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Syria Superthread [merged]

CougarKing

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More from Syria from last week/last weekend:

Reuters

US-led forces strike Syrian troops, prompting emergency UN meeting
By: Reuters
September 19, 2016 12:19 AM

BEIRUT/MOSCOW - US-led coalition air strikes reportedly killed dozens of Syrian soldiers on Saturday, endangering a US-Russian brokered ceasefire and prompting an emergency UN Security Council meeting as tensions between Moscow and Washington escalated.

The United States military said the coalition stopped the attacks against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions in northeast Syria after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit.

The United States relayed its "regret" through the Russian government for what it described as the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces in the strike, a senior Obama administration official said in an emailed statement.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in an emailed statement that Russian officials did not voice concerns earlier on Saturday when informed that coalition aircraft would be operating in the strike area.

(...SNIPPED)

AFP via Daily Mail

US troops deployed to back Turkey in Syria met with insults by ‘allies’
By: Laurent Barthelemy, Agence France-Presse
September 17, 2016 6:13 AM


WASHINGTON -- Dozens of US Special Operations commandos have been deployed to northern Syria to help Turkey and "vetted" Syrian rebels fight the Islamic State group, the Pentagon confirmed Friday.

But as footage emerged of the rebels hurling insults and threats at the American special operators, US officials were forced to play down reports that the troops did not receive a warm welcome to the frontline.

Last month, Ankara launched an offensive into northern Syria dubbed "Euphrates Shield," ostensibly designed to cut a major IS group supply line but also to counter the advance of US-backed a Kurdish militia.

(...SNIPPED)

 

Ostrozac

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milnews.ca said:
And even these charts don't capture every nuance.  Even though the second chart says the Kurds are Iraq's enemies, Iraq also seems to be talking to & getting along just fine with at least some Kurds.

Yep. And there are some Kurdish groups that don't get along with other Kurdish groups. Plus the fact that part of the Turkish government just tried to overthrow the other part of the Turkish government. It's a super complex situation.
 

Ostrozac

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Lightguns said:
All the more reason to just go home.  They can slaughter one another just fine.

It wouldn't be the first time that western intervention has contributed to making a total mess of a situation, with the western power(s) then just wandering away and leaving the region in anarchy (see India-Pakistan, Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam, Angola, the Congo, Libya, etc...) And once the Russians and the Iranians are done overthrowing the House of Saud, Saudi oil will stop flooding the market and everyone in Alberta can go back to overpaying for their houses. Win-win for everyone, right?
 

Kirkhill

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
And here is a historical (and hysterical) summary from Uderzo, the writer of the Asterix collection of books, in "Asterix and the black Gold":

:goodpost:  :cheers:
 

Lightguns

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Ostrozac said:
It wouldn't be the first time that western intervention has contributed to making a total mess of a situation, with the western power(s) then just wandering away and leaving the region in anarchy (see India-Pakistan, Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam, Angola, the Congo, Libya, etc...) And once the Russians and the Iranians are done overthrowing the House of Saud, Saudi oil will stop flooding the market and everyone in Alberta can go back to overpaying for their houses. Win-win for everyone, right?

Why does everyone always want to protect the House of Saud?  North America can do just fine without Arab oil.  The US is approaching energy independence in the coming year.  Canada can be energy independent any time it gets a government with the balls to develop a national energy policy that leverages our resources while tariffing Arab oil beyond the price for Canadian consumption.  I am tired of ME, Africa, Asia and every other hole in the ground sucking us down.  I have no interest in solving their problems or making them democracies.  A little continental isolation is in order.  Move the effin UN to Europe lock, stock and barrel.   
 

The Bread Guy

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Lightguns said:
Why does everyone always want to protect the House of Saud?  North America can do just fine without Arab oil.  The US is approaching energy independence in the coming year.  Canada can be energy independent any time it gets a government with the balls to develop a national energy policy that leverages our resources while tariffing Arab oil beyond the price for Canadian consumption. 
I don't like to sound like some from the globalresearch.ca/rabble.ca crowd, but part of it maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay be that as long as people want cheap gasoline (and in Europe, they're paying between $1.50 and $2.40/litre), they'll ignore the worst or, if they are aware, hold their nose.
 

Ostrozac

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Lightguns said:
Why does everyone always want to protect the House of Saud?

For several decades the House of Saud has argued, quite convincingly, that if they fall, Iran runs the Middle East. Quite a few people are not cool with Iran gaining that much power. Israel, especially.

My own opinion? The House is Saud is probably destined to fall anyway -- it is starting to look desperate and scared, and dictatorships can't afford to look desperate and scared. They needed a quick victory in Yemen to cement their credibility, instead they've found themselves another quagmire. What that means for the Middle East is anyone's guess, but rest assured there will be plenty of war to go around for decades to come.
 

Journeyman

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tomahawk6 said:
Beyond ISIL the added target would be the al Nusra Front. This is a sop to the Russians.
A sop?  What do you believe the (perhaps mythical) end-state is? 

If it's to curtail the jihadist efforts in the region -- because you're not going to eliminate it through airstrikes -- then a comprehensive targeting list is actually a 'no shit Sherlock' requirement.  As it is, targeting only ISIS is supporting and strengthening  the region's other key jihadist player, Jabhat al-Nusra.*  At the risk of being repetitious, have a look at the link to the report on this by "The Institute for the Study of War" that I'd posted in May.

If the end-state is supposedly appeasing Russia rather than adopting a more logical, and therefore defensible, bombing campaign, then simply join them in attacking anyone and everyone fighting against the Assad regime..... including the forces trained and supplied by the US.


Mind you, repetitively saying "we're bombing ISIS" is simple enough that Fox news viewers can understand.  The Pentagon relying on Fox for their campaign-planning parameters would be any combination of stupid / lazy / criminal.  I would hope  that a little more thought is involved here, despite your article's evidence to the contrary.  :not-again:




*Jabhat al-Nusra cut its ties to Al Qaeda in July, adopting the name Jabhat Fatah al-Sham;  I guess "the Pentagon," speaking to The Military Times,  missed that.  Of course, it even took CNN until August to repeat the earlier Al Jazeera and UK media reports;  maybe the Pentagon will catch up by October....or November.  :dunno:
 

Lightguns

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Aid Convoys are spontaneously catching fire according the Russians.  Why do we never think of the comedic excuses?

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/volunteer-shows-carnage-of-airstrike-on-u-n-aid-convoy-769185859558
 

George Wallace

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Lightguns said:
Aid Convoys are spontaneously catching fire according the Russians.  Why do we never think of the comedic excuses?

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/volunteer-shows-carnage-of-airstrike-on-u-n-aid-convoy-769185859558

DU rounds do have that effect.
 

The Bread Guy

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Lightguns said:
Aid Convoys are spontaneously catching fire according the Russians.  Why do we never think of the comedic excuses?

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/volunteer-shows-carnage-of-airstrike-on-u-n-aid-convoy-769185859558
:rofl:
<BorisBadinovVoice>"War is being dangerous place to be -- anythink can happen, you know.  Nice convoy you haff -- it vould be shame if anything happint to it ..."</BorisBadinovVoice>
 

The Bread Guy

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CougarKing

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Assad's forces turning the tide against IS?

AFP via Yahoo News

Aleppo hospital hit as Syria army presses assault
By: Agence France-Presse
October 2, 2016 1:17 AM

ALEPPO, Syria - The largest hospital in rebel-held east Aleppo was bombed on Saturday for the second time in days as Syrian government forces pressed a Russian-backed offensive to retake the entire city.

Aleppo, once Syria's vibrant commercial powerhouse, is now at the heart of a major military campaign by President Bashar al-Assad's fighters and his steadfast ally Moscow.

The offensive, announced on September 22, has seen dozens of civilians killed and residential buildings flattened in the east, where an estimated 250,000 people live under government siege.

(...SNIPPED)

Reuters

Warplanes knock out Aleppo hospitals as Russian-backed assault intensifies
By: Ellen Francis and Tom Perry, Reuters
September 29, 2016 10:18 AM

BEIRUT - Russian or Syrian warplanes knocked two hospitals out of service in the besieged rebel sector of Aleppo on Wednesday and ground forces intensified an assault in a battle which the United Nations said had made the city worse than a slaughterhouse.

Two patients died in one of the hospitals and other shelling killed six residents queuing for bread under a siege that has trapped 250,000 people with food running out.

The week-old assault, which could herald a turning point in the war, has already killed hundreds of people, with bunker-busting bombs bringing down buildings on residents huddled inside. Only about 30 doctors are believed to be left inside the besieged zone, coping with hundreds of wounded a day.

(...SNIPPED)
 

The Bread Guy

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Meanwhile, RUS draws a bit of its own line in the sand ...

Associated Press via ABC News
Russia Warns Against US Attack on Syrian Forces

Russia warned the United States Saturday against carrying out any attacks on Syrian government forces, saying it would have repercussions across the Middle East as government forces captured a hill on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo under the cover of airstrikes.

Meanwhile, airstrikes on Aleppo struck a hospital in the eastern rebel-held neighborhood of Sakhour on Saturday, putting it out of service, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees. They said at least one person was killed in the airstrike.

Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that a U.S. intervention against the Syrian army "will lead to terrible, tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole."

She said regime change in Syria would create a vacuum that would be "quickly filled" by "terrorists of all stripes." ...
 

The Bread Guy

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milnews.ca said:
Meanwhile, RUS draws a bit of its own line in the sand ...
... while playing the " 'they' say the U.S. might hit us in Syria" card ...
Russian S-300 systems deployed in Syria after leaks on possible strike at aerodromes

Russian S-300 systems were deployed in Syria following leaks about possible strikes on Syrian aerodromes, Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"First, S-400 systems have been there for a long time and this fact was taken calmly, no one said it was for a show," she said in an interview with the Dozhd TV channel. "S-300 systems were deployed following leaks from experts close to the United States’ officials that cruise missiles could be used to bomb Syrian aerodromes, and these leaks probably were not groundless." ...
... that's what they've heard, anyway.

BTW, it appears Russian jets'll be in Syria for ... a while ...
 

tomahawk6

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https://www.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-russia-builds-forces-syria-reuters-data-analysis-165928186.html

By Jack Stubbs and Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has built up its forces in Syria since a ceasefire collapsed in late September, sending in troops, planes and advanced missile systems, a Reuters analysis of publicly available tracking data shows.

The data points to a doubling of supply runs by air and sea compared to the nearly two-week period preceding the truce. It appears to be Russia's biggest military deployment to Syria since President Vladimir Putin said in March he would pull out some of his country's forces.

The increased manpower probably includes specialists to put into operation a newly delivered S-300 surface-to-air missile system, military analysts said.

The S-300 system will improve Russia's ability to control air space in Syria, where Moscow's forces support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and could be aimed at deterring tougher U.S. action, they said.

"The S-300 basically gives Russia the ability to declare a no-fly zone over Syria," said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.
 

The Bread Guy

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tomahawk6 said:
... Russia has built up its forces in Syria since a ceasefire collapsed in late September, sending in troops, planes and advanced missile systems, a Reuters analysis of publicly available tracking data shows ...
  • RUS air force/aerospace forces in SYR indefinitely?  Check.
  • RUS turning SYR naval base into permanent presence?  Check.
  • Heavy anti-air in SYR to protect against attacks anonymous sources say the U.S. is planning against airfields?  Check.
:pop:
 

MarkOttawa

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Reason for prudence?

Russia’s top spin doctor in nuclear warning

Critics call him the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist”. And like many other top Russian officials, he is on the Western sanctions blacklist.

But the warning he delivered to Washington in last night’s edition of his show News of the Week was, even for him, particularly dramatic. “Impudent behaviour” towards Russia may have “nuclear” consequences, he said.

“A Russian takes a long time to harness a horse, but then rides fast,” said the news anchor, quoting a famous Russian saying.

By “riding fast”, Kiselyov was referring to a string of recent Russian military deployments:

Last week, Moscow sent three warships from the Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean: on board, cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads

Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland…’
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37606114

Nuclear de-escalation anyone?
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/mark-collins-norad-and-russian-cruise-nukes-de-escalation/
https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/mark-collins-norad-and-russian-cruise-nukes-de-escalation-part-2/

Mark
Ottawa

 

a_majoor

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And "Smart Diplomacy" just keeps delivering:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/10/14/what-erdogans-pivot-to-putin-means/

What Erdogan’s Pivot to Putin Means
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD

The Financial Times outlines just how Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia may play out in Syria—an important read:

Rebel-held eastern Aleppo looks as though it will either fall or be razed to the ground in the face of relentless Russian bombardment from the air and under siege from Iran-backed militia on the ground.

President Vladimir Putin will then have got his way: saving the regime of Bashar al-Assad inside a rump Syria, with the ruins of Aleppo marking its northern perimeter, as part of his reassertion of Russia’s credentials as a regional and global rival to the US.
But it is not just Mr Putin’s ruthlessness that will bring this about. It is Turkey’s tilt towards Russia and, to a degree, Iran, which is the main change in the strategic equation on the crowded battlefield of north-west Syria.

Obama handling of Syria continues to become more incoherent and more damaging to American interests. Putin has not only, thanks to White House dithering and irresolution, managed to reinsert Russia into Middle East politics in a spoiler role and his gains have not just included a deepening and commercially beneficial relationship with Iran and the weakening of the European Union and Merkel’s leadership in it over the refugee issue; he has also, thanks to the incoherence of American policy, managed to drive a thick wedge into NATO by further alienating Turkey from the West and, especially Washington.

As for what a naive and vainglorious President Obama once (back in those days when he collected Nobel Peace Prizes and was hailed as the second coming of Abraham Licoln by a clueless and infatuated press corps) identified as a central goal of his foreign policy—the reconciliation of America with the Muslim world—his callous abandonment of the Syrian Sunnis to their increasingly genocidal foes has done as much, if not more, to tarnish America’s reputation among Sunni Arabs than anything any of his predecessors managed to do going back to Harry Truman.

The issues in Syria are difficult and the alternatives are few, but President Obama’s Syria policy is one of the shabbiest and sorriest displays of serial ineptitude that has unfolded in world politics in all these many years. That his emissaries and representatives attempt to cover the nakedness of their policy with grandiose rhetorical denunciation of the crimes that Obama’s incompetence has enabled merely underscores the horrifying moral and political emptiness of the President’s approach to world politics.
 
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