Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2016

Syria - After Detours U.S. Finally Agrees To Russian Ceasefire Plan

The recent talk between the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Kerry brought some progress. The U.S. was so far not willing to agree to a real ceasefire in Syria and persisted on a lower level "cessation of hostility" agreement. This now changed. The U.S., for the first time, agreed to proceed towards a full ceasefire between its proxy forces in Syria and the Syrian government and its allies. In the press availability after the Tuesday talks Kerry said:

[T]oday, we believe we moved the ball forward in some ways, and I’ll say specifically.

First, we pledged our support for transforming the cessation of hostilities into a comprehensive ceasefire. And we committed to use our influence to use the parties to the cessation in order to ensure compliance.

Second, we agreed that if a party to the cessation of hostilities engages in a pattern of persistent noncompliance, the task force can refer that behavior to the ISSG ministers or those designated by the ministers to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation. Interpreted directly, that means that if they continue to do it and they’re pretending to be part of the cessation and they’re not, they could be subject to no longer being part of the cessation immediately.

Those last sentences are mainly directed at Ahrar al Sham which never signed the cessation agreement but claimed to be part of it while continuing its attack on Syrian government forces and civilians. Kerry is conceding to the Russian standpoint that Ahrar, by its action, is a terrorist group that needs to be fought down.

Fourth, we call on all parties to the cessation of hostilities to disassociate themselves physically and politically from Daesh and al-Nusrah and to endorse the intensified efforts by the United States and Russia to develop shared understandings of the threat posed and the delineation of the territory that is controlled by Daesh and al-Nusrah and to consider ways to deal decisively with terrorist groups.

Kerry had agreed to this position on al-Qaeda ad the Islamic State in earlier talks but later retracted with weak excuses that "intermingling" between al-Qaeda and "moderate rebels" made fighting al-Qaeda nearly impossible. That "intermingling" is no longer an excuse. The U.S. now agreed that Russia and the Syrian government will fight al-Qaeda and that any other groups standing nearby and getting hit have only themselves to blame.

By the way, the New York Times account of the talks and the press conference by chief manipulator David Sanger are waaay off from what was really said.

The "cessation of violence" has held up quite well since the end of February. The south is mostly quite and there are only few hotspots elsewhere where fighting still flares up. Over 100 settlements and their local forces have, with Russian mediation, signed ceasefire agreements with the government.

There is also a new, deeper level of Russian and U.S. cooperation of Syria and on fighting al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. A common rough plan was agreed upon to attack and eliminate both group. As part of this plan Iraqi forces under U.S. control attacked and occupied Rutba in west Iraq. Rutba, part of Anbar province, controls much of the open land and desert in the triangle of the Iraqi, Jordan and Syrian border. This move cuts off the southern route that connected the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Syrian/Russian part of this move will be the liberation of Deir Ezzor in south-east Syria in the upcoming months. An attack on the Islamic State held Raqqa will only follow later on after a large concentration of force is made possible.

There are a few other active flashpoints in Syria. In East Ghouta, east of Damascus city, the Saudi sponsored Salafists of Jaish al-Islam are fighting groups once supplied by the CIA and now associated with al-Qaeda/Jabhat al Nusra for control of the area. This fight is already part of the disassociation from Nusra that the U.S. agreed upon. But the fighting is bloody with at least 500 losses on both sides during the last weeks. The Syrian army is the laughing third party in this and today took a significant part of the south of the East-Ghouta pocket.

The rebel part of Aleppo city, controlled by al-Qaeda, is now cut off from its only supply line. Improvised rockets from the rebel side are daily hitting civilians in the densely populated government held side. To eliminate the now besieged al-Qaeda in east Aleppo city will be a very bloody and destructive fight that might take months.

In the north Turkish supported "moderate rebels" still try to move towards east along the Turkish-Syrian border to eliminate the Islamic State access there. But each time they announce to have taken this or that town away from IS, a counterattack follows and IS regains its positions. This infighting between hostile forces is again to the advantage of the Syrian government.

Around Palmyra the Islamic State has made some surprise attacks on the Shear oil field and the T-4 military airport on the western road to Palmyra. There was, according to unofficial sources, some significant damage to Syrian and Russia material on the air base but no news about the incident was published. The advances the Islamic State made in area have by now, with significant Russian help, all been reversed. Following a consolidation phase a renewed push from Palmyra eastward to Deir Ezzor is expected.

Hizbullah has pulled back all troops for the Aleppo area where they were replaced by Iranian forces. It is unwilling to commit additional forces just to move some ceasefire lines a few miles back or forth. It continues its engagement around Damascus and in the border region to Lebanon with IS and al-Qaeda being the main targets.

Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian government are all aware that the U.S. is "flexible" with its interpretation of agreements and tends to cheat whenever it believes that it can do so to its own advantage. They are fully prepared to respond and escalate again should the U.S. proxy forces divert from the new agreements or should some significant other changes on the battlefield occur.

Posted by b on May 19, 2016 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Kerry isn't as bad as the others?
Remember his report on cocaïne and CIA

Posted by: From The Hague | May 19, 2016 2:08:54 PM | 1

That "flexible" interpretation of the U.S. will be tested, we can be sure of. Needless to say, we won't hold our breath, as there are those in the U.S. that don't care about the death toll, just their own position. I wonder, will Saudi Arabia help in the rebuilding of Syria, or will it just continue funding the destruction? When is the time for the U.S. to stop supplying the weapons, or is that out of the question?

Posted by: originalone | May 19, 2016 2:22:35 PM | 2

In the end, investigations by government inspectors general corroborated Kerry’s 1989 findings and vindicated his effort. But the muted conclusion of the Contra-cocaine controversy 12 years after Kerry began his investigation explains why this chapter is an overlooked — though important — episode in Kerry’s Senate career. It’s a classic case of why, in Washington, there’s little honor in being right too soon. Yet it’s also a story about a senator who had the personal honor to do the right thing.
http://www.salon.com/2004/10/25/contra/

Posted by: From The Hague | May 19, 2016 2:24:44 PM | 3

thanks b.. excellent overview and much appreciated..

i also wonder about the usa's long term intentions and will re-iterate @ 2's questions which are relevant.. when does the usa stop pouring gas on the fire? that would be to cease and desist from providing weapons for their 'moderate' terrorists who they define as the opposition...

this 5 minute video from 2 days ago - Not blacklisting Ahrar al-Sham not a U.S. decision. -.S. Department of State - Daily Briefing: May.16.2016
the usa is unable or unwilling to admit the role they play in sabotaging russias attempt at defining ahrar al sham as a terrorist group.. instead they want them to be party to the talks.. now, maybe that has changed slightly in the past 2 days, but i have difficulty trusting the usa in anything to do with syria..

the usa's bottom line appears to be 'assad' can't be part of any transition.. why the fuck do they get to speak for the syrian people within syria? let the syrians decide and get the usa and there gang of hoodlums out of their..

Posted by: james | May 19, 2016 3:07:52 PM | 4

Great article. I agree completely. Especially this part:

"Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian government are all aware that the U.S. is "flexible" with its interpretation of agreements and tends to cheat whenever it believes that it can do so to its own advantage."

Here is one source where you can find Truth! http://russia-insider.com/en/russia-insider-really-mirror-trump-sanders-phenomenon/ri14379

FYI, it's a volunteer based media criticism site that is becoming one of the world’s largest news sources about Russia, and it announces Spring crowdfunding campaign: https://goo.gl/Ald1a4

Posted by: Anna | May 19, 2016 3:36:06 PM | 5

Not sure why 'b is so positive about this "agreement". First of all, US will NOT stop supporting terrorists, and this agreement effectively forbids SAA of reclaiming the territory from "moderates", thus making a big part of Syria a terrorists safe haven, indefinitely. Let this sink in.

All this talk about humanitarian aid is obviously for supplying surrounded terrorist with weapons, and Syria is blamed for not allowing that.

Also US never gave up the plans of installing a puppet regime in Syria, thats why so much focus on transitional government with full powers. Expectedly, US and co wants to decide who is on this transitional government, how constitution should be rewritten, etc. If Syria doesnt agree (they obviously wont), then you can expect US splitting Syria to statelets: Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Alawis. With a major focus on severing the path Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

Since Russia-US deal put the end on wiping terrorists from Syria, these reinforced terrorists safe havens will be indefinitely used against Syria, and there is nothing Assad can do against that now. All US talk about "united Syria" is just a hot air, you will see how they'll balkanize the Syria, and Russia is fine with it.

Posted by: Harry | May 19, 2016 3:51:40 PM | 6

Why does Russia need an agreement with The evil US Empire at all ? What a sick joke. Any agreement with the US is based on weakness. If Iran and Hezbollah know that the US will quickly lie, then why wouldn't the Russians and then ignore recent history ? Makes no Sence.

Remember when b said that the Russians had a victory with the previous agreement. How many Syrians Iranians, Hezbollah etc in Syria were slaughtered because that agreement resupplied, rearmed and re-organised the empires proxy terrorists. Yeah great victory. A lot of fatalities in the last month exactly because of that fake agreement.

Posted by: tom | May 19, 2016 3:58:22 PM | 7


The only words pleasing to my eyes is "Syrian government".

"Syrian government" and not regime Putin should learn from past mistakes, US will again double talks and do exactly the opposite "Promised" or "Agreed" and continue "Regime Change.”

We need regimes changes here in the States and NOT in Syria, Iran, China, N Korea or Cuba..!

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 19, 2016 4:41:41 PM | 8

Posted by: Anna | May 19, 2016 3:36:06 PM | 5

Anna, please don't try to fools us here Chales Bausman is a fraud.

More on Russia Insider

Charles Bausman

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 19, 2016 4:45:07 PM | 9

Two thoughts on Russian military ideology ...

Tet 1968

September 30, 2015

Posted by: ALberto | May 19, 2016 4:54:02 PM | 10

more on Bausman...

"..."Russia Insider was not accountable to their crowdfunding supporters. They said before their first campaign that they would show how every dollar was spent. Instead, more than $60,000 later, not a single receipt has surfaced and nobody has any idea how much their staff members are even being paid. Looking at the public records from their crowdfunding campaigns, some numbers also don't add up, such as why some people would donate significant amounts of money that didn't correspond to any of their given "prize" amounts. Moreover, some people would repeat this donation pattern for no reason whatsoever, leading to the possibility that some accounts were being used to facilitate money laundering due to the "tax-free" status that the company publicized that they have.", Korybko stated.....

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 19, 2016 4:54:57 PM | 11

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/isis-offensive-t-4-military-airport-ends-retreat/
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s offensive at the T-4 Military Airport finally ended on Friday after the Syrian Arab Army’s 525th Regiment of the 18th Tank Division recaptured several sites at the northern flank of this base in east Homs. ISIS launched this offensive earlier this week after they made huge strides at the Al-Sha’ar Gas Fields. The terrorist group’s offensive began with a lot of promise, as they seized the abandoned tank base that is located just 8 km north of the T-4 Military Airport.
However, ISIS’ success would not last for long, thanks in large part to the Russian Air Force’s strategic bombing campaign that killed a large number of terrorists in northeastern Homs this past week. With ISIS unable to continue their offensive, the Syrian Armed Forces took the opportunity to recapture all the points they lost over the last 72 hours and expel the terrorist group from the airport’s vicinity. The Homs-Palmyra Highway is once again reopened to the public after being closed two days ago.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 19, 2016 6:45:50 PM | 13

If the USA is playing nice now, I suspect a) that they will flip right back to default in the near future and/or b) they're so happy with their coup in Brasil that they care less about Syria at the moment.

PS: This "Anna" spammer for Russia Insider is super annoying.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 19, 2016 9:25:46 PM | 14

@b


Fifth, we agree that the delivery of humanitarian assistance must begin or resume – depending on the case – in Douma, East Harasta, Arbeen, Zamalka, Darraya, Fouah, Kefraya, Madaya, Zabadin, Muadhamiya, Yarmouk, Zabadani, and Kafr Batna. And these deliveries will continue as long as the need persists. And starting on June 1st, if the UN is denied humanitarian access to any of these designated areas, the ISSG calls on the World Food Program to immediately carry out a program for air bridges and air drops for all of those areas in need. And the ISSG pledges to support such a program and also calls on all parties to provide a secure environment for that program.

That does seem to provode for the rearming of al_CIAduh and Daesh by US/EU/KSA/Turkey ...

@2 original1, 'I wonder, will Saudi Arabia help in the rebuilding of Syria, or will it just continue funding the destruction? When is the time for the U.S. to stop supplying the weapons, or is that out of the question?'

I think that's rhetorical, right?

1. Saudi Arabia will not help in the rebuilding of Syria.
2. Saudi Arabia will continue funding the destruction of Syria ... and Iraq, and Yemen, and Libya ...
3. It is long since time that the US stopped funding/abetting death, devastation, destruction and deceit in Syria ... Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen ...
4. ... but it seems out of the question that it will do so given the political slate upon our plate.

@6 harry. 'this agreement effectively forbids SAA of reclaiming the territory from "moderates"'

I don't see where ... of course I don't see the agreement, all I see is the bullet list provided by Kerry. Maybe it's there and I missed it? Or do you have a link to the actual agreement?

@14 WBLee, 'they're so happy with their coup in Brasil that they care less about Syria at the moment'

Brazil and Argentina, and Venezuela ...

I definitely agree on Anna Spamma. RI is nothing but a cut and paste shop. Often from the wildest places ... or it was. Haven't been there in quite awhile.

Posted by: jfl | May 19, 2016 11:02:40 PM | 15

Great article b as usual!

Thierry Meyssan however said otherwise about the us in a video published a few days ago.He stated that the US will never leave syria to make sure the silk old will never achieve its role of connected China, Russia to central Asia western Asia and finally Europe. This is the great chess game being played there all according to Mackinder's heartland theory to break up the Heartland (Russia ,china,europe) . Meyssan might be partially right in the grand scheme of things but I doubt that the US can really change anything in the situation on the ground whether this is what the Us is specifically after or not.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | May 19, 2016 11:36:28 PM | 16

Ceasefire? I highly doubt it. Sorry to rain on your parade. It ain't happening.

Posted by: Andy V | May 19, 2016 11:38:17 PM | 17

Elijah J M's take from today..

Posted by: james | May 19, 2016 11:56:06 PM | 18

Why does Russia need an agreement with The evil US Empire at all ?
...
Posted by: tom | May 19, 2016 3:58:22 PM | 7

Pure speculation on my part but Russia probably doesn't expect or want an agreement with the US. What it does need is a long list of US broken promises to bolster its position when it becomes necessary to kill AmeriKKKans (and Brits) to save Syria. I've no doubt that the Russians are as unconvinced by Kerry's weasel words, cited above, as I am. The Yankees have a long and inglorious tradition of ambushing themselves as a direct result of falling in love with their own racist-supremacist bullshit. Russia would be crazy not to play to that Fatal Flaw.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 19, 2016 11:59:55 PM | 19

Let's not forget that Russia was able to waltz unopposed into Syria (on AmeriKKKa's International anti-ISIS Coalition WELCOME mat) as a direct result of pretending to believe AmeriKKKa's ISIS bullshit - and promptly began pretending to 'fight ISIS' too (just like the AmeriKKKans).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20, 2016 12:24:44 AM | 20

@ jfl | 15

@6 harry. 'this agreement effectively forbids SAA of reclaiming the territory from "moderates"'

I don't see where ... of course I don't see the agreement, all I see is the bullet list provided by Kerry. Maybe it's there and I missed it? Or do you have a link to the actual agreement?

In the agreement SAA is forbidden from any "hostilities" against "moderates", and since there is nothing about terrorists disarming and handing over the territory to Syria (the ONLY smart way for actual ceasefire), this deal effectively made "moderates" territory as terrorists safe haven. I wouldnt be surprised if some areas with Al Qaeda groups changing names to "moderates" and making them off-limits to SAA as well.

Syria is de-facto being divided right now, and while Syria and Iran are very unhappy about it, Russia forced them to agree. Churkin even publicly blasted Assad for his desire to reclaim all of Syria, and Russia made sure it wont happen, just as US wanted.

Bottom line, its not US who agreed to Russia's ceasefire plan (it did, but on superficial points), but at the core its Russia who agreed to US plan to divide Syria.

Posted by: Harry | May 20, 2016 12:26:18 AM | 21

So, we see that the US can be moved by words, into changing its position in words. And we also see that the ceasefire - made of words - has largely held, certainly in the south, which shows us the power of words to create concrete, tangible results on the ground.

Imagine being a force of fighters, aware that the Russians have entered the theater, and perceiving every day the destruction of the fighting forces levied daily, and then hearing - in words - that there's a way to get out of this fight. So of course, for many people, the ceasefire is real, and a blessed reprieve, and of course it will hold.

And for those who think differently, the ceasefire paints a very clear bulls-eye on their backs.

We see, as b concludes in his summation, that all players understand that the US can walk back its words - but we also see that there are only so many steps backward you can take after moving so many forward.

We see the power of "diplomacy" - which might be better described as the "come to Jesus" meetings between combatants on the field in these circumstances, frankly. Because words do seem to move the ball forward, as J. Kerry would have it.

I believe in diplomacy - but only because I've watched the Russians use it, and been astonished at the results. I thought words were empty things. But they seem to have power.

It seems to me that something is going on in the world of words that has power. Something the Russians understand, and something that b seems to understand. I remain attentive.

Posted by: Grieved | May 20, 2016 1:20:52 AM | 22

I'm also struck from b's story by the part about Hezbollah. From E.J. Magnier's take, cited by b and also in comments here, Hezbollah decides to withdraw from the fighting, so as not to waste its fighters in the "silhouette" tactics of ceasefire politics. A good decision. And Iran, the nation that trained and nurtured Hezbollah from the beginning, agrees to fill the battle spaces with its own fighters.

This speaks volumes to me about Hezbollah. I already had a high regard for Iran, but this is very cool as it reveals the hierarchy of competence in the field. I have to remember, as the Saker mentioned in his latest dispatch on some of the myths of warfare, that Hezbollah in 2006, with only 2,000 fighters - and these from less than its very top people, which it held in reserve - defeated the entire military force of Israel in a humiliating and crushing victory that I perceive Israel still trembles over.

Posted by: Grieved | May 20, 2016 1:34:03 AM | 23

@21, Harry, 'its Russia who agreed to US plan to divide Syria'

Well, you may be right. At this point though, I'm with Grieved, still very much impressed with Syria and Russia, with Hezbollah and the Palestinian committees and Iran. We'll see what happens.

Syria's and Russia's and Iran's and Hezbollah's and the Palestinians' position seems to be holding, their words seem good, while the words of the US/EU/NATO seem more and more hollow, debased, and devalued everyday, as they continue to prolong this war which never should have been to begin with, as NATO member Turkey cranks up its genocide against the Kurds, as greedy UK, FR, DE, and IT prepare to recolonize Libya, as they all continue in support of the stupid, brutal regime they put in power in Kiev, queuing up to line their pockets with the broken pieces of Ukraine. Their position seems to be slipping. No one who's paying the least attention takes them for anything but the hypocritical and brutal colonists that they've been, and are openly aspiring to become again now.

Everyone knows who the Evil Empire is now, and it ain't Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinians. Being on the 'right' side doesn't win battles, but being on the 'wrong' side certainly weakens support for such an evil undertaking, and, with time, can cause it to collapse from within. There is a cost to being on the 'wrong' side of a war that grinds on in the face of public revulsion. People used to say that Russia was going to sink into a quagmire in Syria, I think it's the US/EU/NATO that have sunk into the quagmire, in their war of all against all worldwide.

Posted by: jfl | May 20, 2016 4:10:23 AM | 24

jfl says:

Everyone knows who the Evil Empire is now,...

this is one of the pitfalls of hanging out at sites like moa...they can give you a false sense of reality.

when was the last time you actually encountered 'public revulsion' in regard to these crimes against humanity? how much 'public revulsion' in regard to these crimes against humanity could there even be in a country that's on the verge of electing another proto-fascist to command the armed forces?

is there 'public revulsion' in regard to these crimes against humanity in Thailand? i certainly haven't noticed much here in this magnetic boot, which happens to be dangling over a brewing shitstorm in Ottoman Tripolitania.

Posted by: john | May 20, 2016 5:51:42 AM | 25

One thing about Kerry. He did say:

"Because of Gary Webb's work," said Senator John Kerry, "the CIA launched an investigation that found dozens of connections to drug runners. That wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been willing to stand up and risk it all."

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKwebbG.htm

Posted by: From The Hague | May 20, 2016 5:54:47 AM | 26

amerika accepts Russia's stance on Syria the day after Russia went along with the "let's arm and call a government that mob of Libyans we know will do what we want" plan. I wonder if perchance the two are related?

Posted by: Debs is dead | May 20, 2016 8:00:08 AM | 27

@28 DiD, 'the day after Russia went along ...'

What, exactly, happened?

Posted by: jfl | May 20, 2016 8:11:06 AM | 28

@all

banned "Anna" because all it does is to promote Russia Insider which is fraud site

Posted by: b | May 20, 2016 8:18:50 AM | 29

@26 john

Well, maybe I'm wrong, but what I'm trying to characterize is what people really feel. Donald Trump, for instance, was an absurd, impossible candidate ... but - no less absurd - the peoples' dissatisfaction with the way things are put him where he is. He might actually become POTUS XLV. In Thailand I think the vast majority of Thais are revolted by the present military dictatorship, but face prison sentences for saying so, so - amazingly/quite naturally - they don't. Perhaps we'll see at the dictatorship's constitutional referendum on 7 August just what's what in Thailand.

Everyone everywhere is exposed to the daily drone of the corporate news, but most discount it as noise, few believe it. People form their own opinions, and their shared opinions are what, eventually, determine reality. Even if it's something as unsatisfactory as Donald Trump. What do most Americans really think of the USA at this point in time? What do most Israelis really think of Israel? What do most Europeans think of the EU's subservience to the USA and the growing list of crimes against humanity committed by European governments both outside and inside Europe?

There is a collective 'game face' we all put forward. But at some point the contradictions between the inside and the outside causes the outside to shatter, or simply to evaporate, like the emperor's new clothes.

I just hope it occurs before World War.

Posted by: jfl | May 20, 2016 8:36:36 AM | 30

That was unfair, b, the "Truth!" needs crowdfunding and it's time for the spring campaign!

How out of touch with reality one gotta be to come to MoA asking for fraudfunding? Anna, tell your boss, Mr. Fraudmann, he lost the plot.

Posted by: Mad Marx | May 20, 2016 9:05:51 AM | 31

Bonesman Kerry Cohen faithfully served himself up to the PTB to do with as they may. Kerry has served a number of very useful purposes as a Limited Hangout.

He was a shepherd for the anti-Viet Nam War liberals. A bridge to unite the hippies with the establishment. This was the first necessary step in defanging the anti-war movement. There is no effective anti-war movement in the USA today.

Insured that the CIA's Contra drug runners escaped prosecution and that low level characters and patsies were punished instead.

The Zionist warmonger posing as a thoughtful liberal. The windsurfing dork that got Dubya reselected. Continually fulfilling the Yinon PNAC Plan for Greater Israel.

The PTB got a lot of use out of old horseface and they still do.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 20, 2016 10:04:25 AM | 32

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/12/world/europe/russian-economy-tumbling.html?ref=international&_r=0

NYT again provides a piece to cheer its readers: "Russian economy is tumbling", and provides a graphic of the budget deficit with "worried commentary". In fact, among major oil exporters, Russia is perhaps doing best, although some statistics are hard to understand: why they have such persistent trade surplus? Notably, while unemployment increased, it is a very small increase.

In the meantime, the oil prices recovered quite a bit, and if this is a sustained phenomenon the budget can stabilize. Putin is "ultra-conservative" in budgeting, and "worst come to worse", Russia can introduce progressive income tax (as oil provided most government revenue, personal tax rate is flat 10%).

It would be instructive to compare how Russia, KSA and Ukraine are doing with trade, budget and employment. But do not expect such comparisons from NYT unless Russia would look bad.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 20, 2016 10:13:41 AM | 33

Ok, he isn't perfect
https://earloftaint.com/2014/07/15/old-horseface-steps-in-it-again/

Posted by: From The Hague | May 20, 2016 10:17:24 AM | 34

Russia proposes to U.S., coalition forces joint strikes in Syria from May 25

MOSCOW, May 20 (Reuters) - Russia has proposed to the Unites States and the U.S.-led coalition that they begin on May 25 joint air strikes in Syria, targeting the Nusra Front and other rebels who are not observing the ceasefire, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Russia proposes that these strikes should also target convoys with weapons, including those crossing into Syria from Turkey. He said the proposal had been coordinated with Syria's government and discussed with U.S. military experts in Amman, Jordan.

Russia reserves the right to hit unilaterally those rebels in Syria who do not observe the ceasefire, state television showed Shoigu addressing a Defence Ministry meeting.


Translation: Join us or get out of the way ...

Posted by: b | May 20, 2016 10:19:38 AM | 35

I have to agree, Syria not withstanding, when I look back at former sec. of states - I am very happy w/ John Kerry. Has he flubbed Syria, sure - but I get this overwhelming sense that Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry both respect each other on a high level and this is the fruit of it.

Posted by: Au | May 20, 2016 10:37:36 AM | 36

https://amp.twimg.com/v/f72f7279-f0e4-4953-9549-d2243b49a20b

^ going to repost this short video of a msm journalist asking a Saudi official a simple question. "why don't you advocate for the same democracy in S.A. that you push for in Syria?" I thought it was a simple but poignant question and his logic sort of unravels revealing the grip of power they exert.

Posted by: Au | May 20, 2016 10:54:27 AM | 37

Re: Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20, 2016 12:24:44 AM | 20

Russia wasn't "allowed" in Syria by anyone. Russia was invited in by the Syrian Government.

There was no "deal" there at all with any external parties.

Posted by: Jules | May 20, 2016 11:10:09 AM | 38

20;AmeriKKKa?Jesus,how about Australia,where refugee immigrants are kept on islands far away from lily white racist aussies?Where Australia kisses US butt as it includes itself in almost every idiotic neolibcon disaster,from Vietnam o the present?Give it a rest.
Ask the aborigines about white fascism.

Posted by: dahoit | May 20, 2016 11:27:15 AM | 39

@5;Better a proto?fascist(Trump?) instead of actual fascists.(Obomba,the shrub and the Hell bitch)
Wars in at least 7?(who knows) nations for energy ,MIC arms sales,and Israeli securitization and expansion rate 10 on the fascist scale of one to ten.

Posted by: dahoit | May 20, 2016 11:34:01 AM | 40

@Harry

Bottom line, its not US who agreed to Russia's ceasefire plan (it did, but on superficial points), but at the core its Russia who agreed to US plan to divide Syria.

No, it is not a bottom line, not even close. Politics--is an art of possible(c) and it is not up to Russia to agree or not agree on the division of Syria. Russia's main political objective in Syria was to sustain Assad's government. This objective and what it entails (geo)politically has been achieved. As I wrote somewhere here one of the main objectives of Russia was also to provide US with some face-saving scenario. Why it is so is a separate and a very large issue. And then, there is a complex internal dynamics in relations between Syria's Armed Forces of pro-Iranian and pro-Russian factions, plus--there is Iran who is a major player there and who is...drum roll... not very happy with Russia's military performance: too successful and too impressive for Iranian taste. I always cringe when I real about Russia and Iran as "allies". Iran is nobody's ally. In general, overall dynamics in Syria is extremely complex and requires multidimensional approach to analysis (knowing facts on the ground may help;-)). Again, Russia plays in Syria a much much larger game than just, however important, defense of regional interests. In conclusion, Russia IS NOT going to fight the war which Syrians themselves must fight, albeit there are people in Syrian Armed Forces who would love to see just that.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 11:55:00 AM | 41

b @ 35

Russia has again taken the wind out of State Departments sails. Like the poison gas fiasco the US looks like we are cooperating while Russia does as it pleases. Diplomatic Ropeadope at a level our ahem, diplomats seem incapable of dealing with. Lavrov plays Kerry like a fiddle. What sad days for the Republic.

Posted by: ALberto | May 20, 2016 11:58:57 AM | 42


WTI Crude Oil (Nymex)
USD/bbl. 48.18 +0.02 +0.04% Jun 2016 11:25 AM

Brent Crude (ICE)
USD/bbl. 48.85 +0.04 +0.08%

Posted by: okie farmer | May 20, 2016 12:00:44 PM | 43

@22 grieved.. yes - words can and do make a difference.. here in north america, we're not used to it with politicians who have a distinct habit of lying, or saying one thing while meaning something else.. however, i also agree with john @ 25.. the number of people who actually care about the world going to hell in a hand-basket seem to be few and far between..

in other related news, i read this morning about russia asking the usa to join them in bombing those who are not agreeing or a part of the ceasefire... we'll see if the usa wants to take advantage of this.. it's a dangerous suggestion as i see it.. the usa could use it for all the wrong reasons..

and "The radical Saudi cleric, ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, called on the Syrian opposition to abandon the Syria Pound and adopt the Turkish Lira. Muhaysini, who now lives in northern Syria, used Twitter to post this message to his devout followers." wonder how he gets the turkish lira, or how he got into syria in the first place? that's where he is located and preaching from... simple question to erdofanatic..

meanwhile Race to Raqqa begins as US backed rebels flood the province: video ... not sure how this dovetails with russia's idea of getting the usa to help destroy isis.. seems more like a carve up syria along lines the transnationals would like to see..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2016 12:17:38 PM | 44

Doubtless I'm a stupid female who knows nothing about military matters, but "Woman having a thought must express it." It seems to me. . .

In the laundry I would never try to fill a leaking bucket, but stop & fix the leak first.
No, I've gotten confused. I mean if I wanted to dip the water from the sink, I'd first turn off the spigot, and if I couldn't, I'd stop it up.

My first thought when the Russians came in was, "Ah, now they will stop up the 50-80 miles of Turkey's border that the Kurds don't control. I mean that's why the US had the Patriots removed, no? So that Russian & Syrian air could control ALL of Syrian airspace." Was it not possible to stop all trucks from Turkey with a combination of drone surveillance and airstrikes?

Then during the cessation of hostilities, couldn't they have made it conditional upon a third-party inspection of all trucks from Turkey? Was it necessary to allow them to rearm and reinforce? At the cost now of men's lives? It seems a counter-intuitive method to empty a sink of poison, I mean water.

Doubtless you men know best how to fight a war, and can explain it to a mere woman, because to my eye it seems there must be some other purpose outside my range of vision.

Posted by: Penelope | May 20, 2016 12:19:12 PM | 45

US rejects Russia proposal for joint air strikes in Syria

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon on Friday rejected a Russian proposal to launch joint air strikes against extremists from next week in Syria, where they have been conducting separate bombing campaigns.

"We do not collaborate or coordinate with the Russians on any operations in Syria," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters, explaining that Washington and Moscow have separate military objectives.

"Russian operations are supporting and enabling the Assad regime and our focus is solely on degrading and defeating ISIL," Davis said, referring to ISIS.
...
Davis said Russia had not made a formal proposal to the United States.

"I've only seen the same press reports you have -- nothing formal has been presented to us," he told reporters.


Posted by: b | May 20, 2016 12:25:47 PM | 46

anhyone notice efforts at damage control were weak and limited?
http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/move-over-protocols-of-the-elders-of-zion-make-room-for-the-yinon-plan/2015/09/25/

tough to say its a fake:

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islamic_militancy_2049

http://mycatbirdseat.com/2013/06/the-machiavelian-threefold-game-of-the-neoconservatives/

"Is it possible that this biblical dream, mixed with the neo-Machiavellianism of Leo Strauss and the militarism of Likud, is what is quietly animating an exceptionally determined and organized ultra-Zionist clan? General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists “that describes how we’re gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran”. Is it just a coincidence that the “seven nations” doomed to be destroyed by Israel form part of the biblical myths instilled in Israeli schoolchildren? According to Deuteronomy, when Yahweh will deliver Israel “seven nations greater and mightier than yourself […] you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them. You shall not make marriages with them…” (7:1-2). “And he will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under heaven” (7:24)"

Posted by: Mike K | May 20, 2016 12:34:13 PM | 47

@ 46 b.. thanks.. i suppose carving up syria by funding the sdf which are apparently headed towards raqqa now is the usa's preferred line of action.. race to raqqa is still in play..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2016 12:39:16 PM | 48

@ SmoothieX12 | 41

No, it is not a bottom line, not even close. Politics--is an art of possible(c) and it is not up to Russia to agree or not agree on the division of Syria.

World powers always divided among themselves zones of influence, why is it news to you? That was done in the past, present, and will be done in the future, including by Russia.

Russia's main political objective in Syria was to sustain Assad's government

No. Russia's main objective is to serve Russia's interests, as long as current government (its not even about Assad) serves it, they'll prop it. To the extent its useful.

plus--there is Iran who is a major player there and who is...drum roll... not very happy with Russia's military performance: too successful and too impressive for Iranian taste.

How do you even come up with such absolute nonsense? :)))

I always cringe when I real about Russia and Iran as "allies". Iran is nobody's ally.

You got it backwards, Russia is nobody's real ally since it serves its own agenda and throws its alies under the bus anytime its useful for it (also called as realpolitiks). Iran on the other hand follows higher values and doesnt betray its alies (Syria, Hezbollah, even backstabbing Palestinians) and stands by them regardless if its good for Iran or not. Thats what a true ally is.

Posted by: Harry | May 20, 2016 12:57:46 PM | 49

Posted by: b | May 20, 2016 12:25:47 PM | 46

The US regime and many so call leftist/progressive sites continue to address Dr. Bashar Al Assad as "Assad Regime". We the votes will start the balls rolling in Nov - let the dupoly destroy themselves.

BTW, thanks for banned "Anna", like to take credit for it. Bookmark Fort Russ's website earlier. Sorry the OT. :-)

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 20, 2016 1:09:20 PM | 50

@Harry

Tell me more about Iran and will compare records. Granted that I was born 200 miles from it and then served for years on its maritime border with the USSR. Plus, I kind of trust Colonel Bagdasarov, who knows the Middle East (and speaks languages of area) political and military structure on the order of magnitude than you possibly can imagine.

Iran on the other hand follows higher values and doesnt betray its alies (Syria, Hezbollah, even backstabbing Palestinians) and stands by them regardless if its good for Iran or not. Thats what a true ally is.

Again, as I said, living in the world of fairy tales is not a good method of dealing with reality. Try it on somebody else, who never had intelligence operational orientations on the subject of this conversation.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 1:14:29 PM | 51

@Mike # 47 ""Is it possible that this biblical dream, mixed with the neo-Machiavellianism of Leo Strauss and the militarism of Likud, is what is quietly animating an exceptionally determined and organized ultra-Zionist clan?"

Dr.Ernest L Martin's book The People That History Forgot is a interesting read .You will find the early history of the ME is rolling over once again with the refugees entering Europe at present . The all Roads leading to Rome has a path by others that you might or might not recognize .Hint . Not all that claim to be Jews are Jews .http://www.askelm.com/people/index.asp It has audio as well as text ....

Posted by: Terry | May 20, 2016 1:19:10 PM | 52

james @44 - I agree. Russia proposed joint coalition efforts to start on May 25, and U.S. promptly said - ain't going to happen. Now the SDF is heading toward Raqqa. Mind you, there is no U.S. authorization in place for this action in Syria. The House is supposedly going to debate, at their leisure, of course, the repeal of the 2001 AUMF. The Pentagon is on very shaky ground here. But, then again, laws have no meaning to this White House.

Posted by: h | May 20, 2016 1:49:01 PM | 53

@ SmoothieX12 | 51

I stated facts, you responded with ad hominem. Not surprising, since you cant present facts supporting your opinions.

For example, Russian betrayed its ally Iran many times over (UN sanctions under bogus nuke pretenses - four times, S-300 sale when Iran needed them the most, etc). Can you name me the times Iran betrayed Russia? Even once? :) Or how Iran betrayed Syria or Hezbollah? You cant.

What to speak of some Iran or Syria, if Russia backstabbs Russians if its useful for its realpolitiks, like in Novorossia. They voted to separate from nazi Ukies and join Russia like Crimea did, and got a middle finger instead. When nazis attacked, Russia couldnt allow them to fall, but didnt allow them to win either, stopped Novorossia anytime they broke through and went into offensive, not to upset its "Western partners", even if it meant daily bombings of Donbass cities to this day.

We could talk how Russia treated Novorossia's idealist resistance heroes, if they didnt fall into realpolitiks line of Kremlin. Like Strelkov (he was removed from Donbass under threats, would have been killed if he didnt obey). Others werent so lucky, like Batman, etc.

Maybe its unpalatable to hear all this as you are nationalistic Russian, but I'm not hating here. I give the credit where its due. But I'm not blinded by nationalism or naive ideas about saintly do-good Russia. It does plenty of good, but its not driven by idealism, rather realpolitiks. Which is why I respect Iran's, Syria's or Hezbollah's leadership more than I do Russia's.

Posted by: Harry | May 20, 2016 1:51:26 PM | 54

Holy Shiite!

Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and live bullets at the protesters, according to a Reuters witness and live video, and dozens have reportedly been injured.

Situation slipping out of control in #Baghdad. Heavily-armed militias on maximum state of alert. Some already deployed. Curfew imposed. 2AhmederMaherBBC

source - http://www.businessinsider.com/protesters-storm-green-zone-in-baghdad-iraq-2016-5

Posted by: ALberto | May 20, 2016 1:52:56 PM | 55

@Harry

"I stated facts, you responded with ad hominem. Not surprising, since you cant present facts supporting your opinions."

I don't see anything ad hominem in pointing out a BS. Again, if you want to comment on the statements of Colonel Bagdasarov who, unlike you, served as military adviser to Syrian government and has ties with Christian communities in Syria and knows most of top military brass of Syrian Armed Forces, while being recognized in Russia's military and intelligence circles as one of the top specialists in the area--please comment. We'll compare the opinion of competent military-political professional (and scholar) in the area with your statements. But please, spare me, and others, the BS of geopolitical and pseudo-historical platitudes about Russia, spheres of interests and Novorossiya. As per your over the top pathos about Iran and its "values", again--try it on somebody else. I know what happened to TUDEH and where, those who left of it lived their days out--not far from my Naval Academy. Well, if name Alexander Griboyedov doesn't tell you anything, I don't know what values are you talking about. I know those "values" very well. You don't respect Russia's leadership--be my guest, it is your right, but don't try to wrap obvious lack of knowledge of the subject with some lofty rhetoric. If it is news for you that Iran is disturbed by what Russia did in Syria, then it is a clear indicator that you don't know much about both Russia and Iran. Iran, for all its significant potential as a regional superpower is yet to realize this potential, Russia did it long ago in global sense. People on the ground there, for the most part, are well aware what precipitated a dramatic change in military-political fortunes in the region. Make conclusions.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 2:32:17 PM | 56

@Harry

Forgot:

For example, Russian betrayed its ally Iran many times over

Again, Iran is NOT Russia's ally. Never was and, I doubt, will ever be. Normal, stable, mutually beneficial neighborly relations should be the norm between Russian and Iran, but coincidence of some current geopolitical interests do not make one an ally, especially nations so vastly different culturally.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 2:47:21 PM | 57

@ SmoothieX12 | 56

Zero facts, again.

I'm not Russian and I have no idea who Colonel Bagdasarov or Alexander Griboyedov are, sorry. Nor what their statements (and context), reliability or objectivity is.

"You don't respect Russia's leadership" - I didnt say that. I respect it (and especially Putin) plenty, just not as much as I do Iran/Syria/Hezbollah's leaders. Because while they obviously look after interests of their respective communities, they also have higher values in mind. They dont betray allies even if its useful for them, Russia does, over and over again. If I would be a leader of some country, I know I could trust Khamenei word, or Nasrallahs, or Assad's. Putins? If it aligns with Russia's interests - sure, if it doesnt - beware. Iran and others learned it the hard way.

Posted by: Harry | May 20, 2016 2:54:41 PM | 58

Don't blame Russia for acting in the interest of the people of Russia.

Posted by: From The Hague | May 20, 2016 3:09:01 PM | 59

@58 Are you referring to the S300 deal when Russia tried to placate the 'international community' by postponing delivery? I think you'll find Iran is now in possession of the most up to date version.

Posted by: dh | May 20, 2016 3:17:34 PM | 60

@Harry.

OK. Zero facts, I already got it, your MO that is. Here is a collection of Russia's experts who express their opinions on the issue within both Syrian Armed Forces and between Russian and Iranian militaries. I know it is in Russian but Google Translate can handle the gist.

http://svpressa.ru/war21/article/148739/

I can translate the title: Russia Is Being Used In Internal Syrian Conflicts. Local Intelligence Services Amplify Russian-Iranian Contradictions.

But, I guess, Bagdasarov and others also, like me, operate on the same basis of "zero facts" and are situationaly aware mostly in relation to Disney cartoons. When, and if, you will want to ask the question what Russo-Iranian contradictions, well--you are more than welcome to ask.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 3:26:34 PM | 61

Posted by: dahoit | May 20, 2016 11:27:15 AM | 39
(Racism in Oz)

I agree with everything you said - except "give it a rest". If you want a longer explanation it should be in the Open Thread. There was a soft coup in Oz in 1975 and we are now a US Colony.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20, 2016 4:25:12 PM | 62

Nusra Front Used Ceasefire Clashes to Attract More Allies
http://news.antiwar.com/2016/05/19/al-qaeda-led-islamists-gear-up-for-return-to-syria-war/

Posted by: okie farmer | May 20, 2016 4:34:55 PM | 63

Russia wasn't "allowed" in Syria by anyone. Russia was invited in by the Syrian Government.
There was no "deal" there at all with any external parties.
Posted by: Jules | May 20, 2016 11:10:09 AM | 38

I know that. I was trying to be ironic. Sorry it didn't work. No offense intended.
The Oz Airforce was in AmeriKKKa's anti-ISIS coalition in Syria and Iraq and within days of Russia's arrival in Syria decided (in our infinite wisdom) that we'd cross Syria off out list and confine our Anti-ISIS efforts to Iraq.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20, 2016 4:36:45 PM | 64

@61 smoothie..

thanks for your posts and response to harry.. i find it educational.. i translated the article you shared.. a few of the words didn't translate - like the quote below..
"Could Mustafa Badr al-Din become the victim of внутрисирийских warfare?"

it was an interesting article. i am curious if you feel like offering your view on iran's role in syria apart from russia's.. it looks like they work together, but perhaps i have that wrong, or only a more black and white view on it.. how would you articulate it?

also, i have visited your website and i like it. i haven't commented on it as it requires i sign into some account and i don't feel like doing that.. however, i enjoyed your most recent post on Masha Zakharova.. that was fun..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2016 5:16:15 PM | 65

...
Translation: Join us or get out of the way ...
Posted by: b | May 20, 2016 10:19:38 AM | 35

Yep.
I get the feeling that this is one of those "you ain't seen nothin' yet" moments...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20, 2016 5:39:22 PM | 66

@James.

"Внутрисирийских warfare", most likely, means "internal Syrian conflicts". The article is basically about it.

it looks like they work together, but perhaps i have that wrong, or only a more black and white view on it.. how would you articulate it?

I would say you lean more towards black and white version. In reality, of course, it is much more complex, including some very serious national sensitivities (mostly from Iranian side) involved. There is no doubt that there are many top notch military professionals and, frankly, heroic people on both Syrian and Iranian sides, but, as I mentioned before--a dramatic strategic change happened on the ground only when Russia, with her immense expertise and technology, got involved. This is a black and white fact, as well as well-known fact that Arab militaries, generally, are not known for their combined arms warfare abilities. This is the knowledge that, as an example, US Army Colonel Norwell Atkine and Soviet Colonel Sergievsky, military adviser in 1973 to Syrian Army, share. Sergievsky made his feelings known in the article with telling title "One Mustn't Fight Like This", while Atkine is known for his essays "Why Arab Militaries Lose Wars". I will abstain from narrating my personal experiences with this issue but I tend to share both Sergievsky's and Atkine's points. With Russia's technology and expertise came influence in the region and this does not seat well with Iranian side, which does have a substantial influence within Syrian military. Russia tries to organize Syrian military in a manner which may directly contradict Iranian vision. It is a very sensitive issue, apart from the fact that some factions in Syrian military do gravitate towards Iran. That is a conundrum.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 20, 2016 8:27:04 PM | 67

@67 smoothie... thanks.. yes - my black and white version comes with the absence of knowledge and nuance, something that's hard get without knowing the language and culture.. i accept that.. it's the reason i appreciate your input here! what you say is fascinating.. thanks for sharing..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2016 10:10:12 PM | 68

@From The Hague | 59

Don't blame Russia for acting in the interest of the people of Russia.

Its normal and expected that leaders takes care of the interests of their respective countries, however there are limits which shouldnt be crossed. Sometimes even national interests can be sacrificed to help an ally. Want examples? Shouldnt we say anything how Israel treats Palestinians, because Israel acts for the interests of Israelis? Or its alright to throw allies under the bus if it brings some benefits for your country?

Politics arent black and white, its in many shades of grey. Still there are "whiter greys" and "darker greys". Some think everything goes, to me there are certain lines.

Posted by: Harry | May 21, 2016 9:12:52 AM | 69

@Harry

Its normal and expected that leaders takes care of the interests of their respective countries

Do you think the leaders of the USA act in the interest of the people of the USA?

Posted by: From The Hague | May 21, 2016 9:43:46 AM | 70

@ SmoothieX12 | 61

I asked for facts, and you gave me rumours from Saudis newspaper in London? Really? :))

I can read Russian, so looked through that article. Thoughts:

* Its usual Western/Saudi propaganda to create (or increase) strife among alies.

Its expected that there are (and should be) disagreements, if there are disagreements in such close circles as family, then what to speak of different countries. However, such propaganda is specifically tailored to create or amplify it, its a big part of informational warfare. Like you should know Russian saying "buria v stakane" (storm in the glass of water).

* Specific claim by Semen Bagdasarov is absurd. I dont know what else he is usually saying, but to claim that Iran cant do any successful operation without the help of Russians, is his nationalistic delusion. Sounds like: "We are the best, others cant do anything unless we help them". Americans are often guilty of such delusions of grandeur, same applies to Bagdasarov, at least in this case. Again - I dont know what he usually says, or maybe his words were misrepresented (also happens often in informational warfare).

Some things about Iran you may not be aware about:

1. Its Iranians who got Russia heavily involved in the first place. If they didnt want Russia in Syria, they wouldnt have asked. Russia supplied air support, Iran supplied manpower (from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon), and it worked - over 10.000 sq.km. were recovered from terrorists.

Until Russia made a deal with US and stopped annihilation of "moderate" terrorists, instead created a permanent safe haven for them in Syria. Not surprised this Russian move seriously angered Syria and Iran. So you got it backwards, Iran isnt pissed that Russia had a great air support, thats why Russia was invited in the first place. The major disagreement is because Russia retreated when terrorists were done, and even forbade SAA/Iran to reclaim the rest of Syria from "moderates". Now THAT was upsetting to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah (who left Aleppo altogether, must be also sooo impressed by Russian move, right? :)

2. You know who saved Russian pilot after Turks destroyed SU-24? It was a precision operation by mainly Iranian special forces and Hezbollah. Russians send their special forces with MI-8 but they got shot down and one marine died so they retreated. Must be another example how Iranians can do nothing unless Russians do it for them, right?

3. Half of Syrian army are volunteer battalions, trained by Iran/Hezbollah.

4. Hezbollah itself is a creation of Iran. When they defeated Israel in a massive upset, it must be Russia who did it for them, after all, Iran cant do anything right on the battlefield, isnt? :)) That Bagdasarov surely must be right. He is an expert after all :))

Posted by: Harry | May 21, 2016 10:03:02 AM | 71

@From The Hague | 70

Do you think the leaders of the USA act in the interest of the people of the USA?

Not really, they are working for corporations and power group interests, in other words - US is an oligarchy now (by their own scientists admission), not a "beacon of democracy" as they want us to believe.

To be fair, Russia is also oligarchy, not as much as in Yeltsin days, but oligarchy nonetheless. Therefore saying "Putin serves the interests of Russian people" isnt entirely accurate either, as he has to balance it with oligarchs as well. Difference is, Putin has some leeway, Obama hardly has any freedom.

Posted by: Harry | May 21, 2016 10:14:54 AM | 72

@ Harry

Ok, I understand your point.
Ben je Nederlander? (storm in een glas water)
De informatie hier is over de hele linie zo dom anti-Rusland/Poetin, dat ik mogelijk van de weeromstuit tot een te kritiekloze houding wat betreft Poetin/Rusland overga.
Alle kranten en partijen doen mee aan de hetze.
Voor een ander geluid moet ik naar Blik op Nos-journaal of Willy van Damme (of evt Stan van Houcke en jammerjoh).

Posted by: From The Hague | May 21, 2016 10:32:00 AM | 73

@ From The Hague | 73

Sorry, I'm not from Netherlands :) Did a little google translate so I get your point.

Its true in the West there is a massive anti-Russian propaganda, even Russophobia. Thats why I defend Russia in the Western media and blogs, however in MoA (and especially Saker) there is a rose-glassed version of Russia which doesnt exist either. Therefore here I have to show not everything Russia does is rosy.

Posted by: Harry | May 21, 2016 10:46:48 AM | 74

SmootieX12:

Iran is NOT Russia's ally. Never was and, I doubt, will ever be.

IMO Russia refrained from an overt alliance or with Iran while it was attempting to find its footing in the West. By 2013 (probably much earlier), Russia/Putin could see that the West didn't want peaceful accommodation but capitulation.

As Harry points out, saving Assad was a joint Russian-Iranian project. But Russian involvement causes friction with the West/Sunnis. Russian can not overplay its hand. Any appearance of territorial ambitions invites greater/growing resistance from the Empire - and not just in Syria. A this time, strengthening SCO is probably more important to Russia/China than Syria's territorial integrity.

Russia's involvement with SCO envisions a strengthening alliance with Iran (Iran is expected to become an SCO member soon).

<> <> <> <> <> <>

I am of the same cynical mindset as Harry: the ceasefire allows for a de-facto partition as SDF takes al Nusra/ISIS territory (aka "Race to Raqqa").

al Nusra/ISIS (mostly, conveniently) gets displaced to Libya where it has more oil fields to fund its global mission of destabilization. A mission that is fundamentally friendly to the Empire - which follows with R2P ops.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21, 2016 11:42:44 AM | 75

@ 12 / jo6pac

Thanks for those old counterpunch links to Kerry.

Posted by: dumbass | May 21, 2016 12:14:30 PM | 76

@71 harry... good info and insights. thanks for sharing. i agree with you @72 as well...

@75 jackrabbit.. what is sco? the abbreviation escapes me.. you and harry might be right on the partition idea.. this idea has been floated for some time - kurdistan part 2 or whatever one wants to call it.. i don't know..

Posted by: james | May 21, 2016 12:17:53 PM | 77

@Harry

"Specific claim by Semen Bagdasarov is absurd. I dont know what else he is usually saying, but to claim that Iran cant do any successful operation without the help of Russians, is his nationalistic delusion."

I will limit my response to you to this only, since commenting on the rest of your post is a waste of time. Nothing personal.

1. You obviously never heard of Clausewitz' truism that "it is legitimate to judge the event by its outcome for it is the soundest criterion"(c) Vom Kriege. If Iran is so good operationally as you describe, explain to me what warranted, then, Russian involvement in Syria in the first place? This is rhetorical question and you don't need to answer it--anyone with a modicum of understanding of war knows the answer;

2. I pay my deepest respect to Iranian military professionals who fight in Syria but you, evidently, have no even remote grasp of the scale of things which Russia brought to Syria--capabilities which Iran simply does not possess. Even before VKS units and SSO people it is a fully employed C4SIR complex which has only other rival in the world and that is of the US, period. This, not Iranian military, became a game changer and the game did change. In fact, this is from different universe;

3. You claim that you read Russian but your diatribe towards Bagdasarov shows that you do not understand that Bagdasarov is representative of a much larger and much more knowledgeable community of military professionals (former and current) in Russia. Those people know about Syria and current situation there on several orders of magnitude than you or me can possibly know. Bagdasarov and some other public figures are great conductors of number of very competent opinions of that community. But, judging by your obviously pro-Iranian position and continuous pressing of the amateur cliches, I can not see how this discussion which, in your opinion, is based on "no facts" can have any meaningful continuation--evidently appearance in Syria of Russian military advisers, Russian bases, T-90s, night vision capability for Syrian Army, newest means of communications, employment of satellite and signal and human intel on the ground, A-50s and TU-204 in the air, Pantsyr and S-400 closing the air space, employment of all analytical and operation planning capabilities of Russia's General Staff, Precision Guided Munitions, salvos of GLONASS and inertial guided cruise missiles launched from strategic bombers and ships and subs, including from Caspian Sea, Syrian Express and on, and on, and on. Feel free to underline what you think is NOT relevant to a dramatic change of the situation on the ground in Syria and what of this list Iran is capable of doing and why it didn't do it prior to Russian involvement. But then again, according to you these are not facts. As I said before, I will repeat again--I am ready to discuss factual side of the issue, not demagoguery.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 21, 2016 12:29:58 PM | 78

@james

SCO: Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21, 2016 12:36:18 PM | 79

@Jackrabbit

IMO Russia refrained from an overt alliance or with Iran while it was attempting to find its footing in the West. By 2013 (probably much earlier), Russia/Putin could see that the West didn't want peaceful accommodation but capitulation.

In a way you are correct. But it is not footing, even Russophobe psychopath Brzezinski admits that Russia's geographic and cultural fulcrum is in Europe. Believe me, I know, I am Russian myself. Before going into this "ally" business the definition of that should be given: what does it mean to be an ally. Iran is no ally of Russia it simply can not be in a traditional sense of the term in foundation of which is common cause. Yes, there could be some treaties with Iran, as they were, such as 1920 and 1940 Treaties on the status of Caspian Sea. There could be some formal frameworks, such as Shanghai Cooperation Organization, within which many things may happen but under no conditions can Iran and Russia be ever real military allies with everything what goes with it--that is going to war on behalf (and together with) allied state.

Iran is an emerging regional superpower with its very own vision of a region and, it is a natural competitor for Russia in terms of crude and other byproducts. The best indication of how Iran is NOT an "ally" of Russia may come in economic field where Iran, indeed, wants to get its own footing with the West, not Russia. And then comes this other, and most important, issue--culture. In what sense Russia and Iran culturally compatible is a mystery to me. Average Russian Joe (or Ivan) has no difficulty feeling himself at home in Paris (or whatever left of it anyway), Prague or Milan, this is not the case with Iran--absolutely different universes. Exotic? Yes. Culturally close? Absolutely not. This factor matters a great deal, in fact defines international relations. Russia is her own "animal" and her fortunes lie NOT in her underbelly region.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 21, 2016 12:53:32 PM | 80

Very interesting discussion with good points made on both sides.

For what its worth here is a recent exchange from Syrianperspective by Canthama, who seems a good analyst:


Edward: Canthama, so what I understand from what you are saying, it seems to me that Aleppo has been put "on hold" for action in these other areas, is that correct!?

Canthama:

That is correct, it was a pre condition from the US for any attempt to work with Russia on a possible peaceful solution for Syria. That was the original idea though.
What we have seen since then was that :
1) Iran, Syria and Hizballah did not like it since it held their offensive that was making the difference. They see it as a high price for the Syria as a whole and they also see it as bending to Turkish Caliphate "interests" on Aleppo.
2) Nusrats did not sign for the ceasefire and went on the offensive, the allied forces were held at bay, clearly on check, since they could only defend, minimum CAS from RuAF and all moderats inter-mingled with Al Qaeda nusrat to take their share on the advances.
3) The US was supposed to "sort the wheat from the chaff" so to speak and it did not work, for a moment the US had the upper hand and then lost when it could not deliver on its words, they will never admit that there is no moderats in Syria, they are all a bunch of lousy terrorist rats.
4) Iran, Syria and Hizballah did not agree with this Russia-US strategy, for few months the allies were clearly divided.
5) Part of the Russian strategy has to do to neutralize Turkish ambitions, and for Russia that passes through the Kurds. Intense high level conversation has started between Russia and the Kurds, at this stage it is not clear whether the PYD was involved or just PKK. Recall that Barzani's KDP in Iraq is all Turkish/Israeli stooge and Barzani is a mortal enemy of PKK and PYD, though supposedly all are Kurds, this is where many folks talking about a broader Kurdistan makes the mistake, there is no broader Kurdistan, there are local Kurds interests, not a nation and it will never be since Kurds are not aligned, as Arabs are never aligned, as simple as that.
6) Russia has invited the US for joint air attacks on rats, the US refused, Russia said that after May 25th will hit any group that has not publicly signed for the ceasefire.
7) Based on the "Syrian Sea Express" from the Black Sea and the "Iranian Air Express" for the past 2-3 weeks, they are both building up resources to help the SAA and allies to go on offensives.

All the above leads to some conclusions:
1) The Iraq Army and militia advances in Anbar will cut ISIS key connecting link from Syria-Iraq at Al Qaim/Al Bukamal.
2) Deir ez Zor defense plus the liberation of Palmyra creates an opportunity to cut ISIS in half in Syria and Iraq as well.
3) The distraction in Al Sha'er is only momentary, soon it will backfire in ISIS.
4) The SDF "offensive" to Raqqa backed by the "Coalition of the killing" is more PR than for real, they will probably get few villages but won't get Raqqa city threatened.
5) Nusrats want all the distraction with ISIS so they can either mingled within the moderats or just go on the offensive against Syria.
6) Moderats are facing a "do or die" choice in Syria, they are completely against the wall and we will see many joining Al Qaeda Nusrat or fighting it, as we are seeing in East Ghouta where unofficial nbrs places 1,200 KIA since their infighting.
7) With Nusrat potentially reinforced with extreme moderats and isolated, they will be fair game for Syria and Russia, mostly Russia air attack campaign, most likely to happen in 2nd half 2016.
8) The real backstage deal between US and Russia is unknown, but it could include a Federal State, something Syria and Iran are not supportive.

There will still be a lot of fight ahead, the Syrian martyrs must be honored, there is only one solution, victory.

Harry and SmoothieX12 and others are free to comment.

Posted by: For What Its Worth | May 21, 2016 2:37:57 PM | 81

SmoothieX12 @80

I could repeat much of what you have said with regard to US-Saudi relations but few would dispute that USA and KSA are "allies".

"Ally/Alliance" is a fairly broad term. One doesn't have to be blood brothers to share mutual and abiding interests. Nor does "mutual and abiding" have to mean 'all-encompassing and centuries old'.

By your formulation of "ally", Russia is an untrustworthy partner to non-European states - much as Harry has claimed. But I think you are both wrong. Russia is forced to play the hand that it is dealt. And that hand involves (among other things) nurturing alliances, buying time to grow stronger, and a hand of friendship to Europe/Europeans in an attempt to pry it away from the Empire.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21, 2016 2:42:01 PM | 82

#66 I do believe we will see - fireworks- after 5/25/16 never seen in Syria up to this date.

Posted by: sejmon | May 21, 2016 3:28:17 PM | 83

@SmoothieX12 | 78

1. If Iran is so good operationally as you describe, explain to me what warranted, then, Russian involvement in Syria in the first place?

Its obvious, just not for the reasons you think. Iran doesnt have an air force to speak off (because surprise surprise, Russian doesnt sell it so they wouldnt upset "their Western partners"), thats why Iran asked Russia to join mopping up the terrorists. To do that just with "boots on the ground" would be much more costly.

Next point (read carefully, since you dont seem to know this), is that an airforce, as good as it is, is ultimately useless without manpower on the ground. Thats why soldiers actually fighting on the ground are as important as an airforce.

Thats why its so crucial that Russia and Iran act together, instead of Russia withdrawing and even putting brakes on Resistance offensive. You completely misread why Iran got angry, so did Syria, and Hezbollah even left Aleppo altogether in disgust over Russian-US so called ceasefire, which effectively partitions Syria.

2. I pay my deepest respect to Iranian military professionals who fight in Syria but you, evidently, have no even remote grasp of the scale of things which Russia brought to Syria--capabilities which Iran simply does not possess. Even before VKS units and SSO people it is a fully employed C4SIR complex which has only other rival in the world and that is of the US, period. This, not Iranian military, became a game changer and the game did change. In fact, this is from different universe;

No, you dont pay any respect to Iranian sacrifices, neither does Bagdasarov, if yours and his quotes from before are any indication. Few politically correct sounds bites doesnt change that.

I know quite a bit what Russia brought to Syria, its advertised 24/7. Again read my point above - airforce is crucial part but its ultimately useless without soldiers on the ground, which Russia wasnt willing to provide, therefore Iran did. It was a combined effort, and a combined success, NOT Russia doing all the winning as you are imagining.

3. You claim that you read Russian but your diatribe towards Bagdasarov shows that you do not understand that Bagdasarov is representative of a much larger and much more knowledgeable community of military professionals

Your ad hominems doesnt change the facts one bit - that quote by Bagdasarov was delusion of grandeur, literally by definition.

One may be an expert in any field, but it doesnt preclude one from being subjective, nationalistic, exceptionalistic, etc.

Example - we can take many, many US military experts, who pour exceptionalistic BS from every pore of their bodies. They may know about military and geopolitics more than everyone on MoA, combined, and yet any knowledgable poster can call them out on their BS. Like I did on Bagdasarov.

You should really put away exceptionalistic rose-colored glasses of Russia and try to be more objective, otherwise how are you any better than an army of exceptionalistic US posters?

Posted by: Harry | May 21, 2016 4:48:17 PM | 84

Jo6pac @ 12, "John Kerry is as evil as the rest of the neo-conns."

His wife's Heinz foundation is a player in the phoney CO2 scam to further deindustrialize America. The Senate report Environmental Chain of Command discloses that the Billionaire's Club of which the Heinz Foundation is a part, supplied $1.3 Billion in 2011 alone to "grassroots" activists and 2 media outlets to maintain the long-debunked anti-energy "science."

"Three radical outfits in particular were identified as serving key roles in the scheming of the network: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Democracy Alliance, and the Divest/Invest movement. Other crucial components of the phony grassroots network involved in financing the deception and extremism include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Schmidt Family Foundation created by Google boss Eric Schmidt, and the infamous Heinz Family Foundation largely controlled by Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife.

"Another one of the “dominant” outfits in the pseudo-environmentalist movement exposed in the report is the California-based “Sea Change Foundation.” According to the Senate report and other investigations, the group relies heavily on funding from a shady Bermuda-based “company” that the Washington Free Beacon reported “appears only to exist on paper.” Sea Change, in turn, “funnels tens of millions of dollars to other large but discreet foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics,” the report says. Other funding sources for Sea Change include billionaire population control zealot Bill Gates of Common Core infamy, top establishment insider and anti-sovereignty extremist David Rockefeller, and retail giant Walmart."

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/18864-lawless-billionaire-club-behind-green-scam-senate-study-finds

PS George Soros also helps, through the Tides Foundation. These people aren't destroying only Syria and the mideast, they're de-industrializing EU & the US too. They're destroying the power to resist everywhere so they can bring in their new world global oligarchy.

The Syrians have fought against overwhelming odds for so long. And when it's all over they will have no manufacturing capacity because Turkey stole all the Aleppo factories. So they'll have to buy what they need through importing goods-- becoming indebted to the banking cabal. And that worm Kerry who ought to pay reparations will go on being a billionaire. Ahhh, it makes me sick.

Posted by: Penelope | May 22, 2016 12:14:53 PM | 85

@85
Leave his wife out of this.

Posted by: From The Hague | May 22, 2016 12:32:36 PM | 86

Harry @ 71, I am nuch in sympathy w your comment:

"Until Russia made a deal with US and stopped annihilation of "moderate" terrorists, instead created a permanent safe haven for them in Syria. Not surprised this Russian move seriously angered Syria and Iran. So you got it backwards, Iran isnt pissed that Russia had a great air support, thats why Russia was invited in the first place. The major disagreement is because Russia retreated when terrorists were done, and even forbade SAA/Iran to reclaim the rest of Syria from "moderates". Now THAT was upsetting to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah (who left Aleppo altogether, must be also sooo impressed by Russian move, right? :)"

I understand that one's enemy is most motivated to agree to a ceasefire when he is being beaten. Yet, if you go ahead a beat him, won't the remnant STILL want a ceasefire, just to survive? I guess I just don't have a military mind. If the ceasefire doesn't hold it was for nothing. If it does hold Syria is partitioned. Surely Syria will get LESS of what she wants if she doesn't ush through to victory, no? If they impose a federal (confederation) system on Syria, it's just half way to partitioning, no? The Syrian Kurds want the oil in "their" area.

Posted by: Penelope | May 22, 2016 10:45:51 PM | 87

Anybody else think there might be a connection to the recent bombing in Syria by Islamic forces and hundreds more
American special ops.now in Syria?

Posted by: Ron | May 23, 2016 9:47:34 AM | 88

Have to agree with Harry. USA imho played Putin with the ceasefire nonsense, which has gotten lots of Syrians and Hezb/Iranian fighters killed.

Let's not forget that Putin's govt allegedly exported Chechen terrorists for the 50bln dollar Sochi olympics, who then went on to terrorize Syraq. He seems to be more concerned with sporting events than in being a reliable partner.

If Putin doesn't provide a substantive win in Syria, then I would imagine that Russia will eventually suffer consequences. A Hillary presidency could make Obama's diplomacy look like a wilted lily, and Putin would face an increasingly hostile border, and and an increasingly hostile narrative from Natostan - enough maybe to seriously harm Russian society and his grand design

Posted by: aaaa | May 23, 2016 1:09:18 PM | 89

@For What It Is Worth

1) Iran, Syria and Hizballah did not like it since it held their offensive that was making the difference.

OK, last time.

First. General things which are taught in any military academy of any militarily competent nation in the introductory course of military history (usually first year): Victory in a war is defined by attaining political objectives of that war. For those who suddenly lost their memory I may remind that main reason for Russia's involvement in Syria was a series of major military setbacks of Assad's troops and its allies, such as....and anyone may fill in who those allies were and are. In layman's parlance--Russia intervened when it became clear that Assad was nearing the edge. Main political objective of Russia was to prevent Assad government's collapse and everything this collapse would entail.

Second. Based on widely known knowledge (knowledge is NOT an information, two are, actually, not the same) of motives for Russia's involvement, which, as it is clear was a desperate state of Syria and her government, it seems quite funny to discuss dissatisfaction of Hizbullah's or of Iranian forces in Syria by the fact that Russia's negotiations with the US "held" their offensives which were "making a difference" when the reason those offensives were "making a difference" is precisely Russia's involvement which made a huge difference for those "offensives" in the first place. Those "offensives", evidently, WERE NOT making a difference prior to Russia's involvement, because Syria and her forces were, in fact, in a desperate state.

Third. Whatever local commentators write here about Hizbullah, Iran etc. One constant which lacks in their analysis is the factor of scale and force multipliers. It was, and still is, Russia's Air-Space Forces and an operational tempo of its assets, which, accidentally, stunned Pentagon (Google, Google, dive, dive) which made all this difference by completely changing the dynamics of the conflict and ensuring the survival of Assad's government as a foundation for future developments. See "First", for Russia's main political objective of the war. Military scale--is one thing, but then comes the Big Power Politics which is, as any power politics, cynical and sees a diplomacy, to paraphrase Clausewitz, as continuation of the war by other means. Russia is paying for the music, so Russia is dancing, so to speak, a girl. Whether local "specialists" (all of them, I assume with really close ties to Main Operational Directorate (GOU) and GRU of Russian General Staff, or Vladimir Putin himself) in operations like it or not, Russia has a much larger game to play, in which Syria, while very important, is just a small piece of the colossal global puzzle, where even Iran is not even the first tier player politically, let alone militarily.

Fourth. Russian Armed Forces, Intelligence Services, all other assets which are currently making a decisive strategic difference have loyalty first and foremost to peoples, majority of them ethnic Russians, of Russia. They, those people, their welfare and security are their foremost responsibility. Syria, being Soviet and Russia's ally for many decades is one of those cases where Russian people and their state, that is Russian Federation, are ready to bear the costs of defending it. How it was and will be done was already shown to a devastating effect but, as I already stated, Russian military professionals need Syrian Armed Forces battle of order to be configured to Russia's extremely high standards, not to somebody else'.

Fifth. Per problems with Arab militaries with combined arms warfare--it is a separate and a very large issue. With Russia's military involvement comes the enormous political clout in Syria. This IS bound and is already creating frictions within, as Colonel Lang puts it R+6. Guess what R stands for and why it is a separate letter. What Russia's vision for the future of Syria? Who knows. I can only speculate, but what do I know.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 23, 2016 2:57:42 PM | 90

@90 smoothie.. thanks.. good commentary.

i think it's easy to be critical of others for what has or hasn't happened, but the long term game plan can only be speculated on.. the other point i would make is that russia's position is a lot more complicated then some here might appreciate and i say this without knowing what it faces - only my imagination to go on, thinking the usa is doing everything it can to put russia in a difficult and compromised position.. that seems obvious to me, so i withhold criticism of russia for what i don't know as the complete and full back story to this..

we are still early in the unfolding of a multipolar world, or the continuation of a unipolar one as the case may be..

Posted by: james | May 23, 2016 6:09:48 PM | 91

Stratfor is now the first outlet, AFTER MOA, which speaks of an attack on the T-4 airbase

Discerning Damage to a Crucial Syrian Air Base

Satellite imagery acquired by Stratfor in partnership with AllSource Analysis verifies that the T4 air base was severely damaged by an Islamic State artillery attack. In particular, four Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters appear to have been destroyed.

Posted by: b | May 24, 2016 7:18:33 AM | 92

I'm surprised but not shocked at this report.
Russian response will be most interesting/anticipated...

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 24, 2016 7:45:22 AM | 93

@b

Russia's MOD already debunked the info.

http://ria.ru/syria/20160524/1439071245.html

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 24, 2016 10:02:18 AM | 94

@V.Arnold

Went to STRATFOR site. What is destroyed Mig-25 doing there? Immediate red flag. Russian VKS do not operate MiG-25s in Syria. It is, obviously, Syrian aircraft.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 24, 2016 10:06:47 AM | 95

@ SmoothieX12 | May 24, 2016 10:06:47 AM | 95

Imagine my relief; I should have known, Stratfor is a U.S. asset.
I should think Russia would've been far better at perimiter defense; but then, shit happens.
Glad this is bogus...
Thanks

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 24, 2016 10:16:46 AM | 96

@V.Arnold

It is a war. Bad things happen in a war--people die, equipment is destroyed, perimeter or no perimeter. Russia is not an exception. STRATFOR, together with the pool of "genuine" Russian military "analysts" such as Pavel Falgenhauer (biologist by trade), Dmitry Gorenburg, Alexander Goltz etc. are a laughing stock among serious military professionals. I remember George Friedman, a founder of STRATFOR, describing in 2014 his wet fantasies of conventional clash between US and Russian militaries in Ukraine. The guy is a fraud and suffers from militant incompetence. Most of what circulates in US mass media and think-tankdom re: Russia is BS, detached from the realities on the ground, so to speak. Some welcomed exceptions merely confirm the rule.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 24, 2016 10:27:56 AM | 97

@ SmoothieX12

Stratfor write about Mi-24.
And you about Mig-25.
Please be accurate.

Posted by: From The Hague | May 24, 2016 11:49:51 AM | 98

@From The Hague.

I think it is you who has to read what I wrote accurately. STRATFOR has shown some alleged "photos" on which there is a destroyed MiG 25 at this base, which immediately points to the fact that these photos are dated to the time before Russia's interference. Russian Air Force DOES NOT operate MiG 25 aircraft. It is beyond the point anyway--the whole story is bunk. Many more similar stories are coming.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 24, 2016 12:10:17 PM | 99

@ SmoothieX12

Did you read the following part of the text?:

In addition, a Syrian MiG-25 aircraft that was likely already out of commission appears to have been damaged.

Posted by: From The Hague | May 24, 2016 12:27:19 PM | 100

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