Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 02, 2016

The Syrian Army's "Election Campaign" - Al Bab Or East-Aleppo?

The Russian president Putin declared another unilateral ceasefire in east-Aleppo for Friday:

"A decision was made to introduce a 'humanitarian pause' in Aleppo on November 4 from 9:00 am (0600 GMT) to 19:00," the chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gerasimov said the decision was approved by Syrian authorities and was meant to "prevent senseless casualties" by allowing civilians and armed combatants to quit rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Defence ministry Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that Russia had ceased air strikes on eastern Aleppo for 16 days, following criticism over a Russian-backed Syrian government assault that has killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed infrastructure, including hospitals.

This is probably the last ceasefire on offer before al-Qaeda and CIA proxy forces in east-Aleppo are attacked in full force.

These head-chopping "rebels" rejected the Russian offer:

Rebel groups in Aleppo dismissed Russia's latest offer, with one of the groups describing it as a media stunt for "public consumption."

Yasser al-Youssef, a spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel group, said Russia "is not serious" and its latest initiatives "don't concern us." He added that the Russian leader's comments do not reflect the reality on the ground.

The great "rebel" attack from Idleb in the west on Aleppo to open a corridor to the government besieged "rebel" area in east-Aleppo has failed. Local fighting is still ongoing but the main attack has stopped. Most of the major hardware of the attacking "rebels", tanks and multiple rocket launchers on trucks, have been destroyed by the Syrian and Russian artillery and air forces.

The Syrian Army and Russia have assembled major fresh forces in Aleppo. Syrian special forces are preparing for a big attack and Iran supported groups as well as some Russian units are on the ground. On Friday the Russian aircraft-carrier Kuznetsov will arrive on the Syrian coast. It adds some 30 fighter planes and attack helicopters to the assembled land based air forces. The carrier is accompanied by several destroyers and frigates as well as submarines. These add to the air defenses but can also launch salvos of cruise missiles.

But this whole build up may have a different purpose than an all out attack on east-Aleppo.

Open Street map by Agathocle de Syracuse - bigger

North-east-east of Aleppo is Al-Bab, a city held by ISIS (grey) and campaign aim of Turkish (green) as well as Kurdish (yellow) forces. The Kurdish YPG forces (named SDF to disguise them as mixed Kurdish-Arab group) want to connect their areas in northwest-Syria to those in north east-Syria. They need the line from north-Aleppo through Al-Bab to the city of Manbij further east which is already in their hands. They are generally capable and well equipped but their forces are stretched and they lack major artillery and reliable air-support. From the north Turkish proxy "rebel" forces, supported by Turkish artillery from north of the Turkish-Syrian border, have moved south to prevent a Kurdish west-east uniting of their areas and to keep supply lines for ISIS to Turkey open. They are now on the geographic limits of the Turkish artillery support. The Turkish army is reluctant to move its artillery south of the border into Syria. The army is based on conscript forces and the Turkish people would start to make trouble for Erdogan if their drafted sons get killed in Syria. There is also no legal base for an invasion by regular Turkish forces.

The Turkish air force has been supporting the Turkish "rebel" proxies in central Syria. But after it recently bombed and killed about 100 Kurdish fighters northeast of Aleppo the Russian and Syrian air forces have warned it off. Any Turkish plane entering Syrian air space is a legitimate target. The Turks understood the warning and have since stayed out of Syrian airspace.

Turkish supported forces taking Al-Bab could be in preparation of an attack on Aleppo from the east, endangering the Syrian progress in the city. Kurdish forces are known for their notorious unreliability as allies. They change sides for minor bribes or issues. They could probably be trusted to take Al-Bab now without bothering the government forces in Aleppo but that could change any day.

The third possible power to take Al-Bab is the Syrian Arab Army (red on the map). Since it took the Qweiris airbase south of Al-Bab back from ISIS it is only some 10 kilometers away from the city. A second direction of attack could come from the eastern parts of Aleppo. Taking Al-Bab would consolidate the areas between Qweiris and Aleppo and would be a good position to prepare for a later attack on the ISIS "capital" Raqqa southeast of Al-Bab and east of Qweiris. Areas directly north of Al-Bab could be let open for the Kurds to bother with the Turkish supported forces. The Syrian government will not protest when those fight each other.

Starting this weekend we will probably see two Syrian government campaigns. A major bombing campaign against "rebel" positions in east-Aleppo as well as a ground attack by Syrian government forces against Al-Bab. I find this more plausible than an imminent ground attack on "rebels" in east-Aleppo that was not prepared so far by a major campaign from air and artillery forces.

Some big Syrian military "election campaign" will happen in Syria while the U.S. public, government and media are distracted by their election circus. Are the other forces fighting in Syria, the U.S. supported proxies, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Turks prepared for such a new Syrian government campaign? Do they have plausible counter moves in store?

Posted by b on November 2, 2016 at 19:49 UTC | Permalink


I think the delays in taking action by SAA and Russian support are at least partly about waiting until round about election time - you couldn't dream up a better smokescreen. CNN, ABC and BBC will not be able to tear their eyes away from Washington for at least a few days.

Posted by: anitele'a | Nov 2 2016 20:22 utc | 2

I've been increasingly concerned about the "after Mosul, on to Raqqa" war chants prematurely being heard here in the USA ... and wondered how those plans are being received in Moscow and Damascus. (After they stop laughing at our optimism) ..

As expected, the March on Mosul has slowed/stalled, winter is coming, etc. -- all enter the "plus" column. America had to admit accidentally flattening a house in Mosul killing the family inside a few days ago (usual delayed contrition) and the news indicated that "ISIS" is making citizens to stay moving them, by the thousands, into city central as "human shields" .. Who knows -- but I wonder if the build-up could relate to preparing a deterrent to an Iraqi/American invasion.

Read 3 articles all predicting Mosul will be the start of something big and terrible for greater Iraq, possibly the usual destruction of the state of Iraq, the usual mention of partitioning, and the loss of territory to Turkey and/or Kurds. (No wonder the Iraqis were never eager to start this mission, and now, hardly begun, it has "slowed")

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2016 20:38 utc | 3

Election yes, but early nov historically big events from history:
NOV 2 1917 EXACT 99 years ago Balfour Declaration;
NOV 5 1956 Nasser (nationalized summer/1956)Suez Crisis, Brits send invasion force to retake;
NOV 4 1979 Iran embassy hostage crisis;

Jim Stone only one I've seen reporting Bob Woodward is MIA several days now, not at the paper, not anywhere?.
Now Huma supposedly also; first hint of that was she was not on the plane 2-3 days ago in FL. I wonder if that plane has a history of a flaky cargo door.

OH, the Huma-nity!

Posted by: schlub | Nov 2 2016 20:46 utc | 4

Director of Human Rights Watch blames Russia for bombing of East AND West Aleppo -

11/1/16, 7:30 PM

Posted by: Killary PAC | Nov 2 2016 20:57 utc | 5

Human Rights Watch is owned by the CIA.

Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 2 2016 21:09 utc | 6

I don´t really see the advantage of an al-Bab campaign. Yet another front, what for?
Al-Bab will presumably be as stiffly defended by Daesh as Manbij. Why not let others do that? There is no gain really in regard to a possible campaign towards Raqqa (which is in the distant future) while there are enough frontlines elsewhere, and Jaish al-Fateh is not yet beaten.

Reconquering al-Bab also brings no advantage in future relations and negotiations with the Kurds or with Turkey.

The Russian ceasefire for East Aleppo calls for strong actions once it expires and it is clear to the world that the rebels are not in for a peaceful solution. It is amusing to see how Russia has upped its stance in the silly blame-game which Washington has adopted in lack of a coherent policy. However, I don´t believe that Putin actually reacts to this media fantasy of "international pressure", maybe it is rather some form of Russian humour.

Posted by: Qoppa | Nov 2 2016 21:25 utc | 7

Haha, fresh report:

Al-Zinki group backed by JFS has attacked positions belonging to Fastaqem group in Aleppo leading to clashes

Reports say reason of attack is disagreement regarding weapon distribution while others claim some Fastaqem militants want to leave the city

SAA can just watch and enjoy ...

Both groups also have a contingent in Euphrates Shield (I assume it is some plan B if Aleppo is lost, both are Aleppo-based).

Posted by: Qoppa | Nov 2 2016 21:35 utc | 8

The NYT had an article about the green buses -- Syria's RTD -- taking dispirited rebel fighters out of the fray, and their despondency at admitting defeat ... sniffle ... which is interesting since it actually acknowledges that rebel fighters can -- with the Government's transit system -- leave and stay alive, etc.

A couple of years ago I read several articles that insisted that rebels were unable to surrender (even if they wanted to) because Al-Qaeda would kill them if they did ... that "rebel held areas" were then surrounded by ISIS/Al-Qaeda which struck me as likely as the fancy caves of Tora Bora ... and was being used to perpetuate the myth that there were "moderates" who wanted peace and an end to war ...

I realized that the new (improved!!) campaign about how "liberals" have abandoned the non-fundy anti-Assad "yearning to be free" Syrian is likely a NEW public-relations campaign aimed at post-Clinton foreign policy ... they've apparently recruited all those folks who used to be interviewed by the BBC "in rebel held territory" to be part of a campaign to re-introduce R2P under a unarmed civilian "freedom fighters" meme -- but the big "sell" is that American liberals have chosen the evil Assad over everyday freedom loving Assad-hating Syrian ... (too bad and how odd they have no militia, eh?... oh wait, wouldn't that be those nonexistent "moderate rebels" )

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2016 22:06 utc | 9

There have been more magazine articles by these people recently in reputable publications that I'm not sure notice that these freedom-loving civilians never mention negotiated peace or transition ... only the the need to rid Syria of Assad. There was an agreed-upon transition plan, that I think is now null-and-void, because those "moderates" refused to attend the negotiating table. This is more bait-and-switch and, imho, is no more "in good faith" than the last (several) attempts at getting all parties to sit down, etc.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2016 22:33 utc | 10

As the currently most problematic attacks are coming from the areas of idlib province west of Aleppo, its logical to use what free resource you have to disrupt that. I would expect the new hardware to be used to back up a push through khan touman towards the besieged villages. There was some success there some months ago , before running out of resource. The pendulum appears to have swung back in favour of the resistance forces, success here would mean the end of the real war.

Posted by: Bridger | Nov 2 2016 22:35 utc | 11

HRClinton had been seriously warned about the oncoming Syrian chaos back in 2011:

"...No need to remind the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East chaos. Recall that in another letter* of the Podesta email series, John Podesta admitted that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are helping ISIS. Podesta also mentioned that the US should exercise pressure to these countries in order to stop doing it: “... we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

"Of course Hillary wouldn't do anything about this problem too, as in another letter ** of the Podesta email series, it was revealed that Bill Clinton was receiving "expensive gifts" from the Qataris!
More evidence about the contribution of the Obama administration and especially Hillary Clinton, on the Middle East chaos."


Posted by: chu teh | Nov 2 2016 22:53 utc | 12

Syria--- another pay-to-play for quick riches by clever crims

Posted by: chu teh | Nov 2 2016 22:58 utc | 13

Here is an interesting take on how outcome of US elections may influence the Syrian War and larger geopolitical context:

Posted by: Kalen | Nov 2 2016 23:03 utc | 14

OCT 31 Escobar

As bad as it is the folks above the President make the decisions. They may have decided on Trump. These things do not happen by accident."

So Russia Won't Elect the Next POTUS
Thus spoke a high-level US business mover and shaker with secure transit in rarified Masters of the Universe-related circles, amidst the utter political chaos provoked by head of the FBI James Comey’s latest bombshell.

It’s virtually established by now that US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Comey not to release his letter to Congress. But Comey did it anyway.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 2 2016 23:03 utc | 15

the one engine wunderkind.

The Marine Corp’s variant of the F-35B jet recently began its third and final round of testing aboard the USS America. This last series of shipboard testing takes place before the first operational squadron of the joint strike fighter deploys to Japan in the coming months.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 2 2016 23:06 utc | 16

(TASS) Turkey and Russia have different views in regards to the process of separating Syria’s moderate opposition from terrorist organizations, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Wednesday.

This is pretty abrupt & plain:
"On the other hand, Ankara "does not believe that a political settlement involving the Assad regime is possible."

Posted by: schlub | Nov 2 2016 23:09 utc | 17

Russia, Turkey disagree on separating terrorists from opposition in Syria: Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Wednesday.

"We also demand separating supporters of the Jabhat al-Nusra (group, outlawed in Russia - TASS) from the opposition, because we cannot consider terrorists together with the moderate opposition," he said.

"We have dissenting views on how, on what basis they should be separated. First of all, it is necessary
- to stop the bombing raids,
- ensure the ceasefire and
- end the hostilities.

"After that, it is necessary
- to provide a reasonable period of time.
- As long as the war is going on, as long as the regime continues its bombing raids, it will be very difficult to separate them."

According to Cavusoglu, Ankara and Moscow agree that "the political, non-military solution is the most appropriate for Syria.

"On the other hand, Ankara "does not believe that a political settlement involving the Assad regime is possible."

"If we have disagreements on Assad and other issues, we have set up special groups made up of diplomats, military experts and representatives of special services. All Syrian, regional and military issues are considered by these groups with the participation of both Turkey and Russia," the foreign minister said, adding that "dialogue between Russia and Turkey is very important for stability in the region."

The 'the political, non-military solution' Turkey has in mind is annexing northern Syria to Turkey? After all, 'it used to theirs'.

Russia seems to be being played by Turkey, again. The Turks have their own agenda and - as b describes the Kurds - 'the Turks are known for their notorious unreliability as allies.' The 'dialogue between Russia and Turkey is very important for' Turkey to keep shining the Russians on, nodding their heads in agreement with whatever Russia has to say while pursuing their own agenda independently of everyone. Just like the Kurds. I'm sure that Russia knows that better than I do.

It's hard to imagine the Syrians/Russians taking their eye off the ball west of al Bab. Not so hard, I suppose, to see them arming and helping the Kurds. I'm no war strategist, but I would be surprised to see Syria/Russia opening another front.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2 2016 23:24 utc | 18

On the Russian restraint in Aleppo ...

Russian defense ministry says situation in Mosul is nothing like in Aleppo

"Mosul is being bombed daily from B-52H American strategic bombers, F/A-18 bombers based on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and from Rafaele M base on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. In the past day alone, the coalition warplanes flied 25 sorties and delivered 21 air strikes on the city and its suburbs," he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian and Syrian warplanes "have performed no flights in Aleppo for more than two weeks," he stressed.

"In Mosul, by a strange coincidence, there are no journalists, activists or volunteers in ‘helmets’ of ‘white’ or any other rainbow shade. Nobody. That is why, all what American and European TV channels can afford to broadcast is cheerful censored reports about extraordinary successes of the coalition and future great victory over terrorists, not substantiated by factual footage," [Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov] said.

US calls for end to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

The banshee saw the need for another 'uniquely cynical and hypocritical stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding' and filled it. No end to the US' resupply of weapons to the KSA killers in the midst of their genocide, of course. And the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians is still invisible.

But the US is suddenly the evil poster child for state-sponsored terrorism now, and both Obama and Hillary's harridans know it.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2 2016 23:50 utc | 19

The Outlaw US Empire has always been "the evil poster child for state-sponsored terrorism" and was proven as much at the World Court but ignored the verdict. Great example of "soft" terrorism on display in North Dakota.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2016 0:13 utc | 20

Thanks for the posting b.

What I am wondering is to what extent all the headchoppers, as they are frequently called here, keep up on the global geo-political scene? I think that they might and perhaps can see the writing on the wall regarding US global status. This might be the reason some take the green bus out of contentious areas.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2016 0:31 utc | 21

Jimmay some days is off on a tangent can't understand what he says.

But here today he may be onto something...says the results are in, the "polls" polled & the websites built ready to be broadcast election night nov 8!
Key is this company that provides a uniform broadcast content to all the MSMs.:

Worldnow is a central company that helps all the news stations stay synchronized so they all report the same news. This is a bust of that company, that already has the election results ready for the stations to post, complete with their station graphics.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 3 2016 0:37 utc | 22

@20 k

Yes, but they hadn't felt forced to respond to the obvious over the past eight years. Just ignored it as 'news from abroad' with no relevance for Americans. A form of collateral damage. Witness Obama's - and the nation's - official silence during Israel's quadrennial celebrations of Obama's election in Gaza.

It must be that the posters are starting to go up in the US itself now? I haven't been home in awhile, so it's hard for me to judge what it's actually like back there, below the narrative, among the people. I see that Obama actually finally felt he had to mouth some sort of response to North Dakota. Previously it had been considered safely bottled up ... in Indian Country.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2016 0:42 utc | 23

Correction: Kweiris airforce base was never under ISIS control.

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 3 2016 0:46 utc | 24

sure they've got their graphics already made - for both sides! When Nov. 9th rolls around they will just throw away the version they don't need. It's like Super Bowl champion tshirts - they make shirts for both sides, the losing sides shirts are donated to charities overseas, and they charge double for the winner's shirt.

Posted by: sillybill | Nov 3 2016 0:53 utc | 25

Updates courtesy of Canthama at Syrpers:

"karlof1, the unprecedented built up in Aleppo (largest in 5 years) goes beyond al Bab. Some clues to it:
1) Kuweires airbase has been up grade and received several attack helis from SAAF and RuAF.
2) Liwa al Quds group was beefed up and now hosts a much larger force beyond Syrian-Palestians, they got local Arabs and Kurds. This force was seeing in action in the co opeartion with YPG during the advance against ISIS in the Infantry School and villages around it last week. This operation has received very little coverage, and there is a reason for that, al Bab ops.
3) Desert Hawks arrived in Aleppo at 1,000 strong, some are in action in al Assad district but most are based in Kuweires.
4) Tiger Forces have arrived in force as well, piling up in many places, this is a strong force and most likely there are over 2,000 in Aleppo already.
5) As of Friday night-Saturday morning, we should see action in many fronts at the same time, a big push toward West Aleppo to increase the safety perimeter for the civilians, a big push inside the eastern Aleppo many districts and finally some sort of operation from Kuweires toward Dayr al Hafir and many other ISIS held ground near East Aleppo, this offensive will be coordinated somehow with the advance of other militias toward al Bab, it could have some sort of coordination with YPG but not entirely confirmed yet.

"Airpower will be extremely active on the weekend and a lot, I mean a lot of Kalibr missiles will fly from the Med Sea and Caspian Sea.

"We should not be surprised to hear about terrorists infighting inside Aleppo, the clock is ticking for Friday and there are many terrorists desperate to leave the pocket

"Karlof1, forgot to mention that there is a growing need to stop the turkish backed terrorists in northern Aleppo. This is no different from the Iraqi militia advancing toward Tal Afar NW of Mosul. The coordination between Iraq-Syria-Russia-Iran-Hezbollah is as active as never, the two operations are aimed to stop turkish territory ambitions in Syria and Iraq at the moment.
1) turkish backed terrorists to advance further in Syria, stop cold where they are and allow zero control on al Bab and Manbij and no corridor toward Maskaneh plains. The US regime has been caught in a tough spot, supporting the turkish backed terrorists and the SDF, and both are fighting against each other now, the SAA and allies will entry into this fray after the Kafr Saghir neutral zone was established in the Infantry School and Babinnis. Watch the SAA attack ISIS toward Suran and Aran real soon.
2) Turkish regime/Barzani protection to ISIS in Mosul/Tal Afar area, keep in mind the US regime does not support the advance of Iraqi militia toward Tal Afar, it actually called off the attack and Abadi was, this time, defiant, clearly being aligned to Russia, Syria and Iran on this decision, worth recalling Putin called Abadi and though we do not have details of the chat we know Abadi gave the green light to go ahead right after it

"It is good to see that action was resumed in northern Hama, with the a lot of Tiger Forces moved to Aleppo, some units stayed in northern Hama to help finish the job.

"As Igor mentioned above, Tell Massin (the last part of Souran under the terrorists) is now 100% under the SAA control and so will be tell Bizam, hopefully by tomorrow, the SAA has partially encircled this critical hill that over looks M5 and Morek, the SAA has forces north, east and south of it and will storm it at any moment.;367127037;353057397;0;14008;116729;0;439453;322141;398254;372551

"The above hills are important for different reasons, Tell Massim is critical to encircle Taybat al Imam from the northern sector, fight is on the outskirts of the eastern sector of this city and the SAA is positioned now strongly from south and east of it, Tell Massim helps the northern part of the plan to finally flush the terrorists out of it.

"Tell Bizam is very important hill to improve defensive lines of Ma'an and offensively, it controls the M5 toward Morek, but what we will see first is that the SAA, after controlling Tell Bizam will advance toward the M5 and storm Buwayda village, by then Taybat al Imam will be a hot bed for terrorists and they would have to leave before being encircled."

New reports of terrorists infighting likely between those wanting to leave and diehards. I see light at the end of the tunnel, although substantial work still must be done.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2016 1:03 utc | 26

I don't think they care about the American election much. The bigger issue is that their paycheck not be interrupted since there aren't any other jobs and finding a new militia is such a drag. Some Team-rebel fighters may have had a fairly stable life for quite a while, if defeat or disruption (and that steady job) is threatened, why would stay?

I've never gotten much impression on how many rebels are eager to be part of a "new Syria' versus how many are just drawing that paycheck ... Even some of the European ISIS imports are just looking for something worthwhile to do, an adventure, combat and explosive skills, and 3-hots and a cot and spending money (better than their life at home in Europe).

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2016 1:05 utc | 27

I resent the sentence "Kurdish forces are known for their notorious unreliability as allies. They change sides for minor bribes or issues."
They try to survive, period. There is certainly no love for the Assad family who tried to wipe them off culturally and arabize them. They found for a while a sneaky ally in the US but only to be used as cannon fodder. In August, the sorry events in Hasakah were orchestrated to avoid a nascent cozy agreement between the YPG and the SAA that would have reinforced Assad's position - anathema to Washington.
What is the grand scheme in the works? Or is there one? Certainly nothing to be proud of being American so far.

Posted by: DemiJohn | Nov 3 2016 1:09 utc | 28

jfl @23--

Major support for Natives and others doing the hard work in North Dakota as this item details,

It's hard to judge the degree of internal resistance, but the results of particular ballot initiatives ought to give a clue beyond the POTUS result. Between Sanders and Trump's vilification of the Establishment's System, I believe there's lots of ferment going unnoticed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2016 1:12 utc | 29

Iraqi military discovers US made missiles at ISIS military in Mosul.

Iraqi M1A1 getting ripped up by ATGM,...does ISIS in Iraq field Russian Kornet or
American ATGMs?

Military Industrial Complex builds it....then sends a weapon along to destroy it,
Ka ching $$$

Posted by: Brad | Nov 3 2016 1:39 utc | 30

The other night I fell asleep about halfway (1.5 hours) in to the hypernormalisation 'documentary'. I dunno if this has already been discussed at MoA, but it does seem to me that Curtis makes a valid point about the multilateral global world now being so complex that few if any (elite & citizens) understand it sufficiently and so prefer to create their own somewhat simpler worldview by using some form of reductionism, via subjectively applied philosophical standpoints, randian survivalism, neoliberalism or old school marxism.
Initially it matters which POV they hold solely because the means effect citizens immediately but eventually the action leaders take fails because it is applying naively simplistic solutions to extremely complex problems.
e.g. The link upthread to the Blumenthal email about Syria to then sec state Clinton which she ignored because following it would have upended her own simplistic solution and upset the support she was getting from ClintonInc shareholders.
b's summation of what could happen over the next week or so in Syria reveals an incredibly complex situation that is unlikely to be resolved by any one or two or three actions by President Assad and Russia.
Throughout my read of it I kept asking myself "how will this effect the arrival of the daesh gang from Iraq?" which b had highlighted as a major probability of the current siege of Mosul last week.
Factor in the Turkish POV and a hugely complex scenario with any number of unforeseeable occurrences likely, & there is becomes impossible for anyone to solve.

Meantime the only certainty is that lots and lots of humans will die and/or be driven from their homes and afterwards, whatever happens the situation will remain complex, delicate and still seemingly unresolvable.

We can look back and blame the assholes who kicked it off sure, but that won't fix now.
I strongly believe the only solution is the the one that all parties agree is the one that is most unacceptable - that everyone and their weapons of destruction get the fuck outta northern Syria.
It won't happen of course because even if it did, within about 5 seconds flat all parties would set about covertly sabotaging the deal since no one wants to appear to be a loser.
Curtis' interpretation of what has happened to the world is no less subjective than anyone else's but I can agree that the world is too complex for any action/s to be more than a temporary attempt to fix that will exacerbate long term, and that somehow humans need to develop the means to keep it simple and free of the machiavellian manipulations which brought us to this point.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 3 2016 1:45 utc | 31

@23 karlof

Thanks for the link to Dakota. That accounts for Obama 'suddenly' noticing the campaign to stop his pipeline there. It was the money, the only thing he and his puppeteers understand. People able and willing to put money on the line is something they view as dangerous, a bunch of broke 'Indians' are no count at all. And of course in real terms it enables the campaign against their pipeline to continue, to grow, and to act as a focal point in the larger campaign against exploitation by the 1% as well.

Obama, the mascot, the cigar-store Indian, seems ready to cut his losses, take another tack for his pipeline. I hope his 'new, improved' plans meet the same - more, whiter - resistance.

Notice who is at the forefront of the resistance : indigenes and blacks. The rich whites - relatively speaking - sit in the balcony and rattle their jewelry in appreciation of the performance, the heavy-lifting, on stage. Better than their turning over in bed for another forty winks. Much better use of 'discretionary' funds than, say contributing to an 'official' political campaign. My optimism never dies. Just toss me a crumb and I'm happy, lit up like a kid at Christmas. Thanks, Karlof.

May the SAA and the Iraqis and Hezbullah and the Palestinians and the Kurds, too, intensify the struggle and prevail, with help from Iran and Russia. And Egypt? I'll trade you two Turkeys, a Saudi Arabia, a Qatar, and a China for one Egypt. And the fruits of an Egytian/Syria/Russian/Iranian ... rapprochement.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2016 2:34 utc | 32

thanks b and thank you everyone for the informative commentary..

i particularly liked @19 jfls quote "In Mosul, by a strange coincidence, there are no journalists, activists or volunteers in ‘helmets’ of ‘white’ or any other rainbow shade. Nobody. That is why, all what American and European TV channels can afford to broadcast is cheerful censored reports about extraordinary successes of the coalition and future great victory over terrorists, not substantiated by factual footage," [Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov] said."

@31 debsisdead.. would be good if you could quote curtis posts, as he hasn't said that much the past few days and nothing on this thread or in the few i looked at where he did say something..

i still like your suggestion " everyone and their weapons of destruction get the fuck outta northern Syria." but asking wall st, or the mil complex to take a hike ain't something that i recall hillary or trump talking about any...

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2016 3:18 utc | 33

@26 karlof1. Txs for the update. I particularely liked this guy's comment, if somewhat wishful..

"As of 22 October, 2016, no Turkish airplanes have flown into Syrian airspace. This was after the Syrian Armed Forces promised to shoot down any Turkish plane attempting to cross into Syrian airspace [let it be noted, this is not a Russian promise, although the Russian Armed forces are covering most of Syria, Turkey and the Apartheid State]. This means that the Turkey sponsored, takfiri terrorists have no air cover. That, in turn, means they can only move as far as Turkish artillery reaches on/into Syrian soil [roughly 20 miles] to cover their sorry asses. Thus, the 'race' for Al-Bab has been slowed down considerably [against the FUKZUS war machine's favor] and might buy the SAA + Allied Forces enough time to firmly secure it back into Syrian hands, where it rightfully belongs. Once the carrier group is safely mored in and around Tartus harbor, all hell will break lose in Aleppo. Those holed up in Eastern Aleppo have been given one last, and final chance to make it out alive. The only other option is either in a body bag or evaporated beyond recognition. Aleppo will be a free and thriving city again, come early, 2017"


Posted by: Lozion | Nov 3 2016 3:39 utc | 34

If SAA tries to take Al-Bab (where SDF suppose to liberate it), SDF will respond by taking Raqqa (where SAA suppose to liberate it).

Posted by: Entoone (Tony) | Nov 3 2016 3:43 utc | 35

So tom was right once again. Putin is effected by criminal western propaganda in Syria. Russian military came right out and admitted it.
Just like I've been saying for months to the pathetic little scorn of Putinbots.

And zero discussion about how many civilians were slaughtered more than they would've been without this unilateral Russia ceasefire. Zero talk in the comments. How little Syrian lives are really worth to some.

Posted by: tom | Nov 3 2016 4:08 utc | 36

To @31 Debisdead
You watched the first half of Hypernormalisation..?
Well, I watched the second half (at the invitation of a friend who had like you seen the first half)
It left me disturbed - not by the content, but rather by what was omitted, what was cleverly spun.
The geopolitical slant was - subtly and insidiously - echoing all the MSM propaganda. (This is a BBC production after all...)
I would agree with the essential points of this response:
Link to 'Adam Curtis: another manager of perceptions'

Posted by: Curtains | Nov 3 2016 4:34 utc | 37

re James at 33 The easiest way to see adam curtis' latest doco HyperNormalisation is here on the bbc iplayer site. If u live in uk easy if you don't you'll need a brit vpn google should get you one plus a uk post code there is a post office data base just whack in a street name. (I used the addy of a former mother in law V best eaten cold n all).
I'm well aware that both the beeb & adam curtis are regarded with a hairy eyeball by most around here myself included but this doco presents many (it's 3 hours long) interesting notions of our current global predicament - it isn't necessary to buy the whole deal to be stimulated by some of the information. Saying that I found his characterisation of Colonel Ghadaffi biased simplistic & far too superficial.
I don't wanna get too deeply into all of that unless some people have watched some of it because Curtis' proposition that the contemporary world is simply too complex for any mind to fully grasp and be able to arrive at effective solutions, is itself extremely complex and as most of the info is presented visually it makes sense to watch as much as possible before considering.

The doco is also available for download via torrent at at this index . I dunno how the quality is as it is only 850 mb for 3 hours but it will be watchable, there is a better version at around 3 gigs on the same index.

I'm currently at the stage where I cannot see any of the solutions any side is trying to arrive at as being ideal for all Syrians - of course some appear better than others but it has gotten so bad now that whichever way the conflict goes large numbers of Syrians are gonna be fucked, dead, homeless or all three.

Therefore I reckon all of us owe it to the people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen & Libya to at least consider whether there is an alternative to what has been done to them and search out ways to pressure 'the big players' ultimately responsible for this clusterfuck to just stop all the bullshit and consider the humans. As I said above I don't believe any of the 'players' have a viable solution that will stop the disaster in its tracks - whatever side 'wins' the absolute best they can hope for is to cause a temporary halt while the outta balance reality pauses until the next generation gets indoctrinated into kicking the damn thing off again.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 3 2016 4:50 utc | 38

A mass trial for treason would really drain the swamp

Posted by: jezabeel | Nov 3 2016 5:29 utc | 39

The Fatal Expense of American Imperialism
by Jeffrey D. Sachs
this article says it all so well
must read all

Posted by: mauisurfer | Nov 3 2016 5:32 utc | 40

@37 curtains.. thanks for more info on this bozo curtis.. adam curtis might indeed by who debs is referencing.. that's like dropping a little (or a lot of) arsenic in the drinking water here..

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2016 5:36 utc | 41

@curtains #37 Yep as I pointed out Curtis' take on the world is not my own yet I cannot agree with J Cook in your link that this means that Curtis' assertion that the world is just too complex for any mind to fully grasp is incorrect. In his own way Cook does what Curtis does, that is use a form of subjective reduction to simplify situations down to straightforward, easily swallowed, binary positions. If Curtis maintains Tony Blair meant well and Vlad Putin meant evil, Cook just swings this around to say Tony Blair has evil in heart and Vlad Putin means well.

Neither assertion is correct. Blair is a super asshole of the nth grade, but that does not automatically mean Putin is not - both men are egocentric assholes operating for their own ends - any difference may be down to the fact that Putin is somewhat smarter than Blair & can come across as less malevolent.
Ultimately all we are arguing is whether the world as we know it is to be ruled by Caligula or Claudius Caesar when the best solution - that neither should have a say in what happens anywhere outside Rome, is never mentioned.

I bring up the roman empire because for me the similarities between what happened with the Roman empire and what will happen with the amerikan empire are unavoidable.
The Roman Empire failed because it got too big and became impossible to manage - transport and communications could not keep apace with the Empire's growth, so as situations went critical it would frequently be impossible to do anything about them as by the time Rome got the message it was too late.

Of course technology has solved those exact issues now but the scale of a global economy combined with the incredible number of variables which effect every item in the contemporary world means that finding global solutions now is just as impossible as it was 2000 years ago.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 3 2016 6:56 utc | 42

@42 DiD, 'I cannot agree with J Cook in your link that this means that Curtis' assertion that the world is just too complex for any mind to fully grasp is incorrect. In his own way Cook does what Curtis does, that is use a form of subjective reduction to simplify situations down to straightforward, easily swallowed, binary positions.'

I didn't read the article/watch the video in either case but I found the lines above interesting.

I think the world is just too complex for any mind to fully grasp. And so we agree : I 'cannot agree that ... is incorrect' ... 'I can agree that ... is correct', right? It's always been that way ... 'a form of (subjective) reduction to simplify situations' is a description of the 'the scientific method'. The subjective part is parentheses because we adopt the convention that 'objectivity' is possible when doing 'science'. From physics through chemistry through biology, now, that's the march of 'progress'.

It is helpful to abstract away complexity and construct reductionist systems in order to create an 'understanding' along a given dimension of how a system works. It is folly to think or to assert that one then understands 'the system'.

This is the problem with, for instance the wunderkinder, with their Nobel Prizes and frankenstein GMOs. It wasn't so long ago that the 'scientists' classified most DNA as 'junk'. And their understanding of its function is still junk as far as that goes. They've just abstracted and grabbed hold of one dimension and milked it for much more than its worth, and - due to the powers of the economists, wielding their 'science' - which has no objective correlative at all - they've convinced the politicians - such as they are - to allow them to release same into the world.

All this analysis and 'science' is helpful insofar as it understood to be laboratory stuff. It does not describe the real world.

Some publishing house once sent me a flyer describing a two volume collection of essays by a guy named Richard Rorty, who published then all under the rubric of 'anti-representationalism' : the idea being what I just tried to describe above. The fruit of analysis if all in your head, it does not represent anything in the real world. Good ideas are useful, helpful ideas. Bad ideas are not useful and/or unhelpful.

Makes a lot of sense to me. The atom is nothing but a useful idea that describes the way the physical world works. It doesn't exist, atom bombs notwithstanding. This makes it easy to change the non-model 'model' whenever necessary to account for new phenomena or concerns. And if you can accept that in the hard sciences, how much easier it is to do so in the soft sciences. And of course the soft 'sciences' are where all the trouble lies : psychology, economics, political science ... not to mention philosophy and religion.

So I'm sure that Cook and Curtis both have valuable insights into 'the way the world works'. But there's no reason in the world to expect either of them, or anyone else, to come up with an all-encompassing system that 'represents' the real world. Just take the ideas that are useful and helpful, apply them, and leave the rest. Building second-order theories that start with abstractions themselves is certainly possible as well, and their anti-representationalist nature should then be even more apparent. We just need not to mistake our own 'handiwork' for god's or mother nature's. We embody that real handiwork ourselves, we cannot create it. We can only attempt to channel it by 'clever programming', whether to our benefit or detriment - and that of the rest of creation's - remains to be seen in every case.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2016 8:17 utc | 43

Curtis actually actively misleads. He does so on purpose, but I dont expect the likes of DID to accept that as either correct or useful because it actually explains something, which is not what DID is about at all.

DID is naturally drawn to Curtis' deliberately misleading "oh the modern world is just too darn complex for the little heads of our leaders who have the best of intentions" because from what I've seen he and curtis share the same aim

Posted by: Killary PAC | Nov 3 2016 8:27 utc | 44

Cook will inevitably be never 100% correct but thatsnot the same as what Curtis is doing, and to pretend it is is peurile, but expected given who is saying it.

Curtis knows he is wrong, because he starts from a deliberately false premise (like plenty here). He knowingly peddles false ideas, false conclusions because his job is to deliberately mislead

Cook tries to be objective- he at least aims for the truth whereas Curtis sets out to conceal truths from the very start

Posted by: Killary PAC | Nov 3 2016 8:33 utc | 45

Schlub @ #16

Probably testing the Pieces of Shit off a carrier so that missing planes & dead pilots (at the very least) can be kept from a wider audience . . . . at least for a while.

Posted by: KiwiCris | Nov 3 2016 8:41 utc | 46


ISIS posted a video using a TOW on SAA in Deir Ezzor.

"DEIR EZZOR, SYRIA (11:05 A.M.) - The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) was pictured by their official media wing on Satuday firing a U.S. manufactured anti-tank missile towards a Syrian Arab Army vehicle in the Deir Ezzor Governorate.

Based on the pictures posted by the Islamic State's official media "Al-Amaq," the anti-tank missile was identified as a model BMG-71 TOW, which is both designed and manufactured in the United States."

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 9:01 utc | 47

|@ Debsisdead | Nov 2, 2016 9:45:56 PM | 31

Bravo! Spot on.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 9:11 utc | 50

@ Outraged | Nov 3, 2016 1:02:34 AM | 38

You might consider that talking to oneself is normal, everyone does it. It is also normal, when talking to oneself to answer oneself as on occasion everyone does that too. It is time to start worrying when one begins talking to oneself and oneself turns around and asks "What?"

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 9:19 utc | 51

@ Debsisdead | Nov 3, 2016 2:56:15 AM | 42

A correction:
The Roman Empire failed because it got too big and became impossible to manage - transport and communications could not keep apace with the Empire's growth, so as situations went critical it would frequently be impossible to do anything about them as by the time Rome got the message it was too late.

should read: The Roman REPUBLIC

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 9:25 utc | 52

xyz @48

Sigh, Didn't someone tell them to wear White Helmets? It's all smoke and mirrors; no wonder no one can understand the world's complexity as discussed above.

If I can't see it with my own eyes, feel it with my own fingers, smell it with my own nose, hear it with my own ears, or taste it with my own tongue, I better suspect it could be a scam. Surely, human beings could do more positive things with their skill set?

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 9:38 utc | 53

More and more pieces falling into place for the false flags of tomorrow.
The article cites some unnamed military official in Iran as saying that terrorist infiltrators from Iran are on the way to Europe/US.

This little gem of a psyop arrived care of the free beacon:

Posted by: Wwinsti | Nov 3 2016 10:07 utc | 54

I dunno if this has already been discussed at MoA,

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 2, 2016 9:45:56 PM | 31

lol - This is quite funny - for some reason, known only to himself, DID feels the need to pretend that he just spontaneously, all by himself, decided to start a conv on Adam Curtis, pretending he didn't see the conv about Curtis on Open Thread #36 -

Of course he knows it has already been discussed on the Open Thread - it happened a mere 2.5 hrs beforehand. Comment wise it's a low volume night, so he had to have seen the comments in the open thread. I guess DID just needed to demonstrate his superiority to others so he has to pretend he spontaneously decided all by himself to mention Curtis, rather than join the on-going conv in the open thread.

I guess some people egos are just built like that. It's not that important, but it's just something I've noticed him doing, several times now - tells you something about him and his ego nonetheless

Posted by: Killary PAC | Nov 3 2016 10:15 utc | 55

I believe you are right b, things are starting to escalate.

"DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:25 A.M.) - The battle for Aleppo is far from over and bound to intensify in the coming days, as both the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Jaysh A;-Fateh (Army of Conquest) send reinforcements to the western suburbs.

On Wednesday night, a Syrian military source told Al-Masdar News that a large number of Jaysh Al-Fateh fighters arrived to the Minyan and Al-Assad suburbs in western Aleppo, replenishing the jihadist rebel losses over the course of a week.

Jaysh Al-Fateh is reportedly preparing to launch another large-scale attack to break the siege on the eastern districts of Aleppo in the coming days."

Russia increases its Syrian naval component even more:

"DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:20 A.M.) - The Russian Navy is sending the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate to Syria's territorial waters, Russia-based RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

The Admiral Grigorovich is reportedly scheduled to join the Admiral Kuznetsov fleet that is already making its way to Syria's territorial waters.

According to Military-Today, the Admiral Grigorovich is comprised of six ships that are armed with air defense missiles.

Perhaps the Admiral Grigorovich's most impressive capability is its long-range cruise missiles that can engage a target as far as 600 km away.

"Most distinguishable weapon of these Russian frigates is an 8-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) for Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler) supersonic cruise missiles. These missiles can engage ships and land targets. The same VLS can also fire Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) anti-ship cruise missiles, that have a range of up to 600 km," Military-Today added."

Regarding the Kurds / SAA north of Aleppo city. These Kurds are from Afrin and the US coalition has basically distanced themselves from them once Turkey started their invasion. They were hung out to dry for Turkey and also felt Russia had ditched them. But, the NFZ now in place for the Turkish AF has levelled the playing fields and I read one report of a Russian AF strike on the FSA when the Kurds were being attacked at Tel Rifaat. This probably gave them confidence that they weren't going to get thrown under the bus.

The parallel and coordinated operations by the SAA and Kurds north of Aleppo city has given the SAA a bigger buffer against a jihadi (FSA or ISIS) attack from that flank. My feeling is this tag team effort will be used to advance towards Al-Bab and beyond. SAA probably dealing with ISIS solely and the Kurds dealing with FSA and ISIS north of the SAA efforts.

The SAA may limit their northward push and rather continue east of the the airbase towards the Euphrates which will completely shut down ISIS supplies from Turkey. The Kurds may be allowed to connect up with their cohorts in Manbij but through a relatively narrow corridor.
Turkey won't like it, but this is Syria. The politics will be sorted out later.

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 10:17 utc | 56

Just as an aside; does anyone have a source for the current Russian naval deployment to the Eastern Med? It seems huge.

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 10:21 utc | 57

As a bit of a laugh, the military maps russian translated to english tag on the infighting inside Aleppo is "Bickering Dogs"

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 10:26 utc | 58

xyz | Nov 3, 2016 5:03:51 AM | 49
I think it's LiveLeaks that's the victim of a hoax. It's supposed to have been recorded on CCTV but the motion of the image suggests it was a handheld camera and the framing is too good to be accidental. Also, why "lay out" all the "bodies" when none of the people in the video seem to be videoing anything? Maybe it was done to discredit government reports of car bombings.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 3 2016 11:50 utc | 59

|@ karlof1 | Nov 2, 2016 9:03:22 PM | 26

Please, when you have a link such as you used in your comment at #26 and see there are no breaks ( ) or hyphens (-) between letters or numbers, learn to use the

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 11:58 utc | 60

" 61 continued

"A Href" located just above the box you use to enter what your thoughts are. It is a simple tool to use and should you be a member of a species that claims to be tool users, it should be a snap. Thanks for fecking up the thread.

And my start of the "A href" was the cause of my comment disappearing. My bad. Lets see if this can clarify

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 12:04 utc | 61

to the earlier posts about HRW.
I used to respect these particular NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the like because it appeared that they actually did something good. But when I read about the roles they played in spreading BS to push the war in Libya, I tossed all that out the window.

Posted by: Curtis | Nov 3 2016 13:52 utc | 62

It looks like its hitting the fan in western Aleppo. 2 VBIEDs, and big assaults on 3 fronts. Both Russian and Syrian AF are not flying. WTF?

Sometimes I wonder about how this diplomatic game is being handled. A lot of people are going to die because Putin seems to want to prove to the West that Russia is doing all it can to prevent the fighting. The jihadis know the chances are pretty damn good that the skies will be clear within the 10km distance of Aleppo. The videos that are coming out show their artillery and missiles in open ground, perfect targets, but no airstrikes. Again, WTF?

I suppose we can also expect the humanitarian pause for tomorrow to still be put in place regardless of the mess happening in the western sector, lest the West calls out Russia for reneging on their word.

I probably should go have a drink!

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 13:56 utc | 63

Curtis @ 63

I concur, I think it was in a Vanessa Beeley talk where she outlined all the Syrian theater NGOs interconnections and with whom. IIRC, HRW is Saudi funded, and just about everyone eventually has ties back to CIA, Mossad, G Soros.

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 14:04 utc | 64

Somewhat off topic but relevant to previous articles and worth viewing.

This video clip (cut and paste) shows the rebels faking the aftermath of an airstrike. Would be funny if it wasn't swollowed by the sheepie.

I didn't spot white helmet scum though!

Posted by: eric bloodaxe | Nov 3 2016 14:24 utc | 65

Dean | Nov 3, 2016 9:56:30 AM | 64
There are two ways the Syrians and Russians can win the proxy war and that is by either exterminating all the foreign jihadists = good luck with that - or persuading the foreign countries funding, arming and supporting the jihadists that there will be no regime change in Syria by military means and to do that, the Syrians and Russians have to demonstrate that the SAA is capable of standing up and defeating the jihadists in toe-to-toe combat. I think that in part that is what is happening now.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 3 2016 14:46 utc | 66

What is the feasibility of drive to open land corridor to Deir ez Zor? I can see by roadways that a force could travel the M20 out of Palmyra and avoid Raqqah for now.

That would derail any continuation of the Mosul campaign into Syria proper, at least to any depth. Presumably better air defenses could be established there as well, s300.

Why push North to Al Bab if the Turks and Kurds will be exhausting themselves soon enough if nothing else intervenes. Leave the question of how to diplomatically deal with the Turkish forces without coming into direct action by SAA and in range of Turkish artillery. Best move Assad could make would be to defuse any attempt to push into Syria from Mosul by any units save Shia militias in the Iran chain of command or at least accessible therefrom. There can be no dealing with the Kurds on Federalized status etc until the US influence is eliminated or greatly reduced. Better that they weaken themselves fighting.

Posted by: Miller | Nov 3 2016 15:06 utc | 67

Re: Posted by: Dean | Nov 3, 2016 9:56:30 AM | 64

It is completely pointless to try and appease Western propaganda by playing nice. I can only assume all these pauses are somehow related to the US Election and there is some perceived benefit perhaps to Trump's electability to not allow themselves to be painted into a propaganda corner in the lead-up to the election.

One would hope that come next Wednesday at least there is no holding back no matter who wins.

Posted by: Jules | Nov 3 2016 15:12 utc | 68

What the hell is wrong with Putin? Massive attack on Aleppo by U.S. supported terrorists and he grounds his air force -- and also Syria's air force. So the terrorist thugs win back territory that will require even more Syrian blood deaths to regain again ... and again ... and again. I'm sick of his political games. If he's going to help Syrians, help them. Otherwise quit playing political games with Syrian lives.

Posted by: rcentros | Nov 3 2016 15:27 utc | 69

Miller @68

After retaking Palmyra there was an attempt to do just that. The SAA didn't make it to the next town east before they fell back to the current positions. There is too much open desert and it is very easy for ISIS to cut the supply lies.

The same thing happened north of there in an attempt to get to the Tabqa Airbase near the Euphrates, it ended in a retreat back to the starting point. Apparently ISIS was sending waves of VBIEDs and suicide bomber troops at the Syrian troop's flanks behind the front lies. These were small groups of highly mobile jihadis that could quickly maneuver over the terran, which is pretty easy to do in that type of countryside.

I think it will happen once Aleppo is secured, Damascus area pockets are cleared, and the ISIS supply routes from Turkey are closed down. Then there with be more troops to defend the logistic lines.

Posted by: Dean | Nov 3 2016 15:32 utc | 70

A group of Egyptian officers allegedly arrived in Syria on November 1 in order to learn from Russian military advisers that are embedded with government troops at the battle against terrorists across the country. The development took place amid the ongoing expansion of military cooperation between Russia and Egypt. In October 2016, Russian airborne troops arrived Egypt to participate in a joint military drill with the host country. The drill was codenamed “Defenders of Friendship 2016”.

Posted by: ALberto | Nov 3 2016 16:01 utc | 71

@58 Dean. See here?

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 3 2016 16:06 utc | 72

@38 debsisdead... thanks debs.. i did not see your post when i posted @42..

i think your idea of all the players getting the fuck out of syria is the best one.. call me naive, but it seems like russia would like to see syria's sovereignty respected which is why they are essentially the only big player on a side that i can relate to here... all the others want to tear apart syria for shitty self serving purposes, and this would include the usa...

thanks for giving more info on this curtis you were talking about. i am not set up for receiving that, but got a quick overview from curtains link @37.

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2016 16:14 utc | 73

@curtis#63 & dean#65:

HRW has always been dodgy since its founding as "Helsinki Watch" during the Cold War. Since its reports appear to follow closely the perspective of the US State Dept., it could well be linked to one of our govt agencies (I've heard allegations of CIA links but haven't seen the documentation).

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Nov 3 2016 16:19 utc | 74

Maybe Russia could ask for a meeting of the UN and invoke responsibility to protect after a few hundred ppl are killed in West Aleppo by suicide bombers? I pray for my friends there.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2016 17:01 utc | 75

@ Tom, Dean, Jules, rcentros

I agree
It's a disgrace to offer the civilians.
Without air support there is no way to protect against the attacks (shelling, suicide, gas) from those jihadists.

Looks like Donbass.

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 3 2016 17:07 utc | 76

Reuters' magic wand transfors suicide bombers into "car bombs". Sounds more ethical for sure.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2016 17:10 utc | 77


In addition to the Russian Air Force's absence, the Syrian Arab Air Force is has also been grounded, per orders from the Syrian High Command and their Russian military advisors.

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 3 2016 17:10 utc | 78

I haven't read though all the comments, so sorry if this is repetitious. The link to the NYT green bus article.

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 3 2016 17:35 utc | 79


The url wrapped as usual when I copy/pasted the item: and for my view, it remains wrapped. Sorry to turn your gruntlement to dis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2016 18:06 utc | 80

Debsisdead @ 31
> so prefer to create their
> own somewhat simpler worldview
> by using some form of reductionism,

I've observed this while debating the most knowledgeable "liber"-tarian (propertarian) friend I have. In at least two instances involving complicated situations, he reduced a real-world scenario to an analogy -- one he thought close enough -- and then backported his logic+conclusions on the analogy back to the original case. The problem is that analogies are analogies only to the extent that they sufficiently capture enough detail from the real-world scenario, including: the facts, the relationships between those facts, and the weights of those facts and relationships. I believe he employed this "mental shortcut" before fully understanding the real-world scenario.

Posted by: dumbass | Nov 3 2016 18:34 utc | 81

I'd like to add that my observation of that "reasoning after reducing to an analogy I can understand" reminds me of issues like we see here:

Posted by: dumbass | Nov 3 2016 18:36 utc | 82

Ok, who am I to question Russia's strategy.
Maybe it's a good decision to ground the planes.

Maybe mainly the terrorists have a bad time:

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 3 2016 18:38 utc | 83

Huma sighting after 4 days missing, supposedly.
So maybe she really is singing like a canary, instead of those vicious rumors of her flying out an open cargo door carelessly left open on her boss's campaign plane.


Posted by: schlub | Nov 3 2016 18:59 utc | 84
Has this guy got a special used car deal for you!

always good to remember the wise words of Kang&Kodos when reading anything about politicians of any stripe in any country:

Posted by: schlub | Nov 3 2016 19:13 utc | 85

ghostship @ 69

> There are two ways the Syrians
> and Russians can win the proxy war

I can conceive of a third possibility: prolonging the war until the principal and/or proxy cash-hemorraghing belligerents start experiencing internal instability and must abandon their plans abroad.

Arguments and counterarguments:
Arg: Oceania outspends its enemies on MISEC by a large factor. They won't run out of hardware to keep arming their mercs.
Counter: How dedicated are those mercs? ("Dog in the fight vs fight in the dog.) Maybe more importantly, how far does that money go? Waste in the MISEC is legendary. If Oceania's MISEC is far less efficient than Eurasia's, then what outcome should we expect from a war of attrition?

Arg: Oceania can print its own currency. There's no limit to how much it can spend.
Counter: The inflation tax takes its toll anyway. For example, consider sick care (health care). Why is healthcare so expensive? While there are many factors, the most important one (which I've never heard anyone mention) is government-directed spending on the MISEC. If the government didn't spend such a disproportionate amount of resources on making war, then those resources would instead be available at lower prices to work in every other industry, including sick care. That's just one service that's affected. But, it applies to everything, including "how far food stamps go".

Posted by: dumbass | Nov 3 2016 19:16 utc | 86

Erdo really going after the Kurds:

Headquarters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Aleppo Governorate were exposed to simultaneous attacks by ISIS militants and Turkey-backed rebels of the Euphrates Shield, military sources and activists reported on Wednesday.

These simultaneous attacks on our headquarters by ISIS and the Euphrates Shield were definitely coordinated,” SDF officer Habun Osman said.

“Obviously, there is a high-level cooperation and coordination between ISIS terrorists and Turkey to hit the Syrian Democratic Forces,” the SDF official told ARA News.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 3 2016 20:29 utc | 87

A celebrity afterlife guest appearance, for sure.
same lame garbage as they pulled with Binny so many times.

ISIL group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is losing the ability to keep control of his troops as the battle for Mosul rages on, a US military official said Thursday.

ISIL earlier released an audio message purportedly of Baghdadi, in which he urged his ‘jihadi’ followers not retreat as Iraqi security forces continue their push toward Mosul.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 3 2016 20:32 utc | 88

@ karlof1 | Nov 3, 2016 2:06:16 PM | 81

Not to worry, when I saw your posting with a large mass of unseparated letters/numbers that ended just before the width of the column and there were no breaks or hyphens which the wrap uses to do its thing (which it did on the first break it found). I only wanted to point it out so that in the future the same thing might be avoided; no dis on the gruntled, but having failing eyesight, the narrower column is remarkably easier to read as it doesn't require moving the head to see clearly. Things like what you posted, google picture ID's, anything with words separated with (_) all play havoc with the wrap and column width. Thanks for understanding.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Nov 3 2016 20:45 utc | 89

very good article
on the battle of Mosul (from Spiegel online)

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2016 21:55 utc | 90

I am sure the grounded planes are related to Turkey's intentions.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2016 21:56 utc | 91

@Posted by: Killary PAC | Nov 3, 2016 6:15:13 AM | #56
"lol - This is quite funny - for some reason, known only to himself, DID feels the need to pretend that he just spontaneously, all by himself, decided to start a conv on Adam Curtis,

Actually the humourous part is that you in addition to being a some sort of sad 'lets be angry at anything I don't understand/can't agree with' type who prefers to launch pre-emptive attacks against anyone that isn't you, also claim some sort of telepathic ability by which you can immediately impute your targets motives. I call them targets because I have seen a little of your work and it appears to be largely comprised of poorly thought through put downs. It must be truly awesome in your little world of one talking to yerself about how screwed up everyone else is.

The truth is that I hadn't seen the open thread, like you and a few others here I used to spend a great deal of time at MoA but that was a decade ago when there was a general spirit of cameraderie about the site we may have disagreed with each other but we didn't treat every difference as proof of some sort of treason, unlike your modus operandi.
Anyway I don't come here often now, because I find a lot of postings problematic, but most likely not in the way you would interpret problematic.

That is one of the reasons I frequently skip the open threads, not only is the thinking even more unfocussed - nothing wrong with unfocussed but it is the state that you amerikans have reduced the Middle East to that truly disturbs me, so I went to the Syria thread and read a big chunk of it before I commented.

So I dived into this yesterday (I'm am on a very different timezone to you amerikans eg it is late friday morning as I write this) and read a few posts about the mess in Northern Syria and got to thinking about the Curtis 'doco' I watched a few nights previously not knowing whether the Curtis doco had been discussed and having given up on the vagaries of searching MoA a long time ago I wrote what I wrote admitting I didn't know whether the damn thing had been discussed.
The post was much longer initially & contained a couple of notions about ways of obviating the issues of humans being incapable of truly absorbing all the relevant information of something they were about to push their sticky amerikan beaks into.
In short the problem with the amerikan state is that it is several orders of magnitude too large for anyone to effectively manage the decisions its moronic leadership takes on board.

Domestically and externally amerika is doomed to continually fuck up until it destroys itself.
The only issue about that is that interfering idjits in amerika will take a great many other decent humans down with their ignorant, didactically driven and wasteful thrashing around.

So 'killerypac' by all means continue to demonstrate to the world exactly why it is that amerikans are universally loathed.
It saddens me, even though I fought your mob when I was a younger man because I used to visit amerika and at one stage I really liked many of the people I met. The inherent racism wasn't their fault, a plethora of distorted amerikan media has indoctrinated amerikans into racial divisiveness from the moment they can receive input.

The issue that really puzzled me was that so few amerikans ever ask themselves why that is, like good little sheep they all take a position on one side of the line or another and then hurl abuse rock and bullets, never seeing that is what they have been made to do by the 'betters' - those who they desperately seek to become.

So instead of throwing your weak as piss verbal grenades killerypac, ask yourself why it is you have been conditioned to react this way - that would be a much more constructive use of your copious spare time.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 3 2016 22:24 utc | 92


Once again, false 'red pill blue pill' choices (sic) by Deep State psyop, and now that They have our buy-in, we're busy waterboarding each other with the Red or Blue koolaid.

They managed to con all of us again, the One Party of Mil.Gov.Fed, and whether you vote Red or you vote Blue, next April 15th They will be coming after you, for another $4,000,000,000,000 looted from your last life savings, that are never coming back again, for moar for Them and less for you.

We can see it all around US now, 95,000,000 jobless or homeless, deep discount stores offering free giveaways, sub-prime used auto sales plummeting, healthcare costs and deductibles exploding to the upside,...while Mil.Gov.Fed cashes their salary checks, and plans early retirement on double pensions, and laughs, oh how they laugh, at the Red and the Blue charade they pulled on you.

"You must vote, you must accept the outcome, then you must get back to work!
Taxes, taxes, taxes! Chop-chop! Do I make myself clear!"

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Nov 4 2016 16:02 utc | 93

This guy's quite gloomy what's coming everyone's immediate future, saying exactly as those here this election will not matter a spit in the grander theme unfolding.
The reason is at a minimum, there has to be a DEBT reckoning somewhere soon.

All signs point toward this Fourth Turning being a life or death struggle between the ruling class of sociopathic bankers, corporate elites, and sleazy politicians versus the oppressed and infuriated middle class. The lying, deceit, rigging, deception, theft and other crimes perpetrated by the ruling elites will be atoned for.

I looked up this Toynbee supposed 80-year war cycle & it's more a 'wave' complex, meaning its timing is 80- 120 years goes with the every 4-generation Howe idea.
better one to note (may not happen, but weird accurate)is 90-year war cycle:
1756 7-Years War...1846 Mex-Amer War...1936 Spanish 2026?
Course, there's many other wars not on this timeline.

Posted by: schlub | Nov 4 2016 18:34 utc | 94

"This is probably the last ceasefire on offer before al-Qaeda and CIA proxy forces in east-Aleppo are attacked in full force."

Yeah sure.Thats what was said last time, and no doubt what will said next time..if there is a next time

Posted by: Tsinilats | Nov 4 2016 23:15 utc | 95

@rcentros @70

What's wrong with Putin ? Your expectations of the Russian capitalist ruling class are mainly ..They want nothing more or less than rapprochement with global imperialism, not to "help" anyone, except themselves. They want to be "partners" again so desperately one can almost smell it. All they want is to exploit their own people and the goodwill of the NATO bloc to leave them alone to do it

Posted by: Tsinilats | Nov 4 2016 23:21 utc | 96

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