated world, the political analyst explained.

And now none other than Jean-Claude Juncker himself, the President of the European Commission, was heard saying that the EU shouldn't allow Washington to dictate its relations with Russia. Political experts have already said that if the EU were to start closer cooperation with Russia, it would be a disaster for the United States. The question is now: has the EU finally realized that it could gain more independence from Washington by working closer with Moscow? [...]


Checkmate, partners...

US Should Admit Russian Legitimate Interest in Syria - American Journalist

Politicians in Washington should recognize the legitimate geopolitical interests of Russia in the Middle East, an American journalist Lawrence Pintak wrote.

Russia in its fight against radical ISIL is also protecting the access of its naval forces to the Syrian port of Tartus, the journalist said.

“Protecting the presence of its naval forces in the Mediterranean and forming an alliance with Iran. This is a checkmate to the United States. This is real politics,” Pintak wrote for Seattle Times [...]

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 18 2015 17:47 utc | 60



Posted by: crone | Oct 18 2015 17:48 utc | 61

@57 Lone Wolf

excellent post!

another article from Neo Journal posted this a.m. gives a terrific summary of US deeds bringing world to where we are today:

Posted by: crone | Oct 18 2015 18:02 utc | 62


Being a relative newcomer to the Land of Entrapment you may not know we were the first designated national Energy/Weapons Sacrifice Zone that is reflected by the many contaminated sites you list. The growing Atomic Alley that ends at the leaking WIPP site is just the latest addition to the mess.

Russia has as many if not more and worse Nuke legacy sites and they are now actively promoting the spread of this dirty and unsafe technology which has at least been stalled here.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 18 2015 18:25 utc | 63


Thanks for the links.

I am looking forward to an update on the battle of Aleppo from b. I've been scouring my news sources and there is nothing fundamentally new about it. This is an important battle, and the takfiris had sufficient time to prepare for it. Entering the areas of Aleppo under takfiri control will be a treacherous trek for the SAA and allies, land mines, booby traps, sharpshooters, ambushes, you name it. Hopefully the SAA and allies have also prepared for it accordingly.

Aleppo is the first battleground where the joint coordination of the 4+1 will test its mettle against the takfiris, hence its importance. The outcome will not determine the end results of the Syrian war, but it will inform over its relative length in time, vis-a-vis the determination, tactics and morale of the takfiris.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 18 2015 18:37 utc | 64

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 18, 2015 2:25:07 PM | 63

Oops! Another blind (rage) spot?
It's only the cleanup/compensation phase that's been "stalled here."
The pollution continues.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 18 2015 18:54 utc | 65


Being a relative newcomer to the Land of Entrapment you may not know we were the first designated national Energy/Weapons Sacrifice Zone that is reflected by the many contaminated sites you list. .

I am very familiar. I put my professional life on hold for 3 years, working more then full time with our non-profit on DOD/DOE water contamination "issues" in ABQ. Many here credit us with getting the AF to begin cleanup of the Kirtland spill. Unfortunately, we've had less success with the MWL. Those active at Los Alamos, similarly have hardly put a dent in things up there. Several (very courageous) distinguished Los Alamos employees who became "whistle blowers", had their lives ruined in doing so. DOE is ruthless in secrecy, dishonesty, and protecting it's "right" to continue environmentally lethal practices.

Since I was in this up close and with both feet, I have continuously been somewhere beyond amazed at DOE's (I'll call it) evil in this regard. They are deliberately, consciously and pro-actively 100% not interested in their "work" making people sick, much less serious long term environmental hazards. (Mostly) Neo-Con lawmakers have done their bidding, well insulating DOE with layers of legal "insulation" essentially giving them carte blanche as toxic polluters.

The growing Atomic Alley that ends at the leaking WIPP site is just the latest addition to the mess
Big effort underfoot currently, to expand WIPP's mandate beyond agreement at it's inception... to take high level waste. (Deranged... literally) Ex Sen. Domenici leading political "brigade" to accomplish this. SE NM sees this WIPP expansion as an "economic opportunity".
Russia has as many if not more and worse Nuke legacy sites (...)

GWB killed Al Gore's (very successful and effective under Clinton) program assisting Russia in this cleanup, setting things back some years. Bush did this BTW for the same reasons he did much else: petty, childish recriminations against people he didn't like (SH).

If you GOOGLE and read up, I think you'll find Russia has been very forthcoming since '09 or so in detailing contents of their waste inventory, including Arctic (sunken nuke subs). I think it could be argued in last 5 yrs or so, they'e been more responsible and complete in this then U.S.

Posted by: jdmckay | Oct 18 2015 19:06 utc | 66
The Real News
Who Are the Targets of Russian Airstrikes in Syria?

Russians claim to be targeting ISIS while United States says the strikes are hitting pro-Western rebel forces, but London Metropolitan University's Sami Ramadani says these two groups are practically one in the same

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 18 2015 19:06 utc | 67

Paveway IV @ 15, Thank you for explaining how the story of US bombing the electricity & water pumping was censored. It makes one ashamed to be American while doing so little to oppose the monsters who have got control of our country and our military.
Cholera has already begun in Iraq in 15 of the 18 governates. As of 10/7 1200 cases, mostly in the North, but now in the S along the Euphrates.

BiffaBacon @ 16, Thanks for the military info; I was confused about whether Rus military was awful or terrific. Your comment helped. Some idiot wrote that the capability that Russia showed in the Caspian missile firing cancels all effectiveness of the ABM systems on her border. Surely that isn't true is it?

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 19:10 utc | 68

Tom @ 26, "Remember the ludicrous claim when some people said that a big part of the nuclear energy deal between the Iran and the US, was partly about getting Iran to help the US defeat ISIL proxies ( US proxies ) ?"

Tom, Iran has been active in Syria since at least 2013 w/o a peep from US. Nor did they try to make non-activity in Syria a part of the negotiations. Nor have they threatened the agreement due to now-official involvement in Syria. When the neocons threatened the deal due to Iran's recent missile-testing, Obama announced publicly that the testing would not affect the nuke deal.

When you see US behavior or administration behavior as an indivisible black box you deprive yourself of valuable info in understanding what's happening behind the scenes.

The neocon/CIA crazies are still dominant, but the anglophile/Rockefeller/Obama faction is trying to restrain them in favor of growing the supranational institutions & trade treaties as a less-visible path to a completed global oligarchy.
What does this mean to us right now? Obama is the lone public figure saying "no" to one or two no-fly zones over Syria. His own Secy State has spoken out in favor of it. The only public sources I have identified as helping in this are some British press, CFR's Foreign Affairs and indirect aid from the NYT through public disclosure of some of the more scandalous US military acts. Further, there are now noises about US boots in Syria, including from Kerry.

Look at the planned China Sea provocation: The intention to commit it was broken in the Navy Times, with the notation that it had not yet received Obama's approval! The story was then picked up w/o that notation. This is clearly a nudge on the part of some Navy people to make it nearly impossible for Obama to refuse approval. Most of the military higher ups support the neocon faction's program, in part due to bribery by arms manufacturers. The most neocon of all is the Navy; only CIA is worse.

The neocons want to continue the spread of chaos, but the anglophile/Rockefeller/Obama faction want the Islamists wiped out or at least weakened. This makes common cause between them and Iran/Russia. Further, it was impossible for Obama to use the US military for the job. Do you imagine in your wildest dreams that the US military wd wipe out all the Islamists while leaving Assad and Syria standing?

I hope the British press or NYT will disclose disgusting US acts against electricity & water in Syria. I would bet you anything that Obama did not approve that US action.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 19:13 utc | 69


Thanks for your good-sense comments acquitting Syria of ethnic cleansing. I'd like to add that they accepted one MILLION Iraqi refugees due to the US wars-- though it meant giving them free medical care and schooling.

Tom, your comments "Not some doubtless fake bullshit egocentric certainty that you exhibited with your answer.

in northern Syrisa, many Kurds have been doing exactly that. read any news it contradicts your fake world view lately ?

Don't let human suffering of actual people get in the way of your propaganda. As long as it makes you feel better, I guess it's alright then."

are not persuasive. When you fall into mocking or insults it's apt to convince people that you have no valid arguments. Are you having a bad day today, or are you always like this? I'm sure you can do better.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 19:27 utc | 70

Penelope @69

SANA's reporting that illegal coalition F-16s hit another Aleppo power plant and other near-by civilian infrastructure,

Obama's 100% responsible for the actions of his subordinates, just as GHW Bush was during Gulf War 1 when the same sorts of crimes were done in Iraq. Furthermore, it's purportedly his policy being carried out, so he's even more guilty.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2015 19:31 utc | 71

By William Lowther In Washington and Glen Owen for The Mail on Sunday

October 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Daily Mail" - A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.

The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.

It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.

The classified document also discloses that Blair agreed to act as a glorified spin doctor for the President by presenting ‘public affairs lines’ to convince a sceptical public that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction – when none existed.

In return, the President would flatter Blair’s ego and give the impression that Britain was not America’s poodle but an equal partner in the ‘special relationship’.

The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.

In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’.

The disclosure is certain to lead for calls for Sir John Chilcot to reopen his inquiry into the Iraq War if, as is believed, he has not seen the Powell memo.

A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public opinion in favour of the war.

The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 18 2015 19:56 utc | 72

Ben @ 35, Thanks for the link. Not only did Assad not accept the proposed Qatari pipeline; he accepted the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. Also Syria is the only Arab country that has a State-owned oil company. And the only one not having an IMF loan.
jdmckay @ 55, Thanks for all the info. I knew only about Falluja, Iraq's terrible birth defects due to the "depleted" uranium weapons. Please stay in touch after arriving in Viet Nam. I hope everyone realizes that agent orange was a Monsanto product. They are still at it w their GMOs and their Roundup weed killer. Their culture of impunity has been ramped up as part of the completion of their global oligarchy. I wonder if enough of us will get organized in time to stop them.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 22:30 utc | 73

Claudio @ 57, "clearly, neolib policies were enacted in a political vacuum, which the [70s] "rebellion" contributed strongly to create; "
The thought is new to me, Claudio. Will you expand on why you think they are connected, or refer me to a link?
From my POV the neolib policies were set up by the Brenton Woods system which the CFR foisted on the allies post WWII. After all, that was the introduction of the supranational institutions that form the architecture of the neoliberal econ/political world. It grew impressively w Reagan & Thatcher, then again w the downfall of the USSR, and finally was accelerated by the changes for which 9-11 was the justification.
Thanks; I'm not challenging you, just want to know the basis of your thinking.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 22:32 utc | 74

@73 Penelope

Syria is NOT "the only Arab country that has a State-owned oil company". Far from it.

Just about every Arab country has a state-owned oil company.

Here are just the ones from the Gulf, but Algeria also has one (Sonatrach), as well as Yemen(YOGC), Lybia (LNOC) and Egypt (EGPC).

Posted by: MMARR | Oct 18 2015 22:56 utc | 75

karlof1 @ 71,
Thank you, karlof1, for the link:

"A military source told SANA that warplanes of the Washington alliance violated Syrian airspace and attacked civilian infrastructure in Mare’a, Tal Sha’er, and al-Bab in Aleppo countryside on Sunday." Includes another power plant feeding Aleppo.

I would feel more certain this is true if the military source were named. "Washington alliance"? It would be so much better if this turned out to be the Saudis, but are they even in the "65 nation coalition"?

I can't find it anywhere else, but of course that's meaningless now that there's active censorship. Damn. This means Russia will have to put up a no-fly zone.

The purpose of my comment @ 69 is not to excuse Obama, but to understand the underlying dynamics that might help us to anticipate what comes next. If this 2d attack has indeed taken place & US was the perp, then Obama's small control of the US military has diminished even further-- making the prospect exceedingly dangerous.

I am sorry, karlof1, that you are not able to see beyond the man's neocon blabber to his behavior pattern. I didn't see it myself until a month ago & it's difficult to do, given the revulsion he inspires.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 18 2015 23:11 utc | 76

@59 "As far as I know, Iran has even more pull than Russia in Kurdish streets, but still Axis of evil have way, WAY more to offer."

Such as?

Not a state, that's for sure.
a) They'd have to topple Assad, and that's looking less and less likely with every passing day
b) They'd have to placate Turkey, who will go ballistic at the mere mention of a Kurdistan.

Care to explain why the USA would shaft Turkey in order to "offer" the Kurds a state?
On a purely cost/benefit analysis why would Washington think that is a good idea?

...."Starting with Kurdistan"....

The USA is about as likely to foster the birth of Kurdisatan is it is likely to foster the birth of Palestine.

It may *talk* about that being something that it favours, sure, but Washington is full of *talk*.

But there is no way that the USA would actually allow that to happen, not when Turkey is a much more valuable US asset than Kurdistan could ever possibly be.

...."and finishing with economic prosperity."

How, exactly?

The USA would have to carve that Kurdistan out of Syrian territory, and then ensure its economic prosperity in the face of implacable hostility from both Syria to the south and Turkey to the north.

Both of those would move heaven and earth to make that Kurdistan a failed state and an economic basket-case.

..."From moral point of view we all would want for Kurds to ditch the Terror Axis and join the Resistance, but geopolitical decisions are made based on pragmatism, and Russia/Iran have little to offer in comparison to US and its puppets."

Russia/Iran can offer the Kurds autonomy in a future federated Syrian state and - much more importantly - will deliver on that offer.
The USA can dangle the possibility of a Kurdistan, but - much more importantly - the Kurds must know that Washington will never deliver.

It is now getting to the ridiculous point where the USA is dropping weapons to the Kurds and then demanding that they march on Raqqa and wrest it from ISIS.

From a Kurdish PoV that would be The Dumbest Idea Ever, since that amounts to the USA urging them to shed blood to capture an Arab city that they would never, ever be allowed to keep in any final peace deal. Why would that appeal to the Kurds?

The Russians - by way of marked contrast - are going to want the Kurdish forces to strike west from Kobane towards Afrine, and that not only will help the Russians but would also be regard as Heaven On A Stick as far as the Kurds are concerned.

When the time comes the Kurds will jump ship, and I don't doubt that Putin already has that assurance in his pocket.

The Kurds won't jump just yet, but the moment that the Syrian/Iranian/Russian forces make their move to push the "rebels" out of Aleppo and force them up North/North-East will be the moment that the Kurds join the Russian camp.

They'll make that move, and it will cut off any "rebel" retreat back into the safety of Turkey.

It is the "pragmatic" move for the Kurds to take, and so that's why they'll take it.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 18 2015 23:24 utc | 77

MMAR, Thank you for the correction. Appreciate it. I ought to have said, " .Syria is the only Mediterranean country with a state oil company and the only Arab country not indebted to IMF."

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 19 2015 1:18 utc | 78

Some still insist on writing that "Kurds this" and "Kurds that". Kurds are a bit more united than Syrians (and the numbers are comparable). In Turkey, some projections are that 1/3 of Kurds there will vote for AKP, and surely there were many ISIS fighters who were Kurds from Turkey. Still, majority will vote for HDP, "pro-Kurdish party" which seems to be a "popular front" that is in a deniable relationship with PKK (probably very close). Since PYD and PKK share personel etc., there is a clear political and military majority among the western Kurds.

Iraqi Kurds grew comfortable and fat under a decade or two of American protection, but politically, the current leadership of Barzanis seems unpopular, at least they use pretexts to delay elections. Since their wealth was build on export from controlled oil wells, now they are in trouble, manageable for decreasing tolerance for corruption. They have to do business with Iran, but Iran keeps their own few millions of Kurds under boot, so it is only so far that Kurds may like Iranians or Turks. But they have to cut deals, and they know how to do it.

The relations between western and Iraqi Kurds is complex, but they seem to be helping each other. My guess is that a recent drop of 50 tons of arms to PYD controlled area was not out of necessity, but to signal Turks that they should know their place. If only Washington had brains and guts to send a similar signal to KSA and GCC (drop some TOWs and MANPADs to carefully vetted Yemeni moderates).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 19 2015 1:28 utc | 79

This is a wonderfully insightful thread, as are many, thanks to all and b, it was a delight to read.

@52 guest77, you might find this interestingly related to the 60's counterculture that midwived the narcisism seen in America today.

@Penelope, I made a failed attempt gluing ISW you remarked about in a previous thread to the Highland group, since it sounds like something Yoda would have spun.

Posted by: Shadow Nine | Oct 19 2015 4:47 utc | 80

I noted the number of 3,000 for Russian 'troops', courtesy of the Captagon; I would be surprised if that number didn't include all Russians in uniform, in Syria. The initial deployment (other that the Tartus naval base cadre) was 1,250 Russian Marines, with heavy weapons, as base security for the Latakia military airfield, but since then the RuAF has moved in with all of the necessary maintenance and support personnel, services of supply, and the myriad other 'housekeeping' sections; also added have been SAM batteries, drone units, intel analysts, medical, and probably a selection of dogs and cats. I think that the total of Russians in uniform is way north of 3,000. Just sayin' - -

Posted by: Arklight | Oct 19 2015 13:19 utc | 81

I see another possibility.

- The syrian supply line from the south to Aleppo is very thin. Al Nusrah & ISIS could have cut off Aleppo days/months ago. It suggests that there are no Nusrah or ISIS troops on both sides on that supply line. I could imagine that syrian troops keep Nusrah & ISIS pinned down/busy in Aleppo & in the north west of Syria. While at the same time troops move from that Aleppo supply line westwards towards e.g. the turkish border. By doing that syrian troops can cut off the supply lines of Al Nusrah fighting in the north west.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 21 2015 22:12 utc | 82

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