Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 04, 2016

Syria: The U.S. Is Unwilling To Settle - Russia Returns For Another Round

The Obama administration does not want peace in Syria. The Russians finally have to admit to themselves that the U.S. is no partner for a continuation of a cease fire, a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has again asked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes even as two UN Security Council resolutions demand its eradication. Huge supply convoys (vid) from Turkey are again going to the "rebels" who will, as always, share them with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

The current renewed Syrian Arab Army attack towards Raqqa is being obstructed not only by sandstorms but also by a timely attack of al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and Turkestan Islamist Party forces against government positions in the south Aleppo countryside.

More than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.

The center also reported civilians in Aleppo as saying armed groups partly made up of Turkish soldiers had appeared north of the city.

The exactly same scheme happened in March and April when a move towards eastern Syrian by the Syrian army had to be stopped to prevent further losses against al-Qaeda south of Aleppo. It seems obvious that these moves U.S. supported forces are planned to prevent any gains of the Syrian government in the east.

Today Lavrov again talked to Kerry:

"Lavrov expressed concern about attempts to delay the resumption of political negotiations under various pretexts," the [Russian foreign] ministry said.

As the U.S. is unwilling to settle the Syria conflict Russia will have to retake the initiative.

Is this a trap? Does the U.S. want Russia to sink into a quagmire in Syria? That is certainly a possibility but it is hard to see how this could happen when Russia comes back with a vengeance and strikes hard and fast.

Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria have tripled over the last days. Additional resources have been silently dispatched:

Without stirring a buzz similar to that of their first military intervention in Syria, the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army.
...
Syrian sources stated that the Russian joint command staff, which coordinated aerial support operations last fall, had returned to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province to begin preparations for new operations.

One can only hope that the Russian leadership has learned its lesson. That it will not stop to pursue the enemy for no political gain when it is again, as it likely will soon be, on the run.

Posted by b on June 4, 2016 at 18:11 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Can anyone tell me what Russia gained by pulling back and letting the "moderate" terrorists regroup and rearm?

Posted by: rcentros | Jun 8 2016 21:32 utc | 101

"Does USA want Russia to sing in Syrian quagmire?"

Google "does charlie daniels play a mean fiddle commercial".

"what Russia gained by pulling back"

The logic of limited war is different than the logic of total war. If the most vital interests of the state are at stake, you can convince the citizens to suffer through putting the entire economy on war footing, mobilization of the military and so on. Milder threats require milder response. And then there is a complex calculus of the cost of the effort, how much cost can be born by the allies, and how much the opponents can do to neutralize the increase in effort through their own escalation.

Putin decided to attempt a major de-escalation when the oil prices reached lowest levels in years, and thus making a huge dent in Russian revenue (largely based on export taxes on oil). "Friendly western observers" were licking their chops commenting on the strikes and blockades organized by the truckers displeased by the introduction of tolls. Clearly, switching the budget to non-oil revenue is an enormous operation that has to be executed carefully. In the same time, KSA and other Gulfies had a money shortage too, so it was reasonable to check if a de-escalation has a chance.

Now with oil rebounding from 30 $/bbl to 50 $/bbl, KSA and the Gulfies are splurging again on supplies to jihadists (they also de-escalated in Yemen where quite a few of them were killed, so if they had to choose, they prefer to concentrate on Syria). So bye-bye to de-escalation, but Russia and Iran have money from the same oil prices, plus a different cost structure (weapons produced domestically rather than imported with outrageous mark-ups).

But even with rubble prices, the war requires latest toys which cost more and the quantities are limited. Right now, a column with new tanks and new helicopters is advancing toward Raqqa and another, in Palmyra (some helicopters were destroyed by ISIS in a daring attack on their base). Russian ground troops were reported to participate. In the same time, loyalist Aleppo faces a huge attack that Russia tries to stop or slow down from the air.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 9 2016 12:43 utc | 102

Can anyone tell me what Russia gained by pulling back and letting the "moderate" terrorists regroup and rearm?
Posted by: rcentros | Jun 8, 2016 5:32:13 PM | 101

Only a suggestion and not exhaustive ...
Russia hadn't exposed the US as cowardly, dishonest & untrustworthy at the time of the non-withdrawal withdrawal. Putin was probably giving the (C,D & U) Yankees an opportunity to ambush themselves (a Proud US Military Tradition). We won't know if the tactic bore fruit until the Yankees resume whining about Russia's mass slaughter of Obama's pet Ter'rists. Then Putin will give the world an earful about Yankee Duplicity - if He's got the goods on them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9 2016 16:30 utc | 103

Can anyone tell me what Russia gained by pulling back and letting the "moderate" terrorists regroup and rearm?
Posted by: rcentros | Jun 8, 2016 5:32:13 PM | 101

Only a suggestion and not exhaustive ...
Russia hadn't exposed the US as cowardly, dishonest & untrustworthy at the time of the non-withdrawal withdrawal. Putin was probably giving the (C,D & U) Yankees an opportunity to ambush themselves (a Proud US Military Tradition). We won't know if the tactic bore fruit until the Yankees resume whining about Russia's mass slaughter of Obama's pet Ter'rists. Then Putin will give the world an earful about Yankee Duplicity - if He's got the goods on them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9 2016 16:33 utc | 104

Military Situation in Northern Syria on June 9


The map depicts the current situation in Northern Syria. The most important developments:

- The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces cut off the road between Manbij and Al Bab and are preparing to storm the ISIS-ctonrolled Manbij
- ISIS peacefully withdrew from the areas near Azaz (Izaz) and Mare (Marae)
- Assad forces launched attacks in the Mallah area, located North to the strategic Castello roa


ISIS turns over the territory bordering the Syrian Kurds around A'zaz to Erdogan's al-CIAduh terrorists in the west, the US/SDF leave ISIS a wide open escape route to the west of Manbij.

Is ISIS going to apply those in retreat in the west against those besieging them in the east?

Or is ISIS turning over its territory in northern Syria to 'friendlies' and moving on to where they're needed, in Central Asia, Libya, and elsewhere?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 9 2016 21:46 utc | 105

Apologies for double comment. The System was slow to react so I aborted and tried again..

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 10 2016 2:42 utc | 106

Then Putin will give the world an earful about Yankee Duplicity - if He's got the goods on them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9, 2016 12:33:18 PM | 104

Word is Russia along with Malaysia will release their own results of the MH17 crash in October. Could be the 'October Surprise", or a piece of it.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Jun 10 2016 6:11 utc | 107

with the developments in Manbih, French public radios have changer their vocabulary from 'the rebels' to 'the Arabo-Kurdish democratic forces'

Posted by: Mina | Jun 10 2016 6:31 utc | 108

@99 RudyM, 'I admit I know nothing about the history of the Kurds, but this new Syrian Girl video hangs together well'

She calls the Kurds 'nomads' ...

William R. Polk, The Birth of America, chapter 11 - Whites, Indians, and Land, p 188


[C]olonialism is about land: those who live on it want to keep it while those who come among them want to take it. The inhabitants assert their rights and in desperation sometimes fight. The newcomers feel a need to cloak their aggression in more exalted terms than simple greed, and readily find a justification:

  - the natives do not efficiently use the land;
  - they are gypsies, nomads, or drifters, whose land means nothing to them;
  - they are treacherous and murderous;
  - they do not respect the true religion (that is, the colonists’ religion),
     so God has ordained the colonists’ success; and, finally,
  - the natives are little better than wild animals.

Such arguments have been advanced by various colonizing groups not only in America but also in Ireland, the Canaries, Central Asia, South Africa, the Congo, and Algeria from the sixteenth century to our own time.

... not to mention Israel, and now Syria. This'd put Syrian Girl at .. what ... stage two of the time-honored progression?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 11 2016 11:51 utc | 109

Kurds Advance Further in Northern Syria after Encircling Manbij


On June 11, there were no reports yet about attempts to storm the Suni-populated city. In turn, SDF units were advancing further in Northern Syria. There are 2 directions of the SDF military efforts:

  - The border town of Jarabulus, in 15 km to the north from the SDF control zone
  - The town of Al Bab, in 20 km to the west from the SDF control zone, along the Manbij-Al Bab highway


The SDF (primarily Kurds and the US air force) seem to have Manbij encircled, the way out to the west closed.

The SDF seem content to besiege rather than attack Manbij.

The SDF seem to be continuing west and to be filling the vacuum between themselves and the Syrian-Turkkish border.

All this activity seems to be their alternative to approaching Raqqa.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 11 2016 22:02 utc | 110

@110

So far they seem to be just beyond the range of Turkish cannon, wonder if that will change? Or will Turkey's 'safe-zone' extend into Syria just as far as their cannon can reach?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 11 2016 22:06 utc | 111

Jihadists threaten to bomb Aleppo, call for curfew in city


The ‘Fatah Halab’ (Aleppo Conquest) Operation Room made a statement yesterday in which they declared their plan to bombard “regime positions and barracks” in Aleppo on Sunday, 12th of June.

On the 3rd of June, rebel forces fired at least 50 mortar rounds, home-made rockets, and hell-canon shells, hitting the predominantly Armenian inhabited Midan district.

According to the Aleppo department of health, between the May 28th-June 3rd, civilian casualties numbered 115 dead, including 40 women and 30 children, and over 700 injured.


Has there been a deal made between Erdogan and Obama? Obama and the Kurds get the eastern part of Syrian, up to Turkish cannon range, and Erdogan and al-CIAduh get Aleppo in the west? Of course both have to fight for what they get. ISIS seems to be fading, but the SAA, not so much.

I'm tired of this war. Imagine how the Syrians feel. Wonder if the Norwegians will give Hillary/Trump a Nobel Peace Prize, to encourage her/him to follow along in Obama's footsteps?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 11 2016 22:26 utc | 112

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