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  #81  
Old Feb 19th 2016, 04:32 PM
MeMyselfAndI MeMyselfAndI is offline
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Throughout the winter, a number of rebel leaders have gone to Moscow to discuss terms — with mixed success. Late last month, a Russian attempt to bring several Syrian opposition parties together in Moscow collapsed. Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, a close Assad ally who defected from the Syrian Republican Guard in 2012, has drawn up an 11-point ‘national project’ which envisions a general ceasefire, followed by a joint regime-rebel assault on Isis. It is a proposal backed by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and part of a wider strategy that Russia pursued successfully in Chechnya in the early 2000s: reward rebels who are willing to change sides with a place at the winners’ table, while mercilessly bombing those who resist.

Russia’s new best friends are Syria’s Kurds. Earlier this month, the ‘Rojava Democratic Self-Rule Administration’ proclaimed itself the new government in Kurdish-held northern Syria and opened its first overseas representative office, in Moscow. Meanwhile, 200 Russian military advisers have been deployed to the Kurdish-controlled town of Qamishli, next to the Turkish border, to secure a military airport for Russian use. That gives Russia a stronghold from which to strike Isis in northeast Syria and protect its new Kurdish friends from attack by Turkey.

A wider Kurdish-Russian pact could be a game-changer for Assad — but it also massively raises the risk of the Syrian conflict spilling over into a wider war. A deal between the Kurdish YPG militia and Damascus would deprive the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces — a coalition that includes Arab and Assyrian groups — of some of their most effective soldiers. It would also further confuse United States policy in Syria, since the Kurds have been Washington’s closest allies in the region for years.

The danger is that Russia’s overtures to the Kurds could put Moscow on a direct collision course with the Turks. Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish YPG as an offshoot of Turkey’s home-grown Kurdistan Workers’ Party — or PKK — which has been fighting a renewed insurgency against the Turkish state since last summer. Turkey’s tough-talking president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has repeatedly declared that he will not tolerate a de-facto Syrian Kurdish state on his southern border.

Last week, Turkey’s army — the second largest in Nato — backed up Erdoğan’s words by shelling YPG positions from across the frontier, ostensibly in self-defence. Moreover, Erdoğan recently said that a Turkish-US buffer zone mooted for northern Iraq in 2003 would have preserved Iraq from its current problems with Isis. Erdoğan added that he saw no need ‘currently’ for a similar buffer zone in northern Syria — but said that the Turkish military had all the parliamentary authority it needed to create one if the order was given.

More worryingly, Putin and Assad have accused the Turkish army of running weapons to Ankara-backed rebel groups deep inside Syrian territory via the Bab al-Salam border crossing point. The Russians expect Turkey to go further. ‘At a certain point, a full Turkish intervention is inevitable,’ Fyodor Lukyanov, who heads Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, told Bloomberg last week. ‘That would mean a completely different conflict, with a much larger force fighting on the side of the opposition and the risk of a direct Russian-Turkish conflict.’ Nationalist-leaning media on both sides are already fighting a war of words. It’s highly likely that another clash — beginning with, say, a Russian airstrike hitting Turkish troops inside Syria — would escalate quickly. In that case, Turkey could potentially invoke article five of Nato’s founding treaty, which states that an ‘armed attack against one [member] shall be considered an attack against them all’. The terrifying result: war between Nato and Russia.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/p...ful-new-enemy/

FYI, we have deployed advanced Su-35S jet fighters into Syria this month:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmjASBb6JK8
http://theaviationist.com/2016/02/01...u-35-to-syria/

And now a Tu-214R spy plane

http://rbth.com/defence/2016/02/19/r...n-syria_569263
http://theaviationist.com/2016/02/15...oyed-to-syria/

Anybody who knows anything at all about military aviation knows such equipment would not be needed just to fight ISIS... In fact, the primary purpose of the Su-35S is air combatl.

Meanwhile, Turkey is trying to blame us for allegedly Kurdish bombings on their territory; while the Kurds are threatening the Turks with OUR military:

Quote:
On February 19th Mr Davutoglu stopped just short of accusing Moscow of engineering the bombing in Ankara. “I would like to warn Russia, which is giving air support to the YPG in its advance on Azaz [a key rebel stronghold], not to use this terrorist group against the innocent people of Syria and Turkey,” he said.

Meanwhile, the YPG has started to leverage its budding relationship with the Russians. In an interview, the head of the newly opened Syrian-Kurdish representation to Moscow, Rodi Osman, warned that any Turkish incursion into Syria would result in a “great war” with his hosts. “Russia will respond if there is an invasion,” he said. “This isn’t only about the Kurds, they will defend the territorial sovereignty of Syria.”
http://www.economist.com/news/europe...ed-america-and

I smell war...
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  #82  
Old Feb 20th 2016, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MeMyselfAndI View Post
... I smell war...
Indeed, tensions between Turkey and Russia have been rising steadily over the last year. There is potential for serious conflict there.

Russia can't shoot first because of the NATO thing, but if Turkey shoots first, all bets are off.

And I definitely don't like the direction Turkey has been taking in the last half-dozen years. Attaturk (Kemal) must be turning in his grave to see what has become of Turkey these days. They are dangerously isolating themselves politically. They have enough serious problems with the Kurds, they should not be messing around in Syria. There is zero international political support for an anti-Kurd, anti-Assad, pro-ISIS position.
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  #83  
Old Feb 21st 2016, 09:37 AM
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ISTANBUL — American proxies are now at war with each other in Syria.

Officials with Syrian rebel battalions that receive covert backing from one arm of the U.S. government told BuzzFeed News that they recently began fighting rival rebels supported by another arm of the U.S. government.
The infighting between American proxies is the latest setback for the Obama administration’s Syria policy and lays bare its contradictions as violence in the country gets worse.

The confusion is playing out on the battlefield — with the U.S. effectively engaged in a proxy war with itself. “It’s very strange, and I cannot understand it,” said Ahmed Othman, the commander of the U.S.-backed rebel battalion Furqa al-Sultan Murad, who said he had come under attack from U.S.-backed Kurdish militants in Aleppo this week.

Furqa al-Sultan Murad receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies as part of a covert program, overseen by the CIA, that aids rebel groups struggling to overthrow the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, according to rebel officials and analysts tracking the conflict.

The Kurdish militants, on the other hand, receive weapons and support from the Pentagon as part of U.S. efforts to fight ISIS. Known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, they are the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s strategy against the extremists in Syria and coordinate regularly with U.S. airstrikes.

Yet as Assad and his Russian allies have routed rebels around Aleppo in recent weeks — rolling back Islamist factions and moderate U.S. allies alike, as aid groups warn of a humanitarian catastrophe — the YPG has seized the opportunity to take ground from these groups, too.

In the face of public objections from U.S. officials and reportedly backed by Russian airstrikes, the YPG has overrun key villages in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. It now threatens the town of Azaz, on the border with Turkey, through which rebel groups have long received crucial supplies. Over the weekend, Turkey began shelling YPG positions around Azaz in response, raising another difficult scenario for the U.S. in which its proxy is under assault from its NATO ally.

Yet as America has looked on while Russia and Syria target its moderate rebel partners, it has failed to stop the YPG from attacking them too. “That is a major problem,” said Andrew Tabler, a Syria specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It’s not just that it’s a nonsense policy. It’s that we’re losing influence so rapidly to the Russians that people just aren’t listening to us anymore.”
Source

US policy in Syria has been fucked all along - now it is moving into the surreal phase.

US has no good options in Syria and never had any good options in Syria. USA military is just fucking around there because of their desperate desire to do something/anything, not because of any viable plan or strategy. This is a major foreign policy fail for Obama.

Note the line about US losing influence in Syria to Russia. As I said before, if USA/NATO wants to do anything about Syria, they pretty much have to ally with Russia or go home. That's the only viable option for US/NATO in Syria.
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  #84  
Old Feb 21st 2016, 10:25 PM
Tom Palven Tom Palven is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
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US policy in Syria has been fucked all along - now it is moving into the surreal phase.

US has no good options in Syria and never had any good options in Syria. USA military is just fucking around there because of their desperate desire to do something/anything, not because of any viable plan or strategy. This is a major foreign policy fail for Obama.

Note the line about US losing influence in Syria to Russia. As I said before, if USA/NATO wants to do anything about Syria, they pretty much have to ally with Russia or go home. That's the only viable option for US/NATO in Syria.
What could be better for the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex than to have US taxpayers buy their weapons to give to everyone in the world?
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  #85  
Old Feb 28th 2016, 06:33 AM
Tom Palven Tom Palven is offline
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The Empire has allegedly escalated its cyberwar:
http://news.antiwar.com/2016/02/26/u...s-off-twitter/
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  #86  
Old Mar 14th 2016, 09:14 PM
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Russia is apparently beginning to withdraw from Syria. Apparently this comes as a surprise to pretty everyone except Vladimir Putin.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/wo...awal.html?_r=0
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  #87  
Old Mar 15th 2016, 03:13 AM
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NickKIELCEPoland NickKIELCEPoland is offline
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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
Russia is apparently beginning to withdraw from Syria. Apparently this comes as a surprise to pretty everyone except Vladimir Putin.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/wo...awal.html?_r=0
That is why I labelled Putin an attention seeker - he is always surprising people. It's not difficult to surprise people - anyone can do it. And if someone is an attention seeker, that's a very effective way to attention seek.
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  #88  
Old Mar 15th 2016, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
Russia is apparently beginning to withdraw from Syria. Apparently this comes as a surprise to pretty everyone except Vladimir Putin.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/wo...awal.html?_r=0
Very interesting development. Looks like Russia's withdraw serves several Russian policy interests, not the least of which puts pressure on Assad to address the UN negotiators (and allows Russia to save money).

As I've pointed out before, I don't think Russia/Putin is in love with Assad. Russia/Putin like Syria (particularly Tartus naval base) more than they like Assad. All in all, this looks like a generally positive development in Syria, though only time will tell.
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  #89  
Old Mar 15th 2016, 07:25 PM
MeMyselfAndI MeMyselfAndI is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Very interesting development. Looks like Russia's withdraw serves several Russian policy interests, not the least of which puts pressure on Assad to address the UN negotiators (and allows Russia to save money).

As I've pointed out before, I don't think Russia/Putin is in love with Assad. Russia/Putin like Syria (particularly Tartus naval base) more than they like Assad. All in all, this looks like a generally positive development in Syria, though only time will tell.
Most of the ground contingent (mainly Marines) is being withdrawn, as they are not needed anymore to protect the bases in Latakia, as that region is now secure, almost completely cleared of militants.

Some of the planes are also returning home, but a group will remain and continue bombing operations with the Syrians.
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  #90  
Old Mar 27th 2016, 12:15 PM
MeMyselfAndI MeMyselfAndI is offline
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Palmyra is liberated:

http://news.yahoo.com/syria-governme...055421179.html

Quote:
Palmyra (Syria) (AFP) - Syrian troops recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group on Sunday and pledged to build on the win with an advance against other jihadist strongholds.

President Bashar al-Assad hailed the victory as an "important achievement and fresh proof of the efficiency of the Syrian army and its allies in fighting terrorism."

The army said pro-government forces had cleared IS fighters from the UNESCO world heritage site, where the jihadists sparked a global outcry with the systematic destruction of treasured monuments.

"Palmyra will be the central base to broaden operations... against Daesh in numerous areas, primarily Deir Ezzor and Raqa," the army said in a statement carried by state media, using an Arabic name for IS.

The northern city of Raqa is IS's main Syrian bastion and the oil-rich eastern province of Deir Ezzor is another key stronghold.

Backed by a barrage of Russian air strikes, Syrian troops and allied militia launched a major offensive to retake the desert city this month.

Palmyra is both a symbolic and strategic prize for Assad's forces, as it provides control of the surrounding desert extending all the way to the Iraqi border.

At least 400 IS fighters were killed in the battle for the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. On the government side, 188 troops and militiamen were killed.

"That's the heaviest losses that IS has sustained in a single battle since its creation" in 2013, the director of the Britain-based monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
Footage of Ancient Palmyra after Syrian Army recaptured it from ISIS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CIRTC8z4ww

Russian soldier near Palmyra


Meanwhile, America... killed some guy somewhere who is apparently the second in command for ISIS... according to America. And all the proof given for this is the word of an American Pentagon official: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/25/politi...rss_topstories

Okay then... Sure, you guys are participating too. You can go ahead and pat yourselves on the back. Good thing we Russians are generous and modest people, by nature...
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