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  1. #1
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    Default U.S. Officials Say Sizable Arab Force Identified For Raqqa Campaign

    U.S. Officials Say Sizable Arab Force Identified For Raqqa Campaign

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    Default Pentagon Plan to Seize Raqqa Calls for Significant Increase in U.S. Participation

    Pentagon Plan to Seize Raqqa Calls for Significant Increase in U.S. Participation

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    Default Three-Way Contest for Raqqa to Shape Mideast

    Three-Way Contest for Raqqa to Shape Mideast

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    Default U.S. Marines Deploy to Syria as Agreement on Raqqa Assault Eludes Allies

    U.S. Marines Deploy to Syria as Agreement on Raqqa Assault Eludes Allies

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    Default CJTFOIR Spokesman: Counter-ISIS Forces Make Gains in Raqqa, Mosul

    CJTFOIR Spokesman: Counter-ISIS Forces Make Gains in Raqqa, Mosul

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Syria in 2017 (April-December)

    Time for a new thread starting tomorrow.

    The Syria in 2017 (January to March) had 2,105 posts and 86.8k views:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=24850

    The previous thread from September-December 2016 had 2683 posts and 64.2k views.
    davidbfpo

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    Russian Syrian Express....


    Watch this RORO: From Novorossiysk, flag RORO Sparta III transits Bosphorus en route to #Tartus #Syria carrying military equipment 01:30Z
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    Default

    For a complete list of links to my coverage of Assadist and Russian aerial operations over Syria in period 15 March - 30 April 2017, please see here.

    In essence, and with exception of air strikes flown on 30 and 31 March, and 1 April 2017, all the figures are there. The link above also provides a number of links to related articles published at WarIsboring.com.

    A much bigger - indeed, a 'major' feature on the SyAAF, its current condition, ORBAT, capabilities and intentions - is planned for publishing in the June 2017 volume of the magazine Air Forces Monthly.

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    Russian Syrian Express......

    Ф #ЧФ BSF Tapir class LST Nikolai Filchenkov 152 transits Med-bound Bosphorus en route to #Tartus #Syria for its 5th deployment in 2017

    BUT she is riding a tad high for a resupply run....
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    Damascus: #Assad forces shelling #Irbeen in Eastern #Damascus with heavy artillery. Many civilians were killed or wounded.

    Damascus: 100 rebels wasted for nothing in Eastern #Ghouta in 3 days, while the #Assad regime bombs nonstop & tries to advance.

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    Default To CrowBat RE: Syria (1/2)

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    Ankara was - for years - negotiating with the PKK
    And vice versa. It takes two to tango, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    …while at the same time calling for the USA and others of its Western allies to help it solve the situation in Syria. For years. In 2011, in 2012, in 2013, in 2014 etc.
    And? If the narcotics-related conflict in Mexico destroyed the Mexican state and the violence sent millions fleeing into the United States, would Turkey lend a helping hand?

    The United States is also being called upon to resolve the Russo-Ukrainian War, the ongoing wars in the D.R. Congo and Burundi, the transnational wars involving Boko Haram, the civil war in Myanmar, the unresolved Korean conflict, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    The West refused, and - and against any logic - continued to ignore the situation in Syria even when millions of Syrians poured over the border into Turkey, an then continued pushing further west and north, putting the Turkish economy under immense strain.
    They poured into Lebanon and Jordan as well. Turkey has been the single largest provider of aid (at 47% of total), but Turkey’s allies have pitched in, with the United States being the second-largest donor at 27%.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    And when this was not enough, the West ignored the Russians exporting at least 25.000 of their Wahhabists to Syria, where these joined the Daesh and Nusra - both of which came into being foremost thanks to the Assad regime.
    You inflated the number of Russian citizens fighting for rebel groups in Syria by an order of magnitude, and did they all cross through Iran and Iraq, or take the direct route through Turkey? Yes, Assad sparked the war and yes, neither Daesh nor Nusra would have been possible without the lawless vacuum that the war created. However, Ankara allowed its southern border to be a sieve for foreign volunteers to join the FSA, Daesh and Nusra, because these were clashing with the YPG.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    And when that was not enough, the West - but the USA in particular - started acting as if Assad regime is entirely irrelevant, as if there is no popular uprising nor 'civil war' in Syria, as if there is no Iranian military intervention in Syria, and as if Turkey should neither have its own national interests inside Turkey, nor for its neighbourhood.
    No, the West simply had no appetite for regime change and a major ground war. Prior to the 2013 arrangement with Russia, Assad’s deterrent complicated the situation as it was suggested that some 75,000 ground troops would be required to secure his chemical weapons.

    As for Iran’s intervention, Washington couldn’t make war on Iran in Syria on the one hand, and arrive at a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program on the other. Obama clearly traded involvement in Ukraine and Syria for the JCPOA.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    And when that was not enough, the US military - violating US laws - entered cooperation with the PKK, while using bases inside Turkey.
    No, the cooperation began with the PYD. Despite the PKK-PYD ties, the YPG is not fighting in Turkey, and I have seen no evidence of a major flow of Turkish Kurdish volunteers to the YPG or conversely, flows of Syrian Kurdish volunteers to the PKK.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    And when that was not enough, the Turks were told to shut up and tolerate the PKK, to shut up and tolerate 4 millions of Syrian refugees inside Turkey - and then also accused of cooperation with Nusra and Daesh, and this despite perfect clarity that Erdogan and his AKP are on the list of enemies of these two (visible also through the fact that the elements of Turkish society that do cooperate with the HTS, for example, stand in opposition to the AKP).
    When were the Turks told to tolerate the PKK? I saw Turkish armor roll into southeastern cities weapons free and kill at least as many Kurdish civilians as PKK fighters, with little to no pressure from the West. If the Sultan and his Muslim Brotherhood are so high on the list of Daesh’s and Nusra’s target lists, then why did the Sultan place them below the YPG on his own list? Ankara was accused of collaboration with Daesh by Russia, a claim that was cried shrilly after the Su-24 was barbequed.

    Of course, the West could have responded by highlighting Assad’s reliance upon commodities from Daesh-controlled parts of Syria, as the “Syrian Express” cannot keep the lights on in Damascus on its own, but then the Western publics would bay for intervention and how could the West then avoid regime change and conflict with Iran?

    Supporting the YPG is dangerous for Moscow and Teheran as well, as Moscow wants to prize Turkey from NATO and has its own ethnic problems, and Iran has a chunk of “Kurdistan” as well. Few seem to be thinking this thing through.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    No, it is not. The blame for genocide of Armenians is on Turkey and Turks, no doubt about this. And, sooner or later, they'll accept their responsibility.
    Yeah right. I cannot claim to know many Turks, but I have yet to meet one that believes that there was a genocide.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    It's just a piss-poor excuse, misused for demonizing Turkey and completely ignoring Turkish interests. An act that's ruining relations between the West and that country for decades in advance. Now tell me, please: in whose interest is that?
    Should I care? As far as I am concerned, both Russia and Turkey should be walled off.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    sigh... Do I really have to waste even more time with discussing that topic further in-depth, too...? Get yourself at least 'Arabs and Israelis for Dummies', and read: everything is nicely based on documentation.
    Well, when you can prove a Jewish genocide of Arabs, perhaps I’ll entertain this more. I went through my pro-Palestinian phase years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    'Aborigines' - in the USA...? Well, thanks for a reminder, but I didn't even try to add them to the equation.
    I used aboriginal in lieu of “Indian” or “American Indian”, which are inaccurate terms. Would you prefer “native” or “indigenous”? “Aborigine” is something else entirely. Again, no genocide happened. Everyone wants to have their own Holocaust it seems whilst denying the real one that took place.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    And you were wrong with thinking that way. My soft spot is humanity and freedom, and opposition to any kind of oppression. It just so happens that some of Sunni Arabs are between plenty of other people who are oppressed. But then, that's something you don't think about, and thus can't understand me.
    Alright. So if the United States has one bullet for humanitarian intervention, where does it use it? D.R. Congo and Burundi or Iraq and Syria?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    Wrong. Their governments have such problems, because both of them need chauvinists to keep themselves in power.
    In my experience, the Turks are more indoctrinated by their government than the Russians, and this includes the Turks that are secular nationalists as well. If there is one thing that Turks agree on, it is that there were no genocides and that there is an anti-Turkish conspiracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    ...What's wrong with that?
    Because the West wants to specifically defeat Daesh and otherwise stay out of the war. I see leaving Assad in place and defeating Sunni Arab supremacism as mutually exclusive objectives. But I’m not on the NSC.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    Are you really that poor at 'connecting dots' as to fail to understand that the Daesh could've been easily prevented by supporting the FSyA and removing Assad on time?
    The problem is far too complex to make that assumption. Again, a nuclear-armed Iran was considered a worse threat than Daesh and still is.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat
    ...which wold change absolutely nothing. But then, it's meanwhile typical for you - yes, this time: 'for you' - to be unable to think beyond, 'replacing one dictator of the minority through another dictator from the same minority'.
    I said “rump state”. An Alawi can never rule over the Sunni Arab majority in Syria again. However, neither will the Alawis accept possible tyranny of the majority. Another Alawi leader could enact a realarmistice so that the FSA can concentrate on Daesh and consolidate its control over Sunni Arab Syria. Of course, Russia may be content with that but Iran won’t be.

    A weak and federalized state along the lines of Lebanon seems to be the answer for both Iraq and Syria, but are the Alawis and Shias disabused of the notion that they can win it all?

    To paraphrase Gen. Sherman, the Iranians need to be made absolutely sick of war.

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    Default On Syria Fronts, US-Backed Forces Probe Raqqa Defenses, Iran-Allied Fighters Gain Key

    On Syria Fronts, US-Backed Forces Probe Raqqa Defenses, Iran-Allied Fighters Gain Key Foothold

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    HAS Assad again used CWs.....


    Jobar News map of the military situation in Jobar Neighborhood. Seems some kind of chemical weapon has been allegedly used on 2 fronts.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-23-2017 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Moved from Qatar thread

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    Default Bitter US-Russian Standoff in Syria—More Hot Words Than Real Harm

    From the Jamestown Foundation: https://jamestown.org/program/bitter...rds-real-harm/

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 84
    By: Pavel Felgenhauer


    Introduction:

    A series of military incidents involving the United States, Russia, and their allies in Syria and the Baltic region have additionally hurt already strained US-Russian relations. As sign of its acute displeasure, Moscow canceled high-level talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon, which were planned for June 23, in St. Petersburg. Ryabkov lambasted the US for adding 38 individuals and organizations to its list of sanctions “as a political gift” to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who visited Washington this week (June 20) and met with President Donald Trump at the White House. According to Ryabkov, “There is nothing to discuss fruitfully with Washington today.” Ryabkov accused the Trump administration of supporting “the party of war in Kiyv” and of “following the lead of prominent Russophobes in the US Congress” (Mid.ru, June 21). The cancelation of the St. Petersburg round of Ryabkov-Shannon talks calls into question plans for the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the upcoming (July 7–8) G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
    The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed displeasure over:

    • The shooting down of the Syrian Su-22 on June 18
    • The US base near al-Tanf, with special forces and HIMARS artillery
    • The shooting down of two Iranian UAVs
    • The bombing of pro-Assad armored columns (twice)


    However, Russia has not attempted to hold U.S. aircraft operating around al-Tanf at risk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azor View Post
    From the Jamestown Foundation: https://jamestown.org/program/bitter...rds-real-harm/

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 84
    By: Pavel Felgenhauer


    Introduction:



    The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed displeasure over:

    • The shooting down of the Syrian Su-22 on June 18
    • The US base near al-Tanf, with special forces and HIMARS artillery
    • The shooting down of two Iranian UAVs
    • The bombing of pro-Assad armored columns (twice)


    However, Russia has not attempted to hold U.S. aircraft operating around al-Tanf at risk...
    JUST a side comment...what we are actually seeing in Syria is not an Obama nor a Trump and his merry band FP....

    We are seeing a SecDef Mattis FP backed up by AIM 9s.....and specific Iranian counter air strikes.....to enforce a red line policy.

    The Mattis FP problem begins the exact day he attempts to take back under control those advanced weapon systems given to the PKK....after Raqqa...

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    Rebels have killed an #Assad Brigadier General and many other #Assad fighters at #Madinat_al_Baath today.
    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=33...5469&z=14&m=b#

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    JUST a side comment...what we are actually seeing in Syria is not an Obama nor a Trump and his merry band FP....

    We are seeing a SecDef Mattis FP backed up by AIM 9s.....and specific Iranian counter air strikes.....to enforce a red line policy.

    The Mattis FP problem begins the exact day he attempts to take back under control those advanced weapon systems given to the PKK....after Raqqa...
    I would disagree that Mattis has a specific foreign policy that he is executing. However, Mattis is an obviously good interlocutor with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Combatant Commanders. What we are observing is a continuation of Obama's policies with regard to Syria, albeit with the military empowered tactically.

    Where Trump and Obama differ is on Iran. I doubt that Trump will unilaterally abrogate the JCPOA, given the advice of the foreign policy, intelligence and defense communities, however, he will not kowtow to Iran's adventures in Iraq and Syria merely to ensure that Iran upholds it.

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    Default Who has what in Iraq & Syria

    From the NYT series of graphics on the rise and fall of ISIS, a map showing the position October 2015 to October 2017.


    There are other graphics. Link:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...and-back.html?

    From the BBC a map showing who has what; from IHS Conflict Monitor:
    Link (part of a wider article):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-41679377
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Who will govern and who will rebuild Raqqa?

    An ICSR commentary that was republished by CNN, which raises many more questions too. Personally I cannot see anyone volunteering the funding and more to rebuild Raqqa or anywhere else in Syria. I exclude those supporting the Bashir Assad regime.
    Link:http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/18/op...ion/index.html
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    Default Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

    I offer this article for readers to assess themselves. It comes from a previously unheard of news website, which on my second reading maybe pro-Assad. It starts with:
    A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.
    Link:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-1...ind-syrian-war

    I asked a SME to have a peek and they responded:
    I am a bit skeptical. Lots of Saudi vs Qatar disinformation going on at present. This seems part of that. Weird that the Arabic is unheard, and the translation does not mesh entirely with the claims in the article made on the basis of the same video.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-31-2017 at 11:59 AM. Reason: 64,069v 24hrs later 12k up in 2 months
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