Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 25, 2015

Big Christmas Gifts For Syria - Alloush Killed, Yarmouk Cleared

Today the Syrian airforce used air delivered missiles on buildings where a meeting of Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) leaders and others tool place and killed its leader Zahran Alloush, several of his lieutenants and some leading personal from Ahrar al-Shams, Failaq al Rahman, another anti-government Salafist group, and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Alloush, here a video of him preaching, was an extremely sectarian man. He called for the "cleansing" of all Alawite and Shia from Syria and he put Alawite women into cages on marketplaces to use them as human shields against government attacks. He praised Osama Bin Laden. Two Years ago Joshua Landis provided a profile of Alloush with some translation of his speeches.

Alloush had many enemies. Unlike other "moderates" he fought not only against the government. When challenged by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra or any local competition he fought them too. In the eyes of some Gulf propagandists that made him a "moderate". But his ideologically positions were nearly identical to those of the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. His pasture was the Ghouta area, east of Damascus and he had about 12,000 troops under his command. The Saudis and the Turks payed him and his men.

That the meeting could be targeted is great success for the Syrian and Russian intelligence.

In another success today some 2,000 Islamic State followers and their immediate families left Yarmouk after a deal with the government. Yarmouk is a large Palestinian quarter in Damascus. The men were allowed to leave to east Syria where the Islamic State rules. Heavy weapons were collected by the government and the Syrian army will take control of Yarmouk and two nearby quarters.

These are two very big Christmas gifts Syria received today. While Alloush will be replaced, his "army" is likely to fall apart under any less brutal and charismatic leader. Yarmouk will likely stay pacified for the foreseeable future.

Posted by b on December 25, 2015 at 19:46 UTC | Permalink

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If, and only if this above assumption is a true, how come that those people were on the right place at right time?

What does your "intuitive" crystal ball tell you? Unfortunately I am not so lucky to have one. Please share your visions.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 27 2015 1:48 utc | 101

I suspect there are two Syrian opposition lists. One not so moderate and one moderate. One pro-sunni, pro-jihadi, pro-Saudi Arabia. Another one is pro-Iranian and pro-Russian. The former met in Saudi Arabia, its godmather and had its most infamous commander recently sent to meet his moon god allah. The latter is presumably mostly made up of Kadyrov Chechens sunnis, kurds and Assyrian christians and met in Astana to demand that Saudi Arabia stand down.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 27 2015 1:57 utc | 102

Interesting!!! :)

UN sets Syria peace talks target date, after death of rebel chief

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 27 2015 2:01 utc | 103

As always, M K Bhadrakumar has such great insight into the international diplomatic game related to Syria. A few days old, his analysis of how well Israel is doing is depressing but essential for keeping left/sovereigntist/populist analysts realistic. And it helps us understand how Moscow doesn't want to be drawn into the 'resistance front' while still maintaining excellent relations with Hezbollah. Tough to do ...

He also has a new piece on the new contacts between Russia and Taliban -- to share ISIS intel -- and speculates on how that might eventually evolve into something very positive for Afghanistan. Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran may some day work something out with the U.S. and India that brings a strange imperfect peace to Afghanistan. IMHO, the only way that might work is through strong autonomy, power to the provinces, throughout Afghanistan. Keeping the nation together but giving lots of cultural, educational, and local economic power to sub-national ethnicities.

Posted by: fairleft | Dec 27 2015 2:26 utc | 104

@ Lone Wolf | Dec 26, 2015 8:48:36 PM | 100

The guy is dead, very dead., probably assassinated along with that bodyguard. He was major obstacle in "peace process". I explained it in my post # 4.

Video is fake. It is just childish and stupid as is any PR but it serves its purposes. "They" do not want compromise its actions, sources and players.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 27 2015 2:29 utc | 105

PavewayIV @93

The poor resolution of the Facebook video looks like it could be from a mil UAV, but zoomed-in external video of the display screen to hide other numbers around the periphery that could identify the drone type or origin.
Green Lemon notes on Twitter that the Ghouta video is similar to another video released by the Russian MoD. Except the MoD video is zoomed in to hide the coordinates.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Dec 27 2015 2:40 utc | 106


[...] I expect Russia over the next few years to continue to lace the world with renewed laws and affirmations of the rule of law. The US will ignore, and the cynics will sneer - for a time. The day will come, around 2020, when Russian military might is where it aims to be. On that day, Putin will have both the good argument AND the Smith & Wesson that the old saw says makes for the best persuasion. And finally the cynics and those currently in despair will get it [...]

I wonder if you saw this,

Mighty missiles: Russian Tor-M2U SAM fires from moving launcher (RARE VIDEO)

The Russian Defense Ministry has released rare footage of a Tor-M2U surface-to-air missile launcher firing on the move, a feat as yet unachieved by any competitor.

The launcher was driving off-road at 25 kpm/h and successfully hit a Saman practice target with the first missile fired, the ministry said. The test was performed this summer at Kapustin Yar test range in Arkhangelsk region [...]

[...] The capability to fire on the move is what distinguishes the M2U modification of the Tor. The benefit is that it can respond to a surprise attack and that a moving column doesn't need to stop to get protection, as was the case with the previous models.

Producer of the system, Almaz Antey, said at the time that teaching the old dog the new trick was challenging, but the result brings Tors to a new tactical level [...]

and this,

Russia Creates Secretive New Missile for Iskander-M System

Russia's defense industry recently announced the creation of a new missile. According to military expert Igor Korotchenko, the announcement was careful to conceal the new missile's specifications.

Russia's new missile for the Iskander-M launcher, said to have been completed on Friday, has some secret characteristics, weapons expert Igor Korotchenko told Sputnik.

"The Ministry of Defense and the industrial enterprises are not disclosing the tactical and technical characteristics. This is so that a potential opponent would not take counter-measures," Korotchenko said.

According to Korotchenko, the two main factors behind the development of a new missile are the precision of the strike and the ability to maneuver against anti-air and anti-missile defenses [...]

[...]Russia is not trying to win wars. Russia is building peace. It's a significantly different effort, and it even looks different. It fools a lot of people who look for explosions as the indication that things are moving. I love a good explosion myself. But above all I admire the unparalleled diplomacy we're seeing nowadays. Those old Taoists, the Chinese, must surely admire it too. Who knew that something so silent and well dressed could move mountains?

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

I'd like to share two more articles you might have come across with, but if not, I am sure you'll appreciate them. Relatively long, but worth your time reading them.

Why the West Can Never Defeat or “Forgive” Russia

Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet.

During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more.

Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of all times: the systematic dismantling of Western colonialism. All over the world oppressed masses stood up against European and North American imperialist barbarity, and it was the Soviet Union that was ready to give them a beacon of hope, as well as substantial financial, ideological and military support.

As one oppressed and ruined nation after another was gaining independence, hatred against the Soviet Union and the Russian people was growing in virtually all the capitals of the Western world. After all, the looting of non-white continents was considered a natural right of the “civilized world”.

In the USA and Europe, such words as “colonialism” and “imperialism” were rapidly gaining extremely negative connotations, or at least on the surface. It would have been counter-productive to attack, to demonize the Soviet Union for supporting liberation struggles in all those continents. Instead, elaborate theories about the “Evil Empire” were erected.

Russia has always been “ in the way”; a colossal country spoiling the brutal plans of Washington, Berlin, London and Paris – plans to control and plunder the entire planet.

But the nobler were its deeds; the more insulting the attacks against it [...]

Hounding the Bear: Hybrid Methodology of Containing Russia

Bear-hounding is a hunting technique, in which a pack of dogs pursues a bear until exhaustion—at that point the hunter can make his kill. And that is to what Karen Shakhnazarov, a well-known Russian filmmaker of Armenian origin, compared Russia’s predicament in the current geopolitical situation.

The bear analogy in Russia’s case is a contrived and, often, derogatory image describing the barbaric Other outside the West. It has deep historic roots, as literary and artistic examples indicate. But it is also one that works metaphorically. As a large continental power spanning Eurasia including some of the coldest places on earth—one with nuclear capabilities—Russia is not unlike the bear. In fact, many Russians themselves have reappropriated this comparison [...]

I truly envy your prose. I wish I could express myself with such power as well as so much beauty.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 27 2015 2:43 utc | 107

to those of you who admire Russia: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 27 2015 2:55 utc | 108

"The only thing worse than being attacked by ZATO and the GCC is to actually be on their side when their evil schemes come off the rails. The intel agencies have a solid record of executing their scorched-earth policy for 'friends' that know too much. The trouble is that they all have a slightly different view of what particular individuals are dangerous..."

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 26, 2015 4:47:12 PM | 78

Yep. That's where the Coalition of Christian Cretins is at, right now.
Too much huffing and puffing for it to mean anything other than GAME OVER.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 27 2015 2:56 utc | 109

Lone Wolf @105: Very nice and informative post, and I agree about Grieved @94:

I truly envy your prose. I wish I could express myself with such power as well as so much beauty.

Posted by: fairleft | Dec 27 2015 3:42 utc | 110


to those of you who admire Russia: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

While the Russians come and get you, you might as well enjoy the latest Artem Grishanov's new music video: "The Russian Storm"

"If a fight is inevitable, you have to strike first"





Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 27 2015 4:01 utc | 111


Thanks, fairleft!

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 27 2015 4:18 utc | 112

jfl has been missing- someone else mentioned this. I miss his posts. Whatever happened to malooga by the way- he disappeared without a trace as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 27 2015 4:49 utc | 113


",,,then the Empire of Chaos will fall!!" Episode 6

The Farce Emerging, this One is.

The Empire of Chaos $1,200B debit card refresher, it got.
The Empire of Chaos $85B Special Black Ops fund, it uses.
The Empire of Chaos' all-consuming Pentagonal black hole:
Persists, it does. Metastasizes, it will. Kills, it must.

The only thing that's going to 'fall' is the bulk price.

Posted by: Chipnik | Dec 27 2015 5:18 utc | 114

Yarmouk camp evacuation 'on hold'

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 27 2015 5:20 utc | 115

Same source grieving the death of Alloush praised the killing of the Russian pilot parachuting out of his SU-24 fighter bomber downed by Turkey one month ago:

استشهاد البطل زهران علوش قائد جيش الأسلام بغارة روسية استهدفت ريف دمشق ٢٥ ١٢ ٢٠١٥
شمس حوران

The martyrdom of the hero Zahran Aloush Army of Islam commander of a Russian raid targeted the Damascus 25-12 2015
Sun Horan

اسر طيار روسي بعد اسقاط طائرته على الحدود السورية التركية من قبل المقاتلات التركية ٢٤ ١١ ٢٠١٥

The families of the Russian pilot after dropping his plane on the Syrian-Turkish border by Turkish fighter jets 24-11 2015

جمد عبدالله‬‎ 1 month ago
الله أكبر
اللهم زد وبارك
ونصر المسلمين
وفرج على اخواننا في سوريا
عاجﻻ غير آجل

شمس حوران @HoranSun1

قال الفُضيل بن عياض رحمه الله:
وجدت في بعض الكتب: إذا عصاني من عرفني سلطت عليه من لا يعرفني.

Search Islam teaching:

Posted by: Oui | Dec 27 2015 5:50 utc | 116

Seems his successor has already met his maker.

Maybe not such a desirable job...

Posted by: chuckvw | Dec 27 2015 7:38 utc | 117

Piotr Berman | Dec 26, 2015 5:58:26 PM | 86

Many have suspected that Syrian intelligence had deeply infiltrated the Muslim Brotherhood. They certainly had good reason to work on placing agents there ever since the Homs uprising 30 years ago. A sleeper in place for 20 years would certainly have the opportunity to rise high in any organization. After the killing of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi I had trouble understanding why the Libyan Jihadists would have carried out such an act. The beneficiary of that killing was Syria. Maybe they had some inside influence with the Libyan Islamist. It is known that the Benghazi region sent many volunteers to fight the Americans in Iraq and they transited through Syria at that time (at least, that was a charge made by the Bush admin).

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 27 2015 8:47 utc | 118

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 27, 2015 3:47:29 AM | 117

The beneficiary were weapons traders. Stevens had spoilt the price.

Let's face it - policy is based on interest not the other way round.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 27 2015 9:50 utc | 119

add to | 118

This actually is the intriguing part of Hersh's latest story - someone delivered old, hardly functioning weapons to Syria's US supported rebels. So Gulf states/Turkey had to buy the real stuff.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 27 2015 9:54 utc | 120

This here is Hersh on Benghazi

A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

You think these people were in it for the US president, the Queen and freedom and democracy?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 27 2015 10:33 utc | 121

Piotr Berman@86 Re: my ratting out remark - "...It is a speculation, at best. That there are officers ("commanders") among the rebels who are Syrian intelligence agents is known from celebrations of the return of some of them to SAA. And the same must be true on the level of "normal fighters", as rebels absorbed a number of defectors, some defections were staged..."

In general, yes. For the people closest to Alloush (the former hard-core Liwa al Islam), I doubt it. These were people closer in ideology to the Jabat al Nusra head-choppers and participated in various civilian slaughters with them - Adra comes to mind. There were certainly no Alawite defectors in LaI. Since the formation of the larger umbrella group Jaish al Islam, there were probably many more questionable loyalty defectors, so maybe. What I find hard to believe in your scenario is that it took until now for Syria to get any intel that could place him at a certain place at a certain time. Assad would have taken out Alloush at the first opportunity. Of course, Syria could have tried to take out Alloush (unsuccessfully) several times previously for all we know - I just find that unlikely. We'll have to disagree on this one.

"...As far as Saudis and Turks disposing of "inconvenient" commanders, they provide money and weapons, so they have more direct ways to exercise influence..."

That is, if you think the intent was to exercise influence. I believe the intent was to shut him up - permanently. One could hardly do that by threatening to withhold weapons or pay at this point. The war is already lost for the crumbling remnants of Jaish al Islam. Alloush was reduced to providing transport security to evacuate jihadis to Raqqa - ISIS territory. Last I remember JaI and ISIS were still mortal enemies and beheading each other.

"...I am also not sure if this killing is actually decisive. Replacement of the leadership is quite usual in insurgence movements and not a big game changer, as opposed to factors like emergence or end of outside support..."

Agree. If it was an all Assad op, then maybe just a revenge attack for LaI's past Alawite slaughters. JaI is still the largest Saudi-funded group, so plenty of lieutenants to pick up the pieces for their now-failing strategy. On the other hand, this would be a good excuse for JaI's Saudi Arabia backers to throw in the towel. The jihadis wouldn't disappear, they would simply look for another employer. I hear ISIS and JaN are still good for a paycheck.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 27 2015 14:53 utc | 122

Interesting read at ZH & RT
and this

Shows that the borg will never quit because it seeks neither war or peace, it seeks dominance....submit or die......the freemasonic statue of liberty woman aka mystery babylon the mother of whores says: "I shall not be a widow!" (Rev 18:7)

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 27 2015 15:49 utc | 123

It is also interesting that as the ZATO Missile Defense Shield is deployed in Eastern Europe and on US Aegis equipped naval platforms, the counter move is also developing. I refer to Russian plans for selling S-300 and S-400 SAM to: Iran, India and China therebyof encircling "the one belt one silk road." This is causing consternation in the Borg after having an early taste of the S-300 naval version. It seems the Mockba shot down two ZATO missiles launched from the mediterranean towards Syria in 2013. That is not fair! What can the Borg do?

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 27 2015 16:04 utc | 124

You have to read between the lines and doubt anything the MSM wants you to know. So proceed with caution at your own peril
Popeye Turbo missile launches from Israeli Dolphin subs

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 27 2015 16:25 utc | 125


Re: drone "...I did not pay attention until now how it is guided and controlled? I thought it has own RC transmitter/receiver but now I am puzzled by Toughbook there..."

The simplest models of A/V systems for drones are just independent wireless camera/transmitter with a wireless receiver connected to a TV monitor (called First Person Displays or FPVs). Nothing to do with the R/C controller - you just clip the little monitor on your regular joystick controller and watch as you fly. It's no different than a wireless security camera and has a 'pure' picture - no text of any kind. You could use any TV monitor, but the little portable ones are what you usually see.

The next level of integration is a gizmo (On-Screed Display or OSD) that you hook up between the controller, A/V receiver and FPV that electronically overlays some simple flight data on the video signal. Newer models combine the R/C controller transmitter/receiver with the A/V one.

Some models have a laptop connector so you can use its display for real-time viewing. Other models will have programs you can run on your laptop to pre-configure flight paths and record the video. Some models have no joystick controller at all - the transmitter/receiver is a card with a couple of antennas that you plug in your laptop. Everything is done on the computer.

So no general rule about if UAVs need a laptop or not - depends on the manufacturer and model.

Are you saying it can not be Amazon's toy?

I'm just guessing it's not based on the OSD. It 'looks' like some of the data a mil operator would want and not what a hobby quadcopter would display. That said, it's not nearly enough information that I would expect to see on a mil UAV display. A mil UAV would always have heading information for instance, not just a GPS coordinates. Mil UAVs can have dozens of OSD overlays to pick from, so maybe this is just a bare bones version.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 27 2015 16:53 utc | 126

Petri Krohn@105 "Green Lemon notes on Twitter that the Ghouta video is similar to another video released by the Russian MoD. Except the MoD video is zoomed in to hide the coordinates."

I'm a bit skeptical of the Russian MoD using a mil drone with English rather than a Russian/cyrillic OSD, but they were apparently looking at a UAV screen just like that during CENTCOM 2015. That's probably not a live image - it looks like video editing software. There's another screen they use for programming the route and tracking (in Cyrillic) on this Orlan 10 video.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 27 2015 17:45 utc | 127


jfl has been missing- someone else mentioned this. I miss his posts. Whatever happened to malooga by the way- he disappeared without a trace as far as I can tell.

I mentioned jfl absence in my Christmas greetings. He might be out of circulation for the holidays, hopefully that's the case. AFAIK, he's based in Thailand. Let's hope for the best.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 28 2015 1:38 utc | 128

anne barnards movingtribute to Alloush

Posted by: brian | Dec 28 2015 4:50 utc | 129

Sounds like sour grapes to me. Alloush was probably on Anne's fantasy list. She should be grateful that they weren't busy lighting each others fire when he was extinguished.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 28 2015 7:41 utc | 130

Recent 15-day Ceasefire In Eastern Ghoute

Daily Sabah with AFP | Published Nov. 18, 2015 |

(BEIRUT) - Assad regime forces and Syrian opposition were locked in talks to reach a 15-day ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta region east of the capital, a monitor and a security source told AFP. These are the first known talks aiming for a truce in the region and are likely being brokered by Russian or Iranian mediators, the SOHR said.

If agreement is reached, "a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta would begin at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) Thursday and will last 15 days," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

A senior Syrian security source told AFP "talks are ongoing between the government and a number of armed groups in Eastern Ghouta... to stop military operations," without giving further details."Our Russian allies are playing a direct role in contacting those that support the armed groups."

Jaish al-Islam, the most powerful rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, was the main negotiating partner on the rebel side. A spokesman for the group could not be reached for comment.

An AFP journalist living nearby said fierce shelling could still be heard in Eastern Ghouta, which is the largest rebel stronghold near Damascus and is regularly bombarded by regime forces.

Rebel chief death may hurt Syria talks, boost Daesh | Gulf News |

Posted by: Oui | Dec 28 2015 14:06 utc | 131

The FSA condolences for the death of the "martyr"

Posted by: virgile | Dec 28 2015 23:27 utc | 132

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