Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 26, 2018

Syria Sitrep - The Build Up For The Idleb Campaign

The long awaited Syrian army campaign to liberate Idleb governorate in Syria's northwest is supposed to start shortly after September 7, the date when the Turkish, Russian and Iranian presidents will meet. Strong forces have been put into place and are ready to strike. The Russian fleet in the Mediterranean has been strengthened, new air defense positions were established.

There are signs that al-Qaeda in Syria and similar groups will try to preempt the upcoming attack on them by an offense of their own. The U.S., UK and France prepare for another chemical incident in support of the Jihadi attack. They would strike Syrian government forces and institutions after a new fake incident would be attributed to the Syrian government.

Turkey was given until the summit to remove al-Qaeda and similar Jihadi groups from Idleb governorate. It so far failed to do so and its chance of achieving that is practically zero. Al-Qaeda in the form of Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and in coalition with other foreign Jihadis from all over the world rules about 70% of Idleb governorate:

“Idlib Province is the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11,” says Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the international coalition fighting Isis.


Idleb is a cesspool in which various Jihadi factions continuously fight each other. At least 290 members and leaders of such groups have been assassinated during the last four months. Hundreds of locals who talked with the Syrian government to negotiate rehabilitation were arrested by HTS. The Syrian army and Russian military police opened corridors to allow civilians to flee the area.

The Inspector General of the U.S. aid agency shut down an aid program through which al-Qaeda in Idleb was fed:

US charity Catholic Relief Services wouldn’t directly confirm it was the NGO involved but left little doubt, saying it had “closed” its operations in northwest Syria following reports of aid diversion, and had dismissed staff as it works to “further enhance” anti-fraud measures. CRS has received $147 million from USAID for projects in Syria over the last three financial years, according to the USAID website.

USAID’s inspector general, reporting to Congress, first in March and with more details released in July, said that staff of an unnamed non-profit added “fighters” of armed group Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham to lists of civilians eligible for food packages and then covered up the records. The US government regards HTS as a successor to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

First reports of this scheme through which the U.S. supplied al-Qaeda were already published in 2012. It was widely known that al-Qaeda systematically "taxed" up to 50% of all food and weapon supplies U.S. supported "moderate rebels" received. 

On August 24 the Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu met with his Russian colleague Lavrov in Moscow. The meeting came just ten days after Lavrov visited Ankara. The Turkish Defense Minister and the head of the Turkish secret services also met their counterparts to discuss the upcoming campaign. Turkey agrees that HTS is a legitimate target and must be removed, but it fears that they, and their families, will in the end flee to Turkey. Turkey would also like to annex Idleb and other areas. Lavrov said that the final decision about an attack will be handled by the upcoming summit:

[W]hen the de-escalation zone was created in Idlib, no one suggested to use it to ensure that terrorists, primarily from Jabhat al-Nusra, could use civilians as a human shield. Moreover, they are not just sitting there. They use it to carry out raids and shell the positions of the Syrian army. Several dozen drones (about 50) that were launched from this area to attack the Russian airbase in Khmeimim have been shot down. Today, we spoke about this in great detail. We need to do our best to ensure that this disengagement effectively takes place, and to minimise risks for the civilians. I am confident that the presidents will discuss this matter in detail.

In preparation for the general attack on Idleb the Russian Navy is building up a strong force in the eastern Mediterranean which includes several frigates with Calibr cruise missiles:

Yörük Işık - @YorukIsik - 12:38 utc - 25 Aug 2018
#Syria campaign deployment continues. 4 RussianNavy ships transited today & 13 ships during the last week.

There are some 20 Russian units at sea near the Syrian coast.

Iran's Defense Minister Amir Hatami is currently in Damascus to renew an agreement on bilateral defense and military cooperation. Damascus also asked Hizbullah, which will be the next target of the "west", to keep some of its forces in Syria. Some Iranian advisors will support the Idleb operation as well as some Hizbullah special forces. No Iranian troops will be involved.

On Tuesday the U.S., the UK and France published a statement to warn against a chemical attack:

As we have demonstrated, we will respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, ...

On Wednesday the 22nd a new speech of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was published. A new video of HTS chief Abu Mohammad al-Jolani showed him rallying his forces. Joining the Islamists chorus of the day Abu Jihad John Bolton warned that any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be responded to with force:

"We are obviously concerned about the possibility that Assad may use chemical weapons again.

"Just so there's no confusion here, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time," [Bolton] added.

This was obviously an invitation to the terrorists to stage a fake chemical weapon attack as they had done earlier in east-Ghouta and other places. Those incidences were blamed on the Syrian government without any evidence and led to U.S. strikes on Syrian forces.

Yesterday the Russia Defense Ministry warned of a similar scheme:

A provocation with an alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, which terrorists are plotting to stage with the assistance of UK special services, will serve as a pretext for missile strikes by the West and the United States against the Arab country, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.
"The staging of this provocation with the active participation of the UK special services is set to serve as a new pretext for missile and bomb strikes by the United States, Great Britain and France against Syria’s government and economic facilities," the spokesman said.

For this purpose, "the US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar," the Russian general said.

There is an obvious build up on all sides for a large battle over Idleb province. No plans on how the battle will proceed have been published. The number of forces assembled will make sure that it will be the biggest battle the war on Syria has seen so far. A first phase will likely avoid the city of Idleb itself. Jish al-Shigur in the north-west and the areas south and east of the M4 and M5 highway will be the primary targets. The battle will proceed from there. It is likely that the U.S., in one way or another, will try to hamper any Syrian army progress.

Six month from now, after the Idleb operation is over, the Syrian army is likely to move further north to retake the Syrian areas Turkey is currently holding and attempting to annex. After that the U.S. occupation force in north-east Syria will come into sight.

Additional U.S. operations against Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian forces might soon come on the Syian-Iraq border where U.S. forces are building up for new operations. It is claimed that the U.S. deploys radar systems to north-east Syria which it keeps occupying. These would be useful in establishing a no-fly zone over the territory of its Kurdish proxy forces. The U:S. is likely underestimating the local hostility against this development. The 2-5,000 U.S. troops there may soon find themselves in a hopeless fight with local guerilla forces.

Posted by b on August 26, 2018 at 15:15 UTC | Permalink


thanks b... the continued attempt at a chemical weapons false flag is unsettling.. a good link on the history of these fake set ups was shared by david h a few days ago on sst for anyone interested..

i can't see erdogan moving in the same sphere as russia and iran with regard to these terrorists they have supported.. i would like to believe he will come to his senses, but i am not convinced.. meanwhile the usa will continue to act as a monkey wrench in an ongoing manner.. they are still determined to remove assad and get a political settlement in their favour, in spite of how the war has progressed.. and they want iran out of syria.. the hypocrisy seems to be lost on them! but alas - at least they are relatively good servants for israel/ksa..

Posted by: james | Aug 26 2018 15:42 utc | 1

What I still have not understood is why Russia accepts attacks on Syria, esp. those staged chemical attacks that it has warned against. Last time it let Syria itself deal with the FUKUS attack with its simple S200 system, having reneged on its 2011 promise to sell Syria the S300 system.

Now, with Abu Jihad John Bolton (I love that moniker Bernhardt) having given the green light for the forecast chemical attack, why does Russia not take firm stance: no FUKUS attack on Syrian forces will be accepted.

I do not understand Putin's desperate attempts at getting accepted by the West as an equal when the West simply does not want him. Why his obduracy?

Posted by: Ernesto Che | Aug 26 2018 16:14 utc | 2

Agree with james @1, adding:

The Turks seem to be dragging their feet. The presser that b refers to was somber (watch it yourself!). The demeanor of Lavrov and Cavusoglu didn't reflect agreement or even alignment of views. They barely even looked at each other.

This, at a time when Turkey is supposedly locked in an economic war with USA! which Erdogan suggested was existential ("They are trying to do with money what they couldn’t with provocations and the coup. This is clearly called an economic war"). Yet no indication that Turkey sees any strong need for alignment with Russia.

I would be remiss if I didn't also note the weirdness of USA's essentially supporting Turkey's occupation of northern Syria via the threat of airstrikes. Again, this support comes at a time when the Trump Administration is (supposedly) really really angry with Erdogan.

Erdogan is playing a complex game. It is not clear to me that he has decided to turn east. If Turkey were to leave NATO, it risks it's free-trade agreement with EU.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 26 2018 16:24 utc | 3

US thinks they are spesual and untouchable. This is true to an extent.. I think any attack by anyone on Syrian forces needs a response at israel. Sooner or later all responses will stop. And that is the only way it will stop.

Posted by: igor bundy | Aug 26 2018 16:37 utc | 4

@ Ernesto Che | 2

Neither Russia nor US wants WW3, but US climbed too high up their imaginery horse (and deep state has Trump by the balls) hence they have to show "the hand of strength." Therefore US informs Russia ahead of strike and maybe even decide which empty building they'll blow up this time. In this way no real harm done against Syria and US gets to save the face. At the same time Syria and Russia gets more practice of shooting down US missiles :)

@ Jackrabbit | 3

Turkey is playing hard ball to negotiate the best possible deal for them, from all sides. I still dont think they'll switch sides to BRICS/SCO, at least not anytime soon.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 26 2018 16:53 utc | 5

@3 "Erdogan is playing a complex game. It is not clear to me that he has decided to turn east"

I couldn't agree more. Turkey seems to hoping for a more agressive American stance (no-fly zone) that would allow them to consolidate their hold on the Idlib pocket. Bolton's pre-hyped gas attack may be key to making that happen. But turkey is dreaming if they think the SAA will allow things to stalemate in the current configuration. The SAA will take back the Idlib pocket.

As for current events shaping up, I think that the initial SAA primary attack will come along the Turkish border The Turkish border is crucial to limiting the supply lines into the Idlib pocket, and more importantly to both Russia, China & Turkey, to limiting the return of fighters to Turkey & 'other places' they may be sent. One border crossing point will be left to Turkish control, to allow the return of their observer force.

As far as the collection of fighters in Idlib go, an attack towards Homs or Hama would be strategically the right move, yet I believe their Western advisers are pushing for an attack towards Latakiya and the nearby Russian base instead.

An HTS attack towards Latakiya would hope to make gains that will embarrass the SAA Russian coalition, whose hoped for losses would provide the need/rationale for a gas attack. While such an attack would be largely suicidal for rebel fighters, the rugged, heavily forested, mountainous terrain would limit the use of tanks, artillery and even air power - thus making it a potentially very bloody and very personal battle.

Posted by: les7 | Aug 26 2018 17:00 utc | 6

Many seem to assume that the Idlib battle will by merely a scaled up version of previous battles. But with the Russian build up we have seen, and undoubtedly a lot we haven't seen, I have a feeling this will be a big one with Russian forces directly involved, with the purpose of finishing this once and for all. In which case, any FUKUS attack on the SAA will be an attack on Russia and receive the appropriate response. In fact, the Russian MoD should say their troops will be involved, just so the FUKUS get the message. Lessons will have been learned from previous false flags, and the intelligence on this one seems very detailed. I imagine that any Brits involved in this will be eliminated, if not already. And anti-missile defenses will have been beefed up - I remember reading recently about more Pantsirs on the way to Syria.

Posted by: cdvision | Aug 26 2018 18:03 utc | 7

Slight addition; There are reported to be at least 5000 US troops in SE Syria ("Kurdish" area). Probably more plus mercenaries.
I expect a diversionary attack on Deir Ezzor/palmyra to take advantage of the confusion in the case of a US missile attack on SAA forces.

Posted by: stonebird | Aug 26 2018 18:38 utc | 8

Ah the British wil have another Novichok incident, this time in a place like Schopshire or Bullyondawn where something sinister will occur involving Novichockskaya. Allegedly spread by nefarious undercover FSB agents, more than 600 000 being in Engeland (alledgedly), in factthe vhance is an FSB agent is very large.
Now these agents roam at large, killing of substance users at will, seeing them as a gret threat to the Soviet Union, sorry Russia.
Engeland has become the chemical weapons haven.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Aug 26 2018 18:44 utc | 9

Skirmishes, shelling and air attacks will grow exponentially before the main offensive which is clearly early September. The US/UK fallacy is the usual modus operandi, of course it should be taken seriously, but it is fallacy, it won't change the end game which the annihilation of al Qaeda and most likely Muslin Brotherhood from Syria for a long time.
The offensive Idlib Dawn won't stop there, it will go north and liberate Afrin and northern Aleppo, as b says, only by then, NE-East Syria will be looked closely by the SAA and allies, but it could be by then, solved by diplomatic dialogue among the many parties on the ground. It looks good for Syria, the future is becoming brighter by the day.

Posted by: Canthama | Aug 26 2018 19:01 utc | 10

Interesting next few days in the offing!
Let's see whether the US stays on the script that played out last time or veers off - with a potential fight with Russia if that happens. The thing is that Russia has been already sanctioned so heavily that it has not much to lose by knocking down an American battleship or a B1 bomber if that becomes necessary. And the pro-West tower in the Kremlin has lost significant power and influence over the last few years.

Does anyone know whatever happened to PavewayIV? I miss seeing his well informed and insightful comments on this site

Posted by: ancientarcher | Aug 26 2018 19:14 utc | 11

"Turkey would also like to annex Idleb and other areas."

Do you have any indisputable evidence for that? Wanting to do something and being able to do it are totally different things.

Turkey regards the possiblility of a Kurdish state taking over Hatay province to give is sea access (and making the state viable) as an existential national security threat. It has inserted itself between the eastern and western Kurdish enclaves blocking that. It will not leave until it is certain that existenitial threat has been removed by other means. That could be done by the Kurds renouncing their Zionist-led dreams of a Kurdistan and joining the SAA or the SAA taking over security of the northern Syrian border (which it hasn't been in a position to do until now).

As for the 'Turkish Caliphate' the Turks can barely hang on to disrupted Idlib and will stand no chance against the SAA. Erdogan faces internal disruption and stands no chance for retaining power (which his main objective) if he pisses off both the US (done) and the Russians. The post-shootdown/pre-coup Russian targetted sanctions against Turkey all but collapsed its economy. They will be more effective against a weakened one should they be reinstated.

The greatest weakness in analysis is to project one's own animus onto the subject.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 26 2018 19:14 utc | 12

Yonatan: indisputable evidence ... greatest weakness in analysis

The high bar that you propose eliminates reasonable inferences. Are you showing your own "animus"?


Yonatan: [Turkey is blocking an] existential national security threat

If Turkey was already blocking formation of a Kurdish State, why did they need Afrin? That Turkey's "blocking" overlaps with an existential national security threat of his newfound "partners" (Russia, Syria, Iran) doesn't seem of much importance to Erdogan.

A reasonable inference: Erdogan is hoping that a humanitarian crisis and a bloody nose meted out by USA will convince Russia to allow it to hold on to Idlib. If that's not enough, it's possible that Erdogan even threatens to fully occupy Idlib - it's for the children!


Yonatan: Erdogan faces internal disruption

Erdogan has used the "gift from God" (Erdogan's words) apparent coup attempt to seal his absolute power in Turkey.


Yonatan: Russian targetted sanctions against Turkey all but collapsed its economy
All the more interesting that Erdogan never took steps to ween Turkey off dependence on US-EU trade and FDI. Turkey has a free trade agreement with EU - but that only came after joining NATO. Trade with EU is MUCH greater than trade with Russia and would be at risk if Turkey left NATO.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 26 2018 20:05 utc | 13

Syria and its allies will win. All that remains to be determined is at what cost victory. The secret UN document prohibiting all UN agencies from helping Syria rebuild mentioned by Lavrov and denied by UN does indeed exist as a pdf linked within this RT report. It's damning and shows UN collusion in the war on Syria.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 26 2018 20:49 utc | 14

Ernesto Che @2

Re: "I do not understand Putin's desperate attempts at getting accepted by the West as an equal when the West simply does not want him. Why his obduracy?"

Try imagining Putin has a different motivation and analysis than yours and apply that to what you think you see. Imagine that he isn't desperate, but rather that he primarily wants to avoid a hot WW3 instead of the info-financial WW3 we now have. Imagine Putin's executive team developing policies that take the following into account: Russian economic growth has turned positive, it's foreign reserves have recovered to US$400+ billion, it's oil production has reached record levels, its Nord Stream2 gas line continues to have German support, its weapons have been upgraded and tested in live action, the US has proven to be unable to make and keep agreements and is using a financial weapon likely to isolate it in the mid to long term because it impinges on the national interest of so many countries that trade with Iran and China.

What then would Putin choose to be "obdurate" about?

Posted by: pogohere | Aug 26 2018 21:45 utc | 15

Don't forget the stealth squirrel's

Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 26 2018 21:58 utc | 16

continuing @13

As described at the press conference, Turk-Russia trade has increased but Turkey remains very reliant on the West. And the increase in trade may reflect Russia's hope to turn Turkey more than Turkish interest in turning east.

If Russia had saved Turkey by warning about an impeding coup, wouldn't THIS be the time to remind Erdogan of that? And if Russia choose not to be so direct, then Erdogan's (supposed) anger at USA for trade sanctions and the coup attempt, should prompt his support for the attack on Idlib.

Lets also keep in mind that Turkey's objections are not going to stop the attack - Russia, Syria, and Iran are committed to returning all of Syria to Syrian control. Erdogan's foot dragging and complaints actually serve to paint Russia & Syria as uncaring so that Assad must go! Coalition countries can better counter the attack on Idlib with propaganda, punishing attacks, and (possibly) Turkish military intervention.

And what happens in November? Will Erdogan continue to trade with Iran? His statements seem to indicate that he will. But I think we will not really know until November.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 26 2018 22:18 utc | 17

Presumably as part of their buildup for Idlib the Russians have seriously increased their forces in the Med, including a guided missile cruiser and destroyer from the Baltic Fleet currently sailing east across the Med. Included is a flotilla for six virtually new frigates and corvettes from the Black Sea Fleet.

The first significant factor about this gathering is that it must have been planned weeks ago, well before any talk of a third Coalition WMD based attack. The second is that this fleet is primarily armed with surface attack missiles, including 16 with one tone warheads on the cruiser and countless, already proven in Syria, Kalibre cruise missiles with half a ton warhead, rather than anti air missiles for use against for example cruise missiles.

This implies that their originally planned use will be as a heavy first strike against the terrorists in Idlib. If as a result there is a poison gas incident the air defence missiles on the ships, positioned as a picket line, the cruiser has 64 S-300 type missiles, can be used against any incoming Coalition cruise missiles coming in from the West.

Posted by: JohninMK | Aug 26 2018 22:28 utc | 18

It is rather more likely that those frigates/corvettes are armed primarily with anti-ship missiles in their VLSs rather than land-attack cruise missiles. I'm sure they will launch a show of force strike with them, probably one or two missiles per platform. The Russians likely have sufficient replenishment stocks in Tartus.

I do believe the attack this time by FUKUS will target more than before, and will primarily use weapons other than the tomahawk to inflict damage. It is essential that they understand how effective those Russian made systems are against their newer systems in order to avoid a nasty surprise in case hostilities increase further between the US and Russia.

Posted by: Out of Istanbul | Aug 26 2018 22:46 utc | 19

@7 Yes, as I've said before, even if the WH pulled another Gouta type false flag triggering an anticipated FUKUS missile strike response, it wont change the end-result that the Jihadists are toast. With RU troops embedded all over Syria, I cant see the strike hitting anything strategic, much like the last attempt in March demonstrated..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 26 2018 23:11 utc | 20

JohninMK @19

Thanks. This seems very well thought-out.

Do you know anything about the deployment of US assets in the area?

Surely, the US can just keep launching their missiles until' Russia has used up all their munitions (no matter how good) and then the US is free to bomb the targets it wants in Syria. The only way to prevent this (it seems to me) would be for Russia to destroy the launch platforms but that seems a huge escalation. It would essentially mean that Russia would be the first to draw blood and kill Americans. How likely is this, really?

Posted by: ADKC | Aug 26 2018 23:40 utc | 21

Lorizon: ... it wont change the end-result that the Jihadists are toast.

But it's not just a matter of superior military capability. There are many dimensions to this conflict - especially now. The conflict enters a new stage in 3 months when the embargo on Iran goes into effect.

One "worst case" scenario (of many) could be that the Turks (who are now seen as being somewhat friendly toward Russia) denounce the Syria-Russian attacks as unnecessarily harsh on civilians. By shouting "war crime!" they could exercise an implicit veto on the operation because, coming from a 'friendly' source it would be more likely to be believed. The reaction from other countries might be very harsh: Northstream canceled? India out of SCO?

Russia-Syria-Iran could win the Idlib battle and lose the war.

Yet, if R+6 proceeds slowly, with maximum concern for civilians, the operation could take a very long time making it costly and possibly turning into the "quagmire" that Obama warned of when Russia first entered Syria.

I don't think any one can say where we are in 6 months.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 27 2018 0:18 utc | 22

@22 Of course the US can keep launching missiles into Syria but what will the targets be? A few token hits on an empty presidential palace or will they go for civilian infrastructure? That would be counterproductive. Unlikely they will hit Hizbullah, they move around too much, and the Iranians probably have plenty of decoy 'bases' ready to absorb the impact.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2018 0:22 utc | 23

Ten years from now we will still be talking about some variant of conflict in Syria between Russia, Us, Turkey and Israel. The helmets may change colors, the alphabet soup of the terrorists may change letters and flavor, but so long as Assad is alive , nothing much changes

Posted by: Pft | Aug 27 2018 1:33 utc | 24

This article speak of long timelines for the poor suffering Syrians! Oh how I wish for the whole country to be liberated yesterday. I trust the US forces find themselves up against it within weeks not months or years.

Posted by: imoverit | Aug 27 2018 1:36 utc | 25

Isn't it customary to investigate serious allegations of wrong-doing before taking massive punitive action?
If FRUKUS jumps the gun on the basis of an unconfirmed/ uninvestigated chemical weapon attack then I wouldn't want to be within 500 metres of any FRUKUS launch platform whether on land, sea, or sky.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 27 2018 1:53 utc | 26

Turkey is behaving as any second dividion nation does when caught in the cross hairs. It is attempting to appease both sides without putting future decisions at risk. That means agreeing with everyone while casting about for a suitable strategy to ensure that whatever happens in the premier league, they Turkey, must end up in a geographically and economically superior position to the one they currently have.
There is no chance of Turkey overtly favouring either opposition team before the premiership has been settled and even then Erdy & co will have a plan to keep communications open with whoever loses just in case something else shifts.
The whole YPK paranoia thing began as a political strategy to unite all available Turk derps behind Erdy prior to an unavoidable national election. Altho life has imitated art and Kurdish nationalism in Turkey has reverted to its 1970's and 80's heyday, there is no reason to suppose the government couldn't shut it down if it had to. At the moment having mobs of disaffected oppressed and exploited kurds about is a vital cog in Erdy's machine, if that ever becomes a surplus to requirement he will close em down in an instant. Erdy doesn't want bits of Syria to protect Turkey, he wants bits of Syria to keep the hope of a Turkish neo empire alive.

A main chancer in a medium pond looking for a lake more pertinent to his ambition.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Aug 27 2018 2:17 utc | 27

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26, 2018 9:53:18 PM | 27
Isn't it customary to investigate serious allegations of wrong-doing before taking massive punitive action?

Not if you are the MIC. They already launched a massive missile attack on the last false flag. All it cost them was a few million dollars and half their missiles shot down.
Nobody knows what Russia will do the next time; the U.S. keeps pushing and now some Duma members are demanding Putin create a red line.
We'll see; as I'm fairly certain the U.S. MIC is plenty stupid enough to carry on...

Posted by: V | Aug 27 2018 2:30 utc | 28

Before the last retaliation for the false flag chemical attack Russia warned the US that if one Russian solider was killed they are going to strike the launch vehicles. The Russians had increased their naval force prior to that action and during the strike had their jets on the runway loaded with ship killing missiles.

Trump pulled the trigger and hit some empty buildings in Syria proclaiming that they struck a Syrian chemical manufacturing facility. It was probably producing fertilizer just like the fertilizer produced by the US media complex.

No Russian soldiers were killed and the US eventually pulled out of southern Syria after building up a reserve force in Jordan for training exercises. I imagine the same will happen. Russia is deadly serious about Syria and they have to be if you look at it from their point of view. They are being encircled by small NATO contingents. Their red line is Syria and they will act and I am sure the US "brain trust" is not ready for a shooting war over Syria. I am guessing the other red line will be the Ukraine when it joins NATO and the EU.

China wants a piece of the action with Russia and they are slowly and inexorably moving into the region and training for that eventuality.

Posted by: dltravers | Aug 27 2018 3:05 utc | 29

Before the last retaliation for the false flag chemical attack Russia warned the US that if one Russian soldier was killed they are going to strike the launch vehicles. The Russians had increased their naval force prior to that action and during the strike had their jets on the runway loaded with ship killing missiles.

Trump pulled the trigger and hit some empty buildings in Syria proclaiming that they struck a Syrian chemical manufacturing facility. It was probably producing fertilizer just like the fertilizer produced by the US media complex.

No Russian soldiers were killed and the US eventually pulled out of southern Syria after building up a reserve force in Jordan for training exercises. I imagine the same will happen. Russia is deadly serious about Syria and they have to be if you look at the situation from their point of view. They are being encircled by NATO contingents. Their red line is Syria and they will act and I am sure the US "brain trust" is not ready for a shooting war over Syria.

All hell is going to break loose if Russia sinks some US ships in the Med. Things could escalate very quickly into "de-escalation" tactical nuclear strikes which is the new talked about doctrine in use today. Russia is talking about moving nukes into Syria and they may have them now. Who knows?

China wants a piece of the action in the region with Russia and they are slowly and inexorably moving and training for that eventuality.

Posted by: dltravers | Aug 27 2018 3:25 utc | 30

@16 pogohere

Well, we can only guess what Putin’s motives are based on his actions. He does seem quite smitten with Trump and eager to gain a seat as an equal partrner at the FUKUS table. As long as the US dollar remains the world’s premier reserve currency, the United States will remain top dog and be able to, among other things, run up massive government debt without serious consequences and use its clout to sanction the economies of its rivals. If and when Russia, China etc. are serious about making America hurt they will drop the greenback like yesterday’s trash and conduct their business using a currency other than the USD.

Posted by: Novice Novichok | Aug 27 2018 3:32 utc | 31

@16 pogohere thanks for articulating what i basically intuit..

Posted by: james | Aug 27 2018 3:37 utc | 32

Ernesto Che @2
Russia under Putin is playing the long game as is China. See this article by Andrei Martyanov for details:

Jackrabbit @3
Turkey needs trade with the EU to survive economically as well as energy plus trade from Russia, Iran, and Qatar (LNG). Eventually, the transportation connections of the BRI will sort out the economic alliances. Patience, tic-toc.

les7 @ 6
Turkey has been given until about September 7th Russia, Iran and Turkey summit to eliminate ISIS and HTS fighters and provide for a peaceful agreement between the SAA and the Turkish backed FSA units.

After the hellfire start any remaining Turkish allies will take a dirtbath along with the HTS/ISIS terrorists. Turkey seems not to want to take back their terrorist stepchildren.

Unfortunately, the terrorists are currently taking a lot of hostages to be used as human shields.

In the end, thousands of terrorists will try to flee to Turkey adding to the economic and political problems for Turkey. However, Turkey can pass them along to the EU. The excuse will be that the EU has only been paying a small portion of the money to support Syrian Refugees in Turkey.

stonebird @ 8
See Southfront article on the plans of the FUKUS troops in Eastern Syria

Ancientarcher @11
Paveway IV now posts at Southfront. See his comments at the link I provided for Stonebird @8

Jackrabbit @18
Turkey will continue to trade with Iran as it really needs the Iranian natural gas, especially in Winter.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 27 2018 4:55 utc | 33

This excellent article currently on ZH and originally from Unz is a must read to understand the current Russian strategy of 'playing for time'.
I think it will give you a greater understanding of the Russian position and of Putin's policies.
Always the great chess player.
He does not want war at this point in time and for very good reasons.
And will not allow himself to be goaded into one by the west.
Make Russia Great Again - yes that is the exact plan - thank goodness.

Posted by: Emily | Aug 27 2018 8:37 utc | 34


" It was widely known that al-Qaeda systematically "taxed" up to 50% of all food and weapon supplies U.S. supported "moderate rebels" received"

This is the excuse that the Saudis use as to why they do not allow food and other supplies into Houthi controlled areas where 80% of the Yemenis live. God forbid that the Houthis should charge any kind of tax in the areas they control and the Trump Administration endorses this view.

Unlike Yemen, Idlib is not under any kind of blockade. They share borders with Turkish controlled areas where they can trade and allow people to flow to and fro.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Aug 27 2018 11:04 utc | 35

Krollchem @34

Thanks for the link.
Just updates about US positions; Note that the ships below are in the Persian Gulf - not in the Med to avoid Russian ships. Any Rus. retaliation would have to come from the Caspian OVER Iran (which would give an excuse to attack Iran?)

" - USS ‘The Sullivans,’ an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer, was already deployed to the Persian Gulf a couple of days ago.

The destroyer has 56 cruise missiles on board, according to data from the Russian Defence Ministry. A US Rockwell B-1 Lancer, a supersonic bomber equipped with 24 cruise missiles, has also been deployed at the Qatari Al Udeid Airbase.

The provocations are being prepared by militants from Al-Nusra Front (now known as Tahrir al-Sham) in Idlib province, northwestern Syria,

In order to stage the attack, some eight canisters of chlorine were delivered in to village near Jisr al-Shughur city for the terrorists’ use, he added. A separate group of militants, prepped by private British security company Olive, have also arrived in the area. The group will be disguised as volunteers from the White Helmets group and will simulate a rescue operation involving locals purportedly injured in the attack, according to the military official. -

- the village of Kafr Zita in Syria's northwestern Hama Province in "the next two days. "

Posted by: stonebird | Aug 27 2018 13:44 utc | 36

This excellent article currently on ZH and originally from Unz is a must read to understand the current Russian strategy of 'playing for time'.
I think it will give you a greater understanding of the Russian position and of Putin's policies.
Always the great chess player.
Posted by: Emily | Aug 27, 2018 4:37:39 AM | 35

Well, 'someone' certainly needs to urgently update their Putin Predictability Dossier. If Syria becomes the target of a massive unprovoked attack by FRUKUS he won't hesitate to protect Russia's 3 year 'investment' in Syria.
He warned them once. He won't warn them again.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 27 2018 15:21 utc | 37

Had to share this laughter-inducing piece on the English planes taking off from Cyprus to "finish off" the last of the jihadis...

British Air Campaign in Syria

Posted by: kgw | Aug 27 2018 16:43 utc | 38

"The long awaited Syrian army campaign to liberate Idleb governorate in Syria's northwest is supposed to start shortly after September 7..."

Unless someone else begins firing?

"Turkey would also like to annex Idleb and other areas."

"Like to?"

Other persons don't see that as a reality or even as an actual desire, never mind something that would be 'liked'

Kemal Kirişci | Senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

I strongly doubt it.

Henri J. Barkey | Professor of international relations at Lehigh University, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

Turkey’s occupation of northern Syria will not be permanent.

Marc Pierini | Visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, Brussels

It is hard to conceive that Turkey would end up annexing the Afrin and Jarablus districts it now controls...

Posted by: anonymous | Aug 27 2018 16:54 utc | 39

Has anyone reflected on the fact that FRUKUS, in its infinite wisdom, decided in 2011 that a direct attack on Syria wasn't a good idea?
And now that their slimy little proxy war has failed, a direct attack (which seemed like a lousy idea at the time) has suddenly been recognised as a super idea after all?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 27 2018 17:47 utc | 40

@39 Yes, it is very funny that webpage. RAF officers looking proud with themselves. Pathetic. Protecting our country? My arse they are. They are merely the decaying corpse of the long gone British Empire and I think we could probably estimate that the Russians and Syrian Air Forces kill more extremists in a day than the RAF have killed in a year. Innocent civilians and flattening Raqqa.... That's more likely.

Posted by: duplicitousdemocracy | Aug 27 2018 19:01 utc | 41

stonebird2 @37

Sorry, but 56 cruise missiles are useless against the Russian/Syrian air defense system. Hell the Iranian air defense would easily take all them down using Tor-M2 and pantsir1 systems. The ship would also be sunk by Iranian antiship missiles.

Anyway, if the US kills Russian soldiers in an attack the ships that launched them would be sunk.

As for the bomber in Qatar it would not be allowed to takeoff and attack Iran as Qatar now gets most of its food from Iran and Turkey due to the Saudi/UAE blockade. Saudi/UAE still want to invade Qatar and the only thing that stops this is that they would be facing Turkish troops which would mean war with Turkey.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 27 2018 21:46 utc | 42

In the event the US illegally launches missiles @ Syria in response to their obviously orchestrated false flag, a fair response from Syria/Russia would be just 2 missiles, one hypersonic to sink the Sullivan and one S-400 to knock down the B-1. Tit for tat ! They should inform Bolton that any launch vehicle will become a target. ?

Posted by: che | Aug 27 2018 21:57 utc | 43

Southfront has an interesting assessment report:

Chinese Naval Expansion Hits High Gear

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 27 2018 23:04 utc | 44

There was an entertaining multi-part TV documentary series, circa 2000, called Great Military Blunders. Apart from the invitation to have a chuckle, the fervor with which each campaign was embarked upon, and the irony of the title for each episode (one was called Who's Sorry Now?), my most enduring memory of the series is the cautionary statement in the intro to each episode...

"Wars never go to plan. If they did both sides would win."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 28 2018 2:33 utc | 45

Re: Posted by: stonebird | Aug 27, 2018 9:44:15 AM | 37

Presumably if Russian ships in the Mediterranean want to attack US ships in the Persian Gulf these missiles would come over Syria & Iraq.

An excuse to attack Iraq? Again?

Posted by: Julian | Aug 28 2018 3:30 utc | 46

Re: Posted by: stonebird | Aug 27, 2018 9:44:15 AM | 37

In order to stage the attack, some eight canisters of chlorine were delivered in to village near Jisr al-Shughur city for the terrorists’ use, he added. A separate group of militants, prepped by private British security company Olive, have also arrived in the area. The group will be disguised as volunteers from the White Helmets group and will simulate a rescue operation involving locals purportedly injured in the attack, according to the military official.

Where does this come from?

Some information about Olive.

Posted by: Julian | Aug 28 2018 3:37 utc | 47

What then would Putin choose to be "obdurate" about?

See the first link in #34 above and again referred to in #35:

Posted by: pogohere | Aug 28 2018 6:03 utc | 48

@Julian #48
It comes from RT:
Terrorists readying chemical attack to frame Damascus & provide pretext for US strikes – Russian MoD

Olive and also Academy are very generic names. It suddenly occurred to me, did they choose these names to make them hard to google? Blackwater was easy to find. Olive is the color of military outfits and 'academy' often refers to the military academy school. This makes them stealthy on the internet.

Posted by: Joost | Aug 28 2018 6:31 utc | 49

Joost @50.

In 2014, Academi (former Blackwater; note spelling) merged with several other mercenary (oops, I mean "security contractors).

Constellis Holdings, Inc. has agreed to acquire Constellis Group, Inc., a leading provider of security, support and advisory services to government, multinational corporations and international organizations operating in challenging environments around the world. Constellis Holdings was formed by the founders of Triple Canopy and the private equity investors who formed ACADEMI.

The transaction brings together a global team of industry leaders, including: Triple Canopy, Constellis Ltd., Strategic Social, Tidewater Global Services, National Strategic Protective Services, ACADEMI Training Center and International Development Solutions.

Constellis Holdings’ Board of Directors includes: Red McCombs (Chairman), former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Chief Counsel Jack Quinn, Admiral Bobby Inman (Ret.), Russ Robinson, Jason DeYonker, Dean Bosacki and Triple Canopy co-founder Tom Katis.

White Helmets founder, James Le Mesurier's "security contractor," The Olive Group is also part of that same cabal/consortium.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 28 2018 6:50 utc | 50

Daniel @51

You beat me to the punch!!!

Does this mean that Olive Group exists in name only under the Constellis Group with headquarters in Reston, Va? This would allow them to technically refute claims that they had prepared militants on how to stage a chemical weapons attack.

ps. The board of directors includes some of the usual suspects.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 28 2018 7:17 utc | 51

Last night the US forward deployed 8+ aerial tankers in Europe/Med regions. It didn't seem to be a rotation, so the preparations are underway for yet another strike.

Perhaps the elite in the US think giving the bear a bloody nose in Syria might juice their midterm election support...

Posted by: Out of Istanbul | Aug 28 2018 12:00 utc | 52

@Krollchem (34): thanks for the link, very interesting.

Posted by: Ernesto Che | Aug 28 2018 16:17 utc | 53

US private security giant Constellis Group is actually owned by Apollo Global Management (full article behind pay wall),108300690-art

Security/special operations are being outsourced to corporations by all the five eye corporate owned countries. The masters of the universe can no longer trust the "civilians" follow their corporate goals of the "citizens" as presaged in the movie Starship Troopers.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 28 2018 17:50 utc | 54

Great find, Krollchem on Apollo buying Constellis. Here, they brag about their origin story. After the Great Recession had started in 2008, they got a “cold call” from a French bank that ended up being a “no strings attached” $800 Million check that allowed them to practice “Disaster Capitalism” big time, buying up properties whose value had plummeted in the recession (which was the greatest theft in human history, now estimated at $20 trillion taken from the 99%).

Imagine someone calling you out of nowhere and just offering to give you almost A Billion Dollars!

Don’t know if anyone noticed, but on the board of Constellis is former US Attorney General under Bush II, John Ashcroft.

Since the psychopaths are bringing in Western experts to stage the upcoming CW attack, I expect it will be done far more professionally than those ignorant barbarian White Helmets have been doing. The WHs have gotten away with almost comical errors because of the compliant media, but if the PTSB want to sell the world on the planned destruction of Syria, they may want much more convincing CW staging.

The "police" in Idlib have been "arresting" scores of people, including women and children over the past few days. Some of their photos are being posted online in the hopes of either identifying them as victims of the coming CW attack, or perhaps to prevent their being murdered as propaganda props since they're known to be in the custody of the terrorist "police."

And yes, these mercenaries are far more “reliable” (willing to commit great evil) than even the “volunteer army” - which themselves are more pliable than a conscripted military.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 28 2018 19:17 utc | 55


Thanks for the Apollo Global Management Disaster Capitalism origin story.

Also, it looks like the "White Helmet" terrorists who were evacuated by Israel in Southern Syria have popped up in Iblib to conduct the false flag chemical event.

The a Apollo Global Management Group is just one facet of the shadow US government that originated during the Eisenhower Administration

As Smidley Butler stated "War is a Racket". Since then Colonialism has been replaced by neo-colonialism as described by the "Angola Variant" where the colonial powers install a compliant local leader, train his military and pay a portion of the looting of the country in order to suppress the local population.

Perhaps "b" might consider fleshing out this story.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 28 2018 22:50 utc | 56

#Russia's @mod_russia continues to ring alarm bells over #Syria.Senior military just said #Moscow received info"from several sources in #Idlib that “large supply of poisonous agents been brought to city of Saraqib on 2 trucks from village of Afs accompanied by 8 White Helmets"

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 28 2018 23:21 utc | 57

Nancy Youssef tweeted a link yesterday to a Task and Purpose article. The headline and the laughable article's point seem like elementary tactics, blaming an opponent for one's own behavior. It reads "Pentagon gravely concerned Russian propaganda signals impending Syrian chemical attack."

From inside the article: “We remain gravely concerned over potential reports of a military offensive by the Syrian regime against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Idlib, which would result in devastating humanitarian consequences,” Eric Pahon told Task & Purpose on Monday. “We also underline our concern at the potential for further – and illegal – use of chemical weapons.”

Posted by: j | Aug 29 2018 2:38 utc | 58

It's beginning to look as though Putin's recent appeal to the EU to help rehabilitate Syria was little more than an invitation for the West to do something ultra-stupid. It seems to have worked. I wonder how unprepared the Christian Colonials are for what happens next, and who they'll blame?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 29 2018 3:34 utc | 59

Krollchem, I didn't see the Eisenhower link, but do not doubt that this beast goes back that far. And Thierry is correct. The US has been under a form of “Martial Law” since President Bush II signed Executive Order 13223 on September 14, 2001.

Exactly what this EO established is classified, but even the changes since 9/11 that are public are horrifying. No more habeas corpus. US military permitted to police the streets. “Kill lists” of US citizens, even on US territory. Imagine what powers are still classified!

Since then, every year, each President has extended it for another year. President Trump extended, and expanded it this year , giving him the authority to recall into service any “retired member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or RegularMarine Corps.”

This is in addition to Trump’s EO on December 21, giving Steven Mnuchin the authority to confiscate any and all private property.

Posse Comitatus (forbidding the military be used for domestic law enforcement) was rendered invalid. Bush II asked Congress to repeal it outright in October, 2005. Congress passed the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR), which contains a provision, (Section 1076) which allows the President to:

“...employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to...

"restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States..., where the President determines that,...domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order;"

Then, Obama issued Executive Order 13528 that divided the US into 10 Districts run by a "Council of Governors" appointed by the President. It also granted the Secretary of "Defense" the ability to send troops into those Districts at the request of those Governors.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29 2018 6:41 utc | 60

Neuters via U.S., Syrian security officials met in Damascus - official, report

...Earlier on Tuesday the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported that the U.S. delegation had held a four-hour meeting with security chief Ali Mamlouk near Damascus international airport.

Asked about the reports, two senior U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was an “ongoing dialogue with members of the Assad regime” about driving Islamic State from Syria, Damascus’ stockpile and use of chemical weapons, including chlorine, and the fate of journalist Austin Tice, who officials believe Damascus or its allies are holding.

The Syrian government could not be reached for comment. ...

More at the link.

As usual the US spin on this is from a 'position of strength' despite the fact that it is normally the weak who travel to pay tribute to the poor, not the other way around...

Posted by: et Al | Aug 29 2018 15:58 utc | 61

jackrabbit@23 "India out of SCO?" Where did that come from? There is zero percent chance of this. India is in a perfect position. Well balanced on all sides. They have absolutely no interest in doing anything. Especially ending decades of great relations with the Russians. Any fantasy of the US pulling India completely out of Russia's influence is plain crazy. The Indians have a very good memory of the British Raj and have no intentions of being dominated by the former British colony. The deals they have made with the US have been very one sided in their favor. They will encourage this as much as possible while maintaining good relations with Russia. They are playing the US and are in a very favorable position to do so. The worthless Brookings Institute actually wrote a semi coherent article on this.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Aug 29 2018 17:08 utc | 62

I continue to be impressed by the many pictures of arm's caches uncovered by SAA after liberating terrorist held areas. This pic shows a rather paltry amount compared to some of the videos available. I don't know, but a ballpark guess at the value of these arms and munitions must be well beyond several billion dollars.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2018 17:21 utc | 63


Thanks for the updates on martial law EOs.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 29 2018 17:45 utc | 64

goldhoarder @63: Where did that come from?

Context: I was speculating on the possible effects of a certain Turkish action that could make a difference in the SCO vs. NATO 'big picture'.

India is not a fan of China or Pakistan either. They joined SCO for the likely commercial benefits.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 29 2018 20:34 utc | 65

et Al @62. That looked really promising until I read that the meeting was last June. The situation has heated up quite a bit since then, as the SAA has been slowly positioning itself to retake Idlib, while pressing "rebel" leaders to either reconcile or leave.

Right now, there are many signs of a massive, imminent FRUKUS assault on the Syrian government and its forces. Perhaps the recent arrival of multiple Russian war ships and additional aircraft will dissuade the AZ Empire, as Putin has made clear that if any Russian targets are hit, the Russian military will take out the sources of the weapons used (ie. US Navy ships).

But with officials from France, Britain and the US all saying they will take extreme measures upon the next CW provocation, I see the situation as more fraught than at any time in the past few years. I sure hope my fears are misguided.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29 2018 21:16 utc | 66

karlof1 @64. Yes, the photos/videos of weapons left behind by the "rebels" as they either take the Green Buses to Idlib or melt into "Coalition" held territory are startling.

I've seen probably dozens of battle tanks, many other armored vehicles and artillery pieces, mortars, TOWs, very high-tech electronics and food and medicine along with many tons of ammunition, much from either the US or Israel, though mostly from Eastern Europe. This tells me the SAA and allies have been very smart in their offensives to retake Syrian territory. They're cutting off escape routes, costing the "rebels" (and really their sponsors) many $Billions and tactical capabilities in each successive battle.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29 2018 21:27 utc | 67

But with officials from France, Britain and the US all saying they will take extreme measures upon the next CW provocation, I see the situation as more fraught than at any time in the past few years. I sure hope my fears are misguided.
Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29, 2018 5:16:48 PM | 67

Try not to worry. FRUKUS are pretending that they're not scared of Russia. But they have lost their proxy war and only a cretin would pretend that a conflict with Russia might be good fun. There's also the very real risk that every success of Russian hardware and tactics will further damage the declining market for over-priced arms made by FRUKUS. Once Putin decides to retaliate then any loss of FRUKUS assets will make FRUKUS look whimsical and 2nd rate. And they already know they can't "win" - Syria is on Russia's doorstep.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 30 2018 4:38 utc | 68


One must not discount the fog of war and the potential for a black swan event. What if FUKUS FUCKS UP and accidently kills Russian soldiers and Russia destroys the planes and ships that launched the attack as promised?

As we all know the US military thinks that a nuclear war can be won with a first strike with minimal casualties of a few tens of millions. Add to this the juvenile nature of the politicians in both US political parties and we could be facing a civilizational ending Nuclear Winter.

We have until September 7th for Russia to settle the Iblib situation diplomatically with Turkey. I hope Turkey pulls out their weapons and troops following Russian guarantees to protect ethnic Turkish people in Syria. Failing this, Turkey will collapse economically due to energy and trade sanctions from Russia and Iran on top of US sanctions due to Pompeo's minister being under house arrest in Turkey. Likewise, Qatar will face massive food shortages due to a lack of Iranian food support. If the Turkish troops in Qatar are pulled out then Saudi Arabia and UAE will invade Qatar as promised.

There is also a potential for the Syria refugees in a collapsing Turkey to flood the EU leading to a collapse of the EU. Remember that the EU is run by an unelected dictatorship and the governments of the UK, France and Germany can collapse if the people take to the streets this fall. Based on a deep understanding of France, I predict that Macron will be the first to fall.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 30 2018 6:08 utc | 69

Krollchem | Aug 30, 2018 2:08:39 AM | 70
One must not discount the fog of war and the potential for a black swan event.

Indeed; the situation is ripe for a black swan. The situation is chaos driven by the US.
Their belief in their ability for a first strike is fantastical thinking at best.
This is a link to a Russian supersonic anti-ship missile blowing the hell out of a ship;
The link is safe, promise. And the video quite dramatic.

Posted by: V | Aug 30 2018 7:17 utc | 70

Hoars, may your unbridled optimism, and my dearest wishes prove true. Then, if Syria is able to liberate Idlib, may the US pull its thousands of troops, and masses of artillery pieces, tanks, etc. out of the dozen military bases it's built in Northern Syria in 2017/2018, and stop protecting the ISIS strongholds under US protection so that territory too may be returned to its sovereign government without further bloodshed.

Then, may Turkey see the tide turn and remove its occupation forces.

And lastly, may Syria regain its Golan Heights and finally be whole again.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 30 2018 7:21 utc | 71

French Gov radio: "Idlib where 3 million ppl live in what is the last place held by insurgents... has been described as an abcess by Lavrov..."
and still trying to accomodate Erdogan (who probably has all the documents showing that FrUK etc asked him to open the gates for their suburbean aspirant djihadists). Or how else explain that a beautiful Turkish film such as The Wild Pear Trees, a deep and subtle reflection on Erdogan's Turkey, was completely ignored at the Cannes film festival when it was there, and is now screened only in the middle of August when sure no audience will be around?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 30 2018 8:22 utc | 72

Krollchem says:

What if FUKUS FUCKS UP and accidently kills Russian soldiers and Russia destroys the planes and ships that launched the attack as promised

what if, what if?

the sinking of a US destroyer, or whatever, would escalate exponentially the prevailing anti-Russian sentiment, playing into and reinforcing the current FUKUS agenda of aggression...

or what if Putin and FUKUS have already determined some low-value targets just so sammy can shiver his limp timbers?

i don't do predictions. i just sit here watching it all unfold before my eyes…

...with my jaw on the floor.

Posted by: john | Aug 30 2018 9:45 utc | 73

Krollchem says:
What if FUKUS FUCKS UP and "accidently" kills Russian soldiers...

Sloppy of me not to catch that ^.
Accidently kills Russian soldiers?
That would be no accident. But rather the willfull result of an irresponsible decision to go forward with the attack, knowing full well the risks; in other words, a calculated risk taken...
There is no accident in this.
And a price will be paid...

Posted by: V | Aug 30 2018 12:27 utc | 74

Daniel @67

Indeed and it goes to show how well Syria took Washington's demands! To demand the oil in Eastern Syria that would clearly have been used to subsidize an autonomous Kurdish state in stark strategic opposition to a unitary Syrian state. Maybe it was a desperate one last chance to head Damascus off at the pass?

SST's take on the US visit to Damascus in June:

Secret US-Syria talks revealed?

Posted by: et Al | Aug 30 2018 16:43 utc | 75

Within this Twitter thread, Vanessa Beeley provides an outstanding description of the White Helmet Terrorists from the POV of International Criminal Lawyer Christopher Black which ought to be copy/pasted and sent everywhere!

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 30 2018 17:09 utc | 76

Wikileaks provides CIA doc outlining various ways to attack Syria during Iraq/Iran War.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 30 2018 17:26 utc | 77


One way to remain sane in this insane world is to step back and recognize personal risk of injury and even death can be predicted from from risk x exposure time. For example, skydiving has an injury rate is 0.005. If you plan to do 100 jumps the probability of an injury is 50% for about eight hours of jumping or 150% per day of falling.

Likewise knowing that the Club of Rome study predicts a collapse of Civilisation by 2040 leading to wars then the chance of a nuclear war also goes to about 5% per year. Given that the death rate from a Nuclear Winter is about 95% then one has a 4.75% chance of dying per year from nuclear war. For those of us who are retired this is about the same as the average mortality rate so it doesn't really matter.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 30 2018 18:24 utc | 78


Great find! The CIA document supports the conclusion that the Syria war not about a oil pipeline but about the energy security that an oil pipeline from Iraq through Syria to ISRAEL would bring (sic).

This supports Paveway IV point from over a year ago that control of the T4 pumping station is critical.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 30 2018 18:34 utc | 79

Krollchem @80--

Yep! I bet ol' Paveway read that doc soon after Wikileaks published it along with many others which fueled his excellent prognostications.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 30 2018 19:53 utc | 80

I see alarming red flags everywhere but I like the fact the RU navy are calling a drill in the Eastern med beginning Sept 1st, "officially" shielding their massive force from Israeli/US ships in the vicinity. Smart move..

*Navy doctrine dictates when a drill is called, the area around it is declared dangerous and is off limits to other nations navies to prevent accidents.

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 30 2018 20:31 utc | 81

Just spotted this:

AFP: Air raid warning tech gives Syrians life-saving minutes

... Jaeger, a former US diplomat and technologist who was looking for new ways to prevent civilian deaths in Syria, created the system with US entrepreneur Dave Levin and a Syrian coder whose identity is kept secret.

The system -- which Jaeger says is currently funded by Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark -- requires a human network on the ground to monitor areas and set up sensors.

It is therefore limited in which zones it can cover. It does not, for example, provide updates on US-led coalition warplanes targeting the Islamic State group in air strikes that have also routinely killed civilians...

More **** at the link.

Lies, damned lies and statistics from this total propaganda piece. Ne'er a world about IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever - just 'civilians'. On the plus side, the idea is now in the open and will be able to be used by countries that are under attack by the West.

Posted by: et Al | Aug 30 2018 21:08 utc | 82

Chem false flags or massacres usually start on Fridays so in 3..2..1...

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Aug 31 2018 1:08 utc | 83

So here we are at the penultimate hour for the Idleb campaign and the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura now is calling for a safety corridor for "civilians"....sigh
Full ChinaNet posting follows:
GENEVA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Thursday called the parties to the Syria war to facilitate a credible humanitarian corridor to allow civilian population from the Idlib area to temporarily evacuate to safer places.

Speaking to a group of journalists, the UN Envoy also called on the parties not to accelerate military escalation and give more time for discussions aiming at avoiding the worse-case scenario.

"You can understand that when there is a perfect storm coming up in front of our eye, potentially, we need to address first things first," he said.

His remarks came after reports of a "false flag" chemical weapon attack allegedly staged by the Syrian government troops to provoke military response from one or all of the allies Britain, France and the United States.

Mentioning deep concern about "this chilling military potential escalation" in the area of Idlib and its potential implications, de Mistura stressed that "the lives of 2.9 million people are at stake and international mutually threatening messages and warnings and counter-warnings have taken place in the last few days."

According to the UN Envoy, of the 2.9 million people in Idlib, some 1.4 million already have been displaced at least once and about 2.1 million are already in need for humanitarian aid, before what they fear would be the battle for Idlib.

In the past, he said, every time when there was a crisis there would be some places many could opt to go, but as the last and the largest de-escalation area announced in Astana, people in Idlib are now "packed" in a relatively small area.

"There is no other Idlib, where can they go? Where anyone can go? " de Mistura asked.

The UN Envoy said that he himself is prepared to "personally and physically" get involved to ensure such a temporary corridor would be feasible and guaranteed for the people so they can then return to their own places untouched once this is over.

Earlier in 2016 during the fighting and humanitarian crisis in Syria's Aleppo, the UN Envoy provided a similar offer but was refused.

"It would be a tragic irony if at almost the end of what we consider at the moment in front of our eyes, a territorial war inside Syria, we would be witnessing the most horrific tragedy to the largest number of civilians," he added.

The UN Envoy for Syria told reporters that currently, an extremely high concentration of foreign fighters and in particular the highest number of al-Nusra, al-Qaeda fighters are now in the area.

"The estimates of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, whatever name they want to call themselves, is more or less around 10,000 of them, plus families," he said.

On the issue of avoiding the potential use of chemical weapons, de Mistura said that he was definitely looking with great concern on that or any type of weaponised chlorine.

"We need to see countries united on fighting terrorists, protect civilians, and consider unacceptable any use or misuse of chemical weapons," he stressed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has clearly reminded everyone that the systematic use of indiscriminate weapons in populated areas may amount to war crimes, de Mistura said.

Earlier on Wednesday, UN chief also expressed deep concern that a full scale military assault in Syria's Idlib province risks a humanitarian catastrophe and urged all parties to preserve the last de-escalation zone in the war-torn country.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 31 2018 4:26 utc | 84

And then ChinaNet has this posting

Feud among powers rises as Syria's last major battle looms

A quote from it about the US three demands
Analysts said that the U.S. will not withdraw before receiving the guarantees or seeing the actual withdrawal of Iranian military from Syria.

Then the U.S. wants guarantees that U.S. companies can have a share in the oil sector in areas in eastern Syria. Moreover, the U.S. wants full information obtained by the Syrian government about the foreign militants among the rebels and their whereabouts.

Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper recently revealed that a secret meeting took place in Damascus in July between Syrian security officials and a U.S. delegation, which put forwarded the three aforementioned demands as conditions for its withdrawal from Syria.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 31 2018 4:51 utc | 85


Do you remember UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres showing any concern when the US leveled Raqqa?

Has he said anything about the illegal US occupation of Syria!

Has he opposed the five-eyes bombing of SAA?

Has he opposed the Western powers support of ISIS, HTS, the White Helmet terrorists, etc?

Has he opposed the Western and Islamic arming of terrorists whit billions of dollars in arms?

I could go on for for hours on this hypocrisy by the UN Secretary General....

This is not a criticism of you. Thanks for sharing this idiots whining in hopes to forestall the defeat and dispersion of the terrorists to the lands that spawned them.

As with Raqqa, the upcoming deaths of innocents are blood on the hands of the Secretary General and all of his terror state backers.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 31 2018 7:08 utc | 86

The latest article from Business insider really would be funny if it didn't represent the mindset of the Western military leaders and their handlers. Their conclusions are:

(1) International investigators have found that Syria's government, backed by Moscow, has carried out dozens of deadly chemical attacks on its civilians. But Russia is accusing US-linked forces of secretly conducting these same attacks.

(2) But Russia's massive navy buildup in Syria can't actually stop the US from striking Syria in response to the Syrian government's chemical attacks, as it has twice in the past two years.

(3)If Russia were to counterattack US Navy ships firing on Syria, the US would most likely crush it in short order.

Such false bravado is both dangerous and delusional and would actually lead to the annihilation of the Western fleets no matter how may carrier battle groups were deployed. Any sane naval officer would refuse orders to carry out an attack on Russian forces and scuttle their own ship to avoid the death of his crew.

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 31 2018 7:28 utc | 87

@88 We'll soon find out..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 31 2018 12:34 utc | 88

In Episode 4 of The Putin Interviews, Vlad has a chuckle about the US Military junta during a conversation about the cyber attack on Russia's banking system. The attack was preceded by an "at a time of our choosing" threat from Biden, backed up by a public statement from Obama. Putin says that RF doesn't have evidence that the attack came from the US. Instead, he says that the US Admin "remind me of the old Soviet Communist Party Politburo when they gave orders and stars and medals to one another, especially when they awarded medals to each other. That was very funny." which point there's a clip of Obama draping the ribbon of a medal around Biden's neck. And in that context it IS funny.

I wonder which medals the Yanks are planning to pin on each other after the Syria tantrum has yielded its bounty?
Is there a medal for believing too much of one's own bullshit?
A medal for over-underestimating the capabilities of a foe-of-choice?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 31 2018 15:19 utc | 89

karlof1, Krollchem and all interested in that 1983 CIA plan to “regime change” Syria.

Graham Fuller was the author of that declassified 1983 CIA document planning a “regime change” in Syria:

From his official biography, we learn Graham was "the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at CIA, and in 1986 Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting."
Later, he "joined the CIA-founded and funded RAND Corporation where he was a senior political scientist for 12 years. His research focused primarily on the Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the politics of ethnicity and religion.”

You know, things like Chechen Muslims and their decades-long war against Russia.

Well, here’s where it gets really strange.

Remember the Boston Marathon Bombing? Remember when the Chechen Tsarnaev brothers had been named by FBI as the perps, but were still “on the run?” Remember their Uncle Ruslan who was all over the TV and “news” sites declaring his nephews to be “losers?” He provided the entire backstory that became the official theory.

Well, Uncle Ruslan was the son-in-law of Graham Fuller! He lived in the Fuller house. He even ran an operation out of Fuller’s house that can be linked to Chechen terrorists.

Oh what a tangled web.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 1 2018 20:42 utc | 90


Thanks for fleshing out more of the terrorist proxy angle behind the CIA operations:

In other news, Turkey is slowly coming on board with the Russian mediated reconciliation efforts in Iblib. It has finally declared HTS and its 10,000 fighters to be a terrorist organization. Lets see how many switch to other terrorist groups to avoid hellfire. Obviously, any such switches would not apply to the Ungars and other foreign terrorists, regardless of which group they are supporting.

If Russia is successful in getting the Syrians who oppose the Syrian government to reach a peace agreement then the fragile Russian/Turkish economic cooperation agreements will hold. This would also be in Turkey's interest given the fragile state of their economy as well as ensuring Qatar is not invaded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

If the other insurgent groups can be persuaded to attack HTS and the foreign fighters then the SAA army only has to mop up a few pockets. Russia is ready to assist those who accept the peace agreement with a Sodom and Gomorrah level bombardment of hot metal jacketed explosives.

Given that the Kurds are hanging to the coattails of the FUKUS troops they will be left out of the agreement West of the Euphrates River. Dislodging the illegal occupation of Eastern and Southern Syria will just take a little longer.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 1 2018 23:45 utc | 91

I made a spelling error Ungars should read Uyghurs of which there are about 18,000 of them in North West Syria.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 2 2018 0:19 utc | 92

Krollchem, I have zero trust in Erdogan, but if the Sultan of Turkey sees it beneficial to surrender all plans/goals to annex parts of Syria, that'd be a good thing. They're pretty well dug in though, as are the US/FRUKUS forces on the other side of the Euphrates.

Meanwhile, it appears Israel has struck another Syrian military facility outside of Damascus. Looks like a major ammo dump was taken out. Softening the target in advance of a coming offensive?

And yeah, isn't it strange that CIA is two degrees of separation from the Boston Marathon Bombing event? Of course, FBI denied any connections to the older Tsarnaev brother, despite their mother's insistence that they'd been in contact for more than a year. The US even denied her reentry to the US for the show trial of the younger brother. But after Russia released their cables showing FBI knew about Tamerlan, FBI gradually admitted to having "interviewed" him first once, then a few times.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 2 2018 1:24 utc | 93

UK Ambassador Dame Pierce: 'Syrian Terrorists Can't be Planning a Chemical Weapons False Flag Because Russia Says They Are'

We know with 100 percent certainty that the terrorist militants occupying Idlib have been made 100 percent aware that (A) the US, UK and its allies will launch an aggressive military assault against the Syrian government in response to any reports of chemical weapons use, (B) such a military assault would take place without any investigation into the nature of the chemical weapons use, which would instead be immediately blamed upon the Syrian government, and (C) killing the civilians they are holding hostage with chemical weapons is literally their only hope of escaping the military onslaught that the Syrian government and its allies are preparing to launch.

We know all of these things for an absolute fact. Even if you dismiss the intelligence which Russia supplied to the US saying that a false flag chemical weapons attack is being prepared for in Idlib, it is self-evident that the jihadist militants would have every motive to stage one if given the opportunity.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 2 2018 3:25 utc | 94

Daniel, Thanks for the heads up. Apparently some Syrian soldiers were killed and injured.

The rogue state of Israel also has declared that they will not be bound by any deals to end the Syria war.

Putin must have the patience of a mountain.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 2 2018 4:25 utc | 95

Here is the latest from ChinaNet about a day I have yet to live.....
DAMASCUS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army denied reports that an Israeli missile attack targeted a Syrian airbase west of Damascus early Sunday, saying a short circuit caused an explosion in an arms depot near the airbase, according to the state TV.

The statement of the Syrian army comes less than an hour after at least two explosions were heard at the Mazzeh airbase in the Mazzeh neighborhood west of Damascus. The explosions reverberated across the capital of Damascus.

Pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV and some pro-government activists in Syria said the explosions were the result of a missile attack by Israel on the airbase, which has been previously targeted by Israel.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 2 2018 4:44 utc | 96

Thanks for the Graham Fuller background info. I am still trying to figure out how a retired US citizen can live in BC, Canada?

Immigration Canada has a point system that includes French language proficiency, education in Canada and a work history in Canada among other items. I have more points under the Canadian system than even Albert Einstein and am not eligible of immigration in Canada, so how does a retired US NSA official qualify without these points?

I wonder if he qualified as a Georgian refugee?

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 8 2018 5:10 utc | 97

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