Closer and closer to war …


 "Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Major General Igor Konashenkov promised that no U.S. aircraft would be immune from the threat the S-300 and S-400 air defense batteries pose in case of military strikes on the government-controlled areas. Konashenkov pointed to the airstrikes against Syrian government forces in Der ez-Zor as one of the primary motivating factors in importing the potent weapon systems."  southfront


This could not be more clear.  If the US and its allies attack government forces in Syria the forces involved will be engaged by Russian forces.  pl

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216 Responses to Closer and closer to war …

  1. Lord Curzon says:

    Charles Lister is reporting, via Twitter, that
    – selected “vetted” opposition groups in northern #Syria are receiving additional weapons supplies through the US & regional state-run MOM ops room
    -“vetted” FSA units are receiving new Czech & Bulgarian 122mm Grad rockets & MRL launchers
    – TOW antitank missiles are also still flowing
    – at least two shipments of MANPADS have arrived into northern #Syria, to “vetted” FSA groups
    While I can’t independently verify the above, it would appear the Administration has cast it lot with the jihadis.

  2. JLCG says:

    Worried by the reported events I have just read in Wikipedia the narration of the Byzantine Sassanian war. Both big powers were weakened to such a degree that then the Arabs overwhelmed both empires.
    Who will be the picker of the nuts from the shaken trees?

  3. plantman says:

    Obama must be under a lot of pressure to follow the CIA and Pentagon’s advice to escalate. But it’s clear he just wants to wrap up his 8-year stint and hit the links.
    He probably made concessions on the MANPADS so he wouldn’t have to approve airstrikes on Syrian troops (which is Putin’s “red line”)
    Konashenkov’s statement was a very wise decision on Putin’s part. It removes all ambiguity about what will be accepted and what won’t. The neocons need to realize that if they cross the line, it will mean war. That should take the steam out of Carter’s plan to try to escalate secretively.
    Now that all the cards are on the table, people can make whatever choice they want–war or no war, what’s it going to be?
    God help us.

  4. Bill Herschel says:

    What kind of military strategy is it to expose American fighters to destruction by the Russians. In Iraq I, the very first thing the U.S. did was to suppress Hussein’s SAM’s. Wasn’t it? Based on the quote above, suppressing Russia’s SAM’s is going to be very difficult, bordering on impossible.
    What the hell is going on? Is this a “Martyr Mission”?

  5. FB Ali says:

    May well be correct. Sounds like a typical Obama compromise.
    The Russians will certainly respond. I doubt if anyone in the administration has thought realistically about the next few steps in the escalation (for that’s what it is).

  6. Peter L says:

    More interesting than the existing S-400 battery is the recently deployment of the S-300V system, which is hardly related to the S-300 line; it’s more of a dedicated anti-ballistic missile system capable of engaging even hyper-sonic re-entry vehicles cruising at up to 4.5 km/s and more importantly, low-RCS stand-off glide bombs that the USAF has recently fielded. Now these are claims, from marketing brochures, but if they can deliver a fraction of that performance, it would be a costly system to engage.
    This is in direct response to the leaks which emerged Monday of the US re-considering “kinetic” options against the SAA.
    Combined with the point defense systems like the Panstir and Tor, as well as the newly upgraded Syrian legacy S-200 and Buk systems and several missile cruisers off the Latakia coast, this will create a rather difficult multi-layered umbrella for any wayward USAF aircraft to commit mistakes upon.
    More about the S-300V:

  7. Chris Chuba says:

    Agreed, while we leak statements that we consider a Pearl Harbor style attack within our purview, the Russian Gen. is warning us what their response will be in order to dissuade us. The problem is that I am not convinced that our leadership is living in reality. Our MSM is totally disconnected from reality.
    I just saw the host of FOX’s ‘Journal Editorial Report’ say to Kasparov in disbelieving tones how is unprecedented for the Russians to issue such a direct threat. Really? He, along with just about everyone else I hear commenting publicly on this topic assume that the U.S. has the absolute right to fly in another country’s airspace and threaten their forces with impunity. How dare anyone shoot at our planes!
    We are not talking about international airspace hear. In fact, the same people who are appalled at the Russian threat cheered when the Turks shot down a Russian Jet that possibly strayed into Turkey’s airspace for a mere 17 seconds.
    If we have people who cannot decipher the very clear and legal warning issued by the Russian General then we have people who have a weak bond to reality.

  8. Tigermoth says:

    Northwest of Hama a Russian MI-8 helicopter dodged a MANPAD.
    “According to a statement of the Hmeymim Reconciliation center, a Russian helicopter was attacked by ISIS terrorists.
    The helicopter was attacked by manpads as it attempted to deliver aid in Hama. The crew successfully avoided the missiles.
    “Due to the high altitude, early launch detection and the crew’s skill in maneuvering, the missile was dodged. Nobody on board of the helicopter was injured,” the statement read.
    Sputnik reported that the ISIS terrorists reportedly received two MANPADS from Iraq on October 6 to ensure the air defense of the terrorists fighting government forces trying to take control of the M5 highway that connects Hama to Aleppo.”
    An excellent technical analysis of the S-300 family is here:
    “The highly mobile Antey S-300V and S-300VM remain one of the most lethal area defence SAM systems ever developed, firing hypersonic missiles designed to engage aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
    Designed from the outset for high mobility and effectiveness against targets at all altitudes, the S-300V would have been a key player in any late Cold War conflict. This weapon was developed to provide not only long range area defence, but also to engage and destroy ISR assets like the E-3 AWACS, E-8 JSTARS and U-2, and tactical jammers like the EF-111A Raven and EA-6B Prowler.
    There have been repeated reports since the beginning of the decade in the Indian media that a buy of this system was imminent, but to date none has materialised. Numerous reports have also surfaced that the PLA is operating either an S-300V or S-300VM variant under the designation of HQ-18, although no hard evidence to support this claim has emerged as yet.
    From an Australian perspective the possible deployment of S-300V family of missiles in Asia is of major concern. Rapidly deployable, high survivable, and highly lethal, these weapons are especially difficult to counter and require significant capabilities to robustly defeat. The US Air Force currently envisages the F-22A Raptor as the primary weapon used to defeat these capable systems.
    It is important to note that no F/A-18 variant, nor the Joint Strike Fighter, were designed to penetrate the coverage of the S-300V/VM systems. The survivability of these aircraft will not be significantly better than that of legacy combat aircraft.”

  9. mike allen says:

    There are already Russian Igla Syria and Iraq. The Igla MANPADS are in use in over 30 countries that got exports from Russia. Libya had over 450 of the Igla-S version (SA-24) but they have disappeared. Looted, possibly by Daesh or by al Quaeda. Four years ago it was reported that Syrian rebels had Igla MANPADs.
    The PKK just recently used them to shoot down two Turkish helicopters, and reportedly even an F-16 just recently. PKK may have gotten theirs direct from the Russians in retaliation for the Turkish shootdown of the Russian Sukhoi last year.

  10. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    Good move by the Russians. They get the appearance of being champions of justice against the “evil” Americans. Meanwhile knowing that the Der ez-Zor incident was an accident and that America has no intention of attacking Syrian government forces deliberately.
    I give them credit. How do you say hutzpah in Russian?
    But I do not believe they will try to use those S400’s against US air. They know their limitations.

  11. Qoppa says:

    Lister is in touch with many rebel commanders, there is no better authority on this side than him.
    Not to be confused with his policy advice, which is rather against his better knowledge.
    We´ll see about the manpads. Maybe just rumour to put a little scare into the Russians. But if they opted for this madness, we shall also see how long it takes until Nusra and IS get them.

  12. seydlitz89 says:

    From a Clausewitzian strategic theory perspective . . . what has led us to this . . . ?

  13. J says:

    Putin’s own words regarding upgrading of the Russian arsenal

  14. Imagine says:

    Sorry, I really am slow.
    The Pentagon’s $500M gift to film “anti-ISIS” movies seems almost certainly a double-false-flag.
    The Pentagon asks for $500M from Congress to “film false-flag movies”. It spends $5M on actual filming & editing, burning to CD-roms, duplication. A “set-for-life” package of $5M @ 3% guarantees an income of $150K/yr forever for each producer, say 4 producers=>$20M. Small palace, $5M; Bill Gates’ insanely huge palace, $63M; so we throw in four more small palaces, we’re up to $45M above-the-line.
    The other $455M would then be spent on “extras” and “props”.
    Average Iraqi makes under $7K/yr. An army of, say, 10,000 extras would cost out at $70M/year. Guarantee pay for four years (it’s a long production), $280M for “extras”.
    But we gotta film dramatic sweeping vistas. 1,000 practical used pickup trucks @ $5K each, that’s $5M. Gas given free on-site. Flags & fancy uniforms, $20@, $0.2M. AK-47 + ammo, $1K@, $10M. Food for 10,000 extras for 4 years, @$1.5K/yr, $60M. 10% holdback for petty cash, $50M. Advisors, $9.8M. That still leaves $40M extra for random things that go boom.
    And here’s the ingenious part: After a film, the props are all scrap. They’re worthless. So you give them to the extras to take home. Perfectly legal for accounting.
    And that’s how the Pentagon could, theoretically of course, hide funding a group such as ISIS in plain sight. If they were to want to, for some reason.

  15. Haralambos says:

    I would be interested in thoughts and comments on the timing and content of this. It has been rather common knowledge, I believe for several years, both here and on other sites:

  16. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    1 – Do you have a reason to think that the Deir al-Zor attack was an accident other than the US assertion that it was? 2 – You are convinced that the Russians are afraid of us and therefore will not use their air defense set up against us and our allies? 3 – If this last is your opinion then you think we have a free hand to intervene in Syria? 4 – Are there are a lot of marines who are liberal Democrats? pl

  17. turcopolier says:

    A defective analysis of the interests of the US state and the strength of Russia as a possible opponent. pl

  18. Anna says:

    Your post implies that Russian Federation has been the main arm-supplier for ISIS and Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and other “moderates” in Syria. Do you believe that Russians don’t want to see the end of the Syrian war and restoration of peace in Syria?
    The presstituting MSM looks away from Israeli generals Yalon and Halevy who are openly saying that they prefer ISIS to Syrian sovereignty:
    Is it possible that this Israeli attitude influences the US deciders? Or perhaps, the Israeli deciders are indeed the main pushers for the US support of jihadis in Syria, that is, for more blood and destruction in Syria….?

  19. seydlitz89 says:

    Agree sir. The inability of the US to formulate a coherent strategy would reflect the confusion of domestic political relations . . .

  20. FB Ali says:

    I have just scanned through some of it. I have no idea why this, and why now. Could be just some reporter carrying out an investigative project, and an editor with space to fill up.
    I do notice that the report is not completely honest. On Omar Khadr, a child and Canadian citizen at Guantanamo, he writes: “Years later, he would plead guilty to war crimes, including throwing a grenade that killed an Army medic”. That is true, but not the whole truth. Omar pleaded guilty because it was his only remaining option to be transferred to Canada (instead of spending the rest of his life in Guantanamo). The author omits this.
    Incidentally, after a few years in a Canadian prison, Omar was released on bail by a High Court judge into the custody of his lawyer, the remarkable Dennis Edney (“I walked into Guantanamo as a lawyer, and came out a broken father”), and is now learning how to bicycle, ski and become an emergency medical responder.

  21. Anna says:

    Comment section on UnzReview: “By all markers, Ashton Carter is a high-functioning psychopath: he has “superior intelligence, as demonstrated by observed behavior and IQ tests; possesses impeccable social skills and exudes charm; often comes from a strong family background; is driven—he knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it; is calculating, cleverly assessing a situation and purposely planning action; is patient and willing to work people and situations until the time is right for him to make his move” – and he has no conscience.”
    Carter is no Hagel; the latter was pushed out by neocons to make Carter their man in charge of Dep of Def – i.e., to make the war-profiteers and Israel-firsters happy. Hagel was in combat and he understood the horrors of war. Carter has been shmoozing with neocons to promote his career. By being a high-functioning psychopath, Carter could easily make a risky and amoral decision that, considering his position of a sec of def, could be extremely dangerous for a lot of people. The plutocrats should have already got a whiff of understanding that Carter could well “arrange” their extinction. Interesting times.

  22. Peter AU says:

    The CIA and/or similar institutions have been a big supplier/middleman of ex soviet weaponry to many groups. Much of that weaponry “Russian made”.

  23. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    1] No, but why should I believe the Syrian assertion that it was intentional? And there is the knowledge of history that unintentional air attacks on blue/allied/third party non-hostiles/civilians are common among all air forces, especially ours. I do not condone the accident. I believe it was a criminal act: involuntary manslaughter. We did it to ourselves in Iraq and Afghanistan – did it to the Chinese in Belgrade – did it to ourselves and the ARVN in Vietnam – did it to ourselves in Korea – and did it to 750 Americans and 350 Brits and Canadians in Normandy. 21st century technology makes no difference. There were no Blue Force Trackers with the Syrians at Deir ez-Zor. And cockpit displays are not the magical, all-knowing presentation of battlefield info that the defense contractors claim and that Hollywood portrays. Other than that there is the fact that we would have no reason to bomb Deir ez-Zor. As a message some say? Why not send the message direct to Assad? And what was the message? I call baloney on that theory.
    2] No, the Russians are not afraid of us. I never said that and had no intention of implying that. What I said was they know the limitations of both the S300 and S400.
    3] No, we should not be in Syria. I am sick and tired of this R2P stuff. Although I have to admit that our support of the Kurdish YPG in Kobane against Daesh was a bright spot.
    4] No. As a young Marine I voted for Goldwater, Nixon (to my shame), Ford, and Reagan. I recall registering to vote as a Republican in Jacksonville NC in the early sixties and being told by the clerk that they did not appreciate Yankee N-lovers coming down to stir up trouble. I took that personal as my father was a Virginian and he taught me that all political parties are out for themselves and not for the country. So I never voted Democratic for nigh on 40 years after that. Junior Bush pushed me away from the GOP, and his endorsement of torture and the Tea Party has kept me away. Maybe when they get rid of the crazies I’ll come back to the fold. But it probably won’t happen in my lifetime.

  24. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    I buy all that wiht the exception of the thought that SECDEF may be evading the CinC’s control. pl

  25. turcopolier says:

    fb ali
    “I have no idea why this, and why now.” Assuming you are speaking of the 2005 tape, I think this was queued up by Ft. Brooklyn for this moment. pl

  26. FB Ali says:

    I was referring to the NYT report dated 9 October 2016 to which Haralambos gave a link.

  27. mike allen says:

    If SECDEF did this, it will come out. Too many people in the chain of command for Ash Carter to do this by directly ordering a pilot to do it.
    For myself, I am not fond of the man but do not understand why people seem to think he wants to start a war?

  28. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    IMO Hagel was replaced with Carter because Hagel was not a neocon. BTW, according to my network’s personal intra-community knowledge Carter is married into a hard core Ziocon family who are 150% pro-Bibi. IMO he is an example of the subservience of people to family influence. Does he think the Russians are weak? Who knows? pl

  29. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    I liked Hagel. We need more like him. I never understood why the Republicans tried to filibuster his nomination as SecDef and then would never work with him in Congress . I would guess because McCain never forgave him for endorsing Obama against McCain in 2008. And probably for being such a critic of the Junior Bush administration and also voting against the surge.

  30. Chris Chuba says:

    2] No, the Russians are not afraid of us. I never said that and had no intention of implying that. What I said was they know the limitations of both the S300 and S400.
    So Russian claims that they can target stealth aircraft are false, they know it and we know it, is this what you are saying? It looks like our govt and foreign policy establishment believes this based on how they are discussing Syria.

  31. Qoppa says:

    mike allen
    And there is the knowledge of history that unintentional air attacks on blue/allied/third party non-hostiles/civilians are common among all air forces
    Usually I would also go with this explanation.
    However, the circumstances of the Deir al-Zor attack were quite special:
    – on a hill, clearly distinct; – known to be SAA position for many months; – static front; – US says they observed the position for days; – extremely clumsy explanation for “mistake”; – more deadly than any other attack on IS.
    Most importantly, why would they strike on IS at Deir al-Zor town anyway? While there have been airstrikes in that province, this would have been a strike (if delievered “correctly” at IS) that would have helped the SAA. Sudden love for Assad? not believable.
    I omit the peculiarity that IS immediately went on attack as if they had known. I don´t believe there is secret communication between army and IS:
    Then we have a clear motive. The army was more than explicit in disliking the US-Russian arrangement. This is no fancy motive from hypotheticals, it was in the press.
    Take all this together and the “shit happens” explanation is highly implausible.

  32. Peter AU says:

    The Russians will know the limitations and abilities of their S-300/S400 systems. For public consumption, specs of non export versions of hardware always seem to be under stated. No move is a reactionary stand alone type move.
    Russia deployed manoeuvering ICBMs with multiple independently manoeuvring warheads some time ago. Several months ago Russia started deploying the S-500 system. I believe some of the S-500 missiles have multiple warheads capable of independently targeting incoming ICBMs or warheads. Rather than kinetic kills, some I think some use nukes. I believe US still has old tech ICBMs not capable of evasive manoeuvring. Russia has been running civilian evacuation exercises to revamped nuke shelters. Also deployment of new early warning systems
    Others here may be more knowledgeable on this subject, but Russia may have reached a point where nuke war is surviveable, whereas US has no defence unless they can take down the Russian nukes in launch phase
    What we are seeing is just the first little pushback from Russia in Syria.
    Until now Russia has been manoeuvring and playing for time. If Russia has secured dominance in the nuke field, then that pushback by conventional means will only increase.

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    These steps, even if true singly or in totality, will no longer suffice to alter the course of the war; it only prolongs it.

  34. alba etie says:

    Secretary of Defense Carter lately has been talking a great deal about using nuclear weapons to defend the Baltics and other ‘critical allies in Europe ” so it appears to me that we are ‘playing chicken ” with President Putin not just in Syria but many other places .. Is this the actual start of the New Cold War ?

  35. PeteM says:

    I didn’t read any direct threat to engage a US attack on Assad’s forces and C&C in the Russian statement. They did state they would defend their forces and instillations and the S-400’s are to protect their naval base. All they seemed to state about Assad’s forces was that their supplied equipment would be used by Assad for his defense.
    The statement about them not being able to distinguish between attacks aimed at Assad’s forces or their instillations may or may not be accurate but they did acknowledge that the US attacking cruise missiles will probably be targeted only at Assad’s forces and not the Russians.
    Putin may not like this coming change in policy and action but he is getting an early warning and has time to prepare his forces to be mostly out of harms way when this new reality is acted upon. I doubt Putin will risk all he has accomplished in Russia over this small Russian imperialist holding in Syria especially with a loose cannon such as Assad’s tail wagging the dog.

  36. F5F5F5 says:

    As a cold war kid, I’m desensitized to WW3/Doomsday alarms, yet stirred, as one could be with horror films.
    So I see this as yet another episode of escalation, but at the back of my mind I wonder if that could be the start of a chain of unfortunate events.
    This fake BBC News report on an incident in Syria which escalates into a nuclear war is very well done.

  37. Fred says:

    “ibya had over 450 of the Igla-S version (SA-24) but they have disappeared…. ”
    Now would be a good time to ask why the US ambassador to Libya was in Benghazi rather than in the embassy in Tripoli.

  38. Fred says:

    And how do the Russians know it was an “accident” since the troops attacked had been in the same location for weeks if not months? “I do not believe they will try to use those S400’s against US air. They know their limitations.”
    Which limitations are those? I believe the limit on dead Russians and their allies in Syria has already been reached. The message couldn’t be any clearer but apparently Secretary SwiftBoat can’t accept it or is unable to explain it too his boss.

  39. jld says:

    LMAO, your propagandist side shows more and more, not sure it will have any effectiveness here, even probably the opposite.

  40. b says:

    Lister is again obfuscating here. The weapon delivery never stopped. Nothing is “new” arriving. New multiple rocket launchers were seen some two weeks ago.
    MANPADs were used several times over the last month. Two days ago a Russian MI-8 escaped two of them – near Hama, not in north Syria.
    Frankly – Lister does not know sh**. He is a Qatari paid shill without any of the necessary background (militarily, regional) to get things right.

  41. b says:

    The S-300 VM makes the “envisioned” cruise missile attack against Syrian airbases nearly impossible. Positioned in Tarus it blocks the western approach, the only one that could be used into Syria without crossing any others airspace.
    Neither Turkey nor Iraq, nor Jordan will agree to cruise missile overflights to hit Syria. Israel and Lebanon will not agree either. The only possible way would be through the Barzani clan enclave in north Iraq. But even that would be politically unfeasible with lost of possible second-order effects.
    A smart move by the Russians.
    Saw some “analyst” claiming that the F-22 could pass through S-300/400 protected airspace. He didn’t volunteer to fly the first plane trying.

  42. b says:

    Now make that calculation for the $100 million the “White Helmets” received …

  43. Mike Allen,
    The point about Carter is not that he wants a war.
    It is simply that, if one has bungling incompetent ‘Fachidioten’ in charge, events can very easily spiral out of control so that war happens without anyone wanting it.
    As you probably know, a key document in the formation of ‘neoconservatism’ was the NSC 68 paper masterminded by Paul Nitze in the spring of 1950.
    At the time, and in the months that followed, the State Department’s best and most experienced Soviet expert, Charles ‘Chip’ Bohlen, directed a serious of devastating memoranda to his colleagues exposing the idiocy of the paper’s conception of a Kremlin ‘design for world domination.’
    A suggested emendation from a September 1951 memorandum to a successor paper seems of some interest in the light of the current situation:
    ‘Soviet actions in Korea and their subsequent attitude to the United States’ response to the challenge served to underline the extraordinarily pragmatic and opportunistic nature of Soviet policy and the absence of any fidelity to a blueprint, or even design. Such a conclusion by no means reduces the danger of the present period to the United States. On the contrary, it tends to make the danger more continuous since it enhances the possibility of general war arising through either a miscalculation on the part of either one of the principal powers of the world—the Soviet Union and the United States—or the equally great danger that local situations could so develop through a process of action and reaction as to render war in the eyes of either one of these two powers preferable to any alternative course open to either one.’
    (See .)
    A salient difference, of course, is that Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s Soviet Union. But the only relevant difference, in the minds of people like Carter, seems to be that they think the massive decline in Russia’s relative power means the country can be pushed around with impunity.

  44. LeaNder says:

    I have to watch this. But today to my utter surprise the first channel news used video feeds of the Syrian army. One could get used to the White Helmets icon on the left recently. …
    Venassa Beeley on twitter yesterday:
    Interesting, isn’t it?
    Not least considering the the UN’s Syrian representative recently suggested that only 11,25 of the rebels in Eastern Aleppo are Islamists, the rest are “moderate rebels”. Correcting his earlier Security Council presentation were his estimate was still 50/50.

  45. Lurker says:

    It can confidently be asserted that there will be no nuclear war exchange with Russia before the US presidential election and until the new elected POTUS is installed in the WH.
    Two bullhorn’s for the globalists have chimed in recently, they are both in Hellary’s political camp:
    1) Jacob Rothschild has declared that Russian Elites he controls told him that they are ready to take back the Russian government from Putin next year. So he is basically saying CALM DOWN to the political elites in US and STAND DOWN to the war hawks in the Pentagon. He is saying: wait till next year, don’t start a nuclear war just yet!
    2) Gyorgy Schwartz (George Soros) just promised that a Russian Maidan is next in the cards
    This may amount to wishful thinking on their part for the more the Media demonizes Putin and Assad, the more support they both get from their own people.

  46. mike allen says:

    CC –
    No, I never said that. And I do not believe our government believes that either.
    What I do know is that weapon systems (no matter whether American, Russian, Chinese, or whoever) always come with a great deal of hype. But the people who have to operate, maintain, and command those systems usually know the difference between the hype and reality.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What if your doubt turns out to be misplaced and Russians shoot down US air assets?
    Is the United States prepared to be destroyed over Syria?
    I do not think so.
    I think that game of NFZ etc. in Syria is over.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    As I wrote before; all Russians need to do is to help establish autonomous Russian-speaking enclaves inside the 3 Baltic Republics and thus fracture them.

  49. Andrey Subbotin says:

    * Standing back without fight will have a high domestic cost for Putin. People still remember that he essentialy betrayed DNR/LNR by promising to take them in like Crimea, then leaving them under Ukrainian bombs. Doing that for a second set of allies starts to look like a record of failure. Even fighting and losing would in some sense be better.
    * Syria is not a ‘small holding’ for Russia – it became a focal point for a web of influence that covers large part of middle east – Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Central Asia – and those countries are our neighbours. Demonstrating that we, bluntly put, can provide protection from US bombing adventures can solidify that influence. Proving we cannot undoes previous work. Turning our entire southern border into jihadi dystopia, which USA seem to encourage, would be an existential threat to us. Those are important stakes for Russia
    Whether they are important enough to do to shooting war with US if it starts an air war? I don’t know. I’d suspect that we’ll try to strike a balance – shooting down cruisie missiles, painting aircraft, maybe shooting one or two and saying they attempted an attack run, raising hell in UN, generally looking as inpredictable as possible and hoping USA blinks first. It seemed to work with Turkey. If it doesn’t, we are back to a very hard choice.
    Hopefuly this will not be neccesary

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Obama must be under a lot of pressure …”, from whom precisely?
    What can these agents (of pressure) do to him?
    I find that argument un-convincing.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Carter obtained a Ph.D. in Theoretic High Energy Physics and then – failing to secure an academic position – went into the government. Likely, he is either an INTJ or ENTJ. With the usual physicist intellectual arrogance.
    Hagel, likely, was from more humble background and humility was probably beaten into him through his experience in the military.

  52. mike allen says:

    Interesting moniker, SwiftBoat? Why do you call him that? Are you trying to re-elect Junior Bush?

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It tell you that people are unwilling to call it quits lest they look weak elsewhere.
    Sometimes you need to fold them and go home to the wife and kids…

  54. mike allen says:

    jld –
    I say what I believe to be true. Sorry if you see that as agitprop. Please do not sic your Russian hacker friends on me. I cannot afford a new computer.

  55. turcopolier says:

    Englis Outsider
    IMO the Russian statement was clearly a declaration of an intent to defend Syrian air space. pl

  56. Degringolade says:

    Not all INTJ or ENTJ are arrogant!
    (Though we do tend to that direction).
    And you are right, eight years as an infantryman has been known to beat humility into a person.

  57. BabelFish says:

    BH, you are spot on regarding SEAD being the priority during Desert Storm. Chuck Horner and friends organized an overwhelming attack that included Army Aviation taking out outlying radar sites, hundreds of decoys in the air and HARM missiles attacking SAM and AAA sites, plus cutting off and/or destroying Command & Control infrastructure.
    The game has surely moved forward from then but it is always a race of new capability and countermeasures to cancel them out. The Russians build the best AA systems in the world and if the equipment is manned by Russian personnel, it will be a tough go for anyone in opposition.

  58. LeaNder says:

    I agree on Chuck Hagel, he seemed different. But my opinion is based on sparse knowledge, and I have absolutely no clue what led to his resignation in 2014, or for that matter the larger controversy:

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you, no surprises there.

  60. mike allen says:

    Qoppa –
    I don’t buy your argument.
    “static front”? No way. Daesh (IS) has been trading ground with the SAA there for quite awhile. Yes, Assad’s forces hold the airfield and a portion of the city, nothing much else. Daesh rules all else around there.
    “more deadly than any other attack on IS”? Patently not true! Any look at events over the past two years shows that to be false.
    “Sudden love for Assad?” That was a joke, right? American airtrikes on Daesh (your IS) have been ongoing since December 2014 wherever and whenever they were found.
    What army are you talking about being “explicit in disliking the US-Russian arrangement”? The SAA or the Turkish Army? Or did you mean the American Army? I did not understand your thread there.
    Shit does happen, Qoppa. And quite often in war. Our host here, Colonel Lang, has stated many times that stupidity and incompetence usually trump malice as an explanation for similar tragedies. I believe that too. Have you ever been fired on by friendly troops or aircraft? I have and I was wearing an American uniform at the time..

  61. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to PeteM 08 October 2016 at 10:57 PM
    In case you haven’t noticed the Russian government under Putin consistently warns potential attackers not to attack. They do so using reasonable and restrained language rather than the bombast preferred by the US and UK governments.
    On every occasion since Putin came to power where the Russian government has warned that it will resort to military force it has done so.
    As to this:
    “Putin may not like this coming change in policy and action but he is getting an early warning and has time to prepare his forces to be mostly out of harms way when this new reality is acted upon.”
    Was the echo of “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality” deliberate or unconscious? Either way you’re not dealing with a middling Middle-Eastern power hollowed out first by war with Iran and then by a decade of sanctions.
    Then there’s this … I’m sorry to be harsh … blatantly nonsensical statement:
    “a loose cannon such as Assad’s tail wagging the dog”
    Well you’re entitled of course to your opinion, but did you really think that anyone here would fall for it?
    All of the evidence* shows that in the Syrian-Russian partnership that Russia is very much the senior partner. A clear demonstration of this was their treatment of Assad and the way in which they publicly forced him to their will during his last visit to Moscow.
    *By evidence I mean both the words and the deeds of the two governments.

  62. robt willmann says:

    Yesterday, Saturday, 8 October, the UN Security Council met and two resolutions about Syria were offered, one by France and Spain (obviously on behalf of the U.S.), and the other by Russia. Since it looked in advance as if neither was going to pass, and it was just more make work, Samantha Power, the U.S. UN person, was not there, and David Pressman attended.
    “The French and Spanish text that would have had the Council demand an immediate halt to all aerial bombardments and military flights over the city of Aleppo received 11 affirmative votes, two abstentions (Angola and China), and two negative votes (Russian Federation and Venezuela).”
    “The Russian Federation’s text, by which the Council would have urged an immediate cessation of hostilities, particularly in Aleppo, received a vote of 4 in favour (China, Egypt, Russian Federation, Venezuela) to 9 against (France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Angola and Uruguay).”
    “That draft resolution [by Russia] would have demanded that all parties prevent material and financial support from reaching groups associated with Al-Qaida, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) or Jabhat al-Nusrah.”
    The U.S. policy remains the same: to overthrow the government of Syria.

  63. Castellio says:

    Half a billion here, a hundred million there. Soon we’ll be talking real money!

  64. MRW says:

    I never understood why the Republicans tried to filibuster his nomination as SecDef and then would never work with him in Congress
    It wasn’t generic Republicans. It was the Israeli proxies that populate our think-tanks and advise this President and Sec State/Def. They did the same with Chas Freeman to make sure he never got on the NSC. If these blighters cause WWIII, and bombs mar or destroy this country, you’re going to see anti-semitism among the hoi polloi in this country the likes of which will make Hitler’s Germany seem an interesting garden party. The only reason we’ve gone after Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran for a quarter of a century is because these proxies have pushed for it since 1991. They created Islamophobia as the targeted enemy, as Leon Hadar, former Jerusalem Post editor, detailed in an August 1992 CATO paper. Hadar is sarcastic about them, refers to it as the creation of the Green Menace.

  65. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, BF, I guess I wouldn’t paid attention to BH’s allusions without your feedback. All I recall media-wise were the odd night vision imagery (media reports) and vaguely that it was the first time I paid attention to “war drums”, or accompanying narratives.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Physicists are arrogant; that was what I meant.

  67. mike allen says:

    Meanwhile in Yemen, the White House has condemned the Saudi airstrike on a Houthi funeral wake, where 155 mourners were killed and hundreds more wounded.
    US National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price stated: “In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict”.
    Let’s hope they mean it and reduce support to the Saud’s to zero.

  68. MRW says:

    As if on cue, Phil Weiss published this on Mondoweiss:
    ‘NYT’ says Bush I’s opposition to Israeli settlements cost him his job
    As Weiss notes, “Soon the Times will let it be known that the Israel lobby helped start the Iraq war.”
    Jeffrey Goldberg, traditionally The Atlantic stenographer for Netanyahu, published this over a week ago. According to Weiss (over the past year), millennial Jews aren’t buying their parents’ unconditional allegiance to Israeli interests over America’s. Is Goldberg jumping ship to stay relevant?
    The Unbearable Smallness of Benjamin Netanyahu
    Two other Weiss articles in the last two days that address Israeli meddling in our foreign policy:
    ‘Attack, attack, attack’ — Leaked emails show panicked Netanyahu rallying Clinton and US Jews against BDS
    Emails show Clinton crafted BDS letter for pro-Israel donors, as counter to her support for Iran deal

  69. mike allen says:

    Proxies or not they were still Republicans. And the main reasons were GOP vengeance on Hagel for voting against the surge and supporting Obama in the election.

  70. rjj says:

    “He was a postdoctoral fellow research associate in theoretical physics at Rockefeller University from 1979 to 1980 and a research fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies from 1982 to 1984.”
    one year as a physics postdoc then straight into what in the olden days was known as The Spookiary (though maybe MIT CIS has changed???).
    his CV seems odd. Tinselly – not as tinselly as the BHO’s constitutional scholar packaging, but still lots of bright sparklies.

  71. mike allen says:

    BabelFish –
    I concur it would be a tough go. Let us hope it never comes to that.
    As much as I have criticized the USAF for blue on blue airstrikes, you would think I am totally anti Air Force. Not true. I knew a Wild Weasel pilot years ago. I am sure he is long retired now. But his breed was and still is special. They made SEAD what it is today. They did have some well publicized failures both in Nam and in Serbia. But they learned from those mistakes. If anyone can pull off the “tough go”, it is them.

  72. Chris Chuba says:

    Mike Allen, I was not trying to put words in your mouth, I just wanted clarification. Fars News posted a surprisingly objective and skeptical article on whether or not Russian air defenses can target U.S. F-22’s and B-2’s
    I think that the U.S. believe we can master even the best of Russian air defenses based on the defense and foreign policy articles that I’ve read. Given this as a premise, I’d say that the Russians have brass balls because they just put all of their chips on the table.
    If we do decide to conquer Syrian airspace I can picture the following scenario.
    1. We first fire a dozen or so Tomahawk cruise missiles at well known Syrian army locations to see if the Russians defend Assad. We can play the outrage card if the Russians defend a war criminal and also see how the U.S.public responds.
    2. If we choose to go all in, the only way we can beat their air defenses would be to do what we always do. First destroy the air defenses with our stealth aircraft. This of course would necessarily result in the death of U.S. and/or Russian personnel. Now who would favor such a lunatic decision?
    IMO a foreign policy establishment that believes that U.S. technology will soundly defeat Russian junk and that the Russians will only go nuclear for an attack on their homeland. We’d teach those Russkies a lesson. A foreign policy establishment that has the ear of a sympathetic President.

  73. Imagine, b, Castellio,
    While Evelyn Waugh is a writer about whom I have, to put it mildly, mixed feelings, I more and more think that ‘Decline and Fall’, ‘Scoop’, and ‘Black Mischief’ are keys to understanding modern politics.
    The headline in the ‘MailOnline’ report of this Pentagon contract read:
    ‘PR firm set up by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor ran a “top-secret” £416m propaganda operation during Iraq war writing soap operas and tracking al-Qaeda terrorists using fake jihad films.’’
    (See .)
    All this gets complex, in an ironical kind of way. There were reasons why Tim Bell’s ‘propaganda’ worked in Britain in the late ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties.
    It has to be recognised that the Thatcherites were right about some crucially important things, among them the destructiveness of trade union power and state industrial intervention in Britain.
    Another important element was the victory in the Falklands – in which Thatcher’s gamble paid off, perhaps largely because of the snobberies of Argentinian fighter pilots.
    It is foolish to deny the ‘up sides’ of the Thatcherites. At the moment, however, it is the ‘downsides’ which are more significant. Among them:
    1. A propensity to corruption. The Saudis and their agents (think Wafic Said), who are very good at corrupting people, could see that Mark Thatcher was his mother’s ‘Achilles heel’ – and made a beeline for him.
    2. They are very ‘provincial’ people, with very limited understanding of worlds beyond their own ‘goldfish bowl’. In that sense, ironically, a critical fact about them is their lack of roots in an older ‘imperial’ British culture.
    So Tim Bell was central to the British involvement with Berezovsky. The notion that anyone who thought that he and Khodorkovsky had a cat’s chance in hell of riding back to power in Russia could make ‘propaganda videos’ which would have any useful impact on people in the Middle East really is pure ‘Black Mischief’.
    3. They are locked in a romanticised version of the Second World War.
    Accordingly, they have an instinctive ‘Germanophobia’ which reflects a complete lack of any serious attempt to grasp the complexities of German history, before, during, and after the Third Reich.
    Their instinctive ‘Russophobia’ used to be mitigated by the belief that, as it were, the Cold War was an effective structure of ‘dual containment’.
    So, ironically, the Russian retreat from the Cold War made them more, rather than less, Russophobic.

  74. Fred says:

    It seems “P***ygate” has served as a giant distraction from the failure of American foreign policy that is moving us ever close to a war in the wrong place with the wrong enemy. What is the probability that some poly-sci grad in the administration is thinking provoking the Russians into shooting down a US aircraft would provide the October surprise that HRC needs to win the election?

  75. charly says:

    Day 1 is not important. It is Day 10 that is important. Iraq had no resupply so they would be f*ck however good their AA was. Russians will just bring in some more AA (if necessary on Chinese ships)

  76. jld says:

    “I say what I believe to be true.”
    That’s called opinion.
    Not showing you brightest side, but you have no shame, right?

  77. MRW says:

    Mike, But I do not believe they will try to use those S400’s against US air. They know their limitations.
    Ha. You’ve got that backward. I was at a private investors’ meeting on 57 St in Manhattan in the late 90s (1997?). SecDef William Cohen was speaking. He admitted the US military didn’t have anything to counter Russia’s latest missiles–forgot their names, not willing to do the minimum work to get them right now. Said they could obliterate our aircraft carriers–as in vaporize–and that an admiral would have five seconds to react before he could detect them or he could see them coming. [working from memory here]
    IIRC, he said that the Russian scientists offered to share this tech with us when the country broke up if we helped them relocate to the US, and we had sneered at them (just as you’re doing now) thinking they made junk. After 1995, he said, after we destroyed the country with our democratization attempts, the Clinton economists, and the suicides we caused, the Russians clamped down and now refuse to share or sell their armament to anyone who make them available to Americans. And it’s now policy that they will never sell their latest version outside the country. If you recall, last May 9th, Russia put on a display of their latest stuff in Red Square.

  78. MRW says:

    Mike, the difference between you and a Russian is that they went through WWII on their soil. They know war. They know the immense loss of life, the devastating carnage, and the deep pain of having to rebuild everything because everything was lost including a quarter of their population. May 9th is a sacred day to all Russians when millions join arms and walk the streets carrying photos of the family members they lost. Last May there was a photo of Putin in the throngs arm in arm with fellow citizens without a visible security detail carrying his father’s photo in a frame. The day was sombre; it is for all Russians.
    An ocean of blood ran over Russia during WWII. It was Russia that defeated Hitler. It was Russia that pushed back the Nazi army from Stalingrad to Berlin. Not us. Our parents (or grandparents) were here doing the Lindy Hop until we went all in on D-Day in 1944.
    The last thing that Russia wants is another war. And you’re whistling past the snake pit if you think that Russia will allow anyone or any country to expose them to that threat again. It’s visceral with Russians. And every Russian will back Putin and go down dying before they allow it. Of that you can be 1000% sure.
    It is we who have the limitations. The limitation of hubris, of historical knowledge fed by unrealistic Hollywood fairy tales, of intoxication with jingoistic platitudes that describe neither now nor the danger of playing with fire. Or other people’s lives.

  79. Bill Herschel says:

    “I think that the U.S. believe we can master even the best of Russian air defenses based on the defense and foreign policy articles that I’ve read.”
    Please link to these articles.
    It would be interesting, by the way, to know when the German people became convinced that the war was lost. The propaganda offensive is probably always the last one to stall.

  80. Imagine says:

    Graham & McCain have mastered the hypnotic whine, and are using it to beat up at least JCoS Dunford and Carter. “Everybody knows” we are going to war against the Russians, *just like against Iraq*. How dare Obama stand in the way. When the Senate Foreign Affairs committee comes in and tells him he must to DO something, it takes guts to stand up to the Senate. And that’s only the stuff I know about.

  81. ToivoS says:

    Tallinn and Riga are of extreme strategic import to Russia should they house NATO forces. Track the advance of the German Northern front on its way to Leningrad in 1941. I think you mean that Tallinn and Riga are of no economic import to Russia.

  82. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What I was trying to point out that Russian state can induce state fracture in the 3 Baltic states at little or no cost to herself and have NATO states unable to do anything about it.
    That they have not done so does not mean that they cannot.
    It was a fool’s game to make NATO a neighbor of Russia, it remains so today – in my opinion.

  83. Imagine says:

    WH horde 3,000 @ $7K/yr fulltime =>$21M, but I guess $1K@ parttime, so most likely $3M/yr. Call it $10M. An outstanding graphic designer is $120/yr ft, three if exorbitant. Webslinger $80K ft, three if exorbitant. Film editor + Mac, $50K. Ft twitter gal, $50K. Blogger, $50K. Jr. producer/team leader, $120K. $1M/yr easily covers all actual production costs. PR idea marketing guys are tricky, they are like lawyers, they charge whatever they think they can get away with: probably $10K/wk for a team of 1-3 if competitive, 3x that if sole-source, so easily $1.6M/yr for the idea guys w/o breaking a sweat. $30 helmets for 3K, $90K. $30 branded safety vests, another $90K. Roadies are using their own hi-def iPhones for filming, no equipment costs. Trucks have been pirated from actual civil-defense firestations ISIS has killed.
    Phone bills @$1K/yr x 3K, $3M/yr for WH phones, could trace that way. 30 centurions @ +$10K/yr => $300K; 300 lieutenants @ +$5K/yr => $1.5M. WH will donate/steal their own gas & food, otherwise more millions.
    I come up with $11M to $29M actual expenses/year, depending. The operation would want a 3-yr holdback buffer in case funding’s unexpectedly cut. This still leaves room for a palace.

  84. Imagine says:

    Graham and McCain will fight to the last Syrian to make Russia come to heel, and the thought that Russia might bomb the American homeland is inconceivable. Obama doesn’t want a war with Russia, but has to meet them in the middle, so currently offers MANPADs (which will end up shooting down French & Israeli planes); the Senators will keep pressing and pressing, still want their no-fly zone, and if not Obama, Hillary will give it to them. Americans were stupid enough to pull Iraq and Libya; I believe the Borg is stupid enough to do Syria/Russia.

  85. mike allen says:

    MRW –
    I am well aware of the Russian sacrifice and bloodshed in their ‘Velíkaya Otéchestvennaya Voyná’. God help us that it may never happen again to them or to any country.
    BTW, I do agree with you about Hollywood fairy tales.
    But you need to read real history, not Hollywood’s version and not Stalin’s. We were not doing the Lindy Hop. We were providing the Soviets with tens of thousands of tanks, aircraft, artillery, hundreds of thousands of trucks, wheat, locomotives and other war materials. Soviet pilots picked up American fighter aircraft from factories we established in Iran and flew them direct to Stalingrad to help defeat Hitler’s Sixth Army there.
    Also consider what happened before Hitler broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact in June 41. While the Brits and French were fighting the Nazis, Stalin sent them millions of tons of grain, soybeans, phosphates, petroleum, manganese, copper, nickel, chrome, platinum, lumber, cotton, and other critical raw materials. This completely negated the British Royal Navy’s blockade. This pact went on for two years before crazy Adolph broke it.
    Also please consider that from December 41 we were also not doing the Lindy Hop. We were fighting in the Pacific against Imperial Japan. Which by the way the Soviets even though they were our allies, and receiving our war materials, refused to help us with. The kept the faith with the Japanese Emperor never breaking from their neutrality pact with Japan (after their brief border conflicts in Mongolia in 39) up until 1945 when Japan was already defeated.
    That said I have no animus against the Russian people. May they live in peace and prosperity as I hope we will. My father shed a lot of blood when he was horrifically wounded at the Rapido River in Italy. He spent more that a two years in Army hospitals. He hated the thought of another world war. So do I.

  86. apol says:

    South Front reasons that Russian personel were killed in the ‘mistaken’ attack on Syrian troops in Derez Azor.
    Thus the harsh tone adopted by Mowcow since.
    ” Konashenkov pointed to the airstrikes against Syrian government forces in Der ez-Zor as one of the primary motivating factors in importing the potent weapon systems.”
    Putin’s a street fighter with a tough nation behind him.
    And Rash Carter and his Kazarian relatives and his nerdy demeanor?
    Would they inspire you to follow him into a fight?

  87. Qoppa says:

    @mike allen
    “Static front”, – at this very hill. That is what the military maps show. Of course I don´t know how reliable they are.
    “More deadly” – another US airstrike with 4 planes leaving 60+ real IS fighters dead? Not that I know of. Certainly not many.
    “Sudden love for Assad?” – well, that was sarcastic. Had they wanted to strike IS at Deir al-Zor town, they would have helped the SAA. This is what the US has avoided doing even when it would have been possible. Remember Palmyra?
    Yeah, the US army, of course. The political motive for busting the deal with Russia was pretty explicit.
    On Tuesday at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day: an extraordinary collaboration between the United States and Russia that calls for the American military to share information with Moscow on Islamic State targets in Syria.
    “I’m not saying yes or no,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, told reporters on a video conference call. “It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.”
    What is this if not the DoD announcing … resistence? rebellion? insubordination?
    This is what Pat Lang was referring to above, “the thought that SECDEF may be evading the CinC’s control. pl”

  88. Imagine says:

    The sleepwalking mind can only follow chains of events that are 2 or 3 long.
    Most of the country, except for the military planners, has been hypnotized by this time. It’s going to come down to Pres. Obama.

  89. BraveNewWorld says:

    The US has only 2 supposedly stealth aircraft the F-35 which doesn’t really exist and the F-22 that the US would never risk being shot down in Syria. If a F-22 was shot down the F-35 program would be dead instantly. Not to mention there are to few of them and they are way to expensive. Finally if a F-22 crash landed in Syria it would be loaded on a truck headed for Moscow or Beijing before you could say “oh sh..!”
    If the US was to attack it would be missiles period and they really don’t have any where they could fire them from other than the Mediterranean or long range bombers from over the Mediterranean and they would have a hard time getting ashore with all the Russian ships and then land based defences. The follow on would be that there would be no AWACS or tankers any where near the Syrian border.
    You think the US has issues with losing face because Obama didn’t attack the Syrian government. Wait to see to see the fallout if they attack and hit nothing.

  90. mike allen says:

    MRW –
    You mistake me. I am not sneering at them. I have said before I hope they are never used and we never have to go against them. I am not a champion of war.
    I was simply stating capabilities. There is too much “chiken-little-the-sky-is-falling” talk about the S-400. Probably started by defense contractors looking to make a buck on it.
    I understand that stealth technology is not invisible to low-frequency search and acquisition radars. They can certainly see and track most of our stealth aircraft, perhaps even the F-22. But they are forced by physics to use much higher frequencies for fire control radars. Except at extremely close range, they cannot lock on to well designed low observable aircraft.
    They do have the capability of using surprise to down several planes. But after their first shots that game would be over. The S400 is overrated, great against ballistic missiles, bombers, AWACS, reconnaissance and tanker aircraft. But at extended range can they match the speed and turning capability of modern fighters? My opinion is no. Plus they are way outranged by modern standoff weapons like JASSM. Even JSOW or older HARM missiles with a shorter range could get to them.
    Again, I pray we never have to find out.

  91. mike allen says:

    jld –
    Sorry if my opinion offends you. It is just as valid as your opinion.

  92. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Mike Allen,
    You state: “static front”? No way. Daesh (IS) has been trading ground with the SAA there for quite awhile. Yes, Assad’s forces hold the airfield and a portion of the city, nothing much else. Daesh rules all else around there.”
    Your conjectures are based on faulty information. In this theater the SAA has been holding this particular area–and nothing else, for quite a while They were just able to their own and are waiting for reinforcements. To claim that there were significant shifts in the demarcation lines before the US attack, particularly in the Tharda Mountain area, is incorrect. Please check the SouthFront maps for the past several months.
    BTW, when I read your posts I think of a “Borg Hasbara Operative” engaged in agitprop. Perhaps you are not, but you certainly sound like one to me.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  93. J says:

    Russian MoD pondering re-launch of military bases in Cuba and Vietnam – Deputy Defense Minister

  94. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says,
    “…in which Thatcher’s gamble paid off, partly because of the snobberies of Argentinian fighter pilots.”
    That’s an interesting comment. Could you please elaborate on it a bit? You mean they didn’t like hours and hours of patient, long-range reconnaisance out over the Atlantic in a learjet or C-130 looking for the sealines the British were using to approach the Falklands? Not sexy enough?
    Or did it have something to do with the Pucaras? Which reminds me of something I have not seen much written about. Wasn’t the attack the Pucaras made, in order to set up the end run of the Exocet-armed Mirages –perhaps the attack that sank the Atlantic Conveyor (the name has been resurrected, I believe), — one of the most stunning sacrifices made by an air force in modern history? Do you have some inside scoop on that? Or have I got it wrong?

  95. Old Microbiologist says:

    MRW, thanks, I couldn’t have said it any better.

  96. mike allen says:

    Chris Chuba – from 12:50 today: “Now who would favor such a lunatic decision?”
    Not me for sure. And I don’t believe anyone in National Security Council is considering that either.
    There are some of McCain/Graham neocons who might favot that idea and there may well be some Pentagon lower level hotshots that float ideas like that. Hopefully someone slapped them down.

  97. Old Microbiologist says:

    In Russian news you can find a bit more details. What they said is that Russians are embedded with all Syrian Army forces thus any attack would by extension be against Russian military and would be shot down. Of note all offensive US flights over Syria have been halted since that announcement.

  98. aleksandar says:

    Hum, “our stealth aircraft ” Are they stealth enough ? I bet no.
    It is said that the russians have already 16 ships between syria and the US fleet. A huge detection capabality.

  99. mike allen says:

    Anna –
    In regards to your earlier question. You were wondering if I was implying that the Russians were supplying Igla MANPADS to jihadis in Syria.
    No, I was not implying anything like that. That would be a shortsighted thing to do, and I do not believe they are stupid, probably a lot smarter than we are based on what is going on now in Syria.
    I did say that PERHAPS they had provided them to the PKK in retaliation for the Turkish shootdown of a Russian Sukhoi 24. That was pure speculation on my part based on the recent reported PKK shootdown of a Turkish F-16. I meant no offense. Those Iglas could just as easily have come from Iran who is no friend of Turkey, or elsewhere?

  100. mike allen says:

    Fred –
    It won’t come from a poly-sci-grad Hillary supporter in October.
    It will be McCain or Graham or their NeoCon friends after the election… They don’t want to give Hillary and edge now.

  101. VietnamVet says:

    I agree with Richardstevenhack’s comment above. The White House has backed down. There will be no cruise missile attack this year on Syrian Arab Army positions. Donald Trump’s “Kitty-gate” couldn’t have come at a better time to hide the third humiliation of Barrack Obama by Vladimir Putin in Syria. Let’s not be coy. There are some very powerful people who are pissed off and will do all they can to destabilize the Kremlin. Cold War 2.0 will get hotter.
    Now that the total scorn of globalists running the West for the people and the rule of law is obvious, combined with the danger of nuclear war, the influx of refugees caused by the West’s support of Jihadists and climate change; our world is turning upside down. If mankind survives, it will because the western citizens throw out the ruling globalist clique.

  102. Cee says:

    Yes. They aren’t changing the colors of our FA 18’s to match those of the Russians for no reason.
    Plus, read the Pied Piper Clinton plot on Wikileaks to elevate Trump to later knock him down.

  103. Lemur says:

    There’s simply not enough Russian assets in Syria to deal with a massed attack. It’s possible the F-22 Raptor has the wood on the S-400. By contrast, Russian systems would pose a real threat to the F-35.
    Thus, US ability to gain air superiority against a near peer adversary depends on just 120 odd Raptors. No other NATO country will possess this capability.

  104. mike allen says:

    David Habbakkuk –
    I’ve read Waugh’s ‘Scoop’ and think you are right re “understanding modern politics”. Will have to find copies of ‘Black Mischief’ and ‘Decline and Fall’. In the future I would like to hear more about your “mixed feelings” on Waugh if you have the inclination?
    And I got lost in the latter part of your comment. By ‘Thatcherites’ do you mean Theresa May, Lidington and others in the majority that have a deep fear of Germany and Russia. Or is it a ‘group within’? {lease forgive my ignorance of your fair country.

  105. PeteM says:

    Assad has shown repeatedly that he is not accepting the ‘junior partner’ position in relation to Putin in this conflict. In both instances when the US and Russia reached a cease fire agreement he immediately appeared on local media making the insane claim that he was going to reconquer the whole of Syria. This fantasy would only be possible with the full assistance of the Russian military and that is the tail trying to wag the dog. I’m certain that Putin and his advisors are troubled by these outbursts as much as they should be by Assad’s continued use of chemicals as weapons after they thought they had removed that temptation from his grasp.
    I’m not a supporter of the fact that the Hegemon is creating this new reality but it can’t be ignored and I am just commenting on what I see coming and what I try to understand about why its proponents think they can prevail.

  106. Cee,
    Those FA-18s in Russian camoflage are part of adversary training at MCAS Beufort. They’ve done it there for at least the last two years. The AF Aggressor Squadron has done that for decades. Nothing sinister here.

  107. mike allen says:

    Old Microbiologist –
    When was that announcement made? The coalition is reporting 13 strikes on ISIL in Syria on 8 October, and I expect they will soon release the 9 October strikes. Some of those may have been by rocket artillery, but not all, certainly not the strikes on Raqqa, Mar’a, and Deir ez-Zor.

  108. Ken Roberts says:

    This statement “[Russia] generally looking as inpredictable as possible…” is a topic I’ve been wondering about. It seems to me that statements coming from Russian govt sources have been quite clear, both on the surface and in terms of allusions to non-public aspects. That is, exceptionally predictable, after the first Syrian intervention startup one-year ago.
    Is that the case, or am I missing observing some aspect of unpredictability? Is it a good strategy to be so predictable? Not, I imagine, in terms of defining option-space with respect to US diplomacy/actions. But perhaps there is benefit in wider opinion, eg other countries who are likely to desire a predictable partner?
    Suppose Russian desire is to reduce chaotic nature of statements and actions from US? What will elicit that?

  109. Peter AU says:

    Regarding S-400 vs F-22 a submission to the Australian government by Lt.Col Anker Sorensen (Rtd) on the purchase of the F-35 is well worth a read. With two systems 70 to 80 km? apart now operationg in Syria, one will always get a side veiw of a stealth aircraft so visability will depend on side veiw radar cross section of the F-22.
    Submission 35 (pdf) at this site
    ….We also simulated Joint Strike Fighter against Russian fighter aircraft where we flew two against two.
    In the forenoon I and the Danish test pilot was flying Joint Strike Fighters against two Russian fighters. In the afternoon we swapped, so we flew Russian fighter aircraft against the Joint Strike Fighter.
    In the afternoon the first thing the test pilot and I noticed was that the Russian fighters was not loaded with the best air-to-air missiles as the Russians have in real life. We therefore asked about getting some better.
    It was denied us. We two pilots complained but it was not changed.
    My test pilot and I decided in our simulated Russian combat aircraft to fly “line abreast”, but with 25 nautical miles distance. Then at least one of us could with radar look into the side of the Joint Strike Fighter
    and thus view it at long distance. The one who “saw” the Joint Strike Fighter could then link the radar image to the other. Then missiles could be fired at long distance at the Joint Strike Fighter.
    It was also denied us, although we protested this incomprehensible disposition….

  110. F-35 says:

    There is a lot of US personnel deployed in warzones around the world, using a lot of aircraft. I am sure Russians have already made it abundantly clear to Obama that US enemies may all of a sudden find themselves in possession of brand-new, Russian made MANPADS…You wouldn’t want that, Barak, now, would you?

  111. mike allen says:

    Sorry to disappoint you, I have no Khazarian mafia in my family. Just an old armchair strategerista, or wannabee more likely.
    But you are right about agitprop, there is plenty of it going on around here. Most from Assad and his phony baloney “proof” that it was a deliberate US strike on SAA troops. He knows he cannot release that proof as it will be shown to be garbage. You should also check the Southfront maps around Deir az Zor. You will finf they do not show SAA gains and losses on the perimeter.

  112. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    Waugh is good whether David H. likes him or not. You should read “Black Mischief” because it is so amusing but you probably won’t believe it because you probably don’t have enough experience in the 3rd world. What you should read most is the “Sword of Honor” trilogy about how leftists in London determined the outcome of the resistance struggle in Yugoslavia. pl

  113. mike allen says:

    PeteM –
    Be careful Pete. I happen to agree with you. But talking about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is thought of as heresy by some commenters here. Be prepared to be flame warred. They will accuse you of being a warmonger, or a dupe, or an Israeli agitator.

  114. mike allen says:

    Thanks Colonel –
    I can’t find “Black Mischief” online at my local library, but did put a hold on “Sword of Honor”. I’ll look for “Black Mischief” next time I hit a local bookstore. I’m not fond of Amazon.

  115. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Mike Allen,
    “You should also check the Southfront maps around Deir az Zor. You will finf they do not show SAA gains and losses on the perimeter.”
    Correct. This is why the “accidental” bombing of the SAA positions, which had been static for more than three months, does not really pass the smell test. Interesting gambit, but it seems to have failed.
    BTW you must know that the SAA does not have real SIGINT capability against US. Claiming that President Assad “cannot release that proof as it will be shown to be garbage” is too clever by half, and worthy of a well-trained Borg Hasbarist.
    Anyway, enjoy the coming fight. In all probability my country, Turkey, and my city, Adana, will take some of the first hits-Incirlik is only 18 km away. A pity if that comes to pass. Our old bridge over Seyhan was built by Romans under Hadrian and has lasted close to two millennia. It deserves better than being sacrificed for Borgist pipe dreams.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  116. Chris Chuba says:

    “Plus they [the S400] are way outranged by modern standoff weapons like JASSM. Even JSOW or older HARM missiles with a shorter range could get to them. – Mike Allen”
    U.S. Intent
    Mike Allen, those of us pondering the possibility of a U.S. attack on Syria that will involve Russia aren’t just engaging in fanciful thoughts. You are aware of these statements recently published statements in the press, I hope.
    “The CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, represented in the Deputies Committee meeting by Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva, expressed support for such “kinetic” options, the official said. That marked an increase of support for striking Assad compared with the last time such options were considered.

    The options under consideration, which remain classified, include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships, an administration official who is part of the discussions told me.”

    They even use the same term ‘standoff weapons’ that you mention.
    S400 vs JASSM
    You are making an interesting point and if we did want to test the waters, a stealthy air launched cruise missile would be a better option than using old Tomahawk missiles as I stated earlier. You are obviously more knowledgable than I am, but I bet the Russian air defenses can eat the HARM missiles for breakfast. The Russians have watched us use HARM missiles to destroy air defense systems for decades and I can’t believe they would neglect this in their development. I watched a demo of their Pantsir s2 intercept short range missiles and it was very impressive. The S400 defense system would be layered with such systems.
    Reality vs Belief
    If we believe that we can take out Russian air defenses in Syria we will be tempted to do so. The actual reality of the situation is less important.

  117. Jay says:

    How many American body bags?

  118. Fred says:

    Given that I lugged a replica of one of those things around Michigan during the campaign he managed to quite skillfully lose I gave myself artistic license. If you are referring to JEB well he managed to sink his own campaign but without much skill, other than wasting tens of millions in donations.

  119. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    Although now after looking it up I see that years ago I did read one book of Waugh’s trilogy. The one on action in Crete, “Officers and Gentlemen”. I’ve reserved the other two.

  120. Fred says:

    It certainly won’t be a supporter, it will be long time staff members who are just as neocon in foreign policy as she or the two senators you name. I disagree on the timing.

  121. mike allen says:

    Peter AU –
    I have no doubt about what you say. Those who conduct testing of military systems do like them to be choreographed and not spontaneous. That is a mistake in my opinion.
    But it does not change my mind on the susceptibilities of SAM’s in general and the S400 in particular. They are not all-powerful.

  122. J says:

    Don’t forget the Russian asymmetrical warfare response that Putin has warned NATO and D.C. about. OSD Carter seems to have no clue regarding what an asymmetrical warfare response is.
    Why o why do we have so many lunatics (OSD Carter, Hillary, NATO Sec, etc..) today running the Western asylum?

  123. PeteM says:

    I see these attacks initially as decapitation strikes to separate the forces in the field from C&C so there may be little need to actually strike the field units just take out their command and support. The Russians embedded with these troops will then have no purpose and can leave. Once Syrian air resources are destroyed the field forces are not going to be able to do much except possibly defend themselves.
    I don’t have a background in this business but it seems that two or three waves of a hundred or so cruise missiles properly targeted should reduce most all of Assad’s offensive and defensive capabilities, government control and support systems to rubble. What happens after that will probably be negotiated even if the Russians try to counter some of this attack.
    What is surprising to me is that Obama seems to be moving quickly to lead this new reality now that negotiations have failed. I thought he would only prepare the way for HRC to lead this new direct intervention policy.
    Apologies to pl I seem to have inadvertently double posted my last comment.

  124. hans says:

    Our Sainted Amb. Stevens a gun-runner? Funny that never came up during all those tedious hours of committee hearings.

  125. Amir says:

    What is this obsession about chemical weapons. They did not achieve much in WWI and even in the case of Saddam’s use of it, they only cause mass casualties against Kurdish civilians and created panicked in the Iranian ranks. The latter made such a big deal out of chemical weapon use in order to garner support from International Community against the “Saddam’s barbarity “. The sympathy towards the Iranian victims was not forthcoming while the massive PR campaign had a negative effect on the morale of the Iranian draftees.

  126. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to PeteM 09 October 2016 at 05:31 PM
    Oh come now, bombast for local political consumption by Syrian supporters of the Syrian government is not even remotely the same as policy. Have you actually ever read an Arab politician’s speech in Arabic? They go for florid rhetoric with lashings of bombast on top. Everybody not least the audience at whom this is directed knows what’s going on and gives it the (lack of) credence it deserves.
    “that is the tail trying to wag the dog”
    If you think the Russian government which is served by a highly professional diplomatic corps isn’t fully aware of how much weight to put on Arab domestic political rhetoric you are even more deluded than the officials of your State Department.
    “Assad’s continued use of chemicals as weapons”
    I note that you very carefully refrain from introducing even one shred of evidence from a credible source for this contention. And apparently unlike you I do remember what happened to the last set of accusations.
    “I’m not a supporter of the fact that the Hegemon is creating this new reality”
    From the way in which you’ve consistently shilled the hegemonic party line ya sure could’ve fooled me.

  127. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to aleksandar 09 October 2016 at 04:36 PM
    “It is said ”
    By whom?

  128. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to mike allen 09 October 2016 at 03:53 PM
    “It is just as valid as your opinion.”
    Ummm no, an opinion backed with verifiable facts or personal experience has far more worth than one that is merely backed by assertions. It’s that whole “reality based” thing dontchernow.

  129. MRW says:

    “My father shed a lot of blood when he was horrifically wounded at the Rapido River in Italy”
    You missed my point. Your father and the countless others who suffered, the hundreds of thousands who died, and the wounded, all happened outside the US.
    We haven’t had war on this continent since the Civil War. None of us have relatives who remember those days and can tell us. We, in the general populace, don’t have a visceral knowledge of war. Our soldiers do. But the general population does not. Not in the sense I mean. So we accept assholes like Ash Carter and Samantha Power banging war drums as if they were sane, as if they were patriotic, as if their complete disregard for diplomacy is in the national interest. It is not.
    We have no fear of war the way the Russians do. Further, this fear compels them to never allow another country to do to them what was done to them in WWII. Stalin conscripted every able-bodied male to push the Nazis back but he couldn’t afford socks and only cheap boots. So he gave them cases of vodka and newspapers to make up for the socks and numb them in 20-to-40 below weather as the General Zhukov fought the superior German army in the dead of winter.
    “The kept the faith with the Japanese Emperor never breaking from their neutrality pact with Japan (after their brief border conflicts in Mongolia in 39)”
    “brief border conflicts in Mongolia in 39?” Go back and read your history.

  130. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to mike allen 09 October 2016 at 05:23 PM
    Take our host’s advice given below and read Sword of Honour first.
    Mr Habakkuk will doubtless give a more detailed answer but briefly the Conservative Party is like another well-known British institution a “broad church”. It has a Thatcherite wing, very nationalistic, and quite bordering on very right-wing. In my experience of them they tend to be more than somewhat limited in their experience of life outside their own narrow little circle and they also tend be quite jingoistic. Unfortunately they set the tone for the Brexit debate – please note that it’s the tone of the debate that I’m deploring here rather than the debate itself or even its result, both of which are major topics in and of themselves.
    Another wing of that party was perhaps represented best David Cameron and his George Osborne they’re a lot more cosmopolitan in their outlook and (by UK conservative standards) quite liberal socially – Cameron pushed through gay marriage for example, they also tend to come from very well-off backgrounds and to have risen to high political office without having had to put in years and years of constituency work. They’re often derided as a “chumocracy”.
    All of that is very much a thumbnail sketch – which I hope David Habakkuk will expand upon.

  131. LJ says:

    From Zero Hedge (just a couple of quotes)
    “Having advised President Obama to enter the Libyan Civil War, Hillary Clinton assured the press at the start of the Syrian Civil War that the United States would not similarly involve itself in that conflict. However, some documents exposed recently by Wikileaks show that Hillary’s advice to the president to enter the US into Libya’s Civil War came with a clear and intentional connection to topple the Assad regime….
    According to this massively revealing document pillaged from Hillary Clinton’s email archives, Obama needed to bring down Assad’s regime in order to calm Israel into accepting the eventual nuclear agreement he was working out with Iran. So, US involvement in the Syrian Civil War is even less about Assad than it is about Iran and Israel — at least in the State Department’s strategizing.”

  132. walrus says:

    I think your opinion of how much actual help Lend Lease was to the Soviets in 41 – 42 might be considered exaggerated. At least by the Russians.

  133. walrus says:

    in my opinion the question of F22, B2, etc. vs S400, etc. is missing the point. What happens when Putin responds “asymmetrically” by cruise missile attacks on the airbases from which the aircraft were launched?
    to put that another way, we have this idea that we fly out, fly back and head for the bar….. if it were me I would try and arrange the cruise missiles to arrive as the returning sortie was landing.

  134. jld says:

    Time will tell…

  135. jld says:

    Our two newly activated “Borg Hasbara Operatives” are really, really, really busy.
    That must mean something, either SST has been selected as a prime target for counter propaganda or the real situtation is truly heating up, or both(?).

  136. Tigermoth says:

    Not Mark Toner:
    Russian FM spokeswoman unleashes on western Journalist (video with english sub titles):
    “…such simplification means that western media stupidity is more dangerous than the threat itself”

  137. Tigermoth says:

    Here is some information on the S-300VM fire rate (Note this is 2014 info):
    “The engagement envelope of the baseline Gladiator is between 80 ft AGL to 80 kft, and ranges of 3.2 to 40 nautical miles, the Giant between 3,200 ft AGL to 100 kft, and ranges of 7 to 54 nautical miles. The system can launch the missiles at 1.5 second intervals, and a battalion with four batteries can engage 24 targets concurrently, with 2 missiles per target, and has a complement of between 96 and 192 missiles available for launch on TELAR/TELs. A TELAR can arm a missile for launch in 15 seconds, with a 40 second time to prepare a TELAR for an engagement, and 5 minute deploy and stow times – a genuine “hide, shoot and scoot” capability.
    The cited single shot kill probabilities for the Gladiator are 50% to 65% against TBMs and 70% to 90% against aircraft, for the Giant 40% to 60% against IRBMs and 50% to 70% against the AGM-69 SRAM – ballistic missiles with re-entry velocities of up to 3 km/s can be engaged. Russian sources credit the missiles with endgame capability against 7-8G manoeuvring targets. The later 9M82M and 9M83M are credited with a 30G endgame capability.
    The Soviets were terrified of the EF-111A fleet operated by Tactical Air Command and equipped the S-300V system with a facility for passive targeting of support jammers. The 9S15, 9S19 and 9S32 have receiver channels for sidelobe jamming cancellation and these are used to produce very accurate bearings to the airborne jammer, this bearing information is then used to develop angular tracks. The angular tracks are then processed by the 9S457 command post to estimate range, and the 9S32 then develops an estimated track for the target jammer. A Giant missile is then launched and steered by command link until it acquires the target.”

  138. Imagine says:

    James Le Mesurier has a White Helmets training obstacle course in Turkey. It is possible that the professional photographs, with the smoke-pots, are shot there. He is also apparently an Olive Group merc, it’s merged with Blackwater now. I wonder if he knows what the White Helmets are doing, or if he thought he was being altruistic going into it. WH have stolen the name of the Syrian Civil Defense Force, there’s a perfectly good real ambulance/firestation organization there, 113 on the phones, started in ’53 and accredited by ICDO.

  139. Tigermoth says:

    Here is an article by Chris Martinsen regarding the built up to war with Russia. He figures that high level psychopaths are now controlling the game and that winning is the only thing, even if it means self destruction, they don’t see it. Scary.
    “Do We Really Want A War With Russia?
    Because we’re in danger of getting exactly that.
    This report builds on those I’ve released over the past two years and begins with a chilling editorial put out by the NY Times on September 29th, 2016, which further demonized Putin specifically, Russia generally, and openly advocates for military confrontation.
    Hey, we’ve been down this path before. The deeply conflicted NY Times has never met a war in the Middle East it didn’t support, and has never had any trouble repeating war plan talking points (that always neatly align with those put out by neocon think tanks) or even printing obviously fake “intelligence” from unnamed sources such as that used to justify the illegal US attack and invasion of Iraq…”

  140. Kenny says:

    @PeteM: Do you have any evidence to support your assertion that Assad is continuing to use Chemical weapons? At least beside Obama/DoS/NYT/WaPo heresay?
    I won’t bother waiting for a response, I didn’t think so.
    The flag wavers seem to be out in force on this post.

  141. Kenny says:

    @VV: Global Warming is a Rothschilds scam! James Perloff really explains it here:
    Apparently the Rothschilds not only have gotten control of weather forcasting through control of weather central. This is also releated to their activities in weather derivatives (billions in them) where they can make massive profits through weather manipulation and divergence between forcast and actual weather. When Perloff starts talking about Lady Rothschilds support of Hillary ($100,000 a plate fundraisers, recent yahoo clips) and the fact that the Rothschilds stayed in the Clinton white house for their honeymoon then it all starts becoming clear why Clinton and and the DOD keeping spewing on about AGW being mankinds biggest threat even though we stand on the threshhold of nuclear armagedon. Also, just think Al Gore!
    He also discusses how Bain Capital (Romney) is a partner of weather central with the Rothschilds and discusses how it relates to the 2012 stolen election.
    Clearly, the Rothschilds are not content with running just the worlds Central Banks and Energy industries. They want to control the weather, which makes them much more than merely King of the Jews. It makes them Gods! And Hillary would be a demi-God.

  142. Mike Allen,
    ‘But you need to read real history, not Hollywood’s version and not Stalin’s.’
    Perhaps I can recommend to you some ‘real history’. A very detailed synthesis of recent scholarship on the interwar period comes in the relevant volumes of the ‘Oxford History of Modern Europe’ by Zara Steiner. (Actually, she grew up in the United States, although she has spent her career at Cambridge, UK – where she briefly taught me, many years ago.)
    I have only had time to read the relevant sections of her second volume, published in 2013 under the title ‘The Triumph of the Dark’ – when I last looked, they were available on the net.
    But, to my relief, I found that nothing that has appeared subsequently has significantly called into question the account of the Nazi-Soviet Pact given in the 1999 study ‘Grand Delusion’ by the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky. (He is rare in having a very detailed knowledge both of the Russian and British archives.)
    In essence, the picture now seems clear: while one cannot say for certain what would have happened had a different British policy been pursued, the repeated spurning of Litvinov’s attempts to secure ‘collective security’ against Nazi Germany left Stalin in a position where he had little realistic option but to make terms with Hitler.
    (One might perhaps say that Litvinov was the Lavrov of his day.)
    Part of the problem was that Chamberlain listened to the Poles. From Gorodetsky’s introduction: ‘The unilateral British guarantees to Poland of 31 March 1939 represent the crucial move towards the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the opening salvoes of the Second World War.’
    I dealt with some of the implications of all this for understanding subsequent history in exchanges back in August on a post on his ‘Irrussianality’ blog by Professor Paul Robinson dealing with the ‘Icebreaker’ study by Vladimir Suvorov, aka ‘Vladimir Rezun.’
    These link back to earlier exchanges here on SST.
    (See )

  143. Tidewater,
    It was the air attacks on the British ships in San Carlos Water on 21-25 May 1982.
    It is a long time since I looked at it, but I found someone making the suggestion I was making on a discussion thread back in 2007:
    ‘IIRC they worked out what was wrong with the bombs. They were dropping unretarded bombs, below the safe release altitude because they were flying low to avoid air defences, & the fuse safeties wouldn’t let ’em explode. They had to fit improvised retarding devices, & then they started working. But a bit late in the war.’
    (See .)
    The Argentinian pilots were clearly very brave men. It may be ‘snobbery’ was a bit of a cheap gibe. But I have come across this kind of communication problem in other contexts – so it interested me.
    And had they sunk more ships, the whole course of subsequent British history might have been very different.

  144. mike allen says:

    David Habakkuk –
    The Poles had good reason to distrust Stalin. And they paid for it at Katyn Forest.

  145. Harrier II says:

    Gary Johnson: I’d be a continuation of Obama on ISIS
    “Not for a second do I want to say that Obama has not been well-thought” on this issue, Johnson said. “But if he has been, if you’re saying that he has been, I’m making the pitch that I’m going to be a continuation of that.”
    Conversly at the debate last night:
    RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, we’re going to move on. The heart-breaking video of a 5-year-old Syrian boy named Omran sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble after an air strike in Aleppo focused the world’s attention on the horrors of the war in Syria, with 136 million views on Facebook alone.
    But there are much worse images coming out of Aleppo every day now, where in the past few weeks alone, 400 people have been killed, at least 100 of them children. Just days ago, the State Department called for a war crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its ally, Russia, for their bombardment of Aleppo.
    So this next question comes through social media through Facebook. Diane from Pennsylvania asks, if you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn’t it a lot like the Holocaust when the U.S. waited too long before we helped? Secretary Clinton, we will begin with your two minutes.
    CLINTON: Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air, bombarding places, in particular Aleppo, where there are hundreds of thousands of people, probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort by the Russian air force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime.
    Russia hasn’t paid any attention to ISIS. They’re interested in keeping Assad in power. So I, when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. …
    But I want to emphasize that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it’s all in, in Syria. And they’ve also decided who they want to see become president of the United States, too, and it’s not me. I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.
    … But I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.
    TRUMP: …
    … Now, she talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin and against Assad. She talks in favor of the rebels. She doesn’t even know who the rebels are. You know, every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people. And you know what happens? They end up being worse…
    Look at what she did in Libya with Gadhafi. Gadhafi’s out. It’s a mess. And, by the way, ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. …
    But look at that deal. Iran now and Russia are now against us. So she wants to fight. She wants to fight for rebels. There’s only one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are. So what’s the purpose?
    … I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.
    RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president…
    … what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.
    TRUMP: OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.
    RADDATZ: You disagree with your running mate?
    TRUMP: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. … I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.

  146. Fred says:

    Just a potential facilitator of the groups doing the various deeds the R2P crowd felt were/are needed. There was some other official reason to be in Benghazi rather than Tripoli?

  147. Fred says:

    Weather central? You mean a tv/internet forecasting service? They don’t make the weather.

  148. rjj says:

    Mike Allen: “Soviets even though they were our allies, were receiving our war materials, refused to help us…The[y] kept the faith with the Japanese Emperor never breaking from their neutrality pact with Japan ”
    In a war of attrition along a thousand mile front refusing to allocate limited and diminishing resources to another front 4000 miles to the east is a refusal of help???

  149. rjj says:

    TEST: how many times does this show up?

  150. kooshy says:

    “Those Iglas could just as easily have come from Iran who is no friend of Turkey”
    That is a totally uninformed prediction, like same as saying Iran supported Taliban, supplied and armed them.
    Iran will not do something to undermine Turkey’ government especially arming Kurds with MANPADS. FYI iran is fighting small Kurd insurgency near her border with Turkey. You make a lot of uninformed statements. Maybe you planned and thought it was good idea to invade Iraq.

  151. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran, a declared neutral country, was invaded and occupied by USSR and Britain; later joined by the United States and others.
    World War II was not considered and is not considered to have been Iran’s war and her occupation is another grievance in a long list of shabby treatment at the hands of foreign powers – mostly Christian.
    Large crowds used to gather in a square in Tehran, cheering the news of Germany’s victories – announced from loudspeakers – that much the population hated the English and England.

  152. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you but still unconvinced; Obama could demolish them rhetorically, something about dotage …

  153. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Litvinov was a Jew, I wonder if that handicapped him even more in his dealings with the English Government.

  154. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That was still in the future.
    I think, however, one could point to the failure of Litvinov’s mission and the strong contribution to that failure made by His Majesty’s Government to also held that government in part responsible for Shoah.

  155. LeaNder says:

    David, this contribution triggered the desire to go back and reread your articles over the years.
    No doubt, you may even somewhat agree, lots and lots of us felt more or less PR’ed after 9/11. With the US, maybe, traumatized more than us “outsiders”.
    I recall e.g. trying to figure out what specific PR agencies represented certain people in the early days. But without doubt there was a lot to handle, both concerning narratives and media “evidence”, e.g. one Bin Laden video comes to mind, to not mention the not easy pattern of Arabic names and their variations .. No harm meant, seriously, I have my obsessions too: if Bell really represented Khodorkovsky and Beresovsky, and I never checked, both simply might have been able to invest more then others, or were well connected (e.g) via Western investment they needed at some points in time. … On the surface Beresovsky’s history seems to show that not all matters in life can be handled by PR. … The rest no doubt is much more murky.
    Sorry, once again long introduction:
    2. They are very ‘provincial’ people, with very limited understanding of worlds beyond their own ‘goldfish bowl’. In that sense, ironically, a critical fact about them is their lack of roots in an older ‘imperial’ British culture.
    whaddya think: Was Thatcher advised to use one specific theme at the time by their PR agents, which the neo-Iran lady, May, years later has to represent once again without even having (seemingly) opted for it? Am I too cryptic? Or have you forgotten that theme, and only kept in mind the trade unions. Look, I met way too many assholes there too, thus this is not a partisan question.

  156. mike allen says:

    Dubhaltach –
    Thanks for the insight on British politics. I wish our US so-called conservatives were similar to at least one wing of your British Conservatives.
    Additionally your point in an earlier comment regarding no war on American soil since the Civil War is on point and well taken.
    Regarding the border conflicts between the Soviets and Japanese in the late 30s, except for Lake Khasan, which resulted in a stalemate, and Khalkin Gol, which Zhukov won brilliantly, they were mostly skirmishes between border guards. The fact remains that after those conflicts their Neutrality Pact with Japan went on for six years. So they had a single front war to fight with Hitler. Although I grant you it was a very large front stretching from Finland to the Caucasus. Perhaps they are a lot smarter than us, playing chess to our checkers.

  157. Tigermoth says:

    A question:
    What is the elected President of a country supposed to say when his country has been invaded and occupied, “Hey it’s OK we only want the western bits anyhow”?
    What kind of leader is that? Of course he wants every bit of the Syrian territory recovered and controlled by the elected government. He is finding ways to achieve that goal of recovering his country with the syrian people’s’ help and with the support of his allies.
    Second, please supply the supporting evidence of the chemical weapons use. It serves no purpose for him to use them as illustrated by your accusation. Why would he need to? I’m sure war materials are not a problem with Russia involved.
    The “moderate” rebels have been accused of using them in their Hell Cannons but no outrage from the MSM there.

  158. mike allen says:

    Kooshy –
    The American invasion of Iraq was an insane decision by Junior Bush (that’s Georgie by the way, not JEB). I opposed it then and oppose it now.
    And yes, I am well aware of the PJAKs and others in Iran. So?

  159. Tigermoth says:

    Also Egypt now.
    “Russia is in talks with Egypt to lease military facilities, including an air base in the town of Sidi Barrani near the Mediterranean, the Russian ‘Izvestia’ daily reported on October 10, quoting a source in the Russian Foreign ministry. If the agreement is made, the military base will be ready for use by 2019, according to the report.”

  160. FourthAndLong says:

    Guess I will vote for Trump. Last night’s debate was the last straw. Syria was next to last straw. Never expected I would make such a decision ..Oh well, Barry Goldwater , move over.

  161. Cortes says:

    Is Fitzroy MacLean’s memoir “Eastern Approaches ” not a better guide to events in Yugoslavia? I’m a Waugh fan but “Sword of Honour ” like “Brideshead Revisited” strikes me as having been composed under the influence of Grade A incense.

  162. mike allen says:

    Babak –
    You say: “Iran, a declared neutral country, was invaded and occupied by USSR and Britain; later joined by the United States and others.”
    That is true. My daughter’s father-in-law was in Iran during WW2 as an Air Corps radio technician. He worked at a Douglas assembly plant. I think he said it was in Bushehr(?). There was him, an Air Corps officer, two or three Douglas engineers and the rest were local Iranians, who he said were wonderful and friendly people. They were assembling P39 fighters under license from Bell Aircraft that had been shipped there in pieces in crates. He said the Soviet pilots would arrive, jump in the cockpit, and immediately take off to the north, all within an hour or less. The flight to Soviet airfields in support of the War against the Nazis was the only test flight they ever received. He passed several years ago, unfortunately. I would have loved to hear more of his stories.
    And I have heard that Admiral Bayandor who died fighting against the Brits is still considered a hero and martyr in Iran, even though he was a Reza Shah supporter. Is that true?

  163. mike allen says:

    Babak –
    “that was in the future.”
    Katyn Forest was in the future. I was referring to Pilsudski and the Battle of Warsaw where the Poles made a complete fool of Stalin and Tukhachevsky.

  164. FourthAndLong says:

    I hope your analysis is correct, because if not it is game over for a vast multitude. FWIW I fear Carter is aiming for intense global conflict. Obama’s best use of his limited time would be to remove him. And Brennan should have gone ages ago.

  165. Tigermoth says:

    Here is an article on the Real Syrian Civil Defense Force:
    SYRIA: Message from the REAL Syria Civil Defence about White Helmet frauds
    “This is a translated message from the REAL Syria Civil Defence heroes, Latakia Fire Brigade published this message today, 8th October 2016.”
    “…This is a translated message from the REAL Syria Civil Defence heroes, Latakia Fire Brigade published this message today, 8th October 2016…
    …This organization was established by a British person, and is mainly supported by UK and USA. It does not have a number that people can reach them through in emergencies, they choose where and when to operate, they choose the missions they want only. Surprisingly enough, this organization that came to exist only two and a half years ago has gained the full support and credibility for Western and Arab community, while Fire Brigades and the REAL Civil Defense forces that have been working in Syria since 1953 were completely marginalized despite all the efforts they have done.
    They were called “The White Helmets, the world’s most photogenic rescuers”.
    Their work is pure media propaganda, where every worker has a helmet camera with a whole team supplied with cameras. They are considered as a rescue and firefighting team stronger than any media specialized team! However, you cannot but question all their videos and how they’re edited and how all the victims they rescue happen to be only children.
    On the other hand, to be honest, when we first heard of those White Helmets and before we knew who they are and who is behind them – and here I talk about myself – we thought that this was a good thing because many of the members of fire brigades and the REAL Syrian civil defense members had been repeatedly targeted, killed and kidnapped from the early days of the Syrian crisis (March, 17, 2011) until now whenever they head to any rescue mission in any area, whether in areas under the control of the Syrian Army or outside its control. We thought that this way every area would have its specialized group that would handle rescue and humanitarian missions regardless of the party that controls that areas.
    Unfortunately, their mission turned out not to be humanitarian. They have revealed their real intentions as we have seen them holding arms and participating in executions and abusing prisoners taken by Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups. Most of their videos are fabricated, crops can be clearly noticed, and easily one can recognize what was cropped, or what they were attempting to hide…”

  166. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes about Bayandor.

  167. LeaNder says:

    “Why now”?: The authors’ recent focus or respective attentions may partly explain, why now?
    Besides what are recent polls concerning US support or opposition to the closure of Guantanamo? What monetary implications could result from the larger scenario? Can there there any final decision on “the truth and nothing but the truth”? As researcher, I no doubt would like hands on the documents. As lawyer too. Obviously. Seems there was the underlying larger Kafkaesk Israel scenario as far as Palestinians are concerned: Defending on the basis of no grasp of the evidence that led to arrests, since classified.
    Murky context, if one considers the larger scenario and “supposed” intentions and aims. Admittedly, I was aware of and followed some personal stories. I don’t have the least to compare, but I am aware that much lesser encounters with authority have left deep traumatic imprints. … To leave out all the troubles on the way to the defined American “aim/s”, from the top of my mind: the unfamiliar Arabic names leading to the occasional mistaken identity, or once money enters the scene in search of informers, do dynamics change?
    thanks for the link, Haralambos.

  168. Mike Allen,
    What the hell has ‘trust’ got to do with it?
    If there was to be any prospect of maintaining the Versailles settlement in Eastern Europe, it depended upon an effective system of ‘containment’ of Germany. It was Germany, not the Soviet Union, which was the dynamic expansionist power at the time.
    (If you want a quick way of getting ‘up to speed’ with some conclusions of current scholarship, I would recommend an anthology of his reviews and essays published by Richard J. Evans last year, under the title ‘The Third Reich in History and Memory.’
    Briefly. The agenda which Hitler attempted to realise in the 1941-5 was essentially that outlined in ‘Mein Kampf’. This involved the elimination of between thirty and forty-five million Slavs in Eastern Europe and Russia, in order to create ‘Lebensraum’ to be settled by German farmers.
    Once this was achieved, Germany would enter into a struggle for ‘world domination’ with the United States. But to win this it was necessary to eliminate the Jewish ‘Weltfeind’, whom – to quote the review by Evans of Zara Steiner’s book – ‘Hitler’s paranoid fantasies portrayed as engaged in a global conspiracy to subvert Germany civilisation.’)
    After the Germans occupied the rump of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Chamberlain shifted to ‘containment’.
    However, encouraged by Colonel Beck, he continued to believe that such ‘containment’ was possible without a serious alliance with the Soviet Union.
    In so doing, he created incentives both for Hitler to seek a deal with Stalin, and for Stalin to make terms with him – which duly happened.
    At the time, there was ample intelligence available pointing to the possibility that this was a likely result of Chamberlain’s policy.
    Actually, the U.S. Government was particularly well-informed, as a result of leaks to Charles Bohlen from one of his German colleagues, Hans von Herwarth, who was desperately trying to make the Western powers realise they needed to come to terms before Hitler did.
    It might have helped if they had informed us in good time. But there was quite enough intelligence available from other sources.
    Statecraft is only about ‘trust’ to a very limited extent. It is, critically, about an accurate understanding of the capabilities and intentions of various actors, and the implications of alternative courses of action. And a very great deal of the time, it is about deciding which of a range of unpalatable alternatives is the least awful.
    Actually, Stalin’s threat perceptions and those of Chamberlain mirror-imaged. In both cases, they were afraid of a war in which they would be left to bear the burden of confronting Germany, while the other played ‘tertius gaudens’.
    This meant that, if the British were to offer Stalin a realistic alternative to buying time by making terms with Hitler, they had to talk seriously about coordinated contingency plans for war. To say to the Soviets that their forces couldn’t cross Polish territory, while at the same time British and French forces were intending to stay on the defensive, was, to put it mildly, to make Stalin an offer he could not but refuse.
    Of course the last thing the Poles wanted was to have Soviet troops crossing their territory. But an alliance between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union offered at least a prospect that ‘containment’ might work – in which case the troops would not cross.
    If it did not work, then the fate of the Poles was going to be ghastly, whatever happened. However, rather obviously they would have had somewhat better prospects of avoiding Katyn, if at the time Russia had been fighting together with Britain and France.

  169. Mike Allen,
    ‘Be careful Pete. I happen to agree with you. But talking about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is thought of as heresy by some commenters here. Be prepared to be flame warred. They will accuse you of being a warmonger, or a dupe, or an Israeli agitator.’
    As far as I am aware, the first time you posted here – at least as ‘Mike Allen’ – was in the discussion of Dr Patrick Armstrong’s post entitled ‘Bellingcat proves the Russians didn’t do it.’
    (See .)
    In the course of the exchanges that followed, I posted a good deal of information about the role of Higgins in disseminating patently disingenuous material designed to support the contention that the sarin atrocity at Ghouta was the work of the Syrian government – rather than the ‘false flag’ I believe it patently is.
    If want to make comments like the above, I expect a detailed rebuttal of my arguments.
    Come on man. Argue. Engage with facts. Display some basic knowledge of something, at least.

  170. mike allen says:

    David Habakkuk –
    Thanks for the recommendation on Richard Evans work. I’ll try to track down a copy.
    I won’t refute your logic on Nazi containment. I expect you have done a lot more research than I have available. And I know nothing of your sources.
    But even you admit that an alliance between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union “might work” for containment. So if “might” is the operative word here, it might not have worked either.
    And unfortunately, “trust” has much to do with international relations, despite the best intentions of statecraft.

  171. mike allen says:

    @David Habakkuk – “As far as I am aware, the first time you posted here – at least as ‘Mike Allen’ – was in the discussion of Dr Patrick Armstrong’s post entitled ‘Bellingcat proves the Russians didn’t do it.’”
    I have been posting here for many years. I used the moniker “mike”, all lower case in the past, but changed that moniker at Colonel Lang’s request when another “Mike” started commenting.
    I am not a fan of Brown Moses or bellingcat or whatever his moniker is now. Forensics of photographs or videos is not going to prove anything. That remains the same for bellingcat, Dr Armstrong, the MSM in America regarding police shootings, or anybody else. Voodoo forensics is my term for it. There are a few people trained for it who also have the knowledge of weapon systems and bomb damage assessment that do a decent job. They are few and far between. Andy who posted on Dr Armstrong’s blog is one who I would trust. No others that I have met recently.

  172. kenny says:

    Watch the video.
    They make false forecasts and then make money off of weather derivatives, which are based on their forcasts. They can also manipulate elections, and they have, think of critical polling stations being closed in 2012 because of tornado alerts in 2012. All that without weather manipulation, which I believe that they can perform too (HAARP as a start). Then consider the weather control links between the Clintons, Romney, and the Rothschilds. Is this not the Borg? Would the Borg not want to control, harvest and gain power from the weather?

  173. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There were already German communities all over the Eastern Europe – say in Romania – had been there for centuries; whose male members later joined the SS.

  174. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, US trusts Vietnam and People’s Republic of China but not Iran or Russia?
    She has a fair amount of trust in the Gulfies and Turkey but none in Cuba?
    Are you saying that the English Government, in 1938-1939 period – trusted Germany more than it trusted USSR?

  175. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I would guess that the real target is not the core band of pilgrims here, but those folks who look in once in awhile. The ink screen thrown up may convince a few that the Borg has a valid premise re. Syria, but not if we keep engaging all incoming. How many of us can afford the required time?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  176. mike allen says:

    Old Microbiologist –
    I suspect your source on the US stopping airstrikes in Syria due to Russian threats is incorrect. The coalition struck eight more Daesh (ISIS) targets in Syria yesterday in addition to the 13 on the day before.
    Near Abu Kamal, one strike damaged two supply routes.
    Near Al Shadaddi, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three fighting position and a vehicle.
    Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes damaged four ISIL supply routes.
    Near Mar’a, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a fighting position.
    Near Palmyra, one strike destroyed an ISIL headquarters facility

  177. Mike Allen,
    I doubt I can explain my mixed feelings about Waugh very well, because it would involve trying to make you understand an alien culture – and it seems likely that you are the kind of American who finds this difficult.
    But anyhow.
    Many years ago, when I was a not very employable recent university graduate, I wrote to the father of a childhood friend who was a Latin Americanist, asking if there was any way of finding a job out there. He wrote to a contact, suggesting may be I might be of use as a ‘tutor in a traditional Mexican family.’
    All he meant by this was that there was no point in being a tutor in the kind of family where the parents have both been to Berkeley or Oxford, and complain about English dentistry.
    However, his correspondent took him at his word, and I ended up with a pure Spanish, traditional Catholic family – oddities, in a largely ‘mestizo’ society. So in the course of a largely insular life, I had a year of something close ‘total immersion’ in a very different culture. I barely talked to any native English speakers.
    When I returned, by pure fluke, I got a job on an extraordinarily bad and very right-wing monthly magazine owned by a former employee of Lord Beaverbrook – a source for ‘Lord Copper’ in ‘Scoop’. As it happened, my employer modelled himself on his sometime master. This was just after the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, and it rapidly turned out the magazine was teetering on the verge on bankruptcy.
    So, at a formative time in my life, I was more closely involved with ‘Waugh-type’ situations than almost anyone else I have come across. That in itself left me with mixed feelings, in particular about the cruelty.
    It is so much involved with the brilliance of his best work – but then, I learned in Mexico that strange worlds often have much love in them as well as much cruelty, and that one should never confuse the question of whether one agrees with people with that of whether one likes or indeed loves them.
    Coming back to Britain, David Cameron, George Osborne, and Boris Johnson are all former members of something called the ‘Bullingdon Club’ in Oxford.
    It features as the ‘Bollinger Club’ in ‘Decline and Fall’ – which I recall right is Waugh’s first, and in my view probably still best, novel.
    It is material that my late father was one of the earnest grammar school scholarship boys repeatedly treated with withering contempt in Waugh’s novels.
    The contempt is partly reciprocated – in my heart of hearts, and without a shred of social defensiveness, I think of Cameron, Osborne, and Johnson as ‘rich white trash’.
    But once again, there are complexities which I do not think I could ever begin to explain to someone like you.
    The valley of the Fowey, in Cornwall, is one of the most beautiful places in the Kingdom – also, at the bottom, replete with memories of the American forces who set off from that coast on D-Day. Near where the river starts, up in the hills, there is a ‘stately home’ called Lanhydrock. In the chapel, there is a memorial to those from the estate who died in the First World War.
    At the top is ‘Captain Tommy’ – ‘the Honourable Captain Thomas Charles Reginald Agar-Robartes MP.’ Some time ago I discovered, to my amusement, an old Bullingdon Club photograph, in the quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, in which he features.
    (See .)
    In 1914, ‘Captain Tommy’ was a rising Liberal politician. He did not have to go to the war – indeed, a perfectly respectable argument could be made that the responsible course of action would have been to have avoided doing so.
    He died at Loos in September 1915, after he and a sergeant went out into no-man’s land to bring another sergeant back.
    (See .)
    A strand in Waugh is a familiar middle-class snobbery about the aristocracy. But then, the attitudes of people about social class here have been very complex – much too complex, I think, for their to be any hope of my explaining them to you.
    It is material, in my own case, that further down the Fowey, on monument in a parish church, there is the name of one of the two maternal great-uncles of mine to have been killed in that war. The son of the vicar of the parish, he had gone out to Canada as a rancher, and come back with a Canadian regiment recruited at the outset of war.
    My father’s family, being Welsh, are a different ‘can of worms’ – with different complexities about aristocracy.
    But you see, involved in this are a set of social understandings which appear to be totally absent in the contemporary United States, and to have largely vanished in my own country.
    A ‘gentleman’ may regard others as his social inferiors. But he does not refer to them as ‘deplorables’; and when there are wars to be fought, and dying to be done, he goes first.

  178. mike allen says:

    @Babak – “Are you saying that the English Government, in 1938-1939 period – trusted Germany more than it trusted USSR?”
    No, I think Mr Habakkuk said that.

  179. Mike Allen,
    The arguments I was making on the Patrick Armstrong thread to which I referred were not to do with ‘forensics of photographs or videos’. They had to do with test results on ‘environmental’ samples.
    You have made no effort whatsoever to engage with these arguments.
    Indeed, your behaviour is reminiscent of that of columnists on the ‘Financial Times’ – people like Richard Haass. And I do not think I can make a much more contemptuous remark than that.
    You write:
    ‘Voodoo forensics is my term for it. There are a few people trained for it who also have the knowledge of weapon systems and bomb damage assessment that do a decent job.’
    I see. Does Professor Theodore Postol of MIT count as one of the ‘few people trained for it’?
    You are doubtless familiar with the January 2014 paper he produced with Richard Lloyd under the title ‘Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013’.
    (See .)
    And you will also doubtless have prepared a considered rebuttal to the analysis presented in Postol’s July 2014 paper entitled ‘A Brief Assessment of the Veracity of Published Statements in the Press and Elsewhere Made by Dan Kaszeta, A Self-Described Expert on the Science and Technology of Chemical Weapons’
    (See .)

  180. kooshy says:

    Mike, if you know about Iran fighting KURD insurgency then you must agree this statement yours is false “Those Iglas could just as easily have come from Iran who is no friend of Turkey”, Iran wouldn’t give MANPADS to KURDS, bringing Turkish planes down while Kurd insurgents or Turks can return the favor, well, on the second thought, unless they are using Obama’ planners to plan foreign policy.

  181. Joe100 says:

    Is the MSM (I don’t engage anymore) covering the US air strikes on ISIS held areas in Sirte (supporting the “UN backed government”)? The destruction sure looks similar to Aleppo to me…

  182. Mike Allen,
    Years ago I had to train my television researchers. I got used to being patient. But there are limits.
    You appear not to know how to locate a book. If you don’t like Amazon, try It should take you about thirty seconds to locate the Evans study – current best price $5.14 – and it should be with you in a few days.
    As to my sources: there are a lot more, but I have given you some of the most critical ones – in particular, the Steiner and Gorodetsky studies.
    As to trust, it is relevant – the question is when and where.
    It is relevant that, back in 1989, an enormous number of people – and notably, a large section of the Soviet élite – had a very high degree of ‘trust’ in the United States. That was a central reason why the Cold War ended as it did.
    All that has gone. If you want to see some reasons why, you might try looking at an article by Sergei Karaganov in ‘Izvestiya’ earlier this year.
    Alternatively, have a closer look at Dr Patrick Armstrong’s writings. He had many years of close study on behalf of the Canadian government behind him before he retired and started posting stuff on the internet. And he was warning about the kind of shambles which has been developing many years ago.
    (See ;
    But distrust of your government – and other Western governments – is now spreading through the West.
    As it happens, I have limited ‘trust’ in what anybody says.
    But if you ask me whether I have more ‘trust’ in Hillary Clinton or in Putin, or in John Kerry or Sergei Lavrov, or Ashton B. Carter or Sergei Shoigu, what answer do you expect to get?
    And, although we are certainly a minority, there is a growing body of people in Britain like me.
    Get real. Come out of the bubble. Rejoin the human race.

  183. Thomas says:

    “Anyway, enjoy the coming fight. In all probability my country, Turkey, and my city, Adana, will take some of the first hits-Incirlik is only 18 km away.”
    I don’t know about that, CCTV today was showing a warm welcome to Putin in a visit to Erdogan.
    Could be when the Borg demands support, the Sultan will reply “Such as you provided me? We are sitting this out.”

  184. Imagine says:

    Very good post from Peak Oil summarizing the Russian conflict. This would be good to send to your friends, along with Robert Kennedy’s:
    P.O. doesn’t cover new ground until the end, noting the war is a psychological manifestation of victimization / narcissism, and so we’ve got 2 perfect candidates [karma: As within, so without, sigh]. “Do one to others before they do one to me.” Also thus the regime-change wars will never end until the victimization is enlightened.
    Useful for introductions; thought-provoking.

  185. LeaNder says:

    “all he has accomplished in Russia over this small Russian imperialist holding in Syria …”
    thanks all who gave the patronizing condescension of this proud representative of empire the attention it deserves. …

  186. mike allen says:

    David Habakkuk –
    Contemptuous? Sorry to let you down. I have the greatest respect for your comments here.
    My comments above were not on chemical weapons but on the photograph of tail fins of a bomb in a warehouse that was used by both bellingcat and Dr Armstrong to push their respective points of view. I do not believe either one of them knew what they were talking about regarding that photograph.
    The voodoo forensics term was regarding that photgraph and had nothing to do with chemical weapons. I never suggested that I or commenter “Andy” were experts on chemical weapons. And I am sure that bellingcat is not either.
    I am not aware of Dr Postol’s work on chemical weapons. I had heard his criticism of Bush on the Patriot/SCUD issue and think he was perhaps right about the oversell of Patriot effectiveness. Everyone oversells their weapon systems, corporate hype, and also government hype. But I will read the link you provided.

  187. Sans racines says:

    Yes agree with your analysis – responsibility, honour, duty and subtlety are the mark of a gentleman – the UK could do with a rejuvenation of the concept having experimented for too long with a random walk through arrogance and trivialisation.

  188. Sans racines says:

    Agree – loved her rebuke, and the part where she tells them to go learn some history!

  189. mike allen says:

    David Habakkuk –
    Thank you for your response. I will read those Waugh books you recommended but with an eye out for his snobbery.
    I certainly concur with your parting comment about gentlemen and that they should go first when there are wars to be fought.
    Sorry you feel that I am someone who is: “the kind of American who finds this difficult.” I do not believe I ever gave you or anyone else on this blog reason to have that impression. Throughout my life I have striven to understand other cultures. I may have been hard on the British in some of my past comments here, mainly because of memories of my maternal grandmother who often complained of ‘Sassenach duplicity’. But my father was of English descent and I meant no disrespect to you. Please consider it a cousin’s spat.

  190. mike allen says:

    @David Habakkuk – “You appear not to know how to locate a book.”
    I prefer to use local independent bookstores. If it is unattainable locally I will certainly use Alibris or Powell’s online.
    Why the insults and animosity?

  191. mike allen says:

    @Babak “So, US trusts Vietnam and People’s Republic of China but not Iran or Russia?”
    Some in the US trust Iran, others do not. I am sure that the situation is reciprocated in Tehran.
    I certainly trust the Iranian people. Not so much the IRGC.

  192. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to PeteM 09 October 2016 at 09:47 PM
    “I don’t have a background in this business”
    Given the inept nonsense you’ve been posting that’s been glaringly apparent to everyone who read further than the second sentence in your first screed.
    “new reality” my ass. It was always reality that the Russians would defend themselves and their allies but then I suppose for a cheetoh yuffling thirty year-old still ensconced in his parents’ basement “reality” is a somewhat vague concept. Here’s a hint for you “reality” in real life isn’t remotely like WoW.

  193. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to David Habakkuk 10 October 2016 at 02:45 PM
    “You have made no effort whatsoever to engage with these arguments.”
    Nor will he, that’s not his function.

  194. mike allen says:

    @Kooshy – “Iran wouldn’t give MANPADS to KURDS, “
    I did not say they did. I suggested a possibility. One possibility among many. It could just have easily been us, or the Iraqis, or captured weapons from ISIS, or the Russians as I first suggested.
    By the way, PDKI insurgents in Iran are not associated with PKK. They are completely different organizations. And there are reports of shooting wars between them. The leader of PKK has stated publicly that they have no wish to engage in hostilities with Iran and have no designs on freeing Rojhelat (Kurdish areas in Iran.

  195. J says:

    Little known NEOCON Carl Gershman funnels over $100 million in taxpayer money through his NEOCON slush fund the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Gershman’s cross-hairs have centered on regime change in Moscow.
    What part of Congress controls the taxpayer money that the NED/Gershman get each year? Are they CIA funds?
    Will the Russian Embassy in D.C. file slander charges in U.S. Courts against Gershman and shut him up?
    Looks like its going to take a state sponsored operation to shut Gershman’s funneling of U.S. taxpayer money down.
    “Regime Change” in Russia: Key Neocon Calls On Washington To Remove President Putin From Office

  196. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    TSK is in Syria and is being asked to take part in the “liberation of Mousul” by the Borg. I do not think we have the option of sitting this out. IMO tayyip has been playing both ends against the middle since the false-flag coup but he will have to declare his hand sooner or later. We will see how this all plays out.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  197. J says:

    Here’s info regarding Gershman’s NED/National Endowment for Democracy’s Officers and Board of Directors. A hornet’s nest of NEOCONs that steer U.S. foreign policy, not for the best interests of the U.S. either.
    Martin Frost (Chairman)
    Vin Weber (Vice-Chair)
    Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Secretary)
    Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle (Treasurer)
    Carl Gershman
    Board of Directors;
    Anne Applebaum
    Karen Bass
    James Boland
    Ambassador William J. Burns
    Michele Dunne
    Francis Fukuyama
    Donald L. Horowitz
    Barry Jackson
    Zalmay Khalilzad
    Jayne M. Kurzman
    Marne Levine
    Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman
    Will Marshall
    Azar Nafisi
    Andrew J. Nathan
    Mark S. Ordan
    Fred Redmond
    The Honorable Peter Roskam
    Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich
    David E. Skaggs
    Melanne Verveer
    George Weigel
    Robert B. Zoellick

  198. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The English nobles were poor; they went out and led the English people to kill the proverbial animal and bring back the meat – and everyone got something to chew on.

  199. Anna says:

    Latest on UnzReview: “If the greatest poker game of all times will end by nuclear grand slam, and the survivors will review the causes of WWIII, they will die laughing. The Third World War had been fought to save al Qaeda. Yes, my dear readers! Uncle Sam invaded Afghanistan in order to punish al Qaeda, and now he started the World War to save al Qaeda.”

  200. Anna says:

    “…our world is turning upside down…”
    Yes. And the ongoing commotion is on a such scale that the deciders will not be able to avoid the mortal dangers of the approaching conflict. They have been creating “their” reality with the help of yes-men and yes-women; the servile class has perhaps succeeded in constructing a psychological barrier for the plutocrats but it is not possible to escape the hard reality. At least some among the financial/MIC dictators should have already realized that they are staring into an abyss. There is the inordinate number of psychopaths among the upper echelon and deciders, but even these subhumans have parental instincts. Do they understand that they cannot survive without people with conscience? Interesting time.

  201. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think so.
    You stated:
    “And unfortunately, “trust” has much to do with international relations, despite the best intentions of statecraft.”
    The clarification of which I sought by posing a number of questions.
    Which you ignored.

  202. Chris Chuba says:

    Peter AU, the Australians should have said that they were simulating a theoretical Israeli Air Force tactic against stealth aircraft. They might have been allowed to try it because the Israelis are allowed to be considered clever. We have to assume that the Russians and everyone else are stupid in our war game scenarios.
    Actually, that is a very interesting idea. I read on Russian Insider that that Russians have the ability to transfer missile guidance between aircraft. We make such a fuss about it with the F35 as if this is a ground braking technology. Also, once a missile gets close enough to an F35, it’s one large engine puts out a bigger heat signature than the more common dual engine jets gets making it more visible to infrared detection.

  203. mike allen says:

    Ishmael Zechariah –
    I do not know that Syria does not have a Sigint capability as you say. I would have assumed they do. And googling it just know I see that Jane’s Defense Weekly says that “Syria and Iran have expanded their joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection efforts, increasing the number of joint intercept sites from two to four. The two existing sites, one located near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the other located in northeast part of Syria are in excellent location to intercept communications of Israeli forces in Israel and American forces in Iraq, respectively.” and that the “The two new sites will be located near Bab Al-Hawa’ in the mountains near and overlooking the Turkish border, and near Abu Kamal, where the Euphrates flows from Syria into Iraq’s Anbar province, . . .” Plus I would think that both the SAAF and the Military Intel Directorate would have some SIGINT capability they got from the Russians, wouldn’t you?
    By the way, the hasbara quip is uncalled for. I have been following and commenting on this blog for many years. I agree 100% with Colonel Lang’s opinion on AIPAC and other Israeli influence in Washington. I also believe like Colonel Lang that the Israelis deliberately attacked the USS Liberty and have been denying ot for decades. Do you assume that any American who does not vote for Trump is an Israeli dupe?
    Let us both hope there is no war. It would be bad for you, bad for me, bad for our children and grandchildren.

  204. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It is big of you…

  205. mike allen says:

    Babak Makkinejad –
    I did not mean to ignore your question, I thought I had answered the last part where you asked: “Are you saying that the English Government, in 1938-1939 period – trusted Germany more than it trusted USSR?”. The answer is NO. I am not saying that and did not in any way mean to imply it. I would guess they trusted neither. The British were well aware of the rapprochement between the Weimar Republic and the USSR (and the close cooperation between the German and Russian military) from the period of the Soviet-Polish War up until 1933.
    Regarding your other questions. I think I already answered the one about Iran. Some Americans trust Iran, some don’t, and my assumption is that probably Iranians have the same split feelings toward Americans.
    On the other questions:
    I believe there is a lot of goodwill in America towards Vietnam.
    China hard to gauge but there is certainly some trust due to the economic realities. Probably not so much trust by Trump and his supporters despite his use of Chinese steel.
    Russia? We were close allies once. We should be again is my opinion. Samantha Power obviously thinks differently but hopefully she gets dumped back to Dublin when Hillary wins the election.
    Gulfies? Not me and many others, but someone in Washington does. Or at least pretends they do in order to keep a presence in the Gulf.
    Turkey before Erdogan yes, but not now.
    Cuba? Yes. Unless of course she gets Russian missiles.

  206. rkka says:

    “happened before Hitler broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact in June 41. While the Brits and French were fighting the Nazis, Stalin sent them millions of tons of grain, soybeans, phosphates, petroleum, manganeseh government had decided that they preferred conquest & occupation by the Germans to accepting Sobiet assistance.
    ” With the Germans we lose our independence. With the Russiss, copper, nickel, chrome, platinum, lumber, cotton, and other critical raw materials. This completely negated the British Royal Navy’s blockade. This pact went on for two years before crazy Adolph broke it.”
    And the U.S./British Empire were supplying Imperial Japan during the two-year border war the Japanese initiated against the Soviets in 1937, high culminated in a corps-sized battle.
    Further, the Soviets offered an alliance to Great Britain & France, in April 1939, culminating in military staff talks at the CoGS & Mod level for the Soviets & the 4-star level for the Brits & the French. Trouble was, the Polish government preferred German conquest & occupation to accepting Soviet assistance in the event of a German attack. “With the Germans we lose our independence. With the Russians we lose our soul!”

  207. mike allen says:

    thank you

  208. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    The point I was hoping to make was the productive relations, in business or in politics, do not require the sort of trust that could prevail among one’s neighbors’, friends, or relations.
    I think the conflation of “interest” and “trust” – one measurable and concrete, one vague and imprecise, is not conducive to the establishment of profitable relations among states.
    One could trust any state or leader of state to survive and wish to enhance his own power, the power of his state and his faction within that state.
    This is as true of Russia or Iran as it is for the United States. Our issues are not lack of trust, in my opinion, but rather the sense of Justice – what are the proper order of things.
    NATO states find it fit and all together proper to expand East, the Russian Federation considers that un-fit and improper; for example.
    This is not a matter of trust but rather a matter of clashing senses of Justice – an issue that cannot be resolved amicably but only through force or threat of the use of force.
    And as NATO states and the Russian Federation go, so does the rest of the World.

  209. kooshy says:

    Mike The PKK statement with regard not having hostilities with Iran, is not serious they some how hope they can at least prevent iran on sharing intelligence on on insurgencies, there is Iranian saying that comes to mind “Yellow dog is brother of coyote” meaning they are both the same Pijak and PKK they both there to eat your chickens.

  210. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Mike Allen,
    You claim to be an ex-marine. Do you really think that SAA or Iran can decipher secure communications between US elements? Perhaps the Russians can, but they are not tipping their hand. It is a fact that the Russians tried to contact the US command to stop the attack and failed for two hours. Peculiar.
    In any case I read the attack the same way the Russians did. It was a deniable “mistake”, and a very convenient one. Did not work.
    I am not calling you a Borg Hasbara Operator for backing Trump-but for echoing Borg propaganda, all the way from “Assad killing civilians” to “poison gas”. If you think war is bad for all, stop supporting those who want war.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  211. mike allen says:

    Ishmael Zechariah –
    I agree with you that Syria does not have an advanced decryption capability. But that argument works against your theory that American planes deliberately struck Syrian troops at Deir ez-Zor. I am having trouble trying to follow your logic that my mentioning that Assad’s bogus claim of a comm intercept is your “proof” that I’m trying to deflect attention from some “real truth”. Horse puckey as Grandma used to say.
    I do not support “those who want war”. That would be Trump who has said publicly he would bomb the hell out of Syria and Iran. I do not support Trump. Those who support war would also be Senator ”bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran” John McCain, you remember him right? I do not support him. Those who want war would also include McCain’s accomplice Lindsey Graham, and the NED/Gershman cabal noted on upthread by J. I do not support them either. I do not believe my candidate in this election wants war and she will not start one.
    By the way, we “former Marines” are not fond of the term “ex”. That should be reserved for ex-girlfriends or ex-wives.

  212. mike allen says:

    Babak Makkinejad –
    I agree with your statement on the ‘conflation of “interest” and “trust” – one measurable and concrete, one vague and imprecise, is not conducive to the establishment of profitable relations among states.’
    I am not defending trust or mistrust in international relations. I was only saying that it exists. Whether we like it or not it will always have an impact regardless of our best interests.
    And I am not a champion of expanding NATO. I commented here and elsewhere in the past about the insanity of backing right wing fascist groups in the Ukraine. It seems to me that the whole NATO expansion thing was more of a European impetus. as kind of a left-handed way to gain markets, rather than an American one. Big old dumb Uncle Sam went along with it, no doubt with prompting by our NeoCons. I may be incorrect, what do I know of the inner workings of Foggy Bottom? Never been there, but I hope we get rid of some of the crazies there.

  213. mike allen says:

    Kooshy –
    Maybe so. But there has in fact been shooting going on between PKK and PDKI. And surely you do not believe that Iran is sharing serious intel with Turkey regarding the Erdogan’s Kurdish insurgency?
    Also there are stories going around on various Kurdish twitter accounts that Iran has allowed PKK in-country to quiet the Kurdish insurgency there. I cannot vouch for those stories. They may be BS or they may be true. I will reserve my judgement.
    The Kurds have been used by many different countries, my own included. I root for them but I fear they are their own worst enemies, fighting among themselves.

  214. Sans racines says:

    I would suggest that’s a generalisation – a gentleman is characterised by what he is, and is not prepared to do. I am not referring to colonialists who simply thought they knew best or profiteers who were simply out to ‘get some’.

  215. Castellio says:

    Dubhaltach: I agree. That’s what I think, too.
    However, DH is always informative, even when arguing with infuriating trolls.

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