Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 07, 2017

Syria: New U.S. Air Support On Request Scheme For Al-Qaeda

On this day one hundred years ago the U.S. joined World War I. Last night the U.S. attacked a Syrian government airport in an openly hostile and intentional manner. The strike established a mechanism by which al-Qaeda can "request" U.S. airstrikes on Syrian government targets. It severely damaged the main support base for Syria's fight against the Islamic State in eastern Syria. The event will possibly lead to a much larger war.

On April 4 Syrian airplanes hit an al-Qaeda headquarter in Khan Sheikoun, Idleb governate. Idleb governate is under al-Qaeda control. After the air strike some chemical agent was released. The symptoms shown in videos from local aid stations point to a nerve-agent. The release probably killed between 50 and 90 people. It is unknown how the release happened.

It is unlikely that the Syrian government did this:

  • In 2013 the Syrian government had given up all its chemical weapons. UN inspectors verified this.
  • The target was militarily and strategically insignificant.
  • There was no immediate pressure on the Syrian military.
  • The international political atmosphere had recently turned positive for Syria.

Even if Syria had stashed away some last-resort weapon this would have been the totally wrong moment and totally wrong target for using it. Over the last six year of war the Syrian government army had followed a political and militarily logical path. It acted consistently. It did not act irrational. It is highly unlikely that it would have now take such an illogical step.

The chemical used, either Sarin or Soman, was not in a clean form. Multiple witnesses reported of a "rotten smell" and greenish color. While the color would point to a mixture with Chlorine the intense smell of Chlorine is easily identifiable, covers up most other odors and would have been recognized by witnesses. Both Sarin and Soman are in pure form colorless, tasteless and odorless. The Syrian government once produced nerve agents on a professional, large scale base. Amateurishly produced nerve-gases are not pure and can smell (example: Tokyo subway incident 1995). It is unlikely that the Syrian government experts would produce a "rotten smelling", dirty, low quality stuff in an unprofessional and dangerous process.

The nerve agents in Khan Sheikoun, should they be confirmed, came either from stashed ammunition at the place attacked by the Syrian government or it was willfully released by the local ruling terrorist groups -al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham- after the strike to implicate the Syrian government. The relatively low casualty numbers of mostly civilians point to the second variant.

Several reports over the years confirm that Al-Qaeda in Syria has the precursors and capabilities to produce and use Sarin as well as other chemical agents. This would not be their first use of such weapons. Al-Qaeda was under imminent pressure. It was losing the war. It is therefor highly likely that this was an intentional release by al-Qaeda to create public pressure on the Syrian government.

For a release incident of powerful chemical weapons the casualty numbers were low, lower than the casualty numbers of recent conventional U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Despite that fact a huge international media attack wave, seemingly prepared in advance, against the Syrian government was released. No evidence was presented that the incident was caused by the Syrian government. The only pictures and witness reports from the ground came from or through elements, like the White Helmets, who are known to by embedded with al-Qaeda and ISIS (video) and are acting as their propaganda arm.

Last night U.S. president Trump "responded" to the incident by ordering the launch of 59 cruise missiles on the Syrian military airport Al Syairat (vid). The cruise missiles were launched from sea in a volley designed to overwhelm air defenses. According to the Syrian and Russian military only 23 cruise missiles reached the airport. The others were shut down or failed. Six Syrian soldiers were Killed, nine civilians in a nearby village were killed or wounded and nine Syrian jets were destroyed. The airport infrastructure was severely damaged. The Syrian and Russian governments had been warned before the strikes hit and evacuated most men and critical equipment. (Was the warning part of a deal?) The air attack coincided with an Islamic State ground attack east of the airport.

The Pentagon alleges, without any evidence, that Sarin had been stored at the airport and a chemical attack launched from it. Both seems highly unlikely. The airport was accessible for UN inspectors. It is not as well covered by air defenses as other Syrian airports, for example in Latakia governate. Its ground approaches are not completely secured. Some medium range air defense system near al Syairat was recently used against Israeli planes attacking Syrian forces fighting ISIS near Palmyra.

Al Syairat lies in Homs governate, 150 km south of Khan Sheikoun in Idleb governate. It is the main support and supply airport for the besieged Syrian government enclave in Deir Ezzor which will now again be in even more serious trouble. It was also used to launch attacks on the Islamic State which fights the Syrian government troops in east Homs.

Al-Qaeda and its sidekick Ahra al-Sham welcomed the U.S. strikes and Abu Ivanka al Amriki on their side. The theocratic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia offered its full support as did its British creators.

The U.S. airstrike delivers a message to al-Qaeda. Whenever under military pressure al-Qaeda can now stage or fake a "chemical attack" and the U.S. will act to destroy its enemy, the Syrian government. Acts as the one last night are then direct military support by the U.S. on al-Qaeda's request.

A similar scheme had earlier been established on the Golan heights. Al-Qaeda, fighting against Syrian government positions, would launch a mortar round that would land within Israeli controlled territory. Israel would then launch artillery strikes against Syrian government positions because "the Syrian government is responsible for what happens in the area". Al-Qaeda then used the battle field advantage created by the Israeli strike. The scheme and the Israeli military "reasoning" was published several times in Israeli media:

A number of mortars have landed in Israeli territory as a result of spillover fighting over the last several years, raising fears among residents near the border.

The IDF often responds to fire that crosses into Israel by striking Syrian army posts.

Israel maintains a policy of holding Damascus responsible for all fire from Syria into Israel regardless of the source of the fire.

The U.S. administration has now established a similar mechanism, on a larger scale, of direct military U.S. support for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria.

The Trump presidency had been held hostage by unfounded allegation of "Russian interference" in the U.S. elections in support of the Trump candidacy. The air strikes on Syria might have been the ransom that was demanded for the release of the hostage. His opponents are now gushing about him. The allegation of any Trump-Russia connections may now die down.

Yesterday major Democratic leaders in Congress supported strikes on Syria. Despite that they are also likely to attack Trump over them. The strikes are a "strong man" gamble. As Trump said when Obama ordered strikes such are a desperate move. Most parts of the State Department and the NSC were not consulted about them. The chances that these will "blow back" politically as well as strategically are high.

Trump is the third U.S. president in a row who promised less belligerence during his campaign only to deliver more after the election. The "democratic" veil of the U.S. oligarchic rule thus rips further apart.

Open U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria will now cease. U.S. planes in Syrian airspace are from now on constantly under imminent danger. There will also be some larger revenge against the U.S. for last night's strikes. Likely not in Syria but in Iraq, Afghanistan or at sea. A "message" will be send. The U.S. reaction to that "message" will be a decision over a much larger war.

Posted by b on April 7, 2017 at 8:22 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

Oh well

U.S. officials said earlier that radar systems had tracked two aircraft taking off from the base, and that one dropped munitions containing Sarin gas that targeted an underground hospital run by the al Qaeda-affiliated rebel group formerly known as the al-Nusra Front.

Right. They could see it was Sarin gas on the satellite image. Sure. And they are sure that an underground Al Qaeda facility is a hospital.

So sure they fire 60 tomahawks at an Al Qaeda fighting Syrian airport.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 21:52 utc | 201

@197 jackrabbit

They will have to come up with something bigger then. I would like to think there are some in this country with influence who sniff something wrong about the chemical weapon narrative. You only get so many times you can fool the public, especially because there will be a blitz of antiwar sentiment decrying the incident and calling on an investigation of the next "atrocity" before the inevitable retaliation.

That being said, I will say that I have never been on such pins and needles as of now, full of second-guessing. I want a more moral ideal from my statesman, firm and predictable, but kudos to Trump for keeping everyone on their toes, the neocons included. Not to say that he is not one of them at heart, either.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Apr 7 2017 21:54 utc | 202

It was obvious Trump would have to fold at some point. The 24/7 barrage from the intelligence services/media/congress/ etc. would strain any man man or woman to the point where they give in. That is what the tribe have designed it to do. That is why the “I told you so” brigade as exemplified by Circe does not really contribute anything. How do you confront this monster, this matrix. Answer. You cannot.

Those of us here who preferred Trump over Hillary did so only from the lonely fact that it takes years to make a fully fledged neocon like Hillary, going way back to her and her husband’s drug running and assassinations in Arkansas in the 1990s. Trump would be a rookie neocon, so therefore potentially less dangerous at least until he got up to speed. That’s it.

Posted by: Lochearn | Apr 7 2017 21:55 utc | 203

b. is right, some people in the US intend to do this again, again and again.

They will be the laughing stock of the UN in short time, Nikki Haley already got serious blowback from Bolivia - and Egypt actually. I don't think an empire can survive when people laugh.

But this is not Israel bombing Hezbollah and Syria plus Russia trying to keep a distance, this is Russia confronting the US.

There is a difference.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 22:08 utc | 204

It is actually the U S in the desperate situation here . Given a worse case scenario - all out war - she would have some bases and troops surrounded - she is in a state of overreach. To cope she would quickly turn to to nuclear strikes . She has done this before . At that point anti- war movements will activate. The Chinese will/have sought to stay out of this but the 'WEST' will not let her ! One of the tragedies as we face potentially widening war ( with clearly a lobby in the U S wanting this ) is that Europe was not able to find a collective , independent way through this situation that is still in essence a struggle for control of markets and resources.

Posted by: ashley albanese | Apr 7 2017 22:18 utc | 205

One can hope that Trump savages the media and neocons after arranging for the truth to be revealed (that the gas/sarin attack was a false flag).

But Trump dug himself a hole when he criticized Obama (at his presser the other day with the King of Jordan) for inaction in 2013. And Trump would then be viciously attacked for not having been more careful. The buck stops with YOU, the neocons/media would cry (repeated 24/7). Then Trump would be impeached for being unstable.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 7 2017 22:28 utc | 206


Actually, not impeached but removed via 25th Amendment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 7 2017 22:32 utc | 207

From my understanding cruise missile intercept is generally a function of point-defense systems (Pantsir) which aren't located at that air-base. An S-300 or S-400 could be used to intercept, but this would be a very inefficient use of those systems, and once the missiles entered "cruise" mode they'd be very hard to detect and shoot down by anything but a point-defense system.

Everytime a S-400 system is turned fully "on", it emits a variety of electronic signals that could potentially be picked up, analyzed, and used to electronically defeat or reduce the system in the future. You aren't going to see these systems fully engaged just to chase around a couple F-16's, only in the event of a major attack.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 7 2017 22:34 utc | 208

Ludwig @ 164:

You may be speaking truer than you realise, I've seen a rumour (but can't find the source) that Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Syrian airbase that had been hit by 23 of 59 Tomahawk missiles was one used to store old Syrian MiG-23s under repair and that Donald Trump needed to clear out old inventories of Tomahawks so that the money saved could be used for new ones.

Also check out these photos at ZeroHedge of the scene at the airbase after the strikes:

More photos of the ... destruction:

Smuks @ 62, you'll find the information about what was destroyed very interesting.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 7 2017 22:36 utc | 209

Your site has pimped Trump, as Mr. Non-Bellicose!, for years. And now you are surprised at his actions, enough to make weak tea arguments that he has been 'held hostage'. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

Posted by: Miguel | Apr 7 2017 22:41 utc | 210

Posted by: canuck | Apr 7, 2017 2:57:55 PM | 171

Trump has been - and his father - on the other side of the US political racket, ie bribing politicians and mafia for protection.
He knows the US political scene very, very well.

But his criticism of the Iraq war was that the US did not take the oil. This will be his approach to Syria. His son in law is working on the Saudi - Israeli alliance and the strikes on Syria will be in the interests of those two and, I guess, Saudi will pay.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 23:02 utc | 211

b @122 Medvedev on Trump

Thanks for the update b.
I take full note of "What’s really sad here is our completely ruined relationship."

That’s the key take-away for me. To suspend the MOU safety in the skies over Syria shouts the relationship is completely ruined – just short of a break in diplomats’ mission being closed…”on the verge of military clash with Russia.”

Is Tellerson’s visit to Moscow on April 11 still on? Did he throw his RF medal of friendship in the Caspian Sea?

Next you know Pres. Kushner and young Saudi Prince will be holding hands. This is so insane.

I am waiting for Xi on Trump after he is back in Beijing. That was some slap in the face. Really.

Emboldened much -
And here is NBC reporting ~ ~ ~ just hope it's fake news:

Trump's Option For North Korea includes Placing Nukes in S. Korea.

The National Security Council has presented President Trump with options to respond to North Korea's nuclear program — including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials told NBC News
Both scenarios are part of an accelerated review of North Korea policy prepared in advance of President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. But if that fails, and North Korea continues its development of nuclear weapons, there are other options on the table that would significantly alter U.S. policy..[.]

The first and most controversial course of action under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea. The U.S. withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea 25 years ago. Bringing back bombs — likely to Osan Air Base, less than 50 miles south of the capital of Seoul — would mark the first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War, an unquestionably provocative move.[.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

hurry hurry. Why Not.

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 7 2017 23:10 utc | 212

Interesting to see how war support will fare when US forces suffer significant casualties. Much of war frenzy based on belief that US losses will forever be trivial.

Posted by: Vollin | Apr 7 2017 23:15 utc | 213

@ Posted by: xor | Apr 7, 2017 3:47:18 PM | 183

400km detection/tracking/engagement range ? Against NOE cruise missiles (smaller than manned aircraft) ? You clearly have no understanding of the technical aspects nor operational, re what you're spouting re S400/300+, AD systems, none.

So you assert Syria only has S200 & no other AD systems ? That S200's are used to target modern cruise missiles ? That the airbase was severely damaged ?! CRAP! Some derelict, non-airworthy airframes were destroyed actually means something ? Tarmac UNDAMAGED !

You're full of it. Go back to your Nintendo, pulease.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 7 2017 23:19 utc | 214

Putin will take his revenge on Trump, that is for sure. In Libya the Russians were tricked by the UK and France, they swallowed it but this time I doubt Putin will sit idle.
He holds a cards that can destroy Trump. He can leak fake and compromising information that will reach the US investigation on Trump and Russia collusion allegations. The MSM will jump on the information and tear Trump apart.
Trump is extremely vulnerable because the MSM hate him and it will use anything to burn him. Putin hold the matches and he will use them at appropriate time. Tillerson will get the warning next week and we may either see a U-turn on Syria or the breakup of Trump and the ensuing chaos in the USA..

Posted by: virgile | Apr 7 2017 23:20 utc | 215

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Apr 7, 2017 2:56:02 PM | 169

No 1 could be. Russian MOD sounded pleased, US pretended all minus one missile made it.

Has Germany's Patriot System Been Hacked?

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 23:25 utc | 216

Uh, b, the video you link showing White Helmets operating in ISIS territory is from Aleppo. So it's almost certainly just more proof that they work with AQ. The person who runs that YouTube channel apparently can't be bothered to understand that there is a difference between the two groups.

Posted by: Merasmus | Apr 7 2017 23:25 utc | 217

@ Outraged
I have been wondering about the many missiles that did not make it to target.
Some have said EW ? Both EW and S-300/400 targeting radars, I thought, should be line of sight.
Russia is saying nothing about the missing missiles. I take it they were destroyed before they reached land and got amongst some hills.
Russian electronics seems to be top of the line / leading edge.
Various things I have read over the last few years makes me wonder if Russia has developed some degree of over the horizon capability.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7 2017 23:36 utc | 218

If Russia does not cancel the Tillerson meeting next week that will speak volumes about the Syria bombing. It will indicate that Russia knew it was coming and knew it was more symbolic than anything.

Posted by: linda amick | Apr 7 2017 23:37 utc | 219


Really appreciate your honesty.

And on the note of honesty:

Tulsi Gabbard calls Trump's strike on Syria reckless flying in the face of the action the U.N. was working on at that time to launch an independent investigation. She believes proof should have been brought before Congress and Trump should have sought authorization. She referred to this strike as escalation.

Specifically: Referring to the Administration's claim that they have evidence:

So whether the President or the Pentagon or the Scy of State says that they have the evidence, the fact remains that they have not brought that evidence before Congress, they have not brought that evidence before the American people and they have not sought authorization from Congress to launch this military attack on another country.

The fact is the United States has been waging this war this regime change war covertly through the CIA to overthrow the Syrian gov't; the result of this has been the suffering of the Syrian people. ...This escalation President Trump took yesterday in launching this military attack continues this illegal, unconstitutional war.

We need to end this destructive, regime change war, not escalate it as the President has just done through his illegal military strike launched last night.

She also called claims that she travelled to Syria and met with Assad on a mission for Trump to deliver a message to Assad from Trump: BOGUS AND FAKE NEWS.

Blitzer was relentless in trying to trap her with his Zionist Neocon snare, but she was way above his paygrade in smarts and dignity.

Bravo Tulsi! Amazing interview.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 7 2017 23:38 utc | 220

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2017 7:02:43 PM | 211

Yah, "naive" is poor choice of words. 'Inevitably lot's to learn' might be a better way to put it. I include in the broad category of American politics the intelligence agencies, the regulatory agencies, the financial puppet masters and their messengers, lobbyists, as well as the various formal political institutions, among others.

An example of the kind of thing that is hard to for an outsider to know, and maybe even for long time apparent insiders, is who actually wields effective power over or within a certain group, or who are your actual dependable allies, etc, etc.... inevitable learning curve.
Reminds me of the guy who sincerely said, 'wow, it turns out I've been working for the CIA for twenty years. I had no idea....'

Re Iraq, Trump has talked about the oil, but also been quoted as saying that the US had made a mess of Iraq and Libya, Iraq was better off with Saddam Hussein, and that there were no terrorists in Iraq under Saddam. Trump has said a lot of things....

Posted by: canuck | Apr 7 2017 23:40 utc | 221

@ Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 7, 2017 2:03:19 PM | 158

An undamaged tarmac is a failed strike. Full stop. And therefore raises serious questions re 'targeting' & the purpose/intent/motivations of the strike ...

Well known the Syrians cannibalize derelict and non-airworthy old aircraft for parts, they're broke ... the Syrian AF is a shadow of its former glory days, yet certainly still effective against moderate head-choppers given RF assistance, even if limited.

The RF was given a minimum of one hours advanced notice, therefore one prompt communication later to the airbase force commanders, RF & Syrian, only need 15-20 mins to crash evacuate/scramble valuable equipment & airworthy aircraft & helos, personnel to evacuate or hunker down in bunkers, outside airbase bounds.

Flight ops are now again active at the airbase ... net result, hm ?

Tillerson said RF was not notified in advance, pentagon has specifically and in great detail advised otherwise. Tillerson is proven utterly unreliable or out of the loop, or both. Tillerson's declarations in future should only be accepted with due caution ...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 7 2017 23:47 utc | 222

Havent read all the comments yet and there are elements of truth in many of the theories but I find myself in agreement with Ludwig @ 164.

This is strictly a Trumpian show biz political maneuver to goose his dismal approval numbers at home. The Russian huffing and puffing is merely part of the charade. No one's house will be blown down.

The fact Trump has angered his base once again illustrates his base nor anyone else besides the image he sees in his mirror matters much to Le Grand Orange.

Posted by: ASAFP | Apr 8 2017 0:00 utc | 223

"Russia's Defense Ministry responded to the attack by calling in the U.S. military attache in Moscow to say that at midnight Moscow time (5 p.m. EDT) it would close down a communications line used to avoid accidental clashes between Russian and U.S. forces in Syria"

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 0:08 utc | 224

As with Tillerson, who knows that they were told versus what they (willed themselves) to hear. It would be "almost" reassuring if Trump were capable of some wag-the-dog strategy and strategizing, but I doubt he has that sort of discipline (though he might (a) sign onto someone else's scheme or (b) unwittingly effectively do the same).

Robert Parry is talking about this as a wag-the-dog, and it may be that -- in addition to -- being a false flag deliberate misrepresentation of events although others have suggested that in fact Trump (and others) were chomping at the bit for military options (Tuesday Morning, i.e. hours after the first news of the Tuesday morning in Syria attack when the facts on the ground had not even settled) ... first public news report of discussion of miliary options was Thursday P.M. EST.

Senior administration officials said they met with Trump as early as Tuesday evening and presented options including sanctions, diplomatic pressure and plans for a variety of military strikes on Syria, all of them drawn up well before he took office.

The most aggressive option on the shelf, one of the officials said, called for a "decapitation" strike on Assad's presidential palace, which sits alone on a hill west of downtown Damascus.

“He had a lot of questions and said he wanted to think about it but he also had some points he wanted to make. He wanted the options refined,” one official said.

On Wednesday morning, intelligence officials and Trump's military advisers said they were certain which Syrian air base was used to launch the chemical attack and that they had tracked the Sukhoi-22 jet that carried it out.

Trump told them to focus on the military plans.

“It was a matter of dusting those off and adapting them for the current target set and timing,” said another official.

US news.

unsurprisingly, yes, this was almost certainly a part of the Kushner/Bannon feud and Bannon's Wednesday demotion new york mag.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 0:17 utc | 225

yes, we'll see if that Russia/US safety-first communication line is reestablished sooner rather than later. I think the USA has almost 1000 troops in Syria. It could be embarrassing if Trump's unintended consequence was grounding the American Fleet, while the Syria airforce is up and running ....

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 0:21 utc | 226

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7, 2017 7:36:15 PM | 218

EW/ECM is distinctly possible, even probable contributor. Short range AD SAM systems, & especially multi-barrel auto-cannon variety (ZSU-24?) is also a contributor, especially since such systems are deployed specifically to engage likely approaches/flightpaths re terrain constraints, in-depth. Given significant advance notice, they would be on alert and ready to engage, probably advised, possibly even fed general tracking data indirectly via other systems. Then there is a percentage loss due to technical failure, mapping errors, maintenance, age etc.

S400/300+ complexes do have OTOH capability, but the key restraint is the combination of range, size and altitude of target ... the range is limited with regards less than manned aircraft size NOE cruise missiles to ~80km detection/tracking/engagement ... manned aircraft at or above 10,000 ft ~170-200km ... none of this 400km BS which is only applicable to high altitude ALCM/AWACs/Aircraft/Ballistic Missiles/etc, ie 30,000 ft altitude and above, and that's detection, not engagement, depending on target ... fly high within detection range is a death wish ...

The numbers of cruise that didn't strike the target should be taken with a grain of salt, those sorts of numbers are always inflated/deflated re attacker/defender ... first casualty is, truth in war.

What matters is the damage to the target, and that was very little/minor indeed at a cost of 59 tomahawks @ ~$90M (ordnance only) ... and that would appear to be intentional, IMV, given significant advance notice of the strike and NOT targeting the tarmac. Hence, the clear purpose of this strike was not military, ie damage and destruction of the targets force capability. This was done not for military objectives, destruction/degradation, but almost purely political, therefore, IMV.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 0:23 utc | 227

Maybe, but maybe not independent: Russia says US air strikes in Syria came 'within an inch' of military clash with their forces - Satellite imagery suggests the base that was struck is home to Russian special forces and military helicopters .

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the US air strike on a Syrian air base came “within an inch” of militarily clashing with their forces.

He said the action taken by the Americans was in breach of international law and their own internal procedures, and accused Washington of “barely avoiding combat clashes with Russia”.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Medvedev said the air strike had "completely ruined relations" between the two superpowers.

quoting Medvedev:

"""Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months.""

That really doesn't sound like some 11-dimensional Russia + Trump chess game -- ymmv -- Americans might be willing to be "impressed" but such a notion, I doubt it would play well with Russians in Russia.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 0:33 utc | 228

Anything solid on forwarning?
I am suspecting US notified Russia on Launch, giving them half hour or so to clear the area. Some Syrian personal killed perhaps a few planes in working order destroyed, so maybe very little warning.
I believe some time ago Russia hit a camp where the US/UK trained jihadi's. Somewhat similar in giving US very short notice, then hitting the camp when US/UK personnel were not there.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 0:34 utc | 229

Followup to 227

Had minimum one hours ADVANCE notice, fully prepped and on alert, evaluated likely means re notified strike and launch platforms, likely flight paths. Detected & monitored actual launches as occurred ? given former points ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 0:36 utc | 230

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7, 2017 8:34:44 PM | 229

See post back at 147, unequivocal.

@ Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7, 2017 8:33:31 PM | 228

Suggest take Medvedevs language as less than literal re actual RF assets/forces on the ground ... you'll find he's referring to the risk of military conflict/clashes in a much broader sense, IMV.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 0:42 utc | 231

@Circe You were right about Trump. Unfortunately, the media seems to support the air strikes.

What is everyone's opinion on Oxfam? I received an email asking to push Trump to open the U.S. to refugees, but the email seemed strangely uncritical of the airstrikes.

Posted by: MusicofE | Apr 8 2017 0:52 utc | 232

>>>> Jackrabbit | Apr 7, 2017 6:28:12 PM | 206

But Trump dug himself a hole....

I don't think Trump really cares. in fact, I doubt he cares at all. As he said in his memoirs:
“The day I realised it can be smart to be shallow was, for me, a deep experience.”

Does that sound like a man who cares?

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 8 2017 0:53 utc | 233

Outraged checked 147 and the link. One hour seems to be the US version. I have not yet run onto the Russian version?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 0:54 utc | 234

Although Russia does some masterful trolling of the US regime every once in a while, when it comes to taking control of a narrative the still are embarrassingly inept. The 'if we act like grownups the rest of the world is going to see what help us stop US regime agression around the world' has got to stop.

There should have been Russian officials from the very instant the media blitz started pumping out photos of the jihadist chemical lab or whatever it was along with constant reminders about the failed attempts in 2013 by the US regime and others to fabricate a Syrian chemical attack.

Instead they are impotently flailing around babbling about waiting for the facts to be established while the massive neocon media campaign is pumping out non-stop war mongering PR.

Posted by: VaginaHat | Apr 8 2017 1:03 utc | 235

A brilliant bit of theatre - everybody running around shouting the "end is nigh" concentrates the mind wonderfully. I'm sorry for the civilians who died in Khan Sheikhoun whether they had been kidnapped or not but how does anybody else dying help the people of Syria?
For the rest, Trump shafted Clinton, McCain and Graham by exposing them for the crazy warmongering prostitutes that they are and Erdogan looks like a right twat. Assad is warned that he shouldn't appear too friendly to Trump as that causes Trump problems. The normal schedule will be resumed shortly in Syria and everybody can get on with their shitty lives. Tonight I'm going to catch up on the sleep I lost last night safe in the knowledge that Trump is not a complete dickhead and less of a dickhead that Hillary "nvCJD" Clinton. And a big thank you to the deplorables for their support of Trump, they've done the world a service for which we should all be grateful.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 8 2017 1:14 utc | 236

The real message other world powers get from this attack
Some say that Trump wants to send a message to Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and others, that his administration has teeth, and it can bite. But the attack on Syrian airbase was carried so poor and inefficient that they will get a message quite opposite of what was intended. When a lion tries to roar and farts louder than it roars, who takes him serious anymore?
What other world powers may conclude is US military capabilities is very distant from what they claim. That puts US in a dangerous situation. In future confrontations, other powers may not hesitate to push the buttons to launch missiles and sink US ships, or target their planes. No one knows in which theater the next war will start, but the moment the first bullets or missiles fired, it’s quite expected that the war to spread to many other areas. For instance Iran, North Korea, and China tolerated the misbehavior of US navy ships in their coastal waters for years. They may stop doing this when their estimation of US navy’s real fire-power to be way lower than what advertised. 20 minutes after the moment they decide to confront, hundreds of US navy ships and aircraft carriers sank to the bottom of sea.
The Real Message of US Missile Attack On Syrian Airbase

Posted by: Massoud | Apr 8 2017 1:19 utc | 237

@235 I think the Russians see the 'massive neocon media campaign' as unbelievably transparent and stupid. They are amazed than anyone believes it. Plus anything they say to counter it gets twisted into more anti-Russian propaganda.

Posted by: dh | Apr 8 2017 1:21 utc | 238

#135 is an example of the crap that gets written about Putin.

Russia's interests is prevent both the Qatari and the Iranian pipelines. Putin did not put Russian lives in harm's way to play some hero role. He be unfit for the Russian Presidency.

You guys who want China and Russia to play hero and rather than to further their interest, I believe Assad accepts volunteers to fight in his army. Feel free to sign up.

See 10 men in a room. Nine of them each has a briefcase with gold bars in it, the other has a loaded gun. Putin is the man with the gun and outside the room is more of his men with guns.

Power comes out of a smoking gun.

Xi will remain on script but if you have go read his first ever speech when he went off script for a para or two, personality wise he would have no qualms putting a bullet into Melania first and then next into Trump and for sure he is not going to suffer from PTSD after the deed.

But the script is the script in China though the pro diplomacy factions just got taken down a notch or two by Trump's stunt with the timing.

Jackrabbit, I think you liked the Reddit's The Donald group better than here.

Le Pen probably will not win, like that guy in the Netherlands or like the afd in Germany. Europeans are an old culture, they are like the Chinese, they don't want to give the impression of being a barbarian and Le Pen talks like one to a lot of the French.

Off course it was plan, down to the minute when he would be sitting down with Xi Jinping. Great timing but the aim appears to be so so or Russian ECW really really kickass or both if the Russian drone footage is true.

Last bitching about Trump without putting things into context as with what would dear Hillary would have done or promised to do does give the impression that dear Hillary should be POTUS or would have been a better one...

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Apr 8 2017 1:27 utc | 239

The Russians are all about sovereignty -- their own and that of Syria and Iran, and all of the other blacklisted / nonaligned countries. Either laws, and "international laws" mean something or people need to sit down, shut up and admit that we're all screwed ... That is and has been Russia's point for a very very long time and with the 1917 revolution anniversary, they can point to a century of western attempts at undermining and regime change by various means ... highlighting Western imperialist / neoliberal hypocrisy in these matters is a winning topic in a world filled with America's victims, particularly when America runs around exalting "freedom" as it plunges other nations willy-nilly into the prison cauldron of instability, even anarchy

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 1:31 utc | 240

@200, karlof1,

I humbly suggest...

Some of us contemplating taking our jobs and tax dollars to another country. Indeed, at whatever point you wish to start rogue nation history, the New World carried within its DNA the toxic social rot of the Old. Ask any Iroquis.

Tax resistance is futile. They just grab your property and auction it off to other parasites.

Conscientious Objection works if conscription is enacted, but at a cost -- hopefully we can channel our inner Ghandi if needed.

I am 100% with you on education of our fellow citizens. Support the Rand Pauls and Tulsi Gabbards and the ones formerly known as Bernie Sanders. A well-run counterpropaganda campaign, in light of Trump's election victory should be actively supported. Guys like Assange and CIA/FBI whistleblowers need a forum.

IMO the US MSM just had a breach in its armour -- Trump hijacking the neocon agenda. Their mission to destroy him put aside because they are now tied in a knot, he did the right thing even though he's the wrong guy.

Won't hurt to mention that people who make cruise missiles are baby-killers.

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 8 2017 1:35 utc | 241

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7, 2017 8:54:56 PM | 234

Russia was informed about US strikes in Syria — Kremlin (TASS)

Earliest statement from RF, no time frame given. Was explicitly & specifically falsely denied by Tillerson.

My point is, no RF helos nor SF or air/support crew were casualties nor came under attack. Given the RF had sufficient time to relocate helos, support equipment & personnel, as well as advise the SAA to also do so, given the results (damage/casualties) and the clear & detailed statements by the Pentagon, then they highly probably had at least one hours advance notice, which is, frankly, in military reaction/response terms, a veritable shitload of time. This effectively renders the strike pointless, especially since the CMs were not programmed to do any real damage to critical physical/structural assets, ie tarmac and aircraft shelters.

For example, the CMs were NOT programmed to fly into the SAA aircraft shelters, front or rear, can't see no heavy blast doors, and destroy the actual shelters, they weren't and didn't, the tarmac was NOT targeted, so this was NOT a strike with military objectives, given all the current available info.

If you wish to prevent future flight ops from an airbase, ie supposed Evil Nerve-agent using SAA as fraudulently publicly claimed, then you DESTROY the tarmac, DESTROY the hardened aircraft shelters, KILL the air/support crewmen and Destroy/damage the aircraft. NONE of that happened, based on available info ... hence, the purpose was NOT to achieve a military objective, IMV ... instead, a political objective ? Which was, what exactly ?

The puffed up, media trumpeted, not a surprise attack, 59 Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase, to teach the SAA and Assad a lesson, that did very little militarily. The strike you launch, when you aren't launching a for real strike ? Hm ....

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 1:39 utc | 242

b - excellent coverage/commentary.. thanks.. i agree with your last paragraph which i believe needs to be emphasized here.. we were in dangerous territory before, but it has now gotten more dangerous..

Posted by: james | Apr 8 2017 1:42 utc | 243

>>>> Outraged | Apr 7, 2017 7:47:16 PM | 222

An undamaged tarmac is a failed strike. Full stop.

I'm going to take a guess and say that you're an American. Americans have a real problem understanding war. They think that war is all about winning battles but it's not. War is and of itself is pointless but it's one very inefficient way of achieving political objectives.
Ask yourself what Trump's overarching objective in Syria is, then ask yourself how does destroying the runway at Shayrat and not being seen to "punish" Assad for the alleged gas attack help him achieve that objective. Now do you understand why failing to hit the runway at Shayrat is a success and a necessary part of victory against ISIS.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 8 2017 1:51 utc | 244

@242 "Which was, what exactly ?"

That's easy. Donald needed to look tough. He couldn't take the non-stop MSM pressure.

It won't shut them up though.

Posted by: dh | Apr 8 2017 1:53 utc | 245

canadas democratically elected Trudeau saddened by Stockholm cowardly killing while endorsing cowardly US killing in syria
Trudeau endorse the cowardly bombing of 9 syrian civilians by Trump.

Posted by: brian | Apr 8 2017 1:57 utc | 246

@ Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 7, 2017 9:51:33 PM | 244

Respectfully ghostship, you have completely misrepresented my position with that out of context sentence quote and don't seem to have followed my posts ... the tarmac and aircraft shelters were deliberately NOT targeted in an advance notice, Not a surprise attack.

And I personally know a little about actual war and actual operations, and in quite significant detail re extended air campaigns such as Desert Shield, prior to Desert Storm, Kuwait/Iraq back in 90'/'91, for example, at the HQ and operational level, military objectives, planning/targeting, and the capabilities of the ordnance being discussed.

Peace. Shalom. Salaam.

@ Posted by: dh | Apr 7, 2017 9:53:58 PM | 245

Indeed, agree on both points, from post at 113 onwards. Agreed, won't shut 'em up, but does call 'em out ...

@ the Sorceress

Wouldn't it just be easier on you & us if you merely simply daily posted/stenographed the talking points received ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 2:10 utc | 247

My take is they wanted to gage public reaction before considering a more damaging assault. Perhaps once they feel they can get congress on board and a coalition together you may see something more. I dont think they care about Assad but just want to make sure his forces are weakened enough for them to partition Syria up according to their objectives. Pretty sure that includes taking the northwest along the coast.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 8 2017 2:16 utc | 248

Personally, I'm not confident that what Donald Trump thought he ordered up in the way of a retaliatory strike is what we see as the results (what Donald Trump received) The actual results may have instead been what the pentagon decided to give him ... even possibly what they could safely deliver (particularly if they were aware of the infighting and alarm over Trump's gross misrepresentation of what happened, as documented elsewhere.

Phil Girardi on Scott Horton:
link 4/6/17 Philip Giraldi says IC-Military Doubt Assad Gas Narrative
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and Director of the Council for the National Interest, says that “military and intelligence personnel,” “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, say that the narrative that Assad or Russia did it is a “sham,” instead endorsing the Russian narrative that Assad’s forces had bombed a storage facility.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 2:18 utc | 249

I mean considering that THEY (the pentagon) knew the strikes were illegal and that THEY might incur some legal culpability as uniformed members of the American military ... just a not-so-random thought ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 2:27 utc | 250

US vary from zero warning to one hour warning. Russia not forthcoming on time given but very pissed.
Little damage considering the missiles launched.
US domestic situation/pressure on Trump. If it wasn't for Nune's and Bannon, I would say this was just a play by Trump to take some heat off domestically.
That Nune's stepped down and Bannon apparently got the boot makes me think Trump has been rolled or otherwise done a deal. Poor results of strike due to (some) US military not wanting to take on Russia?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 2:28 utc | 251

@249 You may be right. Apparently a "decapitation" strike on Assad's presidential palace was one option under consideration. It may have been a step too far for Donald. Or maybe they're saving it for the next 'chemical attack'.

Posted by: dh | Apr 8 2017 2:33 utc | 252

If Trump were working with the Putin, why would Russia (or Assad) make a point of how little damage was done to the airfield?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 8 2017 2:35 utc | 253

@ Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7, 2017 10:18:47 PM | 249

Quite possible. Prez is presented with options re 'high' level plans, discusses & approves one of 'em, or requests/demands a resubmit/variation or further alternatives.

HOW, the ops are actually carried out by the commanders is done further down the line. And contrary to PL, the downstream chain of command, from JCS downwards in fact, is neither rigid or inflexible re conduct of, nor unable to take certain, liberties. Same same with State dept and IC, etc.

The way some people reduce everything onto projecting monolithic caricatures of actual individual 'god-like' all knowing, all powerful, leaders such as Putin, Trump, etc, is incredibly simplistic, almost childish, with all the putin this, & trump that ... 'tis not how it works ... ymmv

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 2:35 utc | 254

"Wilkerson: Trump Attack on Syria Driven by Domestic Politics"

Posted by: x | Apr 8 2017 2:49 utc | 255

yes OCCUpY DEMPOCRATS (now one with Trump) now pushing another gas story generated by alqaeda 'activists'
Colin Taylor‏ @ColsBols 9h9 hours ago
BREAKING Multiple reports Assad just dropped chlorine gas on #AlQaboun #EastGhouta #SyriaStrike

people should go and rebuke this war monmger. hes @colsbols on twitter

Posted by: brian | Apr 8 2017 2:49 utc | 256

My guess would be that Trump specifically did not want to kill a bunch of Russians ... and so "precautions" were taken to avoid that ... iow, they delivered what they could safely deliver (quite possibly less emphasis structural damage than shock-and-awe bang-for-the-buck theatrics) than Trump thought he would receive) I'm guessing there will be leaks but if Trump wanted / demanded he "do something" within 48 hours, they may have negotiated him into what was "delivered" with only 7 civilians including 2 children and an almost immediately usable "destroyed" airbase. He has a number of incentives to not bitch too loudly ... as with Obama, it's very embarrassing, even credibility destroying, for a POTUS to admit publicly that his military doesn't respect him. Tomorrow is another day. There will be leaks.
Reuters says a WH shakeup may be brewing, Team Trump denies.
Kerry's been heard from (sort of)

I suspect from what I've heard that Putin's domestic rivals will exploit this as another American betrayal or rude-awakening that Putin made possible by indulging the USA and Obama/Kerry ... evidence of the Russian domestic fallout may take months to discern. This may (but probably not) may have stayed Trump's/Pentagon's hand ... "America" may hate Putin, but I'm guessing they'd hate most possible replacements worse.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 8 2017 2:57 utc | 257


Not even 20 minutes:

More like 10:

Posted by: dynkyd | Apr 8 2017 3:38 utc | 258

@203 Lochearn

Good to scroll through and see your comment. The web is ablaze with comments right now, far too much to read - forgive what I might have missed here. Glad I caught yours - maybe you'll catch this. I agree that Trump was certainly worn down by the forces around him, but I encourage you to remember that humans are not fixed entities. They change. They learn. They rebound from defeat stronger than the weakness that led them to that defeat. All humans are this way, and there's no reason to think that a man like Trump is any different.

This is a dynamic game. B postulates that ISIS can dial in a future response simply from a (false flag) sarin attack, but this is unlikely - other players make their own counter-moves and responses and this is likely a one-trick pony. It happened to work this time, but in so doing it also revealed its workings to the critically thinking world, and so it is now known. Eventually the devil runs out of tricks and the learning capacity of humans keeps on coming, undiminished. Eventually, evil loses.

B - excellent analysis by the way, but I disagree with the prognosis that this can be repeated. I think this trick can never be repeated successfully. Trump is a man who knows how to sound out the old saw about, "fool me once...", unlike that other president.

Lochearn, similarly I urge you to consider that nothing in these circumstances says that Trump cannot change back from what he appears to be at the moment to what he appeared to be before.

I'm seeing commentary that says Trump had to give them their missile strike to satiate the beast, but unless I'm wrong there doesn't seem to be any indication coming from the Donald himself yet to indicate how he may be parsing, absorbing and learning from all the commentary coming from his previously loyal base to this movement. Time will tell - but the Internet has no time, and must react now. Personally, I have time, and will take time, and see how this elected president moves forward over time, in additional circumstances, with and against other global players. And I will continue to look for the jobs returning home - the only mission sanctified for this presidency.

So if Trump had to pay the token tribute of cruise missiles - some of which landed and some of which proved ineffective, as with all of the moves of the US - then I can only think of an old Dylan verse:

God said to Abraham, kill me a son.
Abe said, Man you must be putting me on.
God said, No.
Abe said, What?
God said, Abe you can do what you want but
The next time you see me coming you better run.
Abe said, where'd you want this killing done?
God said, on down Highway 61.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 8 2017 3:51 utc | 259

all this makes me think of another Dylan tune, Masters of War:

"Masters Of War"

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

Posted by: Perimetr | Apr 8 2017 4:10 utc | 260

Syrian military personel that where killed by the US at the Shayrat airbase. The Brigadier was in charge of air defence. From the photos and what I can make out, it seems that those killed stayed to man the air defences which had no chance against cruise missiles. Fuck the US. The US headchoppers have been killing people like this in syria for over six years now. A lot of the soldiers young men that should be raising a family, making a home, perhaps working as welders or accountants or starting off a business. And the US has been killing the for years. Headchoppers not doing a good enough job so they send in some tomahawks.
Fuck the US. Hope everything they have done to countries like Syria goes back to the US in spades.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 5:16 utc | 261

Three must watch videos:

Tulsi Gabbard impeccable:

Former British ambassador to Syria nails it, doesn't mince words:

Bolivian ambassador to UN in the Security Council - the man has massive balls, see from 7th minute if time poor:

Posted by: wantpeace | Apr 8 2017 5:37 utc | 262

@112 BiP, 'there had been a story in the Turkish media about six months before Ghouta where a group of al-Nusrah (or whatever they're calling themselves this week) were caught by Turkish troops at the border smuggling components of sarin into Syria'

i don't know about that story but reading denis o'brien's three part series on ghouta i find two references in part 1 to :

Eren Erdem who has made accusations in the Turkish Parliament [1] and who has gone public with evidence [2] that in 2013 Turks were supplying sarin precursors to a group that evolved into Da'esh (aka ISIS) in Syria. What's more, Recep Erdoğan's government knew about that activity and facilitated it. It's an explosive story that the American MSM in totally ignoring

[1] Court Acquits Turkish Suspects Involved in Sarin Gas Supply to Syria,
[2] Turkish MP faces treason charges after telling RT ISIS used Turkey for transiting sarin,

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 5:51 utc | 263

i think there was no cruise missile attack. it was a show by trump and putin. the aim is to withdraw the us from syria and to safe face to netanjau and erdogan.

Posted by: aaaa | Apr 8 2017 5:59 utc | 264

@113 or, ''Syrian' AD systems will now almost certainly be upgraded, expanded and better integrated, deployed to key locales/regions, by RU, beyond RU just upgrading existing S200's, as in the past.'

i hope you're right there. if, as is said, the runway at that airport in hama is not too severely damaged it would be an excellent spot to send one of those huge russian transports, or three, carrying a fully-fledged S [3|400] missile defense system, with its own defense, and russian advisors to tutor the syrians in its use. they can use israeli planes for target practice.

in for a penny in for a pound. i've seen estimates of 90 - 120 million dollars for tee-rump's cruise-missile incontinence. i don't know what the russian anti-missile missiles cost, but i imagine it'd be cheaper for the syrians/russians to shoot down the attacking missiles than for the usa to fire them in the first place, given the obscene profligacy of the us wehrmacht. Yet Another Demonstration of what mao - wasn't it? - used to call the paper tiger's paper claws.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 6:03 utc | 265

aaaa 264 "i think there was no cruise missile attack. it was a show by trump and putin."

No fuckin idea have you?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 6:07 utc | 266

@115 perimetr, 'Or maybe it is just some deep-seated death wish they [the neocons] all have.'

i don't know about 'death wish', but i do think they've all been in the echo chamber of 'indispensable nation', 'full spectrum dominance', the world ruled from ac/dc because ... they can see no other way for them to keep the structures of which they are the life-blood in the us ... so if they admit that their vision is a loser, they are losers, big-time, themselves ... so full speed ahead and damn the torpedos. and if they go down swingin', well that's honorably written about in the history books, which they've written, and so maybe someone else will say something nice about them too. they're all old codgers, soros and the ones with the 'real' money pushing the neocon bow wave in front of themselves, gonna bite the dust soon themselves no matter what.

no one else but themselves counts at all in their fantasy-reality.

so, yeah, they're suicidal ... but they're hiding the fact from themselves. israeli is their ultimate role model. think samson.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 6:16 utc | 267


I read something earlier that Russia had been looking at setting up S-400 at Shayrat.
I would guess that a few systems are now in transit plus plenty of close in systems.
With close in units, at all sites the US may attack, million dollar tomahawks will be destroyed at the cost of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars each depending on if cannon or short range missile is used.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 6:21 utc | 268

Coupla things to consider.
My info has it the "gas attack" was announced by the "rebels" at 6am. The Syrian Army attack was five hours later. This would rule out a release caused by the bombing. I suspect the whole thing is fake.
The Tomahawks did remarkably little damage. Trump warned Putin who would immediately have alerted Syria.
Trump plays checkers, Putin is a chess master. The next moves will be interesting.
How significant is Bannon's sidelining?

Posted by: Brewer | Apr 8 2017 6:27 utc | 269

Trump regime is insane

US looking into possible Russian role in Syria chemical attack: Official

Fake news like this could lead to ww3.

Posted by: neocon butcher | Apr 8 2017 6:32 utc | 270

@ jfl & Peter AU

Something to consider as to why the RF is so 'pissed off' ... the attack was on a 'Syrian' airbase, not RF facilities at Latakia or Tartus, BUT ... there were RF Special Forces and helos based at and operating out of the Syrian Shayat, including aircrew, support crews & materiel.

So, the Empire told RF via Centcom direct liaison channel, get YOUR RF forces & equipment out of the base or they could be casualties within about 60 minutes (found a TASS report stating 2 hrs, secondary source). De-conflicting effort, but, there was potentially a significant element of 'FU Russia!' in the warning and a significant element of humiliation involved because RF forces couldn't stand and had no effective means to defend themselves ... Pissed 'em off ?

Hence, yes, likely expect the RF forces to redeploy back to Shayat, highly probable soon with integrated in-depth RU AD defenses from now on wherever significant RF forces are deployed.

Re Bannon, if he was actually removed from NSC Tuesday AM as well as said responsibilities why was he in attendance at the Thursday National Security meeting at Mar-a-Lago ... something is not right ... see photo (Image) right rear and caption below:

President Trump meeting with his National Security team and being briefed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford via secure video after a missile strike on Syria while inside the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that this image has been digitally edited for security purposes. The White House/Handout via REUTERS

(Source: Russia warns of serious consequences from U.S. strike in Syria).

Re Nunes he temporarily stood down as I understand it simply as a matter of procedure/protocol as the Dems called an ethics committee review of his conduct re White House visits, once that falls flat, he'll likely be back in the cat seat. may be mistaken re the maneuvering.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 6:58 utc | 271

Le Pen probably will not win, like that guy in the Netherlands or like the afd in Germany. Europeans are an old culture, they are like the Chinese, they don't want to give the impression of being a barbarian and Le Pen talks like one to a lot of the French.
Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Apr 7, 2017 9:27:14 PM | 239

She probably will win.
Unlike bribed/owned candidates, she's Listening to the People.
It's a winning formula everywhere in the West.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 8 2017 7:05 utc | 272

@268 p au

thanks to you and to outraged for explaining what s-3 s-400 systems are designed to be used for, that they're not for shooting down cruise missiles, but that the russians do have weapons systems ... cheaper ones ... that can certainly do the job.

the 38% us cruise missile failure rate is quite something. what's the difference between shocking and awful competence in iraq and shocking, awful incompetence in syria a decade and a half later? russian electronics?

whatever the means the answer is russian determination to do what they can with what they have to stop the suicidal neocons ... and wisely they always make sure there's a back door open behind their adversaries. the russians really don't want to fight. they want to stop the fighting. and they will yet.

trumps a fool. but the policy has been foolish, brutal and foolish, for fifteen years, and i see nothing yet within the us that is looking in any realistic way to change that. the russians have their work cut out for them. would be good to see the plutocrats in china get off their asses and help out. they're in it for the money as well. they'd like to wait and replace uncle sam as the ruler of the world. seriously. none of this bang, bang you're dead stuff.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 7:40 utc | 273

@273 that's 39% success rate, isn't it? ... 61% failure rate. according to the russians.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 7:48 utc | 274

@Peter AU, Outraged, 218,222

A slightly less romantic interpretation of 35+ missing Tomahawk missiles: 1.5 decoys for every real missile fired?
In a dense AD environment, is this not basic proceedure?

I'm not trying to be rhetorical here as my knowledge does
not exceed what is found in Wikipedia.

Posted by: wwinsti | Apr 8 2017 7:49 utc | 275

@274 and even so, success such as it was [not] ... according to outraged.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 7:50 utc | 276

@275 ah, the genius of the procuring class. it's not a bug it's a feature! does the mic give a discount for blanks ... 1.7 megabucks, rather than 1.8? but, but ... they're blanks! must have been the russkies who invented that yankee strategy.

here in thailand ... well, not in thailand, in bkk actually ... they paid grillions for tv cameras at every corner, and then some, apparently. turns out a lot of them ... most of them? ... are empty boxes. not a bug a feature!

1. they scare people into thinking all the cameras work ... but, 1b. they make people think that none of them work.

2. when the 'cameras' catch one of the 'elite' hard at a crime ... it's one of the fake ones! i imagine one can purchase 'elite-status-for-a-day' after the fact as well.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 8:00 utc | 277

wwinsti 275

What I am wondering about is that there is no evidence on social media or anywhere else of any of the missing 30 odd missing missiles, decoys or otherwise, landing anywhere on Syrian territory after being shot down or EW'd. It seems they went down in the sea. Apparently they were launched from near Cyprus. A line from Cyprus takes them over Tartus or very close to it, though no doubt they took a circular route.

@ Outraged, thinking on the above, and your thought before, that Russian close defences set up on possible courses had taken down the missing missiles, there is still the problem of no wreckage showing up on social media, which seems to be alive and well in Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8 2017 8:28 utc | 278

@ Posted by: wwinsti | Apr 8, 2017 3:49:18 AM | 275

Have no knowledge of any use of cruise missile 'decoys' historically anywhere ever, cannot see how it could be cost effective, a functioning tomahawk 'decoy' would cost almost as much, as jfl suggests $1.8M as opposed to $1.94M, so, to what purpose ? just launch 59 actual tomahawks ... US claims 58 of 59 hit, most detailed BDA I've seen only identifies 44 'possible' impact strikes on Shayrat ... RF claims only 23 got thru ... since none of the sources can be considered reliable nor independently corroborated, suggest it's of not much relevance ... other than some were definitely taken out/failed.

Now, the actual damage done to Shayrat & materiel, that is not so easily disputed ... FOX news had an early report that the airbase was severely damaged, aircraft shelters destroyed, runway inoperable and 20 Syrian aircraft destroyed ... lol.

@ jfl

S400/300+ can be used to take out cruise missiles with high probability, however, it's more cost effective/efficient to use the complex to detect/track and hand off to other medium/short range AD systems, especially if integrated, ie medium SAM & short range SAM/Guns (Pantsir/Tor/ZSU-23/4, updated Buk, etc) and reserve the S400/300+ for high value targets, final fire point defense of the complex and assigned asset to protect, or worst case engage at range in advance of integrated systems when facing detected massive overwhelming volley.

The RF has been very clear that the S400/300+ are for protecting RF assets throughout since 2015, SAA has to rely on its own largely obsolete AD systems, of which only the Pantsir and S200+ (modernized/upgraded) are of much use ... but the other factor for the Syrians is their systems ceased to be integrated nor in-depth, became heavily fragmented, instead deployed in isolated lillypads and penny-packets. This appears to have started from 2012 when the 'rebels' targeted many SAA AD systems specifically as high priority targets and experienced trained AD crews transferred to ground combat/support units when their batteries/platforms were no longer functional as a result, because of critical manpower shortages ... a vicious circle for the SAA re priorities and resource conflicts all whilst bankrupt(?) and the moderate head-choppers stealing and selling Syrias oil/gas. :(

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8, 2017 4:28:44 AM | 278

Don't know. Have seen fragmented scattered unverified reports suggesting other sites were also targeted by 1 or more CMs in addition to Shayrat out of the 59 launched ? reliability, likelihood ?

Was referring to operational doctrine to how the medium/short range and point defense systems are 'meant' to be deployed, not very practicable any RF elements would have been deployed/re-deployed, wholly insufficient time/warning. if any CM's were within ~80Km+ of tartus, very poor planning, then they 'could' have been engaged by RF batteries ...

The SAA would have primary, secondary and alternate deployment sites for each individual system, assuming a competent battery commander, and would select those based on terrain and target type to best ambush/engage in order to defend the assigned asset. Over land Tomahawks need to follow/track terrain to target for greatest accuracy, therefore some predictability and are subsonic (barely). Re Shayrat airbase would appear there was likely only a token single operable obsolete SA6(?) battery at the airbase.

knackered, chasin' zzzs, out.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 8 2017 9:15 utc | 279

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 8, 2017 4:28:44 AM | 278

They might not have shot them. From the damage that could be seen they might have shot one to five. We only have the word of the US military for the sixty and that is not worth much. The Russian military confirmed the number but deducted a few for their own fun. They then showed the video whithout craters. The military can count the cost of munitions and "a message" just is not worth it. It is a huge propaganda show from the chemical poisoning to the bombs. The military who will have to deal with the backlash from the Russians will not be amused. You have to face the strong possibility that everybody lies.

What is at stake are the "safe zones"


#Syria Opposition leader "submitted to White House safe zone plan" in areas:
•Taken near Turkey
•Taken by YPG
•Taken from ISIS
•Near Golan

Trump has subscribed this plan. The other word is federalism.

As long as the US float this plan so that people have hope the fighting will go on and Astana will fail. And the plan is to keep the fighting going to exhaust everybody involved.

If Russia keeps the no fly zone over Syria, and refusing to share information amounts to that, the safe zone hope is gone.

There is this warning from October

Russian forces could shoot down coalition jets if the United States launches airstrikes against pro-government forces in Syria, the Russian ministry of defence has said.

American officials have reportedly discussed using limited airstrikes to force Bashar al-Assad’s government to halt its assault on Aleppo and return the negotiating table after a ceasefire collapsed last month.

In Moscow’s starkest warning yet against Western intervention in the war, Russia’s chief military spokesman said that any airstrikes on government-held territory in Syria would be considered a “clear threat” to Russian servicemen.


US military planners should “carefully consider the possible consequences” of such action, Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Thursday.

“Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, Buk and other air defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year,” he said.

“I remind US 'strategists' that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 anti aircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects,” he added.

Russian air defence troops would not have time to identify the flight path of incoming rockets or aircraft that fired them, and would respond immediately, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov added.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 8 2017 9:23 utc | 280

I cant believe Chinese president keep staying in the US, when US started bombing he should have left immediately, but it seems that China have become more naive past 8-10 years about neocon wars and its own position with the western world.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 8 2017 9:29 utc | 281

The number of people cheering on Trump no matter what he does is getting a bit scary; it reminds one of Italy or Germany in the 1930s.

I have posted mant times at a Trump cult site and received many "likes" and so forth ---

Then I posted my disbelief in Trump's act of war just because he "saw some bad pictures on TV". Banned of course. We have reached an era where many Americans refuse to question H.R. Clinton on anything while many other refuse to question D.J. Trump on anything.

The USA has gone crazy.

Posted by: Mark Stoval | Apr 8 2017 9:54 utc | 282

A basic rule of thumb when considering any politician must be "look at what they do - what they say is irrelevant".
D trump has said a great many things about a great many different issues, 99.9% of that has been what he believes the humans who comprise 'his base' want to hear.
But as much as d trump prefers to be in campaign mode, the outsider playing off against a corrupt opponent, in reality that is just so last year. D trump is the incumbent now so it doesn't matter a stale cat fart what he says, his worth can only be measured by what he has done which afaik, aside from ordering up the slaughter of a village in Yemen and launching 50+ cruise missiles at Syria, is SFA.
He hasn't helped Jo/Joe Lunchbox in the slightest and the most compelling evidence of what trump stands for domestically is the fact that the Dow Jones has appreciated considerably since the inauguration - if that doesn't inform us which side trump is really on when it comes down to deciding who cops the rough end of the pineapple - the wealthy or the wage slave, I frankly dunno what will.
Some of the posts in this thread are positively delusional in the way they seek to excuse/ignore/distort the trump regime's butchery, there is obviously nothing that could be said to those poster likely to disabuse them of their foolishness - other than that the delusions appear to be largely coming from the same types who got very abusive and personal when others declined to show suitable obeisance to fuhrer trump - it could be argued that reveals deep down these posters know they are pissing into the wind. There is no way of reaching such foolishness with reason, all that can be done is wait & watch until it is obvious the great saviour is just another piece of cheap, poorly machined garbage; identical in every way to 44 mendacious assholes who came before.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 8 2017 9:59 utc | 283

Politics is psychological nowadays - probably always was - for people yearning for a patriarchal father figure Trump is the person to fantasize about.
He himself is a gifted sales person who will sell anything. He is not about substance.

But to elect a president and think anything will change is delusional, you need a political movement for that.

Back to Syria - PYD have finally come out with a statement.

Muslim said that he cannot assess whether or not the US strikes against a Syrian airbase overnight will have a positive or negative results on the ground. “We will look at the results,” he said.

He however said that this may force parties on the ground to realize that there is not a military solution to the six-year civil in Syria that has claimed half a million lives, by some estimates. From this perspective, the strikes may turn out to be good, he noted.

“We believe that this attack must yield positive results since the parties who did not believe in a political solution may reconsider and see that there is no military solution,” Muslim argued, explaining that the US was “forced” to take actions in an atmosphere where they were left with no other options.

Muslim is the co-leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political party in northern Syria aligned with the armed YPG who are receiving military backing from the US-led coalition as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He has helped to carve out a mainly Kurdish enclave in northern Syria.

Muslim hoped that the US strikes will not be a “one-off” option and called on the US to also target other Syrian armed groups, whom he said have their hands on the banned weapons.

Asked about US involvement, the PYD leader said that regional and international powers have now entered the Syrian civil war with their own forces following a period of waging a “proxy war.” The US is already involved to such an extent that it cannot “turn its back” on Syria, he argued, especially in its war against ISIS where it is helping the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their campaign to defeat the extremist group in Raqqa, the ISIS de-facto capital in Syria.

Germany's defence minister has just clarified that the mandate German troops have does not extend to be active in the Syrian war.

US media seem to be in full jingoist mood, I wonder what US congress will say.

I doubt anybody will send troups with Russia enforcing a no fly zone.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 8 2017 10:21 utc | 284

Mark Stoval

Yes I see this too, its real scary to witness but this is what wars like these result in. And this is not a problem only the US have, I live in Europe and the attitude is the same, people are sheep. No wonder 30s leaders in Germany could get its support.

It was the same about Obama, the liberal MSM regular pro-obama people defended his warcrimes, facts dont bite when this kind of people get brainwashed to defend their "leader".

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 8 2017 10:22 utc | 285

Not sure if this has been posted,

Russian MoD DRONE FOOTAGE: Only 23 of 59 Tomahawk missiles reached the Syrian Airbase

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 8 2017 10:25 utc | 286

I have two questions regarding this cruise missile strike:
1) If the USA really did believe that this was the base for Syrian CWs then what, exactly, did they estimate the probability that those tomahawks would hit a CW stockpile, thereby releasing a deadly chemical cloud over the nearby villages?
2) And if that did happen would they have accepted responsibility even as they rued the irony?

Because it did occur to me that this airfield would only be safe to attack if the Americans knew that it DIDN'T have chemical weapons.

Posted by: Yeah,Right | Apr 8 2017 10:34 utc | 287

>>>> dumbass | Apr 7, 2017 11:01:38 AM | 100

Even when I try to wear my "naive citizen" hat, that seemed quite strange because I can hardly believe that some 3rd-rate military force can really do much of anything to defend against a determined 1st-rate power regardless of whether it's "telegraphed in advance" or not.

It's happening all around you. Houthis in Yemen, Al Shabab (or whatever) in Somalia, Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, etc. Unless the first-rate power is prepared to commit very considerable land forces and suffer the casualties, a third-rate military force can defend against an attack
Until fairly recently, ISIS were not being attacked from the air with any decent degree of aggression, so when the Russians appeared on the scene and launched aggressive attacks against ISIS' revenue operations, ISIS was taken by surprise and suffered major damage to their finances. If they'd known what was about to happen, they could have done more to disperse all those fuel trucks and made life far harder for the Russians. Trump may have "surprises" but if people know about them then they're not surprises or he might just be bullshitting but even that can be advantageous to Trump achieving his objectives because ISIS might decide to disperse its forces and that costs ISIS but costs Trump nothing. Disinformation operations like FUSAG (Google it if you don't know) are pure bullshit operations but they can be very influential in war.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 8 2017 10:45 utc | 288

The Truth About The Syrian Chemical Attack - A Timeline Of False Flags & Lies

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 8 2017 10:50 utc | 289

>>>> Outraged | Apr 7, 2017 10:10:43 PM | 247
You replied (@222) to my original comment (@158), so that's the only context that's relevant (@244).
So you are an American and while you may know war, like almost all Americans you don't really understand it but that's not your fault because having the most powerful military ever and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans means that in defence you don't have to. But when the United States does go to war against others, it does matter and America's long list of failed oversea interventions and wars is the evidence.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 8 2017 11:20 utc | 290

290 Mosul just going very wrong

I guess Russian claims that the Syrian "message" tries to distract from Mosul has some truth in it. Probably it was also meant to distract from the fact that Trump is friends with China now.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 8 2017 11:29 utc | 291

@279 or

sounds as though the s300 s400 s500 are really two systems ... tracking/targeting radar, together with high powered anti-ballistic and 're-animated' ballistic missile defensive rocketry batteries. and that other elements ... 'Pantsir/Tor/ZSU-23/4, updated Buk, etc' ... can make use of the t/t radar systems. so yeah, that's what the syrians need s34500 t/t radar units and plenty of 'Pantsir/Tor/ZSU-23/4, updated Buk, etc' to knock down the f16s and cruise missiles the us/israeli/saudi axis is likely to attack them with. pleasant dreams.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 11:34 utc | 292

re 272

She probably will win.
Unlike bribed/owned candidates, she's Listening to the People.
You don't know a lot about French politics, do you, H? A Le Pen success is very difficult because of the election system, though not impossible. Though the French can be fooled by false promises as much as any.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 8 2017 11:37 utc | 293

@281 anon '... it seems that China has become more naive past 8-10 years about neocon wars and its own position with the western world ...'

naive is not a word i often link with the chinese. i think that they are just waiting for the prima donna to fall sick, of fall down and die, because they're ready to step into her shoes and play her role. don't look for any real help for anyone from the chinese ... and count your fingers if you're 'lucky enough' to have signed a 'win-win' agreement with the incipient imperialists of the 21st century.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 11:43 utc | 294

here's an old report that's just been recycled ...

U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime’

... apparently the daily mail was 'convinced' to drop it.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 8 2017 11:48 utc | 295

@284 somebody
“He himself is a gifted sales person who will sell anything”

He is not a gifted salesperson - that’s part of the long con. His fabled success has its roots largely on being a laundromat for the Russo-jewish mafia after the implosion of the Soviet Union. After 4 bankruptcies and blacklisted by major banks Trump needed access to cash to keep his teetering empire afloat. The Russo-jewish mafia needed a way to launder their proceeds from the looting of the former Soviet empire. Besides being a willing participant in a money laundering operation the only thing this ‘gifted’ salesman had to offer was a brand synonymous with ostentatious opulence which people of a certain bent mistakenly equated with class and style. It was like selling bling to rich rapheads.

Posted by: pantaraxia | Apr 8 2017 11:54 utc | 296

Posted by: pantaraxia | Apr 8, 2017 7:54:45 AM | 296

gifted salesperson = long con :-))

For he rest you need some evidence. What I understood is that Trump was too big to fail for the banks.

bankrupcy = normal business practice

To come out of it with serious money - see the gifted salesman = long con part

Posted by: somebody | Apr 8 2017 12:40 utc | 297

Wide awake in the middle of the night with a million answerable questions for so many seemingly unsolvable problems. Been spending a lot of time contemplating the motivation of Daesh fighters. Hypothetically as young revolutionaries would they not chafe at the idea that they are the foot soldiers of the US empire. When they cheer the destruction of Syria by US bombing have they not made their allegiances clear! Never mind leaving their holes to attack en mass at just the right moment. Well we certainly seem very concerned that these “rebels”are getting what they need.

Flimsy theory perhaps but is it possible that Isis guys running around Mosul are directing incoming US bombs to land on targets that have lots of virgins inside. After all if they get 72 virgins on matrydom they must be concerned that the supply gets replenished. The recent story that a single Isis sniper brought death to a whole lot of regular folks who were still there when the bombs came while the sniper was long gone, on to the next neighbourhood. That story gave me that sick feeling of truth you get after a lifetime of witnessing relatively minor injustices, you know the grinning bully laughing at the miserable nice folks kind of stuff. So in English he would call it in as, target ID ed, I'm clear, bombs away!

Obviously not a serious student of this topic but what about this. You get your sorry butt into the ranks of Daesh because you have psychopathic violent tendencies (too much war game video, weird music and energy drinks+vaccine side effects?) and the idea of being with a large empowering group of brothers seems idyllic. You doubt the 72 virgin thing but the idea of getting paid for murder and mayhem while dressing in black with cool weapons and nice pickups appeals to you. But then you get addicted to captagon, witness/ participate in a few too many atrocities and some where deep down your soul revolts. I can not live with this memory of what I have done. Probably most of these thoughts would be working subconsciously. Next thing you know, Boom (they seem to have a huge supply of suicide bombers) and your worries cease. Instantly becoming a hero to your less sensitive buddies.

I hope some Daesh guys read this, my message to them would be simple. You are indeed working for the Devil, blow yourself up in the depot with the other Daesh guys still kissing you goodbye, do some good in your life for once. For surely when someone blows themselves to smithereens one of their core beliefs is that they deserve to be dead!

Posted by: frankly | Apr 8 2017 12:49 utc | 298

Late last night after catching PJ Watson's video on the subject, I found this article from Deutche Welle.

It is surprising because of the foreign news networks (BBC, NHK, DW) on the PBS networks, DW tends to be in the globalist camp and sometimes shamelessly so. And yet in this case they're actually asking the right questions instead of handily dismissing a mention of a counter point like al Nusra being guilty.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 8 2017 12:50 utc | 299

@jfl 294

China doesn't want confrontation or to 'fight its way to the top' against rival powers. Instead, Beijing waits until the time is ripe and undisputed global leadership falls into its lap like an apple in autumn.

The vast majority of states supports China's leadership role already, but that's not enough: An embittered, dominated rival would always remain a source of danger and instability, so it's better to wait until every relevant player accepts (or even begs for) the new multilateral, but China-led world order.

Look at the Middle East or the South China Sea: Beijing only lays its cards on the table once it can be sure there won't be serious resistance.

(cf. the difference between Chess and Go...;-)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 8 2017 12:57 utc | 300

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