Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 25, 2017

Syria - U.S. CentCom Declares War On Russia

Yesterday three high ranking Russian officers were killed in an "ISIS attack" in eastern Syria. It is likely that they were killed by U.S. special forces or insurgents under U.S. special forces control. The incident will be understood as a declaration of war.

The U.S. Central Command in the Middle East wants the oil fields in east-Syria under control of its proxy forces to set up and control a U.S. aligned Kurdish mini-state in the area. The Syrian government, allied with Russia, needs the revenues of the oil fields to rebuild the country.


Last week the Russians issued sharply worded statements against U.S. coordination with al-Qaeda terrorists in Idleb province and warned of further escalation.

Yesterday the Russian Ministry of Defense accused the U.S. military in east-Syria of direct collaboration with the Islamic State:

US Army special units provide free passage for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) through the battle formations of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists, the ministry said in a statement.

“Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir ez-Zor,” the statement reads.

The newly released images “clearly show that US special ops are stationed at the outposts previously set up by ISIS militants.”

“Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.

This map marks the currently relevant conflict area - (U.S. proxies - yellow, SAA - red, ISIS - black):

Map by Weekend Warrior - bigger

The accusations are plausible. Large parts of ISIS in Deir Ezzor consist of local tribal forces from eastern Syria. U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk recently met tribal leaders who had earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS. Deals were made. As we wrote:

The U.S. diplomat tasked with the job, Brett McGurk, recently met with local tribal dignitaries of the area. Pictures of the meeting were published. Several people pointed out that the very same dignitaries were earlier pictured swearing allegiance to the Islamic State.


Just like during the "Anbar Awaking" in its war on Iraq the U.S. is bribing the local radicals to temporarily change over to its side. This will help the U.S. to claim that it defeated ISIS. But as soon as the payments stop the very same forces will revert back to their old game.

The local criminal Ahmad Abu Khawla, who had earlier fought for ISIS, was suddenly installed as commander of a newly invented "Deir Ezzor Military Council", set up under U.S. special force control.

Last night a Russian three-star general and two colonels were killed in a mortar attack while they visited a Syrian army headquarters in Deir Ezzor:

Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov, of the Russian armed forces, has been killed after coming under shelling from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants near Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry has announced.

In its statement, the ministry said that Asapov was at a command outpost manned by Syrian troops, assisting commanders in the liberation of the city of Deir ez-Zor.
Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov is the highest-ranking Russian officer to be killed in the Syrian campaign. He was a commander of the 5th Army in Russia’s Eastern Military District, one of the four strategic commands in the Russian Armed Forces. The army is based in Russia’s Far East, in the city of Ussuriysk, some 98 km (61 miles) from Vladivostok.

For three years ISIS had besieged Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor city and its airport. It had not once managed to successfully attack the Syrian headquarters or to kill high ranking officers. Now, as U.S. proxy forces "advised" by U.S. special forces, have taken position north of Deir Ezzor, "ISIS" suddenly has the intelligence data and precision mortar capabilities to kill a bunch of visiting Russian officers?

That is not plausible. No one in Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran or Moscow will believe that.

The Russian military, as usual, reacts calmly and officially attributes the attack to ISIS. Doing so avoids pressure to immediately react to the attack. (The U.S. will falsely interpret this as a face-saving Russian retreat.) 

But no one in Moscow will believe that the incident is independent of other recent maneuvers by the U.S. forces and independent of the earlier accusations the Russian military made against the U.S. forces.

Nominally the U.S. and Russia are both in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Russian troops are legitimately there, having been invited by the Syrian government. The U.S. forces have no legal justification for their presence. So far open hostilities between the two sides had been avoided. But as the U.S. now obviously sets out to split Syria apart, openly cooperates with terrorists and does not even refrain from killing Russian officers, the gloves will have to come off.

U.S. Central Command has declared war on the Russian contingent in Syria. A high ranking Russian general was killed. This inevitably requires a reaction. The response does not necessarily have to come from Russian forces.  Moscow has many capable allies in the area. The response does not necessarily have to come in Syria.

"Accidents" and "incidents", like an "ISIS mortar attacks", or unintentional bombing of troop concentration of the other side, can happen on both sides of the front. Cars can blow up, bridges can collapse. Any U.S. officer or civilian official in the larger Middle East should be aware that they too are now targets.

Posted by b on September 25, 2017 at 9:22 UTC | Permalink

next page »

No doubt that thess assassinations are carried out w/ US intelligence. REally disgusting.

What happend with this btw?

"Trump to stop CIA arming rebels in Syria: Report"

Posted by: Anon | Sep 25 2017 9:30 utc | 1

This likely changes everything; Russia will not let this go, IMO.
There was a report today that Russia will build a military base in Deir Ezzor including an airfield for their airforce.
I just wonder when (if?) the U.S. will understand how badly they've lost their goal?
I very much doubt Russia will allow another FU...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 9:41 utc | 3

Looks like bombing the 'SDF' us proxies in the area is one way they have decided to respond.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 25 2017 9:45 utc | 4

Ah, I found the link about the new military base;

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 9:50 utc | 5

What I haven't noticed is the story of a Russian 3 star general being killed in the US media. Normally this is this sort of thing they couldn't resist gloating about. And yet they aren't even mentioning it, at least not that I've seen.

It's almost as if someone thinks that someone else (Pentagon? CIA?) has gone too far and is worried what the consequences will be.

Posted by: lysander | Sep 25 2017 10:19 utc | 6

Joe @4
Alink to a report.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 10:32 utc | 7

One other observation; Russian intelligence, on the ground in Syria, appears to be excellent.
They are befriending tribal chief's on the east side of the Euphrates river adjacent to the oil fields.
Russia very much knows who the enemies are; and who to negotiate with.
A very inclusive, sectarian policy...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 10:35 utc | 8

Something I don't get: normally, the USA only wages wars against weak enemies (which by the way make the word "war" a misnomer, these attacks being more suitably called "mass slaughters"). If, today, they are willing to take on their bitterest foe, whom they didn't dare attack event at the height of the Cold War, it must mean they are totally desperate. The whole system is probably crashing down as we speak and only looks whole the way a wall eaten by Darwin termites looks whole: until you try to rest on it and it disintegrates into dust.

Posted by: Lea | Sep 25 2017 10:36 utc | 9

Indeed, B. Any US official / army guy / adviser in Syrian territory should get the hell out of dodge right now, because there will be hell to pay. One can expect Russia to not give a damn anymore if there's any embedded US goon in the areas they're going to bomb, from now on.

Reports of RUAF bombing SDF troops close to Deir es Zor right now, and other reports denying there's any bombing going on. Unsure what to believe for now, but we'll have a better idea in a few hours.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 25 2017 10:38 utc | 10

The Russian contingent in Syria launched a new air campaign against "ISIS" in Deir Ezzor:

Jets strike U.S.-backed forces in eastern Syria: SDF

BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Syrian militias said Russian warplanes struck their positions in Deir al-Zor province on Monday, near a major natural gas field they seized from Islamic State in recent days.
Spokesman Mustafa Bali said the attack on Monday “by land and air” had wounded SDF fighters.

Posted by: b | Sep 25 2017 11:01 utc | 11

Lea | Sep 25, 2017 6:36:27 AM | 9

Mostly, I think you get it.
My supposition would be this; the U.S. is indeed "crashing down" as you say, but; it's a golden opportunity to test their enemies (Russia's) abilities and tools of war.
Nothing but the "real deal" counts, so, the U.S., in its depravity, will go to any length to find out just who they're up against. And where better to do this than a third country in the M.E., using proxies, mostly.
In my best Usian, coloquial English; the U.S. is about to get a whipping

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 11:03 utc | 12

Al Masdar reporting that the Russians hit SDF.

If true this would be a serious escalation and would show that by killing these Russian soldiers the US overstepped yet another red-line of the Russians. Things could get quite unpleasant for US special ops and Arab proxy fighters in the area in the coming hours.

Posted by: Alexander P | Sep 25 2017 11:03 utc | 13

Heads up al master has just reported unsubstantiated reports coming from the new proxy takfiri's SDF are reporting that the RuAF and SAA are shelling and bombing their positions . If con firmed it appears the cabal will get their war after all. Hell 900 trillion dollars is a lot of debt and enough to bring down the whole ponzi scheme.
ANGLO-ZIONIST AT IT AGAIN. Same MO just another year . By Deception You May Wage War.

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 25 2017 11:20 utc | 14

sorry typo Al Masdar

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 25 2017 11:20 utc | 15

Fort Russ is also reporting what sounds like a major push by SAA and Russian forces;

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 11:26 utc | 16

From the Saker;
Two Rules of Warfare – 1) Never March on Moscow and
2) Never March on Moscow

Which I euphemistically take to mean; never attack Russia...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 11:44 utc | 17

Lea @9

Something I don't get: normally, the USA only wages wars against weak enemies (which by the way make the word "war" a misnomer, these attacks being more suitably called "mass slaughters"). If, today, they are willing to take on their bitterest foe, whom they didn't dare attack event at the height of the Cold War, it must mean they are totally desperate.

More likely arrogance, hubris and believing its own propaganda that as the most powerful military on earth (some truth to that) it can do what ever it likes and no-one will stop it. Unfortunately its perpetual state of war gives everyone plenty of opportunities to examine its methods and work out how to stop it.

BTW, there were suggestions earlier that the SDF forces in Deir Ez-zor were led by the YPG. A tweet from what I guess is SDF PR suggests that the commanders are Talal Silo, a Turkmen associate of the YPG and Ahmed Abu Khawla of the Deir Ez-zor Military Council, another associate of the YPG. Both seem to be ex-FSA and are hostile to the Syrian government. So it seems the SDF forces in Deir Ez-zor are led by associates of the YPG rather than the YPG itself.

Ahmed Abu Khawla issued a threat that the SAA should withdraw back across the Euphrates so it's not hard to guess who is attacking the Syrians and Russians and that the Russians have started bombing the Deir Ez-zor Military council is hardly surprising

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 11:44 utc | 18

Trump needs a war at any cost and Deep State armaments manufacturers are rubbing their hands together in anticipation. Russia says "it was ISIS" to play the longer game.

Posted by: Will | Sep 25 2017 11:44 utc | 19

Glad to see this article up already...

The hit on the Russian senior officers can in no way be considered any kind of 'accident'...

Russia knows in detail what the US SOF and CIA are doing in Deir Ezzor...

The US has gone a step too far and they will pay for it...compared to this, the nine SAA soldiers that turned out not to have been killed is chicken feed...

As others have noted Russian warplanes have already begun striking SDF forces around the Tabiye oilfield just east of the SAA positions on the east bank...

However, I fully expect to see a Kalibr barrage soon...Ru MoD is probably double-checking intel and working out the plans now...

I have no doubt that the retribution will be fierce...the US is in a very weak position in Syria, yet they keep poking Russia in the eye...

What could they do to stop a Russian rampage in Syria...including massive cruise missile barrages and heavy bomber strikes...?

Absolutely nothing...and they will soon realize that...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 11:51 utc | 20


that phrase was originally from British Field Marshal Montgomery...his three cardinal rules of war...

1. Never march on Russia...

2. Never start a land war in Asia...

3. Never march on Russia...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 11:53 utc | 21

>>>> V. Arnold | Sep 25, 2017 7:44:17 AM | 17

Prior art:

Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: "Do not march on Moscow". Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: "Do not go fighting with your land armies in China". It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.
In the House of Lords, 30 May 1962 (Hansard, Col. 227)

Unlike some, I don't think Montgomery was close to being the finest general in the British Army but in this instance he was absolutely bloody spot on. I believe that Douglas MacArthur endorsed these rules although he might have done better if he'd paid attention to the second one and stopped at the 38th parallel or at least persuaded his political overlords to do so. The Korean War could have then been claimed as a great victory, peace treaties could have been signed, North Korea not bombed back to the Stone Age and we would not be contemplating the current minor difficulty. If only Americans understood that war is not just about violence.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 11:56 utc | 22

This looks like Israel making a last ditch effort to split Syria by any means now.

Posted by: Rob | Sep 25 2017 11:57 utc | 23

flankerbandit | Sep 25, 2017 7:53:41 AM | 21

Yo, thanks for that clarification; love those cardinal rules; true today as ever...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 11:59 utc | 24

Ghostship | Sep 25, 2017 7:56:40 AM | 22

Thanks for the information; history (accurate history) is very important...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 12:04 utc | 25

My #16

I do not believe Russia/SAA action in the east of Deir al-Zor is a reaction, but a shortend timeline of what was intended already.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 12:13 utc | 26

Meanwhile it looks like the SDF in Deir Ez-zor have over-extended their lines of communication. WARNING: Very gruesome towards the end of the article.

And slightly OT but relevant, Pat Lang asked just over a week ago how long it would be before the jihadists who'd signed all the de-confliction agreements in Astana would break them. I think the Russians were relying on the jihadists breaking the agreements as they just have in northern Aleppo. Now there will be reports of the RuAF bombing hospitals and a State Department spokesman will make an arse of herself claiming yet more attacks on "medical facilities" - PR speak for jihadist bases.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 12:21 utc | 27

@ghosthip, "And slightly OT but relevant, Pat Lang asked just over a week ago how long it would be before the jihadists who'd signed all the de-confliction agreements in Astana would break them."
The good news is that the Russians were prepared and gave them a pasting near Khan Shaykhun. This makes it unlikely that they will try this again and allow the SAA to concentrate on their operations at Deir Ezzor.

If the U.S. is abusing the de-confliction info they are getting from the Russians this is really bad news. I would hope that our military would be more professional than that, these guys have to know that Cold War tactics are a two way street, don't they?
Never underestimate stupidity.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 25 2017 12:44 utc | 28

I doubt if the pasting will be the last of it.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 25 2017 12:46 utc | 29

It is a question of a race between the SDF and the Syrian army to be the first to get to the oil-fields, is it not? With all sorts of subterfuges to pretend they're not fighting one another.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 25 2017 12:46 utc | 30

If the SDF wins the race, then what? Will Assad/Putin allow them to win? This accepts the partition of Syria, as well as the funding source for a Kurdish/US state, both totally unacceptable outcomes.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 25 2017 12:54 utc | 31

The failed attack last week on the 29 Russian peacekeepers followed by the killing of the Russian general infers that the Mike Morrell suggestion to "kill Russians" is now policy. A bunch of evil idiots are calling the shots for the USA.

Posted by: Musburger | Sep 25 2017 13:04 utc | 32

As I expected, the news of strikes against SDF turns to be false - the Rus MOD just denied it. Qui bono? as always.

The way it was delivered has already become routine - unknown twitter accounts pick it up, then official confirmation from the SDF. It's just not the Russian's style in this war to respond in this way (not yet, especially on the date of the referendum in IQ).

What is more - the incident with the general most likely happened middle of last week, when Shoigu was summoned to Moscow instead of going to Belarus to attend the Zapad excercises, which was followed by the harsh words of Lavrov at the UN and the direct accusal during the weekend by the Rus MOD that the SDF are working with the blacks.

It seems plausible the Russians are preparing a swift strike from the south to Abukamal, forcing the Euphrates and heading straight to Omar. An airborne landing may shield the oilfields from the SF coming from the North until the main forces arrive. Seeing the way the SDF are progressing - to the east to Al Suwar, they may be preparing to cross Habur at a safe distance from the main SAA position and then race south to Omar.

We will see, let's hope it turns out to the best interest of the Syrian people, who have suffered tоo much from this war already. The war should be ended as soon as possible by any means, so reconstruction can begin. The SDF and the Arabs under their rule will have no other choice but to join.

Posted by: BG | Sep 25 2017 13:06 utc | 33

The killing of the Russians was deliberate provocation.
Immediately after the Russians warned the US about shelling coming from the East bank of the Euphrates, they kill high ranking officers. Clear - no?

The question is why?
My take is that the US is seeking a "public reason" to claim there has been a Russian "aggression". ie manipulate world opinion, and so that they can involve the use of Nato or "Coalition" members in an attack on Russian forces in Syria. (As per earlier agreements). The chief command structure of ISIS has been helicoptered to safety (One helicopter for personnel plus a second for their "arms" ie communication equipment). The suckers left on the ground are expendable. Even the "special forces and CIA mercenaries are just bait.

Russian response?.
The water level due to the opening of the sluices at Tabqah dam, will subside within a couple of days. River-crossing material is still coming up from the coast. Meanwhile the "Tigers" and other elite Syrian forces have moved NORTH along the Euphrates. Probably to eliminate all possibility of a counter-attack on their lines of communication. But, this also leaves open the possibility of mounting a river crossing nearer Maadan and across the SDF/ISIS and special forces own lines of communication. (The SF's possibly think their Hummers will be able to get out by not using roads.) A second crossing further South is another possibility for the Syrians. A dual Syrian crossing above and below DZ, could find the Newbi SDF-ISIS in a cauldron.
Although the US has recently been reinforcing the Kurdish and SDF, their size relative to the advancing Syrian forces means they could not put up a real resistance without the use of US air force support. (Back to the reason to provoke an "aggressive" Russian move to which the US can "reply")

So, no immediate Russian reply except by a lateral action. However, I do think b is right that this is a declaration of war by Centcom and it will be taken as such. Note that there is NO report about this happening in the western MSM. So that they can, presumably, claim Russian "aggression" at a later date.
There are plenty of reasons to think a general war is imminent. Including NATO spokesman saying the the "best" thing is an attack now. Buildup of troops and mercenaries in Afghanistan and Europe. Venezuela and others dropping the dollar for oil purchases. The "sanctions" set by the US now impact nearly all the rest of the world by loss of markets (Incl. for the EU) and against the chinese one road. etc.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 25 2017 13:07 utc | 34

And something else to add regarding the purported attack on the SDF - they have cried wolf so many times already, that when the real strike hits them (and they seem to be begging for it), there may be noone to believe them, haha. If the US really wanted confrontation with the Ruskies and the SAA, they would have already found a reason for that long ago.

Posted by: BG | Sep 25 2017 13:09 utc | 35

As a wise man once said, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 25 2017 13:16 utc | 36

@17 and @21

I offer you Field Marshal Slim

"Nothing is so good for the morale of the troops as occasionally to see a dead general."

Posted by: Stubbs | Sep 25 2017 13:17 utc | 37

Russia deny air the strikes mentioned above.

Posted by: Carrie | Sep 25 2017 13:17 utc | 38

>>>> Perimetr | Sep 25, 2017 8:54:53 AM | 31

If the SDF wins the race, then what? Will Assad/Putin allow them to win? This accepts the partition of Syria, as well as the funding source for a Kurdish/US state, both totally unacceptable outcomes.

I think, FWIW, it's more about denying the Syrian government the revenue. It's been pretty obvious from the moment that Russia became openly involved in Syria after military intervention by Turkish and Gulfie special forces on the side of the head-choppers that Russia's intention has always been to make the Syrian state self-sustaining with very limited external support. Stopping the Syrian government collecting revenue from oil obstructs that objective. The Turkmen/DMC factions of the SDF could probably tap the Saudis for funding, and the US military selling Arab oil to raise revenue would be a PR disaster of truly epic proportions with Assad now being able to say without fear of contradiction "I told you so. It's always about Arab oil with the United States". The US military are stupid, and I hope they're not that stupid but after recent events it's hard to know for certain.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 13:19 utc | 39

Its not just killing of a general, a dozen of high ranking Russian diplomats suddenly died within couple of months. If anyone thinks its coincidence then I have bridges for sale, will add Big Ben as a bonus!

Let's live and see what will be Russians reaction, so far they avoided direct confrontation, and I haven't seen dozen US diplomats suddenly dying from "natural causes" either.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 25 2017 13:20 utc | 40

>>>> Christian Chuba | Sep 25, 2017 8:44:42 AM | 28
Just to be clear, this was in Hraytan, just north west of Aleppo city and just west of al-Mallah Farms of Castello Road fame.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 13:27 utc | 41

Harry | Sep 25, 2017 9:20:48 AM | 39
Let's live and see what will be Russians reaction...

It should be obvious by now, that Russia doesn't react; they consider and then act; big difference...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 25 2017 13:29 utc | 42

"What happend with this btw?"
That has nothing to do with this, US is all in on the SDF now.

Posted by: charlie | Sep 25 2017 13:33 utc | 43

The response does not necessarily have to come in Syria.

That's right. It has to go to AmeriKKKa.
Speed up the crumble rate of all that dilapidated infrastructure.
Make insular AmeriKKKans feel as helpless and victimised as Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Syrians, Palestinians and Yemenis etc etc.
Americans don't experience nearly enough blowback from the chaos created in other countries by their Pentagoons.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25 2017 13:38 utc | 44

Moscow’s Official reaction

Death of Russian general in Syria is result of US hypocrisy – Moscow

The death of Russian Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov in Syria is the price Russia was forced to pay for hypocritical US policy, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

“The death of the Russian commander is the price paid with blood for the hypocrisy of American policy in Syria," Ryabkov said on Monday.

Moscow is concerned that while Washington claims it is interested in fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS\ISIL) terrorists, it demonstrates quite the opposite, according to the deputy minister.

Betcha, this killing was payback for Moscow exposing the cosy intermingling of ISIS and U.S. special ops. Cue the little green men.

Not covered in MSM, Russia intends to proceed with legal action for the U.S. seizure of its properties in NYC, San Fran and D.C.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 25 2017 13:46 utc | 45

About those RuAF air strikes...

Just because the Russian MoD, as reported by Rt, denies hitting SDF, that does not mean the strikes aren't happening...

Konashekov said this...

'...the Russian Air Force performs precision strikes on terrorist-held objects, according to intelligence confirmed through several channels. The strikes are performed on detected IS positions, which fire at Syrian troops, as well as on terrorist reserves coming from the rear...'

Notice the careful wording...'terrorist-held objects'...and 'IS positions'...

that could well be those same 'terrorist' positions that have been published in Russian media where US SOF are present...and from which direction SAA is coming under fire...

As for the timing of the general's could well have been several days previous...but this controlled flow of information from the Ru side tells me that there is action coming...

This has been building for a long time...and as others mentioned the Russians are too smart to go off half-cocked...

Having said that...when the fire is brought to bear, I expect it will be heavy...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 13:49 utc | 46

@Ghostship, according to this map, I thought that the big battle was around Khan Shaykhun
I could be wrong.

Regarding the death of the Russian General, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate.
Is it possible that ISIS had some spotters left at Deir Ezzor in the civilian population and noticed a high priority target? All it takes is a cell phone and GPS coordinates, just asking.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 25 2017 14:07 utc | 47

". . . the gloves will have to come off. . . Any U.S. officer or civilian official in the larger Middle East should be aware that they too are now targets."

I just researched the Pentagon casualty reports 2016-2017, and in that period only one special forces military person was reported killed in Operation Inherent Resolve (Middle East). (Special Forces people are with the Kurds.) He was a noteworthy person (his family, and his Silver Star award) so that might have been, might have been, the reason his death was reported and not others. It's unlikely his was the only special forces death, but I don't know. People who might know contend that some deaths especially special forces are not reported by the Pentagon, which calls death reports "casualty reports" by the way.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 14:24 utc | 48

- Surprise, surprise.
- And with the control over the oilfields the US would also have control over Assad.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 25 2017 14:30 utc | 49

This killing of a high-ranking Russian officer is yet another indication that general officers are controlling US foreign policy at the highest level. I doubt that the president was even part of it. Military officers have several tenets they operate by, if given free rein which they now apparently have.
1. The world contains people not like us who don't like us.
2. So war is inevitable, and the only rule is to kill everybody in the offending area.
3. We know best so don't criticize or interfere.

The assassination of foreigners is now an established part of US foreign policy. President Reagan issued an executive order forbidding it, but President Obama resumed (or initiated) it, mostly using the new drone technology, and now it's expanding under President Trump. There are US special forces in many countries. They are mainly assassins along with CIA. And the drone usage, firing Hellfire explosive rockets, is extending into new areas especially in Africa.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 14:41 utc | 50

This is what we're dealing with--news report--

The Army is looking for new ways to address misbehaving generals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Struggling with an embarrassing series of misconduct and behavior problems among senior officers, the Army is putting together new mental health, counseling and career management programs to shape stronger, more ethical leaders.
The programs stem from a broader worry across the military about the need to bolster professionalism within the officer corps while holding accountable those who abuse their power. The Army plan appears to focus more on building character than berating bad conduct.
In recent years, general officers from the one-star to four-star level have violated the military code of conduct they've lived under and enforced — often for decades. Some infractions involved extramarital affairs, inappropriate relationships with subordinates or improper use of government funds. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 14:53 utc | 51

I think what we're seeing here is that the Russians now view as terrorists anyone who is contesting the SAA...on the east bank of the Euphrates that is ISIS and SDF...

Further to that they have been laying the information and diplomatic groundwork that those two entities are now indistinguishable...either or both are simply referred to as terrorists from now on...

That someone as senior as deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov is blaming the general's death on US 'hypocrisy' is very telling...those are strong words coming right from the top...

It tells me that Putin is in no way going to let this new ISIS-SDF combination grab Syria's energy resources...

I expect there will be heavy strikes in the area to stop this and send a very clear message...

I believe the US has made a big blunder by challenging Russia for the oil fields of Deir Ezzor...the US has, as usual, gathered the scum of the earth into its 'coalition'...turncoat IS fighters, local warlords and criminals like the Khawla scumbag mentioned by b...

There can be no strength from such a band of criminals...but the US never learns...they used al Nusra to take over Syria, but got creamed in the end...

Aleppo is back in the Syrian government hands, so is Deir Ezzor, in fact all of the major cities now...many in the genuine moderate opposition have joined the reconciliation process, like that Mwala tribe that fought alognside the besieged Russian MP in north Hama...

They tried to grab the southwest but that quickly fell apart and now they are leaving at Tanf...

It's all over for the US project, but they insist on being difficult and treacherous...not a good plan...

I will make a prediction here that those so-called SDF positions standing in the way of the SAA are going to be hit very hard...and it will simply be shrugged off by the Russians as hitting 'terrorist positions'...

Call and raise...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 15:10 utc | 52

re 38

"I think, FWIW, it's more about denying the Syrian government the revenue."

It isn't really, you know. It's about having the oil to keep Syria and its army rolling. As you probably are aware, Asad and the rebels holding the oil-fields, currently Da'ish, have been trading oil under the table for a long time. 2012, was it? I thought everyone knew this by now. It's been talked about a lot this year, if not before.

The danger is, of course, that if the US takes the oil-fields, they will cut off Syria from its oil supply. The US might well do that. That's what the race is about.

Somebody said, I think it was Mina, that they could buy from Iraq - true, Iraq would probably be sympathetic. Or they could add to their debt to Russia. But these two solutions add to their debt in hard currency, whereas internal sourcing can be in Syrian pounds.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 25 2017 15:10 utc | 53

White Helmets Fully Exposed as Hollywood's Favorite Terrorists - Over 200 Revealing Facebook Images in 5 Massive Files

Posted by: liam | Sep 25 2017 15:23 utc | 54

Sorry, but you miss it, @gdpbull. Guilt-shaming is not that much influential in Germany.Their founding myth „Soziale Marktwirstschaft“ was the idea of the lady secretary of a SS-Hauptsturmführer who channelled it to Ludwig Erhard. A lie, in other terms. The feeling that one should never ever let the social split in the society grow up to the extent of before 1933 was common sense after 1945 till about the 80s. Unions were strong. The greed and the turn to neoliberalism started then with Helmut Kohl. Schröder was elected on a straight social democratic ticket that Lafontaine had designed. But the markets and the inherited bureaucracy sabotaged him to the edge of failing. Lafontaine was stopped with several dirty tricks intrigues, organized by Bodo Hombach from the Schröder entourage. That was the neoliberal final breakthrough. The basic tenor in the socieety changed. They left the loosers over to enforced labour (Hartz IV), the slight majority of ca. 60% who did not move down left them out in the cold. Since then the main public sentiment is the anxiety to move down. And the only and best way for everyone to stop it is then to do - nothing. To hope that it will not be that bad and that it will hit other people is main stream. Any political engagement for the res publica is absent in the center of the society. Just dreams of individual careers are maintained. The idea to improve the own situation by collective action seems to be absurd. On top of this intellectual anaesthesia the elite admits and enforces „identity politics“, which is a contradiction in itself as it can only polarize any society. But it keeps the people busy.
The refugee topic is not that important except as serving as a scapegoat for the lower stupid compartment (the majority of the AfD voters). The majority of the refugees cannot be absorbed by the German labour force. That easy. But artificially overrated conflicts with them sticks the stupid folks together, enhanced by social media. In Eastern Germany and in the loosing region of the West the vote for the AfD is been simply a protest vote in ignorance of the political program of that party. To assume a Machiavellian type like Merkel invited the refugees is absurd. Before it happened she had a public performance on TV. A yound Syrian girl was about to be dismissed by force from Germany and started to fall into tears vis a vis Merkel. In spite of the upcoming PR fiasco Merkel stayed to be cool and just commented: sorry, we cannot keep everybody here! 3 months later she shouted „Refugees - welcome!“ Only idiots can believe such a thing. She just wanted to be on top of what has started to happen anyway. At the same time she let her people close any backdoors to enter Germany. She is still a master in putting people against each other and she will continue to do just that.

Posted by: Willi Aufdiedauer | Sep 25 2017 15:26 utc | 55

This is another stunt designed to increase the cost of war and build public resentment against Russian presence in Syria. The hope is the Russian people will turn against this policy and Putin. Killing high level Russians personalized the war and it is supposed to scare high level Russian officials. This is what the freak Mike Morrell spoke about on PBS.

I doubt the action is intended as an attempt to start a broader conventional war unless it was orchestrated by the Saudis or Israelis. The goal is to get the Russians to leave.

Posted by: Alaric | Sep 25 2017 15:44 utc | 56

During the Deir Ez-Zor operation there's been a very strict and effective news blackout put into being by SAA and allies, such that much info that's made public is 2-3 days old at best. The occasional "outbursts" on Twitter are not conveying real time news in the vast majority of cases. I find it rather interesting that both b and the Saker have published very similar articles about the same set of incidents. I also found it important that neither Putin or Xi attended the UNGA thus making any "sideline talks" and speculation as to their contents impossible, while allowing the speeches by their allies and diplomats to send messages. The above deciphering of Lavrov's words was very well done and just as important and must be seen holistically with all other Kremlin statements.

Another important action is taking place today--Iraqi Kurdistan's illegitimate--as announced by the Iraqi government--independence referendum and the actions already taken by Iran, Iraq, and Turkey--all of which are aimed at destroying the Outlaw US Empire's attempt to install a "new Israel" (Maliki's words) in the region. Clearly, someone within Iraq spoke some important words into Abadi's ear and got him to reverse and escalate his policy direction regarding the Empire and its Kurdish manifestation--the Barzani criminal enterprise is about to be killed off and with it the entire Kurdish Independence ploy.

The plot is thick already and will likely thicken further.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 25 2017 15:47 utc | 57

I believe (based on the incomplete info I have) that Syria and its allies would be better off moving down the west bank of the Euphrates and taking the cities, which are all on the west bank, and leave the oil fields in the desert until later. Crossing that wide river leaves them dangerously exposed, with their backs to a major obstacle. I don't understand why they're doing it. What's wrong with the fuel sources they've had until now? news report:

ABC News:
SDF fighters have been making their way down the east bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour, while Syrian troops are mainly operating on the western bank. Last week, Syrian troops along with allied Shiite militias from across the region crossed into parts of the east bank, where they ran into fierce resistance from IS militants entrenched there.
"They are losing fighters wholesale," said Germany-based Deir el-Zour native Omar Abu Layla, who is monitoring the battles through local contacts.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 72 pro-government fighters have been killed in battle with the jihadists since crossing the Euphrates last week. At least seven Russian soldiers have been killed. . .Syria's largest oil field, the al-Omar, is located on the eastern side of the river. . .here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 15:48 utc | 58

The U.S. is about to have a potentially larger problem in Iraqi Kurdistan as soon as the Barzani referendum on independence passes. The U.S. has mouthed objections but Iraqi Kurdistan has long been a CIA/Israeli rump state. What happens when Iraq closes its air space? The U.S. will be at war with all the Kurds' neighbors -- Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria.

Great to see Don Bacon is comments.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 25 2017 16:13 utc | 59

Don @48

The assassination stuff goes back a long time at least to Reagan. There is a unit called various names located "near" Fort Belvoir which is comprised of Intelligence officers and the Operators are selected from Delta. This unit was created under Reagan's administration in 1981 to assassinate drug cartel members despite his executive order to the contrary. Later, after 9/11, the unit was fused to become a joint CIA/DoD operation and was outed by Rumsfeld. They are truly "men in black" and have Gulfstreams out at BWI and several Black painted, no markings, Blackhawks. The "Unit" operates more or less rankless with the most experienced person running a particular operation so you could have sergeants in charge of Lieutenant Colonels if they are more adept. No one wears uniforms or ranks ever and often the men have beards and longish hair. The typical duty uniform is jeans and t-shirts and they typically wear very expensive light weight hiking boots. They are easily recognized as having body fat under 5% and the "Unit" has a respectable number of women. There is in fact, 2 sub-organizations with the one I mentioned in Virginia and the other operates out of Hawaii. These are very capable people but also the majority are psychopaths. You can read a lot on the internet just look for Gray Fox and Escobar or "The Unit" or "Intelligence Support Activity". Michael Smith wrote the book "Killer Elite" about them as well. There was also a TV show (The Unit) which bore a remarkable resemblance to the reality perhaps as a way to obfuscate the real "Unit" by hiding in plain sight. As I said Rumsfeld outed them so I am not revealing any secrets here. The name of the organization changes frequently and the members refer to it simply as "The Unit" which is vague enough but is also a get out of jail free card to its members who actually carry a card to that effect. Anyway, my point is that we never stopped trying to assassinate people at any time in modern history.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Sep 25 2017 16:24 utc | 60

@ 56

And we have:

Turkey, Iraq Threaten "Military Intervention" As Iraqi Kurds Hold Independence Referendum. Erdogan warns we will cut off the oil flow --

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 25 2017 16:44 utc | 61

With the KRG referendum threatening to destabilize further the region,Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran won't be kind to the SDF. They want them crushed.
The SDF's present aggression toward Russia, probably encouraged by the USA, will give Russia a good pretext to eradicate them.
The US's only left allies in the region are the SDF (YPG) and some ISIS-affiliated tribes. They have little chance to reach the goal of occupying the oil fields of Der Ezzor, but they want to make it hard for Syria and its allies to take them. They are even ready to sacrifice the SDF just to prevent this to happen.
The USA will soon look for a face saving exit.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 25 2017 16:45 utc | 62

Seriously interested in what you all think of the supposed "anarchist" division fighting with the SDF. There are leftist kids from the US going over there to fight because their leader has claimed to follow the writings of Murray Bookchin an anarchist writer/philosopher. Are these troops under american control or "being advised" by usa? Are they attempting to set Syria/Russia up so they can claim they killed a bunch of americans?

Posted by: joe defiant | Sep 25 2017 16:47 utc | 63

Hoarsewhisper #43: "Make insular AmeriKKKans feel as helpless and victimised..."

That's a slippery slope. We're feeling it: frustration, anger, even ranklement/bitterness, but not so much anymore the envy (/covetousness/jealousy) of the rich and powerful, more like hate of them.

Posted by: Bob Beal | Sep 25 2017 16:47 utc | 64

@ 60
Thierry Meyssan had a recent article about the anarchists as the next wave of cannon fodder over at voltairenet.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Sep 25 2017 16:52 utc | 65

Harry, #39: not just diplomats, not necessarily external causes

Posted by: Bob Beal | Sep 25 2017 16:53 utc | 66

Ronald Reagan
Executive Order 12333—United States Intelligence Activities
December 4, 1981
...2.11 Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 16:53 utc | 67


the problem with leaving the entire east bank to the US and its SDF puppets is that there is a big chunk of border there with Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan...

Neither Iraq, nor Syria, nor Turkey want a contiguous Kurdish entity in that area...especially one that has its own energy resources and US bases in perpetuity...

that is a recipe for stirring up Kurdish separatism for years to come...which is what the US wants...chaos for the sake eventually chopping up the states in the region into a jigsaw puzzle of unviable counttries...

Iraqi army and PMU are now pushing toward the Syria border on the east bank...there is a good map on Southfront...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 16:57 utc | 68

thanks b...

laguerre - the intent of the usa, under the facade of going after isis, has been dividing up syria and removing assad from power.. it is israels plan and it is the usa's... i don't believe russia is going to allow this to happen.

i also agree with lea @9's comments..

Posted by: james | Sep 25 2017 17:03 utc | 69

Nothing wrong with a land approach but a large river crossing is inherently dangerous.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2017 17:05 utc | 70


what a ridiculous piece of garbage from US msm...

Three of these people died on US soil, including former UN ambassador Churkin...yet the insinuation is that Putin is behind it...

Out of the ten so -called 'Putin critics' two were killed in a Russian journalist killed by car bomb...the other a former Russian member of parliament shot in front of a Kiev mention of anything suspicious on the Ukraine side for killing Russians in Kiev...

And then the 13 under the Ukraine heading...11 out of those 13 being Donbass separatist leaders, including Motorola, at whose funeral thousands of people showed up...

absolutely incredible that these Kiev opposition figures, surely assassinated by the Kiev neo-Nazi regime, and probably with a good deal of help from US assassins working this blamed on Putin...

Absolutely wonder the US is going down the toilet...their capacity for self-delusion knows no limits...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 17:27 utc | 71

RE: flankerbandit | Sep 25, 2017 1:27:17 PM | 68

The "news" put out by MSM is the party line coming from those who control corporate media. Rather than "self-delusion" I would call this "blatant propaganda". That is all we get here these days, which is why some of us spend time reading MoA et al to find out what the hell is going on.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 25 2017 17:31 utc | 72

El Pais: an article today blaming Russian interference for the independence movement in Catalonia. - link eng more general, whatever..

Int’l MSM more dodgy than ever…are they following a script that: a) favors them, b) is ordered from above, by what faction? c) is totally clueless and just doing ‘fillers’ and ‘going along’…> can be bit of all. What are these propaganda organs actually pushing, via what conduits?

The recent NK-USA spat, grandstanding and ugly words, can be seen as a distraction without consequence. Yet, certain factions (neo-con-lib, not a good description) appear to WANT war with Russia / are willing to risk it and see where the chips (huh radioactivity, bombs, etc.) fall/s.

The question has always been, how will the USA react when it looses power? The US share of world GDP was 50% in the top post-ww2 boom years, now shrunk now to 25% (figures rough as in any case GDP is a lousy measure) - military might of course allows destruction then…?

Trump touted one path: non-interventionist, isolationist, protectionist (to a degree), collaboration with the next down nuke power, Russia. The WW (whole world) would have supported that and made ++ concessions to the USA. A re-grouping at home to ensure citizen survival, etc.

Elected, he switched to the other fork in the road (as forced to or ?? who knows) which is all out aggro to ensure that enemies cannot win, self-destruction better than capitulation. (The destruction is for the ordinary ppl, the top 5% counts on being ‘saved’ and ‘free’ to control others again.)

> all this may seem disjointed but these topics are related..

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 25 2017 17:39 utc | 73

Tiger forces moving up the Euphrates rather than crossing after a bridge head was established was a bit unexpected. Perhaps the result of Russian intel showing ISIS and US/Kurds had joined forces?
What next? Secure Deir Ezzor, set up air defence/no fly zone over easttern Syria, then take the oilfields from the ISIS/US/Kurd coalition?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 25 2017 18:00 utc | 74

@ 70

my choice is b)

Wars! on how many fronts can the US military execute?

All in all, while the blood flows, sadly Syria + are distractions.
Let not the little guys and gals know what lies ahead, under the radar.
Imho this viewpoint, from EU analysts in article at link, is well posited - especially impacting on the US military. Full article is worth a read:

"Western Systemic Crisis 2017-2019 – The Almighty dollar against the Great Petro-Yuan Temptation"

Qatar, North Korea, the Baltic Sea, risk of a World War III… and all the military ranting mentioned in the media lately, are issues going hand in hand with the programmed and imminent advent of the catastrophic scenario for the dollar as a unique world reference currency: the Petro-Yuan will be in place at the end of the year. More than a petro-currency, it will be a petro-gas-gold-currency!
The West is thus preparing to switch to total anachronism with this founding act of the 21st century multipolar world. 2014-2017: here we are, at the end of a three-year exacerbation period of tensions on all front lines (West against the rest of the world) and we are witnessing the up-coming end of the dollar’s reign over the world and over all financial systems and their related economic activities.

Sanctions, blockades, proxy-wars, direct military threats… the question is whether the current clash of arms is really a warning sign of an Nth suicide of the West whilst hoping in vain to stop time, or whether the solution conveying power is on the verge of carrying away all possible resistance.[.]

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 25 2017 18:18 utc | 75

I highly suggest fellow barflies visit Canthama's twitter page to keep track of developments and to view interesting items, like the photo provided by Walid of White Helmet and other terrorists gathered at the New York apartment of Syrian traitor Riad Hijab. It makes you wonder what with Trump's travel bans, etc., how these people were able to get visas and allowed into the Outlaw US Empire. From his page you'll discover numerous other important information fonts only reachable via Twitter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 25 2017 18:30 utc | 76

I really don't have anything to contribute in the way of information about Syria, but will offer my own meta-analysis anyway.

Something tells me that the Russians may be about to wipe out the Syrian Kurdish fighters completely. Just take that piece completely off the table. Erdo will be happy. And I think there would be some significant consequences, but don't know what they would be. Just a hunch.

Posted by: blues | Sep 25 2017 18:31 utc | 77

US confirms that is is tracking Russian military in Syria after it kills a Russian general there (and warns Russia not to retaliate) . . .
Thinly-Veiled Threat: US Says Has Boosted Surveillance of Russian Troop Locations in Syria

Posted by: Perimtr | Sep 25 2017 18:36 utc | 78

Slightly surprised no one has mentioned of the mysterious Cuban sonic attacks on US gov personnel - diplomatic payback for assassinated RU ambassadors...?

Posted by: cubano | Sep 25 2017 19:09 utc | 79

A few days ago, Russia officialy accused US of bing behind the recent AQ offensive in Idlib. Russia bombed a number of terrorist targets throught Idlib and western Aleppo. What's the chances a few CIA types took a hit in Idlib? The targeting of the Russian officers - a US response to losing personel or assets in Idlib?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 25 2017 19:17 utc | 80

>Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25, 2017 7:44:17 AM | 18

Great point about perpetual war and unlimited (i.e. perpetual) targets. Unfortunately it's self-fulfilling - in the wrong direction - until someone (re: US public) gets sick of it - if we ever do.

Posted by: ritzl | Sep 25 2017 19:25 utc | 81

SAA have crossed the Euphrates NW of Deir Ezzor
By crossing into this pocket, it seems likely they intend to cut through US/ISIS lines.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 25 2017 19:35 utc | 82

Word choices: It's entirely "plausible" that this was the product of a series of unfortunate events ("Fate is the Hunter" and all that...), but, and it's a HUGE but, it's vanishingly improbable.

IMHO, lest we who are anti-imperialism, and anti- Syrian war, fall into the same breathless, hyperbole, psychopathic mode of speech as the other side, "plausible" has to be part of the thinking. Whether officially or by concerned observers like here, including "plausible" in the overall consideration of this escalation serves as a brake on rash behavior and provides/enables some planning space for an appropriate/well-timed response, short of direct military confrontation.

IDK. This is a BAD situation any way it's viewed.

Posted by: ritzl | Sep 25 2017 19:37 utc | 83

@karlof1, Thanks for your links.

Posted by: ritzl | Sep 25 2017 19:39 utc | 84

thanks peter au and everyone else..

@70 noirette.. pretty much how many of us see it.. where to next?

blues - i doubt it and frankly hope not..

@73 karlof1... i appreciate your posts.. any quick condensing of the data would be much appreciated. i am not on twitter and etc.

Posted by: james | Sep 25 2017 19:56 utc | 85

The US is bluffing. They have few troops and all the neighboring countries, including Turkey but excluding Jordan, are hostile to the US, Kurds and the US Kurd experiment. There is furthermore no public support in the US for a war with Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Russia needs to call the bluff or this will continue.

Posted by: Alaric | Sep 25 2017 19:57 utc | 86

If not disinformation then Israeli snipers, or under their control.

I guarantee it.

Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 25 2017 20:21 utc | 87

@71/79 Russia is sending self propelled ferries ( so my take is SAA/RUS will secure & re-inforce the bridgehead before crossing en masse to deliver a schwerpunkt to the now allied SDF/IS..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 25 2017 20:22 utc | 88


I like your 'hunch'...

I would say with some confidence that the entire Russian nation is expecting some pretty impressive fireworks to happen anytime now...killing a general and two colonels will do that to people...

While I doubt that the whole SDF is slated for immediate demolition, I think we can expect a barrage of Kalibrs and air launched cruise missiles the likes of which we have not seen before...

If some SDF and US special ops terrorists happen to be co-located at those targeted ISIS locations...well that would be an awful shame now wouldn't it...?

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 25 2017 20:26 utc | 89

james @82--

You don't need a Twitter account to read what gets posted to Twitter feeds. Just click the link I provided and Canthama's twitter page appears on your screen for you to read. And additional links to other Twitter feeds work just as with blogs and other webpages. For example, click on the photo supplied by Walid and you're at his page; increase the zoom to 200%, and you can read the on photo captions to see just who is who amidst that cast of terrorists. I don't have Twitter either and was under the misapprehension that you needed an account to read the threads--wrong was I about that!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 25 2017 20:29 utc | 90

Where exactly is Al Nashid village? I don’t see it on the southfront Deir Ezzor maps.

Posted by: WG | Sep 25 2017 20:33 utc | 91

Peter AU1@77
The bombing around Hama and Idlib is ongoing. Almost without any respite according to "twitter" sources. By breaking the tenuous agreement about a deconfliction zone, the HTS, Al Queda groups have thrown themselves to the wolves. The Russians probably won't let up in the near future, and take advantage to seriously damage those groups. BUT, this is almost "under the radar" and does not seem to be mentioned in most places.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 25 2017 20:33 utc | 92

With Kurdish/ISIS proxies squeezed between the SAA on one side, and the Iranian PMU on the Iraq-Syria border, nothing can stop Syria from retaking their oilfields east of the Euphrates. The SDF are a paper tiger, as would be intantly apparent should they engage the SAA directly.

Only a lack of will on the part of Russia or Iran can prevent the retaking of these terrotories, which also exposes the reasons for the bellicose rhetoric by the pro Israel faction in the USA.

The war will likely pick up in northern Iraq after this stage and the referendum are over but on paper at least, dreams of a viable, independent Kurdistan are in serious jeopardy.

However, there are no small number of folks in the Pentagon who will be thrilled to see the Patreus faction receive it's just desserts.

Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 25 2017 20:35 utc | 93

re James 66

"the intent of the usa, under the facade of going after isis, has been dividing up syria and removing assad from power.. it is israels plan and it is the usa's... i don't believe russia is going to allow this to happen."

Of course, this is the US plan, same as the French plan of 1925, and the US plan in Iraq. Didn't work, except for the Kurds, and in their case we have yet to see the finality.

Potential problem: the main SDF forces heading south to deir ez-Zor are Arab tribal forces. As b has demonstrated, they were previously parlaying with ISIS, as they were obliged to do at the time. No doubt MacGurk is paying, that's why the advance. The loyalty though is in question. Another flip and they may turn to Asad. It wouldn't take much.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 25 2017 20:35 utc | 94

re: 83

Alas! The US suffers from an overbloated sense of its superiority and will need to suffer serious losses before it comes
to its senses.

Maybe the Military are not overconfident, knowing the real capabilities of their arsenal, but remember that they have sold
superdreams to the taxpayers and the politicians. Reagan's starwars have inflated the egos of the American public to the
point that they look down on those that are far from approaching or even matching their defense expenditures.

In the American Psyche, any non American is a non-being condemned to kneeling and kowtowing to the Yankee wishes.
When you have wasted so many billions pursuing chimeras and mythical death rays, there is no face to tell your public that
you have not reached invulnerability and you are not, after all, omnipotent.

The US doesnt want to engage China at this time, -at this time-, because they are busy preparing lasers that will deal with
the Chinese carrier killers or the Russian hypersonic missiles. Lasers that a coat of reflecting coating will render useless.
But don't warn the taxpayers about the uselessness of these expenditures.

So yes, they are bluffing but they are condemned to engage whoever opposes their views.

Expect more tits for tats until all hell breaks loose.

I must be hoped that then, all the countries in the US cross hairs, Venezuela, Cuba, NoKo, Iran, Yemen, China, Russia, Syria will
see the light and unite to stop US exceptionalism.

Posted by: CarlD | Sep 25 2017 20:36 utc | 95

@77 Peter AU 1

That would be playing into the hands of the hands of US "secret services." They're the losing side and attempt to provoke Russia into justifying massive retaliation. Russia is too smart to walk into that trap and instead redoubles their efforts toward winning the war. The only tit for tat retaliation they undertake is in measured attacks against proxies who are actively fighting against them and who cannot be made into adequate propaganda martyrs.

Posted by: Pespi | Sep 25 2017 20:39 utc | 96

Pepsi 93
I don't think Russia is into the tit for tat, rather winning the war as you say.
Russia have officialy stated the recent AQ attack in Idlib/Homs area was organised by US special operations. An objective of the attack was to capture Russian military police. There is a very good chance that if Russia knew the location these US special special ops types are in Idlib, they would have targeted them. I think that Russia/SAA did a bit of a cleanup in Idlib/west Aleppo so nothing would hit them in the back when they start moving east from the Euphrates.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 25 2017 20:53 utc | 97

America reacts like John Wayne did in his movies, however, this is not the Russian way.

Putin as a disciplined master of martial arts knows that if you react in anger you are likely to lose. This is portrayed in the movie Kagemusha when the Shingen declares in battle that: "A mountain does not move".

Putin is also master of stopping conflicts and is highly respected by Ramzan Kadyrov for showing his respects at the funeral of his father. This mutual alliance has resulted in Chechnya being rebuilt while many US cities now resemble capital city of Grozny during the Chechen wars.

Putin is trained in international law knows that the NATO is operating in Syria illegally will ultimately have to leave due to fruits of the chaos it has created. Likewise the US proxy armies will be destroyed or collapse due to internal differences as in the Kurdish/Christian/Turkic SDF forces.

In contrast, Russia has established deconfliction zones and is working to restore order and civilization to regions of Syria destroyed by the NATO alliance and Israel. This is demonstrated by this video of the Chechen military police operations in Syria.

Russia and China emphasize balanced trade while the Western countries promote exploitation of the “colonies” and as these colonies are facing collapse they will turn against the West.

Putin is trained in international law knows that the NATO is operating in Syria illegally will ultimately have to leave due to fruits of the chaos it has created. Likewise the US proxy armies will be destroyed or collapse due to internal differences as in the Kurdish/Christian/Turkic SDF forces.

In contrast, Russia has established deconfliction zones and is working to restore order and civilization to regions of Syria destroyed by the NATO alliance and Israel. This is demonstrated by this video of the Chechen military police operations in Syria.

Russia and China emphasize balanced trade while the Western countries promote exploitation of the “colonies” and as these colonies are facing collapse they will turn against the West.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 25 2017 20:56 utc | 98

My view: The Syrians are heading for the Khabur oil-fields because they need the oil to keep rolling, and they are afraid that if the US takes the fields, supply will stop.

However, the forces the US has available to stop this happening are highly unreliable, being mainly Sunni tribes. If they are negotiating with ISIS and with McGurk, they are also negotiating with Asad. A not surprising resolution would be that they allow the Syrians to take the fields, in exchange for the revenues from the fields, not a problem for the Syrians.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 25 2017 21:06 utc | 99

>>>> cubano | Sep 25, 2017 3:09:23 PM | 76

Slightly surprised no one has mentioned of the mysterious Cuban sonic attacks on US gov personnel - diplomatic payback for assassinated RU ambassadors...?

Perhaps because it's total bollocks made up by the Americans as a slur against the Cuban

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 25 2017 21:07 utc | 100

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