Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 05, 2016

Syria - As Rebels Break Ceasefire Army Gathers For New Campaign

The ceasefire in Syria held for some five weeks but is now about to end. During the ceasefire Russia reduced its forces in Syria and the Syrian Arab Army made significant progress against the Islamic State.  But the opposition and their sponsors abused the ceasefire to rearm. They prepared and executed new attacks against the Syrian government and Syrian civilians.

The sponsors of the opposition, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. delivered new arms and munition to the "moderate" opposition. It is known that up to half of all supplies the "moderates" receive is inevitably delivered to al-Qaeda in Syria. The sponsors also broke a long-standing taboo and introduced portable anti-air missiles (MANPADs) onto the battle field. Several fighters of the U.S. and Turkey supported Al Hamza brigade posted pictures showing off their new toys. The U.S. claims that these fighters are supposed to only fight the Islamic State. But the Islamic State has no aircraft and these weapons are clearly to be used against the Syrian government and its supporters.

Today Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist group near to al-Qaeda, downed (video) a Syrian Su-22 ground-attack plane with a MANPAD near the city of Tal Eis, south of Aleppo city. The pilot, Lt. Col Musad Zayed Hirani, was taken prisoner by al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al Nusra). This incident shows that MANPADs immediately proliferate on the battle field and beyond and may soon be used against civilian planes in the Middle East and around the world.

Also today "moderate" rebels launched improvised artillery attacks on the mostly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in the government held parts of Aleppo city. At least 17 civilians were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

The "moderate" opposition in Syria which is receiving official U.S. support is not willing to distance itself from al-Qaeda:

“We absolutely do not agree with Jabhat Al Nusra. We do not want Jabhat Al Nusra’s ideology to be in Syria now or in the future. But we need fighters who will fight with us against the regime," said Zakaria Malahefji, a political officer with Fastaqim Kama Umrit, a coalition of rebel groups in the city of Aleppo.
“Jabhat Al Nusra are our brothers," said Hajj Bakri, a rebel leader in Hama. “We have no problem with them."
“Our relationship with Jabhat Al Nusra is good and there is a collaboration with Jabhat Al Nusra in military operations and security responsibilities," said Abu Zeid, a commander with the hardline Salafi militia Ahrar Al Sham in north-western Syria’s Akrad Mountains. As one of the most powerful rebel factions in the war, Ahrar Al Sham is Al Nusra’s most important single ally.

Al-Qaeda in Syria was, like the Islamic State, not part of the ceasefire agreement. The U.S. officially regards al-Qaeda in Syria as a terrorist entity and enemy. Al-Qaeda has zero interest in any negotiated peace and is therefore doing its best to sabotage it. During the last weeks it succeeded in convincing the "moderates" to join it in renewed fighting:

Faced by an internationally-mediated cessation of hostilities that threatened to irreversibly erode its influence, Nusra had begun in mid-March a process of talks inside Syria aimed at convincing opposition groups to resume their fight against the regime. As such, the last 48 hours of opposition advances south of Aleppo represent a victory for al-Qaeda in its efforts to undermine the political process and to put back in place conditions more amenable to its long game strategy for Syria.

On Saturday several U.S. supported "moderate" rebel groups joined al-Qaeda in an attack on the government held city of Tal Eis in the south Aleppo countryside:

Syria's partial cease-fire appeared to be unraveling Saturday as fierce fighting between government forces and opposition fighters, including members of the al-Qaida affiliated Nusra Front, erupted outside the country's second largest city of Aleppo and other parts in the country's north.

At least 25 pro-government and 16 opposition fighters died in the clashes south of Aleppo, where the Nusra Front and rebel militias captured a village overlooking a major highway, a Britain-based monitoring group told The Associated Press.
A number of groups — including some nominally party to the truce agreement — acknowledged on social media that they were battling government forces.

The Islam Army, whose political coordinator heads the opposition delegation during halting peace talks in Geneva, announced it had killed 20 government soldiers in fighting outside Damascus Friday. It announced Saturday it was also fighting in the south Aleppo countryside, though the group is not known to have a major presence there.

It is obvious now that the "moderate" rebels have broken the ceasefire and are openly in full cooperation with al-Qaeda.

Unless the opposition sponsors manage to immediately reign in their proxies, all out war in Syria will soon be back. The Syrian government and its allies are now mobilizing more forces to regain the lost areas in the southern Aleppo country side. For the first time 'advisors' of the regular Iranian army (not the Revolutionary Guard) will take part in the fighting. The Russian air force is likely to reintroduce some parts of its Syria contingent that had been withdrawn.

The Russian side had agreed with the U.S. to stop the fighting and to take the political walk through negotiations in Geneva. This decision was made against the wishes of the Syrian government and its Iranian allies. They would have preferred to at least free Aleppo city of all opposition forces before any talks.

But even if the ceasefire now breaks down the Russian move was valuable. It showed that it is able to hold its allies to a ceasefire when promised. It also demonstrated that the U.S. side is either not able, or not willing to implement and keep a ceasefire but abuses such period to rearm its proxies for new fighting.

The coming Syrian government campaign, with full support of its allies, will likely be at a more intense level than its last offensive. That attack had the rebels on the run, defeated and in parts fleeing the battle field when it was stopped by the ceasefire agreement. The coming attack will be more intense and will not stop until the opposition has taken very significant damage.

Today the Syrian army issued a statement asking all civilians to leave the areas held by the opposition within the next 48 hours. It promises that the new campaign will "give a lesson" to al-Qaeda and its followers.

Posted by b on April 5, 2016 at 14:14 UTC | Permalink


The "moderate rebels" ARE Al-Qaeda and ISIS, not just in cooperation, always have been

Posted by: rovikyanders | Apr 5 2016 14:52 utc | 1

One would hope that when Russia officially returns to Syria, a high priority will be given to targeting any and all US, French and British military advisors detected in Syria. The root cause of the cancer in Syria is FRUKUS. And if they they weren't prepared to die for what they believe in (a pack of lies & Regime Change by the foulest imaginable means) they should have stayed home.
Time to get serious, Vlad. Don't fret about WWIII. Chickenshit FRUKUS don't want it any more than you do...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2016 14:57 utc | 2

"The sponsors of the opposition, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. delivered new arm and munitions to the "moderate" opposition. It is known that up to half of all supplies the "moderates" receive is inevitably delivered to al-Qaeda in Syria. The sponsors also broke a long-standing taboo and introduced anti-air missile MANPADs onto the battle field. Several fighters of the U.S. and Turkey supported Al Hamza brigade posted pictures showing off their new toys"

and there you have your answer as to why Russia was so eager to declare victory and decide to withdraw much of it's aerospace forces from syria - MANPADS are bad for sales figures. very bad PR

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5 2016 15:02 utc | 3

Talk of a resumption of fighting in Ukraine, the resumption of fighting between Azerbaijan (supported by Turkey) and Nagorny-Karabakh (backed by Armenia) and the resumption of fighting in Syria. Coincidence? No, it's the United States acting as a predator, just as it always has.

Posted by: blowback | Apr 5 2016 15:04 utc | 4

thanks b..

i agree with the comments of the posters above as well... i think it was some ex cia i read recently saying there is no 'moderates' which basically gave him his walking papers... 'moderate' is the big lie, just like the west led by the usa is the big lie that keeps on lying.. not sure what the response is to manpads..anyone know? if the 'moderate' west/usa are going to give them to there 'moderate' rebels then clearly a lot of 'moderation' will continue to apply.... funny how the usa/west loves it's al qaeda/isis mercenary tools while claiming the exact opposite..

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2016 15:44 utc | 6

Hoarsewhisperer @2

There is a contingent of UK SAS/MI6 at Gaziantep directing the newly trained forward reconaisannce teams.

Ziad Fadel (Syrian Perspective) has the goods - an some excellent prose.

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 5 2016 15:54 utc | 7

Not a fan of these diplomatic games because they resulted in additional Syrian deaths. The only way to bring peace to Syria is to kill/expel the foreign militias and seal all the ratlines.

Posted by: aaaa | Apr 5 2016 16:02 utc | 8

Fully agree. Hope you'll right about your expectations concerning the syrian army.

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 5 2016 16:06 utc | 9

2 days ago Kodmani was complaining on French radio that she wanted a clarification on the US position which to her taste was starting to be too close to the Russian one.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 5 2016 16:24 utc | 10

@ Yul.
Well, we all know who Brown Moses brown-noses. Maybe he forgot that AmeriKKKa, having decided to pretend to fight ISIS, gave Russia a bullet-proof excuse to go to Syria and pretend to fight ISIS too. So bombing the bejezuz out FRUKUS's anti-Assad forces, and pretending that the victims were "ISIS" would have, and did, fill the Yankees with impotent rage. Hoist? Petard?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2016 16:25 utc | 11

Well, this appears to confirm distrust of the intentions of the Assad must go! Coalition.

There was either going to be a 'Race for Raqqa' (intervention resulting in a de-facto partition) or a provision of MANPADS to allow ISIS and al Nusra to counter air power.

Russia+Syria flatly rejected any notion of an intervention/incursion on Syrian soil nominally meant to 'fight ISIS' but accepted a ceasefire in what appears to be a good-faith attempt to promote a peaceful settlement.

But peaceful reforms are not enough. For the head-choppers and their sponsors, regime change is non-negotiable.

The devil is in the details: How many MANPADS were delivered and who controls them? Interesting that Obama was just reported to be deciding on whether to increase the SOF in Syria from the 50 or so that have been publically acknowledged to hundreds. To me such reporting means that they are already there.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 5 2016 16:39 utc | 12

John McCain's moderate rebel, picture taken near the border with Turkey circa September 2013, the liver eater is DEAD.

Posted by: Yul | Apr 5 2016 16:47 utc | 13

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 5, 2016 11:54:40 AM | 7

Thanks. I see what you mean about the prose - sounds as if the author mastered English in the UK. This bit is interesting. (We very rarely hear about SAA-MI even though it's my understanding that it had circa 100k members in 2011). Seems they still know their stuff...

"... according to our sources, an SAA-MI agent was among the group in charge of logistics for the meeting, a la the assassination of that murdering rodent, Zahraan ‘Alloosh, in eastern Damascus."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2016 17:00 utc | 14

The Rssians gave the opposition a chance to settle the conflict with diplomatic negotiations. Instead they have chosen to resume fighting not realizing that the Russian withdrawal was from a position of strength. Now the Russia will remove the gloves and not stop in Syria until the opposition is destroyed or in tatters.

If the opposition thought the battering by the Russians was bad, they ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Lacilir | Apr 5 2016 17:06 utc | 15

April 5, 2016 - Today's you cannot make this stuff up entry

"The CIA is blaming president Obama for failure to fully implement the”Assad must go” U.S. policy that led to the reduction of terrorists."

"Because Obama stopped short of direct military intervention, much of Washington’s strategy in Syria was carried out covertly by the CIA. And now that the plan has (largely) failed, the CIA has decided to throw Obama under the bus:"

source -

linked article -

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 5 2016 17:15 utc | 16

Syrian government refutes U.S. claims of killing top Nusra commander

The US claims it has killed a Al Nusra leader to try to convince the world that they consider Al Nusra as a terrorist organization while they are providing the allies of Al Nusra with advanced weapons. Who do they think they are fooling?

Posted by: virgile | Apr 5 2016 17:21 utc | 17

The 'moderate Opposition' had a chance to escape total annihilation and their sponsors a crushing humiliation. They just missed it.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 5 2016 17:23 utc | 18

Moon's analysis is interesting, as always, well thought out, but perhaps a bit pessimistic.
It is possible that the suppliers of the 'moderate' rebels reopened the arms spigot on the assumption that the 'moderates' would use these weapons only to secure their territory and strengthen their bargaining position. It is not surprising that some of the 'moderates' would see the weapons bonanza as as an opportunity for a renewal of combat and an abandonment of the cessation of hostilities. Will their suppliers (Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US) allow them to thus abuse the situation or will they rein them in? I think it is still possible that they will rein them in (which they could do by signalling that the supply of arms has been stopped) but I would not bet on it.

Posted by: Roger Milbrandt | Apr 5 2016 17:49 utc | 19

It is possible that the suppliers of the 'moderate' rebels reopened the arms spigot on the assumption that the 'moderates' would use these weapons only to secure their territory and strengthen their bargaining position.

Posted by: Roger Milbrandt | Apr 5, 2016 1:49:38 PM | 19

Years after the start of this vicious Syrian war, anyone still displaying the sort of childish thought-processes on display above is, frankly, totally effing retarded.

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5 2016 18:02 utc | 20

they are really underestimating the Russians. They are tough mudders.

Posted by: S.H.E. | Apr 5 2016 18:19 utc | 21

Disappointed in this as the Syrian people have been through enough.
Russia have been fooled by the U.S. and allies. The lavrov and kerry relationship is at the bottom of this.
Putin should listen to those in the ground not Lavrov who wants to be side by side with the west especially the U.S.

Posted by: James lake | Apr 5 2016 18:25 utc | 22

The idiotic Russians gave jihadi terrorists time to resupply, regroup, organise new strategies and alliances. What ever insignificant PR victory that some desperately claim, the on the on the ground battle strategy was a loss. Still won't change the eventual loss for the US empires terrorists in Syria.

So much for the idea that the ceasefire was a good idea and it advantage the Russians. none of the other anti- terrorist groups fighting in Syria thought it was a good idea.

Posted by: tom | Apr 5 2016 18:26 utc | 23

"willing to implement and keep a ceasefire but abuses such period to rearm its proxies for new fighting."

That's standard operating procedure. That's how you know when the US satraps are getting their ass kicked. The US always calls for a truce. We've already seen this same crap twice in Ukraine. You fight or resist, nothing else has ever worked when dealing with fascists.

It's sad many more average civilians will suffer and/or die again.

Posted by: Jethro | Apr 5 2016 19:10 utc | 24

So much for the idea that the ceasefire was a good idea and it advantage the Russians. none of the other anti- terrorist groups fighting in Syria thought it was a good idea.
Posted by: tom | Apr 5, 2016 2:26:05 PM | 25

Have you forgotten that Russia called all the shots in Syria from the day in September that they warned the Yankees to get out of their way, until the day Vlad choreographed the non-withdrawal withdrawal? Or have you detected an accidental element to Russia's strategy?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 5 2016 19:15 utc | 25

And yet no one asks themselves how it could be that the Assad regime so antagonized so many Syrians that people who don't believe in the goals of al Nusra feel the need to ally themselves.

You can't answer it, so you just go on pretending the question doesn't exist. Unicorns, indeed! What universe holds this fictive happy Syria returned to the embrace of its torturer? An emerald city for wizards like the heir to Billmon and Pat Lang.

Posted by: falcone | Apr 5 2016 19:48 utc | 26

@ falcone | Apr 5, 2016 3:48:06 PM | 29

Is that what they tell you under the rock you live beneath?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

OT - The Netherlands are conducting a referendum concerning association with Ukraine. The reported voting estimate should put some shivers down the backs of the Dutch government since it was they who supported the coverup of the loss of MH-17 and nearly 200 Dutch citizens aboard through NATO, U.S. State Dept. and EU collusion supporting the Maiddan Coup. An interesting mid-week in store.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 5 2016 20:09 utc | 27

@29 Please go try to run a country in the middle east - your idealistic democracy will revolutionize the region into peaceful bliss I'm sure!!

Posted by: aaaa | Apr 5 2016 20:14 utc | 28

I continue to be surprised at the number of forces still left in this world that believe they can trust the US. I guess the terrorists have no way out, and so they have no choice but to fight - although I assumed many of them could get to Turkey and thence to Libya and Ukraine. Who in their right mind would continue to fight after what the Russians just showed them? And at the behest of the US, which will not itself fight of course, and which will throw every puppet under any bus?

Not being military, I don't know what the offensive against MANPADS requires, but I suppose this will be clear soon, perhaps even in this thread.

I agree with the thought expressed here by several people that Russia is in full control of this death-fight. She offered the opponent room to readjust, but never let go of the commanding hold. And diplomacy of course is not a game, simply part of war - it's true that Russia showed the world her intention for peace, and if she has to return in force now (which doesn't seem in any way mandated yet), she has the moral high ground for final, conclusive action.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 5 2016 21:03 utc | 29

@29 falcone - and all those people in saudi arabia, turkey or the usa are just swell with the present system.. you are a funny idiot..

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2016 21:04 utc | 30


If the US and allies could find enough people in Libya to start or organise a protest from which to build a (color) revolution,
then there is no doubt that dissatisfaction is inherent to human nature.

By all means, Libyans had every reason to be the happiest people in Africa. A caring government with local opinion taken into
account at every turn of life (almost like Switzerland) and yet, there it was, a fomented uprising that bore fruit.

In Syria, where there are no riches compared to Libya, there would more likely be potential trouble makers especially since
with less water available for agriculture (courtesy of Turk dam building on a grand scale) the peasants had reason to pity their new circumstances: meager crops and dropping revenues.

So on any dissatisfaction, the balkanisers will prey to make good their fragmenting intentions. See what they did with Yougoslavia...

The difference between Libya and Syria, is that the Russians did not allow a no fly zone policy. Therefore, the US and allies did not have the pleasure of bombing Assad and the Syrians to oblivion.

And there you are, obviating the fact that most rebels are foreigners and claiming rebellion being Assad's fault.

Is it bad faith or is it trolling?

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 5 2016 21:20 utc | 31

remember this?

October 16, 2015
Russia: Countries Supplying MANPADS to Terrorists face Reprisals

Moscow, SANA- Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Friday that supplying terrorists in Syria with man-portable air-defense systems will be deemed a direct support for terrorists and means that those who do it must face the consequences.

According to Russian News Agency TASS, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said that no air defense systems have reached terrorists as of yet but information point to attempts by terrorists to acquire Western-made man-portable air-defense systems from countries neighboring Syria.

The Russian diplomat affirmed that in case such systems end up in terrorists’ hands, the country involved will have to be held to account for siding with international terrorism with all the attendant consequences this act implies. “This should be taken as a serious warning,” he added.

Well, for a while, after the Russian Air intervention there were no MANPADS visible in the HeadChoppers arsenal.

Then everyone one had a big meeting and a pretend "ceasefire" resulted.

Then the Russian "withdrawal" announcement followed shortly after,

Now the MANPADS have appeared.

So Putin's next moves in Syria, with the remaining Russian Aerospace forces, will be interesting

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5 2016 21:22 utc | 32

There are some comments here ridiculing the ceasefire agreement and the drawdown of the Russian forces. It is important to remember that prior to this point the US wouldn't tell the Russians who was "moderate", but constantly said they were bombing the "moderates". The ceasefire was well crafted in that groups needed to make a decision to be moderate or not. "Not" being equal to "target". This was a filter that allowed a temporary suspension of hostilities in some areas, and freed SAA and friends troops up for Palmyra and some other smaller battles, as an added bonus.

Who the moderates are was able to be documented because of this. Now that some of those groups have broken the agreement, they have opted out and are now targets. The US can cry all it wants but it has been documented.

I'm sure this period was a feint to see who would do what, because it is now crystal clear and justified action can now be taken to finish the job.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 5 2016 22:21 utc | 33

. . . and justified action can now be taken to finish the job.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 5, 2016 6:21:48 PM | 36

. . . while being fired at with MANPADS

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5 2016 22:26 utc | 34

fixed it for ya ;-)

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5 2016 22:26 utc | 35

OT: A video has been leaked revealing the background details of Saakashvili's rise to the higher levels of power in Ukraine

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 5 2016 22:39 utc | 36

Hoarsewhisperer @14

Ziad Fadel seems to have real current connections with Syrians. He also seems to know quite extensive details about the involvement of the British MI6/SAS from bases in S. Turkey. He is also enthusiastic about displaying grim images of ex-takfiris, so it is possibly a NSFW site.

His son, Leith Fadel runs the Al-Masdar News site which is a different style. short reports but it is very quick off the mark.

I regard these two as prime sources for what is going on in Syria.

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 5 2016 22:46 utc | 37

in re 29 --

That Syria would be the secularists, the Christians, the Alawites, the Yazidis, the Kurds, and pretty much anyone who would rather not be executed as apostates and have their widows raped by the executioners. To say nothing of those patriots not to keen on becoming a satellite of the House of Saud.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 5 2016 23:02 utc | 38

We as human beings are at a historic point in our evolutionary history as a race. As beings. We are at a point where the rubber meets the road. Will a few insane criminal drug addled alcoholic pedophile clowns push us all into an endless cycle of hell on earth? The overall thrust of exceptional dominance appears to be based on WWII era empirical knowledge that does not take into consideration the true nuclear threat imposed by Russia and China and the possibility that our defense has been compromised by dual citizen traitors? We, the U$A are not out of reach. That our homeland will be attacked is a foregone conclusion. Just my opinion.

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 5 2016 23:08 utc | 39

@16 ALb

Interesting to see nbc giving all those column inches to the CIA dropout blaming Obama for the CIA's failed murder and mayhem in Syria. Guess it's in support of the Clinton campaign? And of the CIA, of course. Obama's been their baby for two long terms but his sell by date has come and so ... he's been sold. Et tu John Brennan? Of course, Barack. Don't worry the money's still 'on the way'. Right. Next we'll read Barry's name in the Panama Papers.

And of course this treatment of the Russian cessation of hostilities and negotiation attempts goes hand in hand with the CIA's/USA's back stabbing, as well. At least Putin and the Russians understood this was possible if not probable.

The caucasus is now on fire as well. Turkey's lined up with Azerbaijan. Will this be the US' successful attempt to set off WWIII? Or will we have to wait till next time?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 5 2016 23:26 utc | 40

@ 42

Your homeland has been under attack since at least 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve.

Like some contributors I have been staunchly opposed to any pretend peace agreements or withdrawal of any Russian forces. All I can think is that there may be reasons for Russia's actions in this respect which we are not aware of.

Posted by: Lochearn | Apr 5 2016 23:33 utc | 41

Lochearn @44

Both T. Roosevelt (President McKinley - assassinated) and F. D. Roosevelt (Huey Long - assassinated) benefited immensely from the untimely deaths of President McKinley and US Senator Huey 'Kingfish' Long. Just sayin ...

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 5 2016 23:44 utc | 42

Falcone @ 29:

Suggest you try your hand at being President of a country next door to Israel who's been illegally holding a piece of your real estate since the early 1970s at least and on which piece a US-based company called Genie Energy (on whose Board of Directors sits a major news media magnate who owns TV stations and newspapers throughout the English-speaking world, no less) wants to drill for oil, and see how you get treated in the global news media.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 5 2016 23:49 utc | 43

Qatar and US special forces have been training rebel fighters near Al Udeid air base for about three years. They're footing the bill for arming and training fighters.

Posted by: Les | Apr 6 2016 0:12 utc | 44

I'm sure the Russian, Asaad, Iran and Hezbollah all knew the opposition and its backers would break the ceasefire. They're not dumb. The issues are how well did they prepare for this inevitability, how effectively will they use the PR victory of the opposition breaking the ceasefire and what is the new strategy?

Posted by: alaric | Apr 6 2016 3:35 utc | 45


True. But this isn't an unexpected occurrence. As you posted @32 from at least Oct 16, 2015, and then the Saudi FM told Der Spiegel in mid February 2016 that Mapads should be supplied to the "moderates". The Russian "withdrawal" starts March 15, 2016.

"Moderate rebel groups should be supplied with surface-to-air missiles to defend themselves against air strikes from the Assad regime and its allies, Saudi Arabian foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told Der Spiegel.

In recent months, Syrian government forces have driven back rebel groups, supported by intensive air strikes from the Syrian air force and allies Russia. Jubeir said providing rebel groups with rockets would "allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there.

However, amid concerns that the weapons could fall into the hands of jihadist groups including Isis, Jubeir said: "This has to be studied very carefully, however, because you don't want such weapons to fall into the wrong hands."

The West has so-far not provided Syrian rebel groups with surface-to-air missiles over concerns they could fall into the hands of jihadists.

Since last September, Russia has supported Syria with air strikes from air craft, including S-25 jets, which are capable of providing close support to ground forces, but are vulnerable to Mapads, or shoulder fire surface-to-air missiles."

Since the Saudis are just a laundromat for US weapon supplies to the jihadists, this new weapon issue was just waiting for some top level US clearance before they could be sent. Well it would appear that they are already in the hands of the not so moderate Al Nusra and my guess ISIS will have them shortly via "insider trading" on the ground. Another Pandora's box has been opened by some not so bright people on the Beltway. As an aside; the FM must be confusing the way Saudi air strikes in Yemen are being conducted as opposed to how the Russians / Syrians are doing it in Syria. Also, this isn't the 1980s Afghanistan where Madpads were a "game changer" against the Hind that was pretty much bullet proof but not very missile resistant. The early ones didn't even have flares.

Here is an old documentary about the Mi-24 Hind with info on the Afgan war (pretty horrible stuff): The Mi-24 Hind Helicopter (Documentary) 47 min

In fact, the Russian Air Force contingent makeup has been changed, possibly to minimise the Manpads' effectiveness. If I'm correct, all the SU 25 ground support aircraft are gone. The incoming transports weren't empty but carrying in the Ka-52, Mi-28, and Ka-50 attack helicopters. There are videos of the Ka-52 and Mi-28, along with the Mi-24, being used in the liberation of Qaryatayn. These aircraft have the latest countermeasure systems and their attack techniques give limited targeting time for Manpads as opposed to the SU-25. We will see. This video, from about 3:00 min onward, shows one of the attack methods:

Posted by: Dean | Apr 6 2016 9:38 utc | 47

It is certainly valid to point to the fact - and it is fact - that various "rebels" took the opportunity that was presented by this ceasefire to rearm and resupply.

It is however a leap of faith to conclude from this that the ceasefire has now been exposed as A Terrible Idea.

The reason why is this: we need to know the flipside, which is knowing how many jihadis took that opportunity to Do An Elvis And Leave The Building, or how many of the "moderate rebel forces" that did register with the Russians/Americans have, indeed, decided to sit out the rest of this war.

Because every jihadi that skedaddled is one less for the Syrian Arab Army to deal with, and every "moderate rebel force" that sits on its hands amounts to an easing of the SAA's manpower problem: the Syrian soldiers who were confronting them can now be put elsewhere.

Does anyone know how many "rebels" registered with that joint commission during the ceasefire? Or actually, you know, flipped sides?

Does anyone know?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 6 2016 11:18 utc | 48


Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 6 2016 11:41 utc | 49

or thereabouts

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 6 2016 11:41 utc | 50

"During the ceasefire Russia reduced its forces in Syria and the Syrian Arab Army made significant progress against the Islamic State."

And the Russian/Syrian response is ...

"48 hours" notice to shave off ya beard, scoot to catch the next flight back from Istanbul to mom&dad's basement in Belgium before the fireworks start. Hmmmm, ...?

Posted by: x | Apr 6 2016 12:09 utc | 51

The Russian seem prepared and not phased by the introduction of MANPADS into the conflict of late

Aimed at countering US advancements in MANPADS technology, the Ekran Scientific Research Institute developed the President-S, which amounts to a multilayered, customizable countermeasures system allowing for the placing of multiple stations (units) in various combinations inside the fuselage and mounted externally onto planes and helicopters

I don't think this is the game changer its proponents think it is going to be

Posted by: Lacilir | Apr 6 2016 12:37 utc | 52

I don't think this is the game changer its proponents think it is going to be

Posted by: Lacilir | Apr 6, 2016 8:37:09 AM | 52

You keep tellin yerself that, there, sonny boy.

Who knows? It may even come true.

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 6 2016 12:51 utc | 53

Surely the provision of these man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) will prove to be meaningless. The real issue is that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are going bankrupt, while they have just bought another $billion or so of weapons and mercenaries for the Syria debacle. While they let their subjects eat cake. Meanwhile Russia has paid very little, relatively. This is how you lose via the pocketbook.

These MANPAD shoulder-held anti-aircraft rockets will not work anymore, either. The Russians can do what they did with the Su-24s without using those planes. They can use cheap Orlan-10 hand-launched reconnaissance drones, which weigh only 33-lbs (15 kg), yet have a flight time of almost 17 hours. These probably cost less to manufacture than MANPADS that could be used to take them down.

The longest range U.S. MANPADS I could find (FIM-92 Stinger) have a stated maximum range of 26,000 ft. The huge, very old Russian Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber has a stated service ceiling of 45,000 ft, so MANPADS are not going to touch it. If it launches Kh-25 lightweight air-to-ground guided missiles, based on data provided by the Orlan-10 hand-launched reconnaissance drones, the very expensive "rebel" forces will have very short life expectancies.

Posted by: blues | Apr 6 2016 13:49 utc | 54

jrabbit @ 12 said: "But peaceful reforms are not enough. For the head-choppers and their sponsors, regime change is non-negotiable."

It should be clear to all, that this is "bottom line truth".

Posted by: ben | Apr 6 2016 14:29 utc | 55

Gen Martin Dempsey says:

Now the MANPADS have appeared

actually, general, MANPADS have been in use in Syria for at least the last 3 years, though i guess, on these ones anyway, the instructions are in Chinese.

there's been a veritable proliferation of these little gizmos in the area since the Soviet/Afghan war...even the Department of State estimates that as many as several thousand of them exist outside state control, including in the hands of al Qaeda.

and you know their estimate is conservative.

Posted by: john | Apr 6 2016 14:37 utc | 56

And now, in a brilliant misdirection, the Panama Papers investigators have exposed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Still, it has to be a dishonest front of American propaganda, because the upstanding heir to our hero Billmon says it is.

Posted by: falcone1204 | Apr 6 2016 14:40 utc | 57

2;Frukus?Every one of the frukus foreign policy is controlled by Zionists.Those nations are just puppets led by the nose of Zion.
Its a fact.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 6 2016 14:44 utc | 58

Manpads;The lying times or Wapoo,same dog doo,reported Syrian jet shot down,unsure of how.Manpads obviously,and they don't want US to know that,as it makes US look terrible,once again.
AmeriKKKa?How about the Zionists?They make the KKK choirboys.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 6 2016 14:49 utc | 59

falcone: there's a different thread for the Panama Papers.

Maybe you were too busy grinding your axe to notice.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 6 2016 15:22 utc | 60

Manpads supplied by Saudi or the US to "moderate" head choppers as wanted by the Saudi Foreign Minister and earlier by John McCain, would inevitably fall into the hand of Islamic State, all weapons in Syria are exchanged between factions, or sold to the highest bidder, then the fireworks would really begin, just a few smuggled into Israel would see Ben Gurion airport, Israels only International airport having to be shut down, the FAA stopped flights there when a wayward Hamas rocket landed a mile from the airport during the last 'mowing the lawn' exercise. Israeli officials at the time warned that anything other than a short closure would be disastrous for the economy, dependent as it is on this airport for tourism and other economic activity.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 6 2016 16:53 utc | 61


Posted by: Storm'n Norman | Apr 6 2016 17:25 utc | 62

Let's not lose sight of Unaoil

Posted by: Storm'n Norman | Apr 6 2016 17:29 utc | 63

I wonder how much the CIA wants to get rid of the problem of Syria.. give the militia-suckers just enough weapons to keep fighting and do damage/get eliminated, rather than flee.

Posted by: aaaa | Apr 6 2016 18:14 utc | 64


CIA is there to create, not solve problems.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 6 2016 19:08 utc | 65

Surely the provision of these man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) will prove to be meaningless

Posted by: blues | Apr 6, 2016 9:49:21 AM | 54



Yeah . . . "surely" this man's a true oracle,


Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 19:48 utc | 66 linked to the chicken blood MoA piece.

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 6 2016 19:54 utc | 67

actually, general, MANPADS have been in use in Syria for at least the last 3 years,

.Posted by: john | Apr 6, 2016 10:37:33 AM | 56

I'm pretty certain the General knows that, since he said:

"Well, for a while, after the Russian Air intervention there were no MANPADS visible in the HeadChoppers arsenal."

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 5, 2016 5:22:12 PM | 32

Which I took to mean not that there were none in the HeadChoppers aresenal, but that they were not visible/in use.

So, I think you missed the point.

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 20:00 utc | 68

In an - I think it was either The Independent, Guardian or AJ English - article from late 2012 a rebel commander told in an interview that they had captured so many SAMs/Manpads from an SAA base in Idlib/Aleppo province that they could bring down Assads entire airforce with it.
Then in the course of few days they indeed shot down 4-5 jets and helicopters, but afterwards many weeks passed until they again succeeded to shoot down aircraft. Back then it was said that the Syrian pilots had gotten instruction to fly higher and drop bombs from higher altitude. At the same time barrel bombings were intensified, such that one could say had the rebels not gained access to SAMs/Manpads the Syrian Airforce would not have been "forced" to resort to barrel bombings from safe(er) altitudes.

For me it´s crytal clear that the recent Manpads are presents by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but this might become a pyrrhic victory if "someone" decides to give the Houthis Manpads, too.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Apr 6 2016 20:19 utc | 69


ISIS has yet to show any interest in attacking Israel.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 6 2016 20:40 utc | 70

Posted by: blues | Apr 6, 2016 9:49:21 AM | 54

Faux "reply" by:

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6, 2016 3:48:27 PM | 66


Why did you bother? Unless you knew I was 100% correct?

Which of course I am.

Why lose when you can simply drop out? Stupid troll?

Posted by: blues | Apr 6 2016 20:46 utc | 71

"Surely" That was no faux reply!!!

Looked pretty real to me when I posted it anyway

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 20:48 utc | 72


If the same causes produce the same results, the houthis will probably down a few low flying aircraft with the helicopters bearing the brunt of the casualties.
And then the Saudis will resort to flying higher and dropping more nukes on Yemen.

Now a game changer would be for someone to sink/maim a few of the saudi vessels blocking the Yemeni coast. These take longer to replace. With the Yemen coast
open, someone could bring more help to the houthis. This will, of course force the US to patrol more intensively on behalf of the Sauds.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 6 2016 20:52 utc | 73

ISIS has yet to show any interest in attacking Israel.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 6, 2016 4:40:49 PM | 70

ISIS appears interested in attacking everything but Israel.

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 20:54 utc | 74

"Looked pretty real to me when I posted it anyway"

Let's not play checkers.

That has no "real" about it.

That game has been played. And is over.

Posted by: blues | Apr 6 2016 21:13 utc | 75

"That has no real about it"

Oh Yes it does

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 21:16 utc | 76

What would a Syrian peace deal look like?

And after five months, when most of the “moderates” had been persuaded that they were never going to gain power through an alliance with the Islamists, Moscow proposed a cease-fire that would include the “moderates” but exclude the Islamists. That cease-fire has now been in effect for almost a month.

The negotiators for these moderate groups are still demanding the departure of al-Assad from power as the price of a permanent cease-fire. They haven’t a prayer of getting such a sweet deal, but the Russians are putting pressure on al-Assad to come up with a formula of words, however vague, that will persuade them to accept amnesty and come in from the cold without losing too much face.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal was to isolate the Islamists and reconcile the rest of the rebels with the al-Assad regime, and it is well on the way to accomplishment. It will not be a happy ending for any of the groups involved in the Syrian civil war, but it is the least bad outcome that can now be realistically imagined.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 6 2016 21:28 utc | 77

Another possible factor in Russia's decision to withdraw from Syria at the top of her 'game' there ...

Plans of Networks and Political Agents in the Subjects of the Federation

In the fall of 2015, destructive political forces prepared the script for the anti-war "Platform" to mobilize anti-war protests in the capital and across the country. They expected that there would be an escalation of anti-war sentiment in Russian society. "Platform" aimed to unite the different protest factions: the liberals, the "creative class" (the former White Ribbons), nationalists, radical left, etc. The mass protests "against the war" were intended to be used to tighten external pressure on the leadership of the country and the compulsion to "surrender".

However, the non-systemic opposition refused the strategy of the "anti-war platform". And there are a couple of reasons for this:

  - The destructor was wrong in its military forecasts. The success of the Russian Airforce in Syria, and then a significant withdrawal of troops made the "anti-war platform" untenable. Now, you can't say anything about the "military defeats of Russia", nor that "Russia is bogged down in the Syrian swamp";

  - Wrong assessment of public sentiments in Russia. An absolute and stable majority of citizens supported the Russia's mission in Syria. To the surprise of "Anti system representatives", Russian society was ready for war. This is evidenced not only by opinion polls. Despite the efforts made to discredit Russia's actions in Syria, the opponents failed to organize any visible anti-war protests.

The author now posits another, new tack taken at internal disruption in Russia, along economic lines.

I seem to be reading now of renewed and quite successful Syrian/Iranian/Russian efforts to counter the al-CIAduh 'surge' in Syria. Iran, especially now, seems to be stepping up to the plate.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 6 2016 22:38 utc | 78

Austrian military ready to cooperate with Russia (TASS).

Austrian general: “I'm not going to follow the directions and obey someone’s orders with whom I should communicate and with whom I shouldn’t. For this reason I wanted to visit [his Russian counterpart]".

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 6 2016 23:53 utc | 79

AllSystemsGo @ 68 says:

So, I think you missed the point

well, if the point is that these things have (re)appeared on the battlefield where they have clearly been for years, the point is kinda stillborn, no?

sure, if they start blasting jets and helicopters out of the sky on a regular basis(a possibility that seems to give the General a hard-on)) we'll know that something has changed.

which, in fact, raises a much more interesting question...

if these gizmos are so available, why are they not deployed more often?

Posted by: john | Apr 7 2016 9:49 utc | 80

I've been following this site on Yonatan's recommendation.

U.S. warplanes strike ISIS in Jarabulus as the Turkish Army watches from afar

[T]he Turkish regime has threatened to attack the YPG and the U.S. backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) if they reach the ‘Azaz-Jarabulus axis in the Aleppo Governorate.

Think the Turks'll attack the US forces, too? Why not? The Israelis have. The US dutifully apologized for having all those US sailors' bodies in the way of their rockets, napalm, and torpedos.

In fact, I was reading Ollie Richardson's Partitions, Coups, and Colonies: A Timeline for the Middle-East at Fort-Russ today, and coincidently, I found the sequence of events he lists from 1962-1967 particularly interesting.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2016 10:32 utc | 81


Actually you nearly got it, but then you went back to smacking yourself in the face in order to stop yourself thinking.

Oh well, you can lead a horse to water etc et

Posted by: AllSystemsGo | Apr 7 2016 10:39 utc | 82


well, since your crystal ball apparently works better than mine, why don't you elaborate?

...and spare me the meaningless ambiguities.

Posted by: john | Apr 7 2016 11:12 utc | 83

Western MANPADS distributed to the Moderate Rebels (aka IS, J Nusra and AQ) is an "escalation". The Western MANPADS are allegedly better quality than the Chinese units.

This provides two main benefits: Increased fire-power for Anti-Assad Forces (IS, etc) and increased Public Fear- Mongering for increased GWOT. There will be Loose Manpads just as there are "loose nukes" aka dirty bmobs.

Put your head under your desk and let Big Brother protect you (further evisceration of rights, Police State) from that which he has created.

They will blame the downing of any Civ Aircraft on Russia.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 7 2016 11:14 utc | 84

@39 Alberto/ I agree that what it will take for this shit to end is nothing less than an evolutionary step forward, from _homo sapiens delens_ to _homo sapiens sapiens_. The way I see it, our species is the first ever to have real control over the environment - demonstrated so far largely by our capacity to destroy it - and over its own evolution. The minority you mention are desperately fighting to keep us from making that evolutionary step. But it is inevitable to the extent that our species will probably not survive if it does not evolve to the point of seeing any act of violence committed against a member of the species as an act committed against all.

Another way of conceptualising the problem is to consider that as primates, our native mode of operation is co-operative rather than pack-oriented. The pack mode of operation, with a few dominant individuals keeping the bulk of the pack in submission in exchange for a share of food and comfort, seems to have been forced on us, and those in power - the alpha males and, yes, females - are now desperately struggling to keep their paradigm imposed on us.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Apr 7 2016 13:55 utc | 85

Yeah, Right @48

This is from South Front:

"Meanwhile, the total number of settlements, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements, remains 58. The number of ceasefire application forms signed with leaders of armed groupings remains 47."

Not many. When I saw the map of the ceasefire areas they are pretty sparse. Many of these groups are local "militias" that just defend their own villages and surrounds. I think this is the majority of the groups that are taking advantage of this. The Syrian Government also has a no questions amnesty program that is gaining traction now that the tables have turned.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 7 2016 18:56 utc | 86

ot...............i see isis - those moderate rebel friends of the west - kidnapping a few hundred people today in the damascus area... meanwhile aleppo being shelled with some type of chemical gas.... gotta love those ''''moderate'''' rebels that the west and it's good friends saudi arabia and turkey are supporting in syria...

Posted by: james | Apr 7 2016 19:02 utc | 87

Map: Turkish-backed Militants Take Control of Al-Ra’i from ISIS in North Aleppo, Syria

Turkish-backed militants have reportedly seized the town of Al-Ra’i in Syria’s Aleppo province. The town is located at the important supply line to Turkey.

Recently, different militant groups increased their activity in North Aleppo. The maing goal of these actions is to show that they fight ISIS which may strengthen Turkey’s diplomatic position amid the upcoming talks on Syria. The talks will likely start on April 11 or 13.

Rebels make huge gains along the Turkish-Syrian border – Map update

A few hours ago, combined rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army, Fatah coalition (Islamist rebel groups) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Syrian al-Qaeda group) captured al-Rai town in northern Aleppo from ISIS troops. Thus, Islamist rebels have now captured more than a dozen villages in less than a week along the Turkish border.

Today’s battle was reportedly heavily reinforced and aided by Turkish artillery pieces that pounded ISIS positions in and around al-Rai throughout the day. Meanwhile, other reports indicate that ISIS fighters have been gradually withdrawing their forces from the region, as to reinforce other vulnerable frontlines.

In fact, these advances come despite rebels in northern Aleppo being entirely cut off from the rest of rebel-held Syria, thus creating problems in terms of new recruits, logistics and redeployments. However, the rebel offensive has come into effect through Turkish support and ISIS commanders down-prioritizing the area.

Now, rebels will either try to strike further east along the border or strike southwest and carry out a pincer manuever towards the rebel stronghold of Mare’, thereby cutting off many ISIS fighters and expanding the rebel enclave in northern Aleppo.

Is this the long talked-of Turkish invasion of Syria?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2016 23:49 utc | 88

83 84

Syria: Turkish MANPADs, Iranian Regulars, US Bombing the Crossings – Everybody Is Upping the Ante

Wednesday rebels shot down the second Syrian combat jet this month. In both cases the the planes were downed by al Nusra fighters using a shoulder fired anti-air missile.Such weapons were previously not regularly observed in rebel possession

This raises the question who supplied these missiles to rebels now. It's possible it was Qatar or Saudi Arabia, but best candidate is Turkey. Whether this would have been coordinated with the US or not is anyone's guess.

Another interesting question is did the introduction of MANPADs to Syria's battlefield played a role in the Russian withdrawal?

When Russian downgraded their fixed wing presence in Syria in March they left behind the great majority of Su-24 and Su-34 interdiction bombers, but flew back their entire fleet of Su-25 close air support aircraft.

Generally a Su-25 would engage the enemy from a lower attitude and be far more vulnerable to shoulder-fired missiles.

Conclusion: Events are gaining critical massJust weeks after the partially successful ceasefire agreement and the partial withdrawal of the Russian air legion the war looks on the brink of a major escalation.

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 8 2016 8:57 utc | 89

if these gizmos are so available, why are they not deployed more often?

Posted by: john | Apr 7, 2016 5:49:21 AM | 80

Ohhhh, almost there.

Keep going, you can do it

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 8 2016 8:59 utc | 90

Sassounguesso, president for 26 years, just reelected, has his army shooting on civilians and opponents from helicopters in the last couple of days + the guy's family is all over the Panama Papers but no one seems to bother

Posted by: Mina | Apr 8 2016 9:26 utc | 91


Off topic

Theres at least 2 other threads you could have posted that into.

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 8 2016 9:41 utc | 92

Gen Martin Dempsey says:

Ohhhh, almost there.

Keep going, you can do it

well, thanks for the encouragement, wish i could say the same to you.

MANPADS have been seen in use in Syria for years, but so far have not been widespread.

so yeah, i get it, it's the expectation(hope?), the 'anticipation' that really gets your rocks off.

Posted by: john | Apr 8 2016 11:11 utc | 93

Syrian rebels seize Islamic State stronghold: monitor, sources
The USA wishes to boost the rebels just before the restart of the Geneva negotiations. The idea, probably agreed by the Russians is an attempt to present the opposition as fighting successfully against ISIS, thus allowing them a role in the negotiations.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 8 2016 11:57 utc | 94


A horny rocks obsessive is stalking me. Whoopdeedoo. My very own stalker/perv.

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 8 2016 12:01 utc | 95

PS you're wasting your time perv-stalking me though, as I already have a sexual partner,

so thanks, but no thanks.

Try and keep it in your trousers, when you're out in public, theres a good fellow

Posted by: Gen Martin Dempsey | Apr 8 2016 12:05 utc | 96

Actually, I am somewhat surprised that MANPADS units have not knocked down jets over Syria yet. It's almost peculiar.

Posted by: blues | Apr 8 2016 14:59 utc | 97

Yes, the Syrian war is 'hotting up' again ... but the Russians, too, may soon have to withstand the onslaught of the Islamic berserkers themselves ... I'd wondered what was going on with the 'new National Guard', under the direct control of the President of Russia.

Russia Defense Report: Countermeasures of Hybrid War (youtube)

These far-reaching changes suggest that Russia is taking seriously the threat, voiced by ISIS, al-Nusra, and several of its international sponsors, that it will “pay a price” for defeating Islamist forces in Syria. Even though ISIS cannot avoid a crushing defeat in Syria at this point, many of its militants, leaders, and organizational networks will migrate or be transferred by their international sponsors to other theaters of the global hybrid war. While they include Libya, a more worrisome prospect is their use to destabilize Central Asia and perhaps even the Caucasus.

Perhaps even the Caucasus? As the Turkish-Azeri excess, I mean axis, attacks Armenia.

The National Guard will include the Internal Troops as well as the SOBR and OMON special riot control and counter-terrorism units, which will result in a paramilitary internal security organization directly comparable to France’s Gendarmerie Nationale. This will provide the National Guard commander and, ultimately, the President, with an integrated internal security organization capable of fine-tuning the level of violence, depending on the level of the threat, starting with Maidan-style not-so-peaceful protests and ending with full-scale insurgencies. During the Chechen Wars, Internal Troops became almost indistinguishable from the Armed Forces in that they were using artillery and armored vehicles. While there is no mention of the National Guard’s external role, its mission might also involve peacekeeping and law enforcement operations in, say, the Donbass, where their presence would be less controversial than of the military.

I don't know about that last ... but the poor people of Donbass have certainly been forsaken by the entire world at this point, not unlike the Palestinians.

If the Russians can roll the Ukrainians up with the Turks and with Isis, that would not be a bad thing at all.

The Syrians do seem now to be up to defeating the invading foreigners in country, with the help of the Iranians and Hezbola, and the Russian Air Force, of course. Russia seems to smell more problems closer to home at this point, and is seeing to them, pro-actively, as they say.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 9 2016 11:43 utc | 98

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