Friday, October 9, 2015

Today's links

"I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell."

The primary target is the infrastructure the Islamic State and the other jihadi groups have created to support their military campaign against the Syrian government. In Shoigu’s words “command posts, ammunition depots, military hardware, and training camps for their fighters.”
It is the Islamic State and the jihadi rebels’ resources to conduct the war, rather than their fighters, who are the primary target. 
The Russians are not out to kill lots of jihadis. They are focused on destroying the Islamic State’s and the jihadis’ ability to wage war, so that the Russians and their allies can win it

2--Putin foils Brzezinski's plan to sow division and enmity across the ME and Asia

3--Why the US Owns the Rise of ISIS and the Syria Disaster
No elaborate conspiracy theories are needed to explain how US set up the current bloodbath in Syria - only the understanding of how short-sighted, feckless and aimless it really is

The actual creation of Islamic State is also directly linked to the Iraq War. The former U.S. commander at Camp Bucca in Iraq has acknowledged that the detention of 24,000 prisoners, including hard-core al-Qaida cadres, Baathist officers and innocent civilians, created a “pressure cooker for extremism.”
It was during their confinement in that camp during the U.S. troop surge in Iraq 2007 and 2008 that nine senior al-Qaida military cadres planned the details of how they would create Islamic State.
The Obama administration completed the causal chain by giving the green light to a major war in Syria waged by well-armed and well-trained foreign jihadists

Although the Assad regime undoubtedly responded to the firebombing of the Baath Party headquarters in Daraa in mid-March 2011 with excessive force, an armed struggle against the regime began almost immediately.
In late March or early April, a well-planned ambush of Syrian troops killed at least two dozen soldiers near the same city. Other killings of troops took place in April in other cities, including Daraa, where 19 soldiers were gunned down.

During the second half of 2011 and through 2012, thousands of foreign jihadists streamed into Syria. As early as November 2011, al-Qaida was playing a central role in the war, carrying out spectacular suicide bombings in Damascus and Aleppo.
Obama should have reacted to the first indications of that development and insisted that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar keep external arms and military personnel and funding out of Syria in order to allow a process of peaceful change to take place. Instead, however, the administration became an integral part of a proxy war for regime change.

Seymour Hersh reported last year that an unpublished addendum to the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi revealed a covert CIA operation to arm Syrian rebels, in cooperation with Sunni allies’ intelligence services....

In early 2012, Hersh reported, following an agreement with Turkey, then-CIA Director David Petraeus approved an elaborate covert operation in which Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar would fund the shipment of weapons to Syrian rebels from stocks captured from the Gadhafi government.
The scheme employed front companies set up in Libya to manage the shipments of arms in order to separate the U.S. government from the operation. An October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report released by the Department of Defense to Judicial Watch confirmed the shipments of Libyan weapons from the port of Benghazi to two Syrian ports near Turkey beginning in October 2011 and continuing through August 2012.

A larger covert program involved a joint military operations center in Istanbul, where CIA officers worked with Turkish, Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies that were also providing arms to their favorite Syrian rebels groups, according to sources who talked with The Washington Post’s David Ignatius.
By November 2012, al-Qaida’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra Front, had 6,000 to 10,000 troops—mostly foreign fighters—under its command and was regarded as the most disciplined and effective fighting force in the field....

Meanwhile, as Vice President Joe Biden pointed out in October 2014, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons” into Syria that were ending up in the hands of the jihadists

4---Airspace Violation, You Say? Turkey Slams Russia for What Ankara Does Daily

5--"Must Read" How Russia Is Deploying Its Military In Syria,

By October 1, 2015, the Russian strategy in Syria-Iraq was very clear.
The initial Russian effort was to consolidate and stabilize the areas adjacent to the ‘Alawite heartland and particularly the Russian defense zone. This meant focus on defeating the jihadist forces in north-western Syria; areas where the jihadists were supported and sustained by the U.S.-led sponsorship infrastructure in Hatay Province across the Turkish border.

The second priority was to clear the roads to Aleppo and lift the jihadist siege and occupation: again, confronting and defeating jihadist forces sustained from across the Turkish border. These jihadists also controlled the key supply roads from southern Turkey to the heart of the Caliphate’s Euphrates Valley bastion.
Only then, would the Syrian Armed Forces be in position to advance eastward into the Euphrates Valley.
Significantly, the Russians’ initial priority areas were also the priority areas of the U.S.-sponsored ji-hadists in their repeated efforts to reach Damascus and topple the Assad Administration, as well as de-stroy the ‘Alawite heartland in between. These U.S.-sponsored jihadists not only do not confront the Is-lamic State forces, but closely cooperate with them in the Aleppo area, the Damascus area, and the Homs pocket.
Rhetoric notwithstanding, any progress of the Syrian and Russian forces represents a setback to U.S. Pres. Obama’s pro-jihad/anti-Assad efforts.

The Russians would like to use the Kuweires airbase as a forward base for the liberation of Aleppo and the region. Hence, lifting the siege had become a priority. Large quantities of combat vehi-cles, weapons and supplies were delivered by the Russians to the Syrian forces....

At the request of Pres. Assad, the Russians agreed to “oversee the Syrian Armed Forces’ operations in northern Syria” and toward this end “have now taken complete command of the east Aleppo offensive to lift the siege of the Kuweires Military Airport.”...

Indeed, senior Syrian military officials stressed that all the illustrious Syrian senior commanders were “taking a backseat to the Russian military advisors overseeing the battle of east Aleppo.”...

The Kremlin considers the Baghdad center as the venue through which the great war for the elimination of the jihadists in the entire al-Jazira will be managed and waged. “The Russian Federation, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Republic of Iraq, and the Islamic Republic of Iran have decided to open an information cen-ter in Baghdad which will include the General Staff representatives from the named countries,” a Russian senior official noted. “The success of the center in the near future will create conditions for the formation on its basis of the coordination committee for the purpose of planning operations and control of units of the armed forces of these four countries fighting against [the Islamic State].” .....

By now, the Russians and their allies were settling in the Middle East for the long haul. The Kremlin was now formally committed to helping Damascus win and to the complete eradication of the jihadist scourge emanating from the heart of al-Jazira, no matter how long it would take.
On September 30, 2015, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin formally articulated the objectives of the interven-tion:

“Syria is the issue here. The only real way to fight international terrorism ... is to take the initiative and fight and destroy the terrorists in the territory they have already captured rather than waiting for them to arrive on our soil. ... I want to stress the point though that the conflict in Syria has deep roots and is the result of many factors. This includes interstate and domestic political factors, and religious and inter-ethnic differences, which have been exacerbated by unceremonious foreign intervention in the region’s affairs.

Given these circumstances, we naturally have no intention of getting deeply entangled in this conflict. We will act strictly in accordance with our set mission. First, we will support the Syrian Army only in its lawful fight against terrorist groups. Second, our support will be limited to air strikes and will not involve ground operations. Third, our support will have a limited time frame and will continue only while the Syrian Army conducts its anti-terrorist offensive.
Our view is that a final and long-term solution to the situation in Syria is possible only on the basis of political reform and dialogue between all healthy forces in the country. I know that Pres. al-Assad knows this and is ready for this process. We are counting on his active and flexible position and his readiness to make compromises for the sake of his country and people.”...

On September 27, 2015, the Iraqi High command formally announced an agreement on “security and in-telligence cooperation” with Russia, Iran, and Syria in order “to help combat the Islamic State” forces. The statement elaborated that the coordination agreement would enable the participating militaries to “help [each other] and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist DI’ISH group”.

6---Toyota mystery uncovered

The Treasury Department is asking from where the Islamic State received all the Toyota Hilux cruisers it uses as weapon platforms. The Treasury will not have to look very far. The answer can be found via a simple web-search or nearby in the State Department:
Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks. Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army's wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.
"Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground," he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.
The British government delivered similar equipment as did the Turks and the U.S. Gulf allies. Guess where all those cars ended up. It now seems the so called Free Syrian Army was and is nothing but a weapon transfer shop to deliver weapons and equipment to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda....

Even Syria experts now admit that the major weapon flow was and is always in the direction of the worst Jihadis:
Probably 70% of US arms sent into Syria have ended up in Nusra hands. Idriss, Hazm, & Company 30 all had arms taken.
7--Santelli: Where will rates go?

8--The Syrian Offensive begins after 7 days of bombing

9--Putin: Who created ISIS?
10--Saudi Clerics Urge Jihad Against Syria, Iran, and Russia

11--Turkey is highly dependent on Russia's energy resources, with 55 percent of its natural gas consumption and 30 percent of its oil needs being met by the country. One cannot rule out the possibility that Moscow might use Turkey's reliance on Russian energy sources as a tool to raise the stakes against Turkey in Syria.

It would not be surprising to see the Syrian regime and its supporters launch a surprise ground attack in some strategic locations to further demoralize the opposition. In fact, Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles on Oct. 7, as Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive in central Syria, in the first major combined air-and-ground assault since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week.
Perhaps a thrust towards the Turkish border -- imagine the reaction in Ankara if Syrian flags reappeared along the border -- will mean that the game is over for Turkey

12--War is a social activity, fought by armed groups.  It is a process in which the mind of the enemy commander is the principle objective.Stonewall Jackson understood that.....He understood that in war one must move fast, fast enough to get "inside" your enemy's cycle of information, decision and action and once inside that cycle you must remain there, dominating and in some cases paralyzing his movements by your dynamism.  That truth remains.
.... the Russians learned the Stonewall way of thinking not in Afghanistan but rather in Chechniya and Georgia.  They seem to be applying it
sic semper tyrannus

13--NATO vows biggest buildup against Russia since Cold War

14--A crisis of global dimensions
Lawrence Summers, US treasury secretary under President Clinton, pointed to the crisis facing the ruling class in a comment published in the Washington Post on Thursday. Under the headline, “A global economy in peril,” Summers wrote that the dangers “are more severe than at any time since the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008.” He continued: “The problem of secular stagnation—the inability of the industrial world to grow at satisfactory rates even with very loose monetary policies—is growing worse in the wake of problems in most big emerging markets, starting with China.”

The world economy is faced with the “specter of a global vicious cycle in which slow growth in industrial countries hurts emerging markets, thereby slowing Western growth further,” Summers declared, adding, “Industrialized economies that are barely running above stall speed can ill afford a negative global shock.”

The economic crisis at once intensifies and is compounded by mounting geopolitical crises and international conflicts, driven above all by the relentless pursuit of global hegemony by American imperialism. For a quarter century, the American ruling class has been engaged in endless wars of ever-expanding geographical scope. For the past fifteen years, the military interventions have been waged under the banner of the “war on terror,” the ideological framework used by the American financial aristocracy to reorganize the Middle East and Central Asia through bloodletting and violence.

One country after another has been targeted for regime change or subversion by the US and its allies: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. The carnage produced by these wars has led to a virtual collapse of state structures throughout the Middle East, producing a flood of desperate refugees to which the ruling classes of Europe have responded with violence and repression.
Here too, the crisis is reaching a tipping point. The local wars in the Middle East are leading increasingly to direct conflict between the major powers. This week, French President Francois Hollande declared that the conflict in Syria risked devolving into “a total war, a war that will also affect our territories,” i.e., Europe.

17--China Threatens The U.S., Says Will "Not Tolerate Violations Of Its Territorial Waters"

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Today's Links

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing (a) legitimate government.” Vladimir Putin

1--Requiem by Anna Akhmatova
2--There's Trouble in Treasuries

Despite the rally in stocks that left the S&P 500 up for the fifth day in a row, the longest such series since December, there was, at the other end of the spectrum, a whiff of panic....
Which leaves us with a quandary: The stock market rally says folks believe that the bonanza will continue, that risks have disappeared, that the economy is hot, and that the Fed will never take away the punchbowl.
But the Treasury market shows that others are desperate to put their money into highly liquid and safe places, even if it costs them money – a behavior normally visible ahead of a looming crisis. Even then, the Treasury had never before been able to auction off three-month T-bills at a yield of zero....

So if the stock market shows that investors once again are getting drunk at the Fed’s punchbowl, why is there another group of investors who are spooked, who want to put their money into the safest and most liquid asset even if it costs them money?

3--Washington divided over Syrian debacle

The fault lines created by the debacle in Syria (and Iraq and elsewhere) run not only through both of the political parties of the financial aristocracy, but through the military-intelligence apparatus itself. While Petraeus speaks for one faction of this apparatus, the current Pentagon leadership is adamantly opposed to a major additional commitment of US forces in the Middle East, because of the need to prepare for impending confrontations with Russia and particularly China.

According to a report Saturday in the Washington Post, there is a sharp conflict between the CIA, which is heavily committed in Syria and is devoting a reported 10 percent of its total budget to training Islamist forces for combat against Assad, and the Pentagon, which has conducted only a token effort at training Syrian “rebels.”

The Post reported: “A former senior U.S. intelligence official said the U.S. failure to respond to the strikes or bolster support for CIA-trained units is likely to anger CIA paramilitary teams in the region that have for several years chafed at White House-imposed limits on the level of support given to moderate rebel groups.”

4---Russia Shuns No-Fly Zone for Syria as Clerics Urge Reprisals

5--3,000 terrorists leave Syria following Russian airstrikes – military source
Rats leave the sinking ship

6--All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Syria back together again

The reference to “moderate groups” is part of Washington’s efforts to obscure the fact that it is opposed to any attacks on the Al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The US and NATO powers are in an effective alliance with the organization and other Islamist militias in Syria that are being funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey....

Russian officials responded by defending their intervention in Syria and vowing to intensify their operations. New contingents of Russian “volunteer” ground forces will soon be deployed to Syria, Russian officials said on Monday.
“Our airstrikes will not only continue, but grow in intensity,” Russian military chief Andrei Kartapolov said during a press briefing on Saturday

Attacking the policies of the sitting Democratic administration from the right, US presidential candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said last week that she supports the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria.
Several Republican presidential candidates have recently support a no-fly zone, including ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Syria back together by negotiating a solution from the outside even if there was one King instead of a divided mix of the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, the other states surrounding Syria, the Arabian Gulf states, Egypt, and France and the other interested European powers,” Cordesman wrote.
Cordesman went on to insist that US policy makers “stop pretending that Syrian ‘moderates’ are strong enough to either affect the security situation or negotiate for Syria’s real fighters.” That is, the US should dispense with the pretense that it is not allied with Islamic fundamentalist organizations as part of its drive to control Syria and the entire Middle East

7--Saudi Clerics Call for Jihad Against Russia in Syria, Nimmo
Fatwa characterizes Russian effort as Orthodox Christian crusade

8--Russia ready to consider Iraqi request for airstrikes – Upper House speaker

9--Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS

U.S. President Obama’s chief aim in Syria is not to defeat the fundamentalist ISIS and Al Qaeda there, but to replace that country’s secular leader Bashar al-Assad, who is, on the basis of the above-cited evidence, far more popular in Syria than Obama is. Yet Obama says that militarily overthrowing Assad would be the ‘democratic’ thing to do.
Obama ‘introduced democracy’ into Libya by militarily overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi and sparking civil war there; and he ‘introduced democracy’ into Ukraine by a violent U.S.-planned coup getting rid of Viktor Yanukovych and sparking civil war there.

Before Obama, George W. Bush had brought ‘democracy’ to Iraq by overthrowing Saddam Hussein and sparking civil war there.
Is the ‘democracy’ in the United States itself still authentic, or is it instead now fake, such as America’s former President Jimmy Carter recently said — that the U.S. is no longer a democracy? If the U.S. is no longer a democracy, and yet accuses other governments of being dictatorships that the U.S. has a right to overthrow, then would that hypocrisy indicate a disrespect for the public’s intelligence? How much should a person trust Mr. Obama’s honesty?

10--How the West's Folly Brought Humiliation in Syria, mercouris Today's "must read"

“The moderate opposition in Syria is one that, if we ever going to have a political transition, we need. And the Russian policy is driving those folks underground or creating a situation in which they are decapacitated and it is only strengthening ISIL.”

Translated into plain English, Obama is complaining the Russian air campaign is destroying the people the US wants to take over Syria.

This comment tells us something else.  This is that the US expects the Russian air campaign to succeed, and the opposition to Assad to be defeated.
This very revealing article in the Daily Beast describes the hand-wringing in Washington as its bluff in Syria is being called.
Behind the bluster, there is no intention to interfere in the Russian air campaign, and rather than face off against the Russian air force, plans for US bombing raids on Syria and for no-fly zones have been called off.
Moreover there is a bipartisan support for this, with war hawks like Hillary Clinton and Senator McCain isolated.
This is consistent with scattered reports that despite its public show of defiance the US has actually heeded the Russian warning to stay out of Syrian air space whilst the Russian air campaign is underway.
That warning was made in an intentionally humiliating way, giving the US just an hour to comply, to rub in the point that the days when the US and its allies could roam freely in the skies of Syria are well and truly over. 
Future overflights and bombing raids will henceforth have to be coordinated with the Russians, at least whilst the Russian air campaign is underway.
Obama of course also complains in his comments that the Russian air campaign, by defeating the so-called “moderate” opposition to President Assad, is helping the Islamic State.
This has become  the main theme of Western media commentary over the last few days.
The argument is - to quote Obama again - that

“Russian policy is driving those folks underground or creating a situation in which they are decapacitated and it is only strengthening ISIL”.
The people Obama is referring to - the “folks” who may be “driven underground” or “decapacitated” - are the people the US is supporting in the fight against President Assad.
It is now universally admitted these people are overwhelmingly Sunni militants - in other words armed jihadis - violently opposed to what they see as an apostate secular Alawite led government in Syria.
The idea that there can be a “moderate jihadi” opposition to President Assad - any more than there was a “moderate jihadi” opposition in Libya to  Muammar Gaddafi - is one that would strike most people as bizarre.  It is in fact an acknowledged fact that many of the “moderate jihadis” fighting President Assad - who the US is supporting - are affiliated to Al-Qaeda.
To say this however is to underestimate the obsessive character of the US's Syrian policy.
US policy is to overthrow President Assad.  The fact most of those fighing President Assad are militant jihadis is neither here nor there.  If “moderate” “liberal” “secular” Syrians cannot overthrow President Assad - and the lesson of the last four years is they cannot - then militant jihadis will have to do.
The result is the absurd situation where the US is now running two covert programmes in Syria at the same time - one to create a jihadi army to fight President Assad; the other to create an army to fight the Islamic State, which also opposes President Assad, but which the US also says it opposes.
The first programme - run by the CIA - has been a relative success.
The second programme - run by the Pentagon - has despite the commitment of $500 million been a total failure.
The reason the US has to have two programmes to create two different armies is because its first army - the jihadi army set up by the CIA to fight President Assad - won't fight the Islamic State. 
As militant jihadis they have far too much in common with the Islamic State to be  prepared to fight it.
This is why the Islamic State has managed to win so much territory at their expense in so short a time. 
Since the US backed jihadis are only motivated to fight President Assad, and will not fight the Islamic State in any meaningful way, when the two come into conflict the US backed jihadis tend to defect to the Islamic State .
The distinction the US therefore makes between a “moderate” armed opposition to President Assad and the Islamic State, has no meaningful ideological - and therefore political - reality.
The only difference between the two groups is that the first - a militant jihadi group supported by the US - is focused on overthrowing President Assad, whilst the second - a militant jihadi group opposed by the US - is focused on expanding its territory.
The victory of either group following the defeat of the Syrian government would however have the same result: the establishment of a violent sectarian jihadi state in Syria. 
The only alternative is to do what the Russians have been calling for since the first protests in Syria began in 2011: arrange negotiations without preconditions between President Assad and his opponents.
President Assad agreed to this in 2011, and a road map for such negotiations was agreed at a conference in Geneva in 2012.  The negotiations never got underway because the Syrian opposition backed by the US refused to negotiate with President Assad, demanding he resign instead.
This is something to which the Russians will never agree, as Putin made clear in his recent interview with Charlie Rose,  when he said

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing (a) legitimate government.”
The idea the Russians will shift from this position - or can be bullied or bribed with threats or offers of Syrian bases to do so - is fantastic.  It is an idea that has been repeatedly tested over the last four years, and which has repeatedly been proved to be wrong.  It is incredible that - judging from the ceaseless Western media refrain that Russia “push” Assad into “negotiations” (ie. force him to go) - so many people in the West still don't grasp this.

11--(so now the jihadis are "US assets?)  Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn't stop attacking U.S. assets

"In these rapidly unfolding circumstances the U.S. has only one real option if it is to protect its wider stakes in the region: to convey to Moscow the demand that it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets," he said.
"The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland," Brzezinski noted. "They could be 'disarmed' if they persist in provoking the US."...

"China would doubtless prefer to stay on the sidelines. It might calculate that it will then be in a better position to pick up the pieces. But the regional chaos could easily spread northeastward, eventually engulfing central and northeastern Asia. Both Russia and then China could be adversely affected. But American interests and America’s friends — not to mention regional stability — would also suffer. It is time, therefore, for strategic boldness," he concluded.
12--Sibel Edmonds uncovers den of vipers in USG

Of course the new COINTELPRO collected a tremendous amount of dirt on some key elected Republicans. On top of that list was Dennis Hastert with criminal activities ranging from financial fraud, money laundering and bribery to partnership with criminal networks in Chicago, treason, and sexual violation of minor males-both domestically and internationally. -

Other Republican figures included Dan Burton, Bob Livingston, and Roy Blunt. But wait. Some elected Democrats ended up in this same bucket as well. They had Rep. Tom Lantos with implicating data gathered from counterintelligence operations targeting Turkey and Israel. They had Rep. Stephen Solarz through counterintelligence operations on Israel, Turkey and India. They had Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and her convicted husband Robert Creamer through counterintelligence operations involving Chicago political corruption cases, financial fraud and embezzlements, Israel and Turkey, with parallel operations conducted by the CIA involving Mullah Fethullah Gulen and his criminal network in Chicago. But wait again: Do dirties operate only within the elected officials circle? Of course not. The same exact operations producing a list of elected Republican and Democrat dirties also produced a list of high-profile appointed career bureaucrats.

The FBI’s counterintelligence and counterespionage operations compiled much implicating data (implicating as in criminal) on individuals such as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Eric Edelman, Marc Grossman, Graham Fuller, David Makovsky, and Alan Makovsky, among others. You are looking at a group of criminally-implicated individuals who have been in and out of various high-level executive positions regardless of their political affiliation or partisan label. - See more at:

13--Russia may lose Turkey over unacceptable Syria strikes: Erdoğan

14--US says Russia striking CIA-backed militants in Syria
A new US intelligence assessment says Russia has been targeting militant groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Syria, deepening US anger at Moscow.
The assessment, shared by commanders on the ground, has led American officials to conclude that Russian warplanes have intentionally struck CIA-backed militants in a string of attacks running for days, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Obama administration officials are debating how the United States can come to the aid of its proxy forces on the ground without risking a broader conflict, according to the Journal.
US officials said Russia’s moves in Syria posed a direct challenge to President Barack Obama’s Syria policy.

“On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,” a senior US official said of a Russian strike on a militant headquarters. “But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.”
Administration officials said they believe Russia’s targeting of US-allied forces is aimed at shoring up the Syrian government and sending a message to the White House

Moscow’s commitment to the Syrian government runs counter to current US policy, which calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has been beefing up its military presence in neighboring Syria, deploying warplanes, tanks and personnel to an airfield in the western port city of Latakia. It launched a coordinated air campaign to fight Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorists.
Senior Russian officials have said the current campaign is limited to airstrikes, but have not ruled out “volunteers” on the ground.
Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011 aimed at toppling the Assad government. The violence has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far.

15--US should attempt to disarm Russians in Syria: Brzezinski

Obama administration officials are debating how the United States can come to the aid of its proxy forces on the ground without risking a broader conflict, according to the Wall Street Journal.
US officials said Russia’s moves in Syria posed a direct challenge to the Obama administration’s foreign policy on the Middle East.
Moscow’s commitment to the Syrian government runs counter to current US policy, which calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has been beefing up its military presence in neighboring Syria, deploying warplanes, tanks and personnel to an airfield in the western port city of Latakia. It launched a coordinated air campaign to fight Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorists.


A spokesman for the Russian operation, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said at a briefing in Moscow that a pair of Su-25 fighter bombers had attacked Islamic State armored vehicles near Tadmur, destroying 20 tanks, three rocket launchers and an ammunition depot. The strike was among the 15 daytime sorties he said Russian pilots had flown. 

17--NYT champions the Terrorist war against Russia. Go figure?

Earlier in the day militant websites report that Syria's Muslim Brotherhood declared that jihad against the "sheer Russian occupation of Syria" is a legitimate duty for everyone capable of carrying weapons.
The Brotherhood's media chief Omar Mushawah was quoted as saying that "we as Muslim Brotherhood group confirm that we are witnessing a sheer and clear Russian occupation" and that "resisting the occupier is a legitimate duty."

More than 40 Syrian insurgent groups vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow's air campaign in a show of unity among the usually fragmented rebels against what they called the "occupiers" of Syria.
The 41 groups, which included powerful factions such as Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front, said Russia joined the war in Syria after President Bashar Assad's forces were on the verge "of a crushing defeat
The Syrian militant and rebel factions, including the U.S.-backed Division 101 and Tajammu Alezza, said "the Russian military aggression on Syria is considered a blatant occupation of the country even if some claim it was done with the official request of the Assad regime. Those who lost legitimacy can't offer it."
"All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realize we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers," the factions said in the two-page statement posted online. "Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target."

18--Gallup: Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low

19--SHORT AND SHARP: Russian airstrikes on "Rastan" enclave and latest rebel reactions

Over the last few days, Russia has carried on with its air-strikes in Syria. While the explicit rationale is still the fight against ISIS, statements by Russian officials as well as targeted areas show that the spectrum of the attacks is much larger, and that any Salafi/Jihadi group operating on Syrian territory – especially along the central corridor and in the North-West of the country – can expect to be hit.
It is probably safe to assume that the Russian air force also flew a couple of "sorties" against ISIS positions in or around Raqqa, but most of its missions were aimed at targets in the centre and in the North-West of the country. The latest series of strikes focused in particular on the rebel enclave of Rastan, a small area located in Syria's central corridor, between Homs and Hama.

These strikes confirm earlier reports on SST according to which one of the Russian priorities is to destroy rebel pockets along the M5 highway and to secure this vital line of communication, with a view to launching ground operations against Islamist groups North of Hama.
New evidence of alliance between "moderates" and Jihadis
Meanwhile, further evidence has surfaced, confirming collusion of so-called "moderates" with Salafi/Jihadi groups. Indeed, the rebel factions in the Rastan enclave have now established another "joint operations room" (sort of a command and control centre), in which remnants of FSA units will join hard-core "Jabhat al-Nusra" (JaN) and "Ahrar al-Sham" representatives.

While last week's reports in the mainstream media were buzzing with statements by rebel commander Jamil al-Saleh, who explained that there were no Jihadis in his area, it now turns out that his troops have entered into a tactical alliance with the same Jihadis he claimed were not even present in the first place.
This piece of evidence should be another blow for the still popular myth of the "moderate" rebels. In particular, the new terminology used by Beltway experts and DC officials, calling the radicals "Islamic conservatives" or "Islamic nationalists", can now be seen as the plain repackaging effort it has been since its inception.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Today's Links

"The positioning of Russian aircraft in Syria gives the Kremlin the ability to shape and control the battle-space in both Syria and Iraq out of all proportion to the size of the Russian force. It could impact the US to accept the combined coalition of Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Lebanese Hezbollah in support of operations against ISIS and Jabat al Nusra

1--Russia's airstrikes in Syria are playing well at home
Whatever effect Russia's airstrikes are having on the ground in Syria, their impact at home is clear: They prove to Russians that their country is showing up the United States and reclaiming its rightful place as a global power.
So far, Russia's intervention in Syria has served President Vladimir Putin's goals. The potential danger, military analysts say, lies down the road.

Channel One's evening news program on Saturday opened with dramatic cockpit videos of Russian jets making what were described as direct hits on terrorist training camps and weapons stores. The bombs were never off by more than five meters, a military spokesman said, because of the jets' advanced targeting capabilities.
This was followed by a report of the disastrous airstrike in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that destroyed a hospital and killed at least 19 people, including international medical staff. U.S. responsibility for the airstrike had not been proven, but Russian viewers were left with little doubt of who was to blame or of whose military capabilities were superior....

On the contrary, Russian television stations replayed the section of Putin's address to the United Nations General Assembly last week in which he criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East and asked: "Do you realize now what you have done?"

2--Mid-East Coup: As Russia Pounds Militant Targets, Iran Readies Ground Invasions While Saudis Panic
If you think that’s far-fetched, consider the following just out from Reuters:
Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.
"The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.
"It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside," the source added.
The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad's government to rebels.
It points to an emerging military alliance between Russia and Assad's other main allies - Iran and Hezbollah - focused on recapturing areas of northwestern Syria that were seized by insurgents in rapid advances earlier this year.
"The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said.

And then consider this, also just out (via Reuters):
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would consider any request from the Iraqi government to conduct air strikes against Islamic State inside Iraq, but said it had not yet received such an appeal, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
It cited the foreign ministry as saying it would evaluate the "political and military" logic of such a move if a request was forthcoming.

3--Assad: ‘West uses terrorism as new instrument to subjugate Middle East’

How can the United States and its allies fight terrorism or ISIS in Syria and Iraq while their closest allies in the government of Erdogan and Davutoglu are supporting terrorists and enabling them to cross the borders and bring weapons, money and volunteers through Turkey?” he asked.
Since the US-led coalition was formed, terrorism expanded geographically and its recruits multiplied, the Syrian president said.
“God willing it [Syria, Iran and Hezbollah] will be able to defeat terrorism which is a new instrument for subjugating the region,” he stressed

4--South Front Syria Update
5--Saudis Mull Launch Of Regional War As Russia Pounds Targets In Syria For Fourth Day

6--No Moderate Opposition in Syria
“The Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council, the vaunted bulwarks of the moderate opposition, only really exist in hotel lobbies and the minds of Western diplomats,” Ben Reynolds wrote in October, 2014. “There is simply no real separation between ‘moderate’ rebel groups and hardline Salafists allied with al-Qaeda.” The New York Times has dispelled the myth there is such a thing as a secular and moderate opposition to the Syrian government. “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” Ben Hubbard wrote for the newspaper on April 27, 2013.
Even the Free Syrian Army (FSA), long portrayed as secular, is rife with jihadists. “The Wall Street Journal reports that Brig. Gen. Mithkal Albtaish, an FSA leader, says that the organization is ‘dominated by Islamist groups that are in close coordination with al Nusra,’ the al-Qaeda aligned terrorist group. The idea, then, that the FSA is secular is mistaken,” writes Stephen Gowans. Moreover, droves of FSA members have joined the Salafist mercenaries who have declared they will establish an Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law if they successfully overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

7--Syria: Air Duel between SU-30 Russian Sukhoi SM and Israeli F-15" Really

8--BOE Says Market May Be Underpricing Risks of Falling Liquidity
“Market prices might not yet sufficiently be factoring in the potential for a deterioration in liquidity conditions given changes in market functioning and elevated tail risks” related to emerging markets, the officials said, according to the record of the Financial Policy Committee meeting held on Sept. 23 in London.

9--Goldman: Buyback Burst Could Be Enough to Save the S&P 500's Year
“Buybacks represent the single largest source of demand for U.S. equities,” he wrote, adding that he expects companies in the index to spend more than $600 billion this year on their own shares. “The typical year-end surge in buyback activity could help boost the market above our year-end target

10--Here’s how ugly the third quarter was for stocks and commodities
The third quarter of 2015 proved to be the weakest quarter for risk assets for some years and most market participants are probably glad to see the back of it,” wrote Jim Reid, global strategist at Deutsche Bank, in a Thursday note

11--Is this the mother of all warnings on EMs?

Net capital flows for global emerging markets will be negative in 2015, the first time that has happened since 1988, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said in its latest report. Net outflows for the year are projected at $541 billion, driven by a sustained slowdown in EM growth and uncertainty about China, it added

12---the Global Dow – was “hanging on the precipice”

13--Get ready for a ‘destruction of wealth’ as stocks head toward a bear market

14--World set for emerging market mass default, warns IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a double warning over higher US interest rates, which it said could trigger a wave of emerging market corporate defaults and panic in financial markets as liquidity evaporates.
The IMF said corporate debts in emerging markets ballooned to $18 trillion (£12 trillion) last year, from $4 trillion in 2004 as companies gorged themselves on cheap debt.
It said the quadrupling in debt had been accompanied by weaker balance sheets, making companies more vulnerable to US rate rises.
"As advanced economies normalise monetary policy, emerging markets should prepare for an increase in corporate failures," the IMF said in a pre-released chapter of its latest Financial Stability Report.
Emerging market corporate debt has grown to $18 trillion  Photo: International Monetary

15--Investors Pull About $40 Billion From Emerging Markets in Current Quarter

16--Traders Flee Emerging Markets at Fastest Pace Since 2008

Severe Reaction

“The reaction we’re seeing is quite severe, but a lot of the damage has already probably taken place,” Brendan Ahern, managing director of Krane Fund Advisors LLC in New York, said by phone. “It’s the trifecta of slowing investment growth, declining commodity prices and the strong dollar.”


Furthermore, the global deflationary forces have been gathering steam as well as displayed in the below Gavekal Graph:
- source Gavekal

World CPI is falling, not a good indicator and no matter what central bankers are telling us, they are inept at re-igniting the "inflation" genie so far.

Furthermore, the US 10 year government bond market is pricing more and more a deflationary/quasi-recessionary picture
How can there be a recovery and a rise in "inflation expectations" when Average Hourly Earnings MoM are flat and Average Hourly Earnings YoY are growing at 2.2% when the market was expecting 2.4%?

This is proof that the US much vaunted recovery is weaker than expected.

Also the Atlanta Fed has revised its GDP outlook, On October 1, the GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth in Q3 2015 is 0.9%. Many sell-side economists who also got their NFP call wrong (99 of economists polled by Bloomberg in fact) still suffer from "Overconfidence effect" when it comes to their US GDP growth expectations:
- source Atlanta
What we have long posited is that while wanting to induce inflation, QE induces deflation....
This is what we discussed in March this year in our conversation "The China Syndrome". At the time, we quoted CITI's Matt King's 27th of February note entitled "Is QE Deflationary":
"It’s that linkage between investment (or the lack of it) and all the stimulus which we find so disturbing. If the first $5tn of global QE, which saw corporate bond yields in both $ and € fall to all-time lows, didn’t prompt a wave of investment, what do we think a sixth trillion is going to do?
Another client put it more strongly still. “By lowering the cost of borrowing, QE has lowered the risk of default. This has led to overcapacity (see highly leveraged shale companies). Overcapacity leads to deflation. With QE, are central banks manufacturing what they are trying to defeat?”...

is as well confirmed by the same Wall Street Journal article quoted above:
"Companies have announced $3.2 trillion of M&A this year, according to Dealogic, emboldened to merge by cheap debt and the long stock rally that began after the financial crisis. That puts 2015 on pace to rival 2007 as the biggest year ever for takeovers. Issuance of junk bonds backing M&A deals hit a year-to-date record of $77 billion through Friday, according to data from Dealogic."
A souring of investors on junk bonds could limit the availability of financing for deals that require a lot of borrowing. Banks have been under pressure from federal regulators to reduce their loans to such companies, and a pinch in the bond market could leave those deals struggling for financing." - source Wall Street Journal 


Today's Links

1---Poll in Iraq and Syria gives rare insight into public opinion

The advance of ISIL In Iraq has many seeking reasons for their presence in Iraq.  81% Syria/85% Iraq believe that ISIL is a foreign/American made group, while in Iraq with the larger split in sunni/shia population 75% also agree that it is a result of sectarian problems across the region.  Previous Prime Minister al-Maliki is also blamed by 71% as a driving force in the creating of the terror group.  A majority (51%) also believe that “getting rid of ISIL is not possible without solving the problems in Syria also”

2---US Bombs Hospital Kills
Afghanistan: MSF Staff Killed, Hospital Partially Destroyed in Kunduz

OCTOBER 3, 2015 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients. MSF wishes to clarify that all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara northwest of Kunduz.
As it does in all conflict contexts, MSF communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on September 29.
The bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck. MSF urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened

3--This is something to which the Russians will never agree, as Putin made clear in his recent interview with Charlie Rose, when he said
“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing (a) legitimate government.”

4--Syria and the Three Wars

Here is a side-by-side map of areas of control in Syria, and of the location of the Russian air strikes. ISIS territories do get bombed, but the main targets are logically those that are closer to SAA positions

5--Saudis Mull Launch Of Regional War As Russia Pounds Targets In Syria For Fourth Day
6---Christiane Amanpour, Mainstream Media Ride to ISIS's Rescue

What is interesting is that the US-led coalition dropping bombs on Syria for the past year has yet to even consider the mounting civilian body count from its attacks. Not a word from the US government about large numbers of civilians it has killed in Syria. Yet there is plenty of evidence that the civilian toll taken by American bombs is exceedingly high. The moment the Russians join the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, however, the US suddenly becomes obsessed with civilian deaths – even as no evidence has arisen aside from suspicious reports from opposition-friendly “human rights” organizations that any civilians have been killed in the first day of Russian strikes.

What “evidence” exists of civilian casualties in the Russian strikes comes from the war machine funded Institute for the Study of War (ISW), headed by Victoria Nuland's sister-in-law Kimberly Kagan

terrorist organizations, such as al-Nusra Front, Jaush al-Islam (The Army of Islam) and Jaish al-Fatah (The Army Conquest) so that they have modern anti-aircraft missiles to counter Russian planes

7---Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq must succeed or the entire region will be destroyed.
“This coalition must succeed; otherwise we will see the destruction of the entire [Middle East] region,” Assad said in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, broadcast on Sunday.

8--As exposed in 2007 by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and veteran journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker report titled, “The Redirection,” the West conspired to intentionally build up and unleash terrorist mercenaries affiliated with Al Qaeda across the Arab World to fight a proxy war against Iran and its growing arc of influence. US support was to be laundered through Saudi Arabia as to maintain a veneer of plausible deniability and operational compartmentalization. Clearly, what is unfolding in Syria today, is the verbatim manifestation of Hersh’s meticulous, 9-page report.

To confound this criminal conspiracy, Syria and its allies must ensure that the ongoing conflict is exposed as a terrorist invasion, not a “civil war,” and that any strategy formulated to combat this terrorist scourge must include the Syrian government – demonstrably the most capable force confronting Al Qaeda in the Levant since 2011. Thus, the more aid the West and its regional allies supply this terrorist front with, the greater support Syria has upon the global stage to fight it – painting Western foreign policy into a corner, and allowing Syrians to finally restore order to their besieged nation.

Contrary to popular belief, American policy is not created by politicians either in the Oval Office or in Congress. Instead, doctrine, war plans, domestic and foreign economic policy, and geopolitical and strategic plans laid out for years to come, originate in corporate-financier funded think tanks and among the army of academics, industry leaders, and other lobbyists of special interests employed by them. These think tanks and the policymakers that work within them are unelected, transcending political party lines, and political administrations.

9---Russians Say U.S. Not Bombing ISIS
Pentagon has admitted creating and supporting the Islamic State
Figures compiled by the CFR reveal the U.S. has dropped 43 bombs on ISIS per day since the campaign began. In 1991 the Pentagon dropped 6,163 bomb per day on Iraq and 1,039 in 2003. Even Bosnia, which posed no threat to the United States, saw a total of 60 bombs per day in 1995.
Earlier this week the Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam said there “is clearly no seriousness” to the war against ISIS. He added the objective is not eliminating the Islamic State but rather an effort by the West to “force their presence” in the region and worsen the situation there.
“From the very outset, this air campaign has NOT been directed against ISIS,” writes Michel Chossudovsky. “The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite.” “The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.” During the first invasion of Iraq in 1991 the same principle applied.
Souad N. Al-Azzawi of the Brussels Tribunal writes that “the major goals of the bombing was not liberating Kuwait or Iraq, rather, it was the total destruction of the civilian infrastructure.” NATO and the United States targeted civilian infrastructure of Libya as well.
The coalition “debilitated Libya’s water supply by targeting critical state-owned water installations, including a water-pipe factory in Brega,” writes Nafeez Ahmed. NATO and the US also destroyed Yugoslavia’s civilian infrastructure, targeting schools, hospitals, farms, bridges, roads, railways, water lines, communications facilities, factories, industries and other objects necessary for the basic functioning of a modern day society, according to the Independent Commission of Inquiry Hearing to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against the People of Yugoslavia.
Pentagon Documents Reveal Real Objective
Bombing the Islamic State runs counter to the agenda revealed in Defense Intelligence Agency documents from 2012. The documents show the United States and its partners in the Gulf states and Turkey supported the Islamic State and planned to establish a Salafist principality in Syria. The Pentagon has admitted it “helped build ISIS” and armed the group with weapons transferred from Benghazi, Libya.
The globalist Brookings Institute also described the ultimate objective. In June, Tony Cartalucci, citing the Brookings document, wrote that the goal is “to divide, destroy, then incrementally occupy a sovereign nation thousands of miles from America’s shores.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Today's Links

1--İncirlik base to increase capacity by 2,250 to accommodate new personnel
US builds "Patriot Town" in Turkey to bomb Syria

İncirlik Air Base in Adana province is planning to accommodate 2,250 additional military personnel with the transformation of a former tent city within the base.
A tent city within İncirlik has been undergoing reconstruction for modern prefabricated houses, which will host 2,250 US military personnel, the Doğan news agency reported on Friday.
During the Gulf War of 1991, a tent city was established to accommodate military personnel serving with Operation Provide Comfort (OPC) and was shut down with the end of the OPC.
On Aug. 20, work began to transform the site of the tent city into a new area named “Patriot Town.” After construction is completed, the İncirlik base will have the largest capacity among the US bases in Europe .

The area will feature a dining facilities, coffee shops, guest houses and a sports facility.
The expansion of the İncirlik base's capacity comes at a time when Russia has launched the biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades, by conducing air strikes against targets in Syria on Wednesday
On Wednesday President Vladimir Putin received approval from the Russian parliament to send Russian troops to Syria.
Moscow's intervention means the conflict in Syria has been transformed from a proxy war, in which outside powers were arming and training mostly Syrians to fight each other, into an international conflict in which the world's main military powers except China are directly involved in fighting.

2--Erdogans thugs attack journalist

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) confirmed on Friday that three of the four men who attacked Turkish journalist Ahmet Hakan were party members and that they have now been expelled.
"It has been determined that three of the attackers are registered members of our party, and a decision has been made to expel these three people," AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik said in a statement. Çelik denounced the attackers, saying they "subscribe to a mentality that is condemned by our party" and once again criticized the attack on Hakan

3--Russia crushes Turkey's plans in Syria

4--Survey: Turks lose hope

What about hopes for the future? In May, 28 percent of electors asserted that Turkey will be in a “much better” or “better” state in the near future. One cannot say there was widespread optimism on the eve of the June 7 election, but since then it has declined to 20 percent in September. I would like to note that these findings of the IPSOS surveys largely confirm the evolution of general confidence in the Turkish economy: The aggregate economic confidence index, which was already slightly decreasing, took a dive in September, shrinking by almost 17 percent. ...

If I have to express in one sentence the essential point of the IPSOS survey findings, I can say a large number of electors actually have no confidence in the existing political system.

5---Putin’s Plan: What Will Russia Bomb in Syria

By introducing Russian jets and air defense systems into the Syrian theatre, Putin has also created facts on the ground (or just above it) that will help forestall further action against Assad by the United States or its allies...

Will the Russian Air Force be able to make a difference on the ground?
Yes, probably, says David A. Deptula—and he should know. A retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant-general and air warfare theoretician, Deptula planned the American bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein’s army in 1991, when the U.S. and its allies—including, at the time, Syria—liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. Ten years later he oversaw the air war that toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
“With competent pilots and with an effective command and control process, the addition of these aircraft could prove very effective depending on the desired objectives for their use,” Deptula told the New York Times. Which begs the question, what are those objectives?

The news about a government offensive seems to be true, however, and reports indicate that it might be intended to relieve the Kweiris Airport, a small government-held pocket of land east of Aleppo that has long been under siege by the Islamic State....

Saving the Kweiris defenders would therefore provide both a political and a military boost for Assad, and it would help him clean up his frontlines in a crucial area of Syria.
Interestingly, an attack on the Kweiris pocket could also knock the Islamic State off balance in the Aleppo area, just as rebels north of the city are struggling to keep open their supply lines to Turkey against an Islamic State offensive. Coincidence or not, if Russia is involved, it would be an interesting first example of the potential interplay between offensives by Russian-backed army forces and U.S.-backed rebels.

The reports of Russian strikes near Kweiris remain unconfirmed for now. If they turn out to be true, it is possible that this will be a first area of focus. The Assad-Putin alliance could then try to change the balance of power in Aleppo. If they stick to Islamic State targets, instead of straying into battle with other rebels, a main ambition would probably be to push the jihadi group away from the government supply line between Aleppo and Hama in the south. The Assad-held areas of Aleppo are currently supplied by way of a hard-to-guard desert road that runs down through Sfeira, Khanaser, and Ithriya past the Ismaili-populated Salamiyeh area east of Hama. In the Salamiyeh area itself, the Islamic State has been nibbling away at the government’s perimeter defenses, but the desert road up to Aleppo has been a relatively tranquil front. Still, for Assad, the Islamic State’s presence just next to his Aleppo artery is a lethal threat....

Option Two: The Islamic State East of Homs

Directly south of this region, there is another area where Assad is vulnerable to the Islamic State—the eastern Homs region. It is impossible to tell what Russian intentions are, but if we’re looking at likely places for Russian air support to Assad, the area between Homs and Palmyra must be close to the top of the list
The region also contains the Syrian government’s last remaining oil and gas fields, as well as the pipelines that come with them. The Syrian military air base known as T4, located in the middle of the desert west of Palmyra, has emerged as the anchoring point of government defensive positions shielding these fields against the Islamic State.....

All this makes the Homs-Palmyra region a particularly appealing target for Russian intervention:
  • First, it helps Assad stave off Islamic State attacks and could even enable his forces to recapture Palmyra and shorten the eastern front.
  • Second, it would publicly align Russia—and by extension Assad—with the United States and Europe in a joint struggle against the Islamic State. That’s exactly where Putin and Assad want to end up.
  • Third, it would help keep Syrian state institutions running and prevent a deepening of the humanitarian disaster in Syria. That’s a goal widely shared among the opposition’s Western allies, even though many rebels tend to view Assad as a greater evil than the Islamic State. If an air campaign in Palmyra helps drive a wedge into the opposition camp or among its backers, so much the better from the point of view of Putin and Assad....

Blowing Up Your Narrative

If at some point Putin decides to target other groups than the Islamic State, he’s not likely to stop at the Nusra Front. Whether right off the bat or after a while, he could easily widen the circle of attacks from al-Qaeda and start blasting away at every rebel group in Idlib, Hama, and Latakia under the pretext that they are either “terrorists” or “terrorist allies.” On the ground, things are obviously a bit more complex and, just as obviously, Putin knows that—but he has nothing to gain from acknowledging it.

To the contrary, the Kremlin has every reason to continue blurring the already indistinct dividing line between “extremist” and “moderate” rebels upon which Western states insist. Even though this neatly black and white categorization of Syria’s murky insurgency is at least partly fiction, it remains a politically indispensable formula for Western states that wish to arm anti-Assad forces. Which is precisely why erasing this distinction by extending airstrikes against all manners of rebels as part of an ostensibly anti-jihadi intervention, may turn out to be Putin’s long-term plan.

Blanket attacks on Syrian rebels on the pretext that they are all “al-Qaeda” would lead to much outraged commentary in the Western and Arab press. But to the Russian president it doesn’t matter if you think he’s Mad Vlad or Prudent Putin. He isn’t trying to win hearts and minds, least of all those of the Syrian rebels or their backers. Rather, he is trying to change the balance of power on the ground while firing missile after missile into the West’s political narrative.
Whatever one thinks of that, it is a big and bold idea of the sort that sometimes end up working.

6---Putin speaks: Who created Isis? "Must see"

7---Russia's Campaign To Snuff Off The CIA's Al-Qaeda Forces
The CIA mercenaries in Syria - 10,000 men trained, armed and paid under a secret program - are directly cooperating with al-Qaeda and the likewise terrorist Ahrar al Shams. The NYT finally acknowledges this in two pieces today. The first says:
The fighters advancing on that [northern] front were not from the Islamic State but from the Army of Conquest, a group that includes an affiliate of Al Qaeda known as the Nusra Front and other Islamist groups, including several more secular groups that have been covertly armed and trained by the United States.
A second piece on the Army of Conquest:
The alliance consists of a number of mostly Islamist factions, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate; Ahrar al-Sham, another large group; and more moderate rebel factions that have received covert arms support from the intelligence services of the United States and its allies.
8--Pepe Escobar, in the spaced-out ramble about Berlin referenced by Lone Wolf @20 above, does furnish a couple of links to keep ready-to-hand for the duration of the hellfire of propaganda storm issuing from Hell itself on the Potomac ...
2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”


Former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Says Rise of Islamic State Was “A Willful Decision”

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
Flynn: I think the administration.
Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

'Flynn' is former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn. There is no question where the center of the pro-terrorist coalition is. The only question is if all the junior devils will stay clinging to Beelzebub the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama, himself, or if they'll be made to answer the question : "do you realize, now, what you have done?".

The Iraqi Prime Minister welcomed Russia's involvement in the fight against ISIS.
"Well, of course it is beneficial," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with PBS. "Don't forget, Iraq was attacked from across the Syrian border into Iraq by Da'esh, by ISIL. And that cost us a lot of human costs in terms of people killed, people being kidnapped, people being enslaved, women, children."
For that reason, al-Abadi said, Iraq appreciated anyone willing to join the fight.
"Our message to the Russians -- I met with Putin -- please join this fight against Da'esh," he said, using another name for ISIS. "Da'esh is a dangerous terrorist organization, not only against Iraq, against Syria, against the whole region, against the whole world. It is time that we all join the same forces to fight Da'esh."
In his comments at the United Nations, Lavrov said that Russia had no plans to move its operations into Iraq.
"No we are not planning to expand our airstrikes to Iraq," he said. We are polite people -- we don't come if we are not invited."