“The Greatest Battle” Hassan Nasrallah


" Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the militant Shiite group Hezbollah, is sending more fighters to Syria's Aleppo province, which he says has become "the greatest battle" in Syria's six-year civil war.  "Thousands of Sunni militant foes have recently entered Syria via the Turkish border with the aim of taking over Aleppo and its surrounding countryside, according to Nasrallah.

""We are facing a new wave…of projects of war against Syria which are being waged in northern Syria, particularly in the Aleppo region," Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast live on the group's Al Manar TV. "It was necessary for us to be in Aleppo … and we will stay in Aleppo."

"The defense of Aleppo is the defense of the rest of Syria; it is the defense of Damascus. It is also the defense of Lebanon, and of Iraq," he said."   Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.



"The Syrian Armed Forces began their long-awaited northern Aleppo offensive last night after spending several weeks in a stagnate position near the volatile Handarat front. Led by the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” and their prominent leader Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan, the Syrian Armed Forces launched their assault from several axes in northern Aleppo, striking the jihadist rebels at the Al-Zahra, Al-Khalidiyah, Bani Zayd, and Al-Layramoun districts inside the provincial capital. According to the preliminary reports from Aleppo City, the Syrian Armed Forces have captured the Aleppo Cotton Gin, Sarheel Factory, and several sites in the Al-Zahra District. In the coming hours, the Syrian Armed Forces are expected to intensify their assault, as the jihadist rebels scramble to repel this large-scale government offensive. The Tiger Forces are not conducting this offensive alone; instead, they are fighting alongside the 4th Mechanized Division, Liwaa AL-Quds (Palestinian paramilitary), and National Defense Forces (NDF)."  AMN

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/tiger-forces-begin-long-awaited-northern-aleppo-offensive/ | Al-Masdar News


One of our correspondents wrote asking for an examination of the current "volatile" situation in Syria.  He asked that we discuss this outside the context of the now obvious manpower shortage among the R+6 allied forces on the ground.  Well, pilgrims, that is not possible.  There is a general shortage of competent ground troops suitably equipped for mobile warfare against enemies who use humans in bomb laden trucks as the equivalents of air strikes and field artillery. 

This shortage exists not only among the R+6 but also among the SDF/YPG forces under US Green Beret mentorship in the attack on Manbij west of the Euphrates.

Nasrallah's willingness to commit yet more Hizbullah infantry and armor to what seems likely to be a climactic battle at Aleppo City is IMO indicative of his  understanding of the seriousness of the troop shortage situation.  Lebanon is a small country.  there are only so many Lebanese Shia.  He cannot afford to p–s them away in efforts that are peripheral to Shia interests in Lebanon .  He clearly does not think the battle for Aleppo is a peripheral effort.

At the same time Suheil the Tiger Forces commander is trying to close off rebel held portions of Aleppo City.  He is running a task force composed of  his own and many other government allied units.  He is aiming to sever all the LOCs running into the rebel held parts from the north.  This is a big task since he is subject to attack by all those US supported jihadis that the Turks brought into Syria through Hatay Province during the "ceasefire.".  They number something between 6 and 10 K and are heavily laden with US arms like the TOW missile.  Frankly, I doubt that Suheil has enough men and tanks in hand to accomplish the closure of the Aleppo pocket from the north.

IMO if the Russian and the Iranians do not want to see the Syrian government disintegrate under pressure they need to "up the ante" significantly in terms of their willingness to commit substantial numbers of their own ground forces to a campaign of anything up to six months for the purpose of destroying the jihadi enemy.  pl  

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97 Responses to “The Greatest Battle” Hassan Nasrallah

  1. BabelFish says:

    Pat, as you see it, does that mean the Russians committing a brigade sized force, with organic armor-artillery included (and perhaps direct controlled Frontal Aviation units) and, if so, do they fight as a coherent unit?

  2. b says:

    1. So far some 1400 Hezbollah were killed and about 8000 wounded. Nasrallah had estimated a total of 5,000 killed would be the price to pay in this war.
    2. The Russian air force is hitting pretty hard north of Aleppo with some 40 sorties in the last 24 hours. If their intelligence folks did their job over the last weeks the planes will have a decent valuable target list and could make a real difference.

  3. turcopolier says:

    What you suggest sounds like a USMC operation. No. I think it would take a much larger force than that both Russian and Iranian. Coherent units? Yes. I am not suggesting more advisers. There are enough of those. pl

  4. FB Ali says:

    The importance that Hassan Nasrullah attaches to this battle for Aleppo can be gauged from the other reports that he is convinced that Israel is planning a major attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon (http://tinyurl.com/h2gnpma). In spite of that, he is prepared to send more fighters to join the battle for Aleppo.
    In his most recent commentary, Alastair Crooke (another expert on the ME) also says that such an Israeli attack is likely being planned – in conjunction with the Saudis and other Sunni Arabs. He believes that a Hillary Clinton administration will back such an attack.
    In an earlier piece (http://tinyurl.com/hy3876p) Crooke had linked such a US stance to the recent CNAS report, which he thinks is likely to form the basis for a Clinton foreign policy (a member of the group that authored the report was Michelle Flournoy, expected to be Clinton’s Defence Secretary).

  5. Exordium_Antipodean says:

    “SAA soldier [says] that Saturday 25/06/16 (today) was the deadline given by Russia for U.S to separate ‘moderate opposition’ from ‘unmoderate opposition’. Making most likely today the day of a massive regime offensive on rebels in Northern Aleppo esp after heavy airstrikes heard throughout the night by RuAF.”
    “Pro-Gov Syrian Twitter user in Gov held Aleppo city Tweeted during the night Russian airstrikes on rebels: “I swear to god I havent heard anything like this in 5 years in Aleppo! GOD DAAAAAMN… bombs, clusterbombs, rockets, missiles, artillery, everythiiing”
    It seems the Russians have given up on trying to get the US to play ball, and thus their view is shifting toward the Iranian view of the conflict. However, I cannot see Putin committing regular ground forces to combat. Beside the Afghanistan gremlin, how does Putin justify Russian Naval Infantry dying for Syria while (in the view of the Russian public) he allows America’s new Ukie vassals to slaughter their orthodox brethren in East Ukraine? Syria is just one of many strategic pies cooking in the Bear’s oven. Putin cannot afford to let Syria develop into a black hole of money, men, and equipment. For Iran, however, Syria is an existential issue and thus if there is to be a significant escalation, it must come from them.

  6. bth says:

    So let’s say Russia, Iran and Hezbollah decided to double down on Syria and try to retake Aleppo and then perhaps some territory north toward Turkey in a 6 month window.
    What would that look like? Would someone venture a guess on the number of men needed; the incremental equipment that could realistically be deployed from Iran or Russia given logistical constraints on Syria’s ports and air transit? Also financing as it won’t be coming from the Syrian government but from Russia or Iran either of which could, if they really wanted, fund or man this war?
    Wild Guess presented for critique: Three to six times 5-10,000 defenders around greater Aleppo? ~30,000 additional men minimum? Additional armor around what 500+? Capital what $2-5 billion to start over 6 months? Iran alone has 350,000 men under arms – its not like their population base of 78 million couldn’t field 30K men. These are important numbers yet reliable information is noticeably absent from open sources about the actual Syrian need and how that will be filled by Russia and Iran if the Syrian government is going to reclaim its territory. All we know for certain is that there isn’t enough presently committed.
    I would suggest there is more than enough brainpower on this blog to begin to establish a range of magnitude and a reasonable estimate as to how that would have to come about (port expansion, airfields, trucking routes if any), public budget appropriation from Russia or Iran or some black budget, actual resource estimates at least in a range of magnitude?

  7. turcopolier says:

    I have an exact force structure in mind but prefer to have you work it out for yourselves. The additional troops would be there for offensive purposes at the operational level of war and could only be considered defensive at the strategic level for the purpose of defending the existence of the Syrian state or the larger interests of Russia and Iran. pl

  8. Eric Newhill says:

    I saw a news clip the other day wherein some US Congress critter was pitching a fit b/c Boeing was set to execute on a contract to supply Iran with some aircraft that, according to the gentleman, could/would be used to deliver troops and supplies to the fight in Syria. In another spot, within a half hour of the first, the Borg talking heads were insisting vehemently on the need to sever the “Shia crescent”. That meme is still very much alive, as is “Assad must go”.
    If the Iranians insert some 30k – 45K troops into Syria and Hezbollah has already committed a significant proportion of its fighters, isn’t there a serious risk of the US, particularly with a President Clinton (neocon and sock puppet of the Saudis), getting the green light for all out war with Israel playing a role by attacking Lebanon? Isn’t the US holding that possibility over Iran’s head?
    Only the Russians, I would think, have the juice to defy Washington with troop levels necessary to defeat IS, but even they may be concerned about Armageddon resulting – or at least some US led backlash on their borders somewhere. At least that is this complete amateur’s take on the situation.
    Eric Newhill (formerly “no one”)

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A new front against Saudi Arabia is being opened in Bahrain, in my opinion.

  10. different clue says:

    One can only hope, in all sincerity, that the highest level RussiaGov and RussiaMilitary thinkers and planners have people reading this blog ( as well as any other relevant blogs) and calling their senders’ attention to all possible value here.
    The other “semi-deadline” that the R + 6 is facing is the possible election of Hillary Clinton (though her actual taking-of-office would fit within that same 6 month deadline). If the R + 6 don’t have all the rebellions so nearly exterminated as to make assistance to the Global Axis of Jihad so obvious and apparent that even a President Clinton would accept such help as being hopeless, a President Clinton would send in as much help as fast and furious as possible in order to achieve a Jihadi Victory in Syria.
    So the R + 6 would have to win a near-total and irreversible victory by Hillary-time if they wish to keep Hillary out of it. ( The other thing the RussiaGov or other Govs could do is to release all the emails in the most damaging way possible at the best very-soon time so as to get Hillary taken off the board and someone else nominated. If someone had ALL the names of ALL the laundered-through-Canada donors to the Clinton Foundation rackets, that could also be damaging if it were ALL released in the fast best way to do irrecoverable damage to the Clintonites).

  11. Fred says:

    How do you conclude the Russian “public” is opposed to preventing the replacement of the current Syrian Arab Republic with a jihadist state? I propose that it is the Western think-tankers and assorted pundits who are anchored to the Russian Afghan “gremlin”. Russian casualties in Syria to date are what, 11 KIA and a handful wounded? One of the KIA was a RuAF pilot shot in while he was descending in his parachute from the plane shot down by NATO ally Turkey.
    You do remember the unprovoked attack by Turkey don’t you? I’m sure that is more important to the Russian Republic than what happened to the USSR in 1980 though they surely remember how the “West” screwed them after the collapse of the communist government. Which also brings us to Ukraine. What have they (Ukraine) ever done for the USA? But I digress.
    I recommend perusing the Syria category that should be in the tool bar on the right side of your screen.
    See “Jihadi Apocalypse” game turn three with the proposed force structure: three ground division equivalents; an airborne division, two motorized rifle divisions and ancillary units in Syria. Along with three RuAF regiments providing airbase security. That is probably what’s needed and within the logistics capabilities of the Russian Federation. They’ve had months to pre-stage equipment and ammunition. Maybe there is something in Hilary’s emails about that since it isn’t making the American news. We have important things to be told about, like the Kardashians.

  12. Jack says:

    I’m highly skeptical that Russia and Iran have the will to destroy the Liver Eaters in Syria. In my layman opinion, its gonna take significant men, materiel and money to crush the jihadists supported in various ways by the Sauds, Gulfies, Erdogan, Izzies and the West. My guess is that Russia and Iran will not follow the Powell Doctrine of “massive, overwhelming force” which will be necessary to win decisively on the battlefield.

  13. mike says:

    Saladin also knew the value of Aleppo. His first siege of Aleppo was broken. But when he returned he finessed it by defeating the Turks at Tel Sultan, Manbij and Azaz. Aleppo saw what was coming and surrendered without a battle.
    Too bad that al Nusra won’t do the same. But perhaps they will think it better to go elsewhere instead of dying in place?

  14. Trey N says:

    “enemies who use humans in bomb laden trucks”
    I can see the difficulty of detecting and dealing with car bombers in the cities; dressed as civilians and driving nondescript automobiles, they blend unobtrusively into their surroundings until the moment they choose to detonate themselves. I have no idea how to effectively deal with that problem in typical third world countries, given their usual budget woes and ill-trained/undermanned security forces.
    What utterly baffles me is how a suicide bomber driving an explosive-filled car or truck on a modern battlefield manages to survive for more than a few nanoseconds. The air is filled with stray bullets flying everywhere, let alone RPGs aimed by men desperate to stop such a vehicle from atomizing themselves — and these mother truckers somehow manage to successfully carry out their missions in many cases??!
    Can you explain how this phenomena works, Colonel?

  15. Chris Chuba says:

    Without question Aleppo needs to be the main focus of R+6. However, I would love to see an additional force of Russian land forces take on the recently aborted drive to Tabaqa military airport. Not only because it is strategically important to start the blockade of ISIS by cutting them off from Turkey but also to keep them occupied.
    If ISIS is ignored completely, they have a knack for popping up and launching random attacks on the Syrian govt forcing to respond like chickens with their head cut off. ISIS did that a little while ago where they captured one of Syria’s natural gas fields and came close to overrunning one of their military airports near Palmyra, the Tigers were called in and as I recall, it took them about a week to restore the situation. So a Russian drive on Tabaqa against ISIS would help the SAA concentrate on Aleppo, the more important concern.
    The ceasefire / peace talks were doomed when Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) was allowed to be part of it and then even made the chief negotiator for the opposition while the Kurds were frozen out. The fact that the U.S. supported this move and blocked the Russian attempt to declare Army of Islam one of the terrorist groups in Syria should have signaled the Russians that they did not have a viable partner in the U.S.
    Here is an account by South Front on how effective suicide trucks can be to thwart offensives in newly acquired territory
    This is but one vignette in the SAA’s futile attempt to capture Tabaqa military airport on their own which ended with the SAA withdrawing from all of the territory they captured over a two week period in a mere 48 hrs. At least they had the good sense not to throw good money after bad.
    What will Putin do? Sanctions are not going to be lifted, I don’t see any possible political gain by holding back now.

  16. Cortes says:

    There may be wholly pure and entirely evil actors in the world, I think. I struggle to identify them in my mind.
    From childhood in the UK (born 1957) my conception of the US has been as a beacon of good.
    Are there nowadays really, truly, solid, honest to goodness rationales governing US actions in MENA?

  17. Will says:

    No worries, thirty thousand additional Quds forces are already there and an extra thirty thousand will join them soonest… That’s a starter.

  18. BraveNewWorld says:

    Israel conducted a pretty sizeable drill about a year ago practising to go through the Golan into Lebanon.
    But I have serious doubts they will go soon. First and fore most Netanyahu hasn’t called an election. Every Netanyahu election is based around a war even if he has to start it himself. Which is how he keeps getting elected.
    Second Israel didn’t really win the last war with Hezbollah. It was more of a draw and Hezbollah has much better and more missiles this time including some anti-air. The Israeli generals aren’t talking “walk in the park” when it comes to Hezbollah any more. Besides there may be fewer of them but what there is, is certainly battle hardened.
    If Israel is going to make a move with out provocation it will likely wait until they have moved the massive ammonia tank in Haifa. If attacked there is no way Hezbollah doesn’t target it early.
    A year ago Bibi was drooling at the prospects of war with Hezbollah but all the talk recently between Bibi and the new defence minister are about an even bigger war with Hamas then last time.
    And as strange as it is to say it, Hillary isn’t the one every one needs to watch out for it is Trump. If his aid is correct and he is willing to allow Israel to annex the West Bank which would include Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque which belongs to Jordan then it’s game on all over the Middle East.
    The peace treaty with Jordan would be finished as would likely be Abdullah along with the peace treaty with Egypt and the just announced detante with Turkey. Not to mention being a slap in the face to almost every country on earth. This is very scary stuff.

  19. Bill Herschel says:

    The New York Times (Dept. of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.”):
    “Apart from creating economic turmoil, Britain’s calamitous vote to leave the European Union could have no less profound foreign policy consequences, weakening the interlocking web of Western institutions and alliances that have helped guarantee international peace and stability for 70 years.”
    If the last 70 years have been marked by peace and stability, I’d hate to see war and instability.

  20. Peter Reichard says:

    Negotiations were a “Plan B” attempt by the US to salvage a partial victory in the form of a coalition government,minus Assad,after Russian intervention turned the tide. I was surprised Russia agreed as a cease fire always benefits the weaker side,now the liberation of Aleppo will be more costly. The battle,perhaps the critical battle of the war has been rejoined. ISIS can wait. It is imperative that in seven months the new US president be presented with a fait accompli that precludes further US military escalation.

  21. turcopolier says:

    “Modern battlefield?” Not sure what that is really. When the thing starts coming at you it is moving fast and you have to hit it with something effective in vulnerable spot. from experience I can tell you that hitting a moving target while your hands are shaking is not all that easy. pl

  22. LeaNder says:

    Thanks for the link, FB Ali.
    I keep forgetting how I should correctly address you, so whoever stumbles across my response understands that you are judging based on your military experience.
    But if you don’t mind, brackets and other signs cause slight problems:
    The Drums of war are beating: Hezbollah versus Israel
    It always seemed to be a matter of time, not if, only when.
    Seems to be the point, since in this case there is no problem
    Neocons and Liberal Interventionists — Like Hillary — Are Converging on Foreign Policy
    This isn’t a surprise either, I watched one institutional angle in the GB to get there. No doubt with a larger intend to get the whole European left into the boat.

  23. Vic says:

    I’d expect a traditional response to manpower shortages – more fire power. They may or could use additional fire power to “clear” entire areas (using MRLs). The VIEDs, bomb makers, supplies and bad guys are in known areas. You shoot it up until you get no bad guy activity coming from there. This will in turn result in another round of humanitarian outrage from outsiders.

  24. LeaNder says:

    BNW: Thanks, your argument makes sense. Let’s hope you are right. It feels a very, very bad choice in time. But then, I am relying on the idea that Israel may seize the day at the appropriate moment. Analogy the neocons. Not sure how history and events could prove me wrong in Israel’s case, looked at closer.
    Basically I have the same lingering line of thoughts on my mind.
    During the last decades a phrase on The Weekly Standard caught my attention. It went proudly: we are feeding the rage. But yes, the context may have been close to ideal for a seize-the-day scenario. Is that now the case for Israel? I somewhat doubt.

  25. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    John Helmer, a native of Oz who’s been all over the place and currently bills himself as the “longest serving foreign correspondent in Moscow,” reported what could turn out to be a blockbuster story: namely that “senior ministry-level people” in Germany have bypassed Merkel to conduct negotiations with Russia toward what will in effect be a reprise of the Treaty of Rapello that was signed between their two predecessor states in 1922. Helmer states that piece it is based information that has “been leaked by sources close to the two sides in the secret talks,” and that the Brexit vote was a factor in their release. I suspect this isn’t going over very well in Washington.

  26. LeaNder says:

    Babak, would you care to explain?
    random pick of top news using Google News and Saudi Arabia + Bahrain and its respective selection selection routines or the results of the one pushed to the top:
    June 20
    June 24

  27. LeaNder says:

    “anchored to the Russian Afghan ‘gremlin'”
    Interesting way to put it.
    Yes, we live in odd time, and history always matters. love it.

  28. LeaNder says:

    One of your best contributions ever, Fred. Maybe I forget others by now.
    The only emotion I seem to be able to understand is anger. 😉

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No, it is the Knight of Palestine against the Shoah Cultists and their camp tramps.

  30. LeaNder says:

    “some territory north toward Turkey in a 6 month window”
    only since we “met” recently, am I wrong?, and notice I did not proceed to your “wild guess”. How could this be more then a fear-leverage-tool in the larger context?
    also notice, I agreed with b=Bernhard here on SST once. Seems I rarely do. I seem to have agreed with him with skepticism on Russia sending more troops, men on the ground, which Pat always considered necessary.

  31. FkDahl says:

    What I’ve read is there is plenty of civilian traffic around, as well as a host of various units, and stand-off identification of a VBIED has proven very difficult.

  32. LeaNder says:

    I like amateurs since on central issues around here, I am.

  33. LeaNder says:

    “The other thing the RussiaGov or other Govs could do is to release all the emails in the most damaging way possible …”
    I largely agree with your take, but this part feels a bit like wishful thinking. If there is anything incriminating in these emails, why wouldn’t they want to keep it to be used in some type of leverage scenario later?

  34. turcopolier says:

    The critical point comes when the vehicle emerges from the traffic (if there is any in the battle zone) and charges right at you at high speed. pl

  35. LeaNder says:

    “What utterly baffles me”
    is there an expert army information system alerting to any movement of trucks or other possible means that does not quite belong into the larger scenario?

  36. Brunswick says:

    Trey N,
    If you go to the Oryx Blog, or twitter feed, you will see lots of photo’s of ISIS VBIED’s.
    They range from pickup trucks with “hillbilly” armour, to Humvee’s with plows and additional plate armour on the front, to BPM-1 APCs, to large Earthmovers.
    Sandstorms, blown dust on the battle field, are often used to facillitate a ISIS VBIED attack, and there is ususally a small
    Infantry team, often in other vehicles, who’s job is to clear a path for the VBIED to target.
    You Tube has lot’s of vid’s up showing not only the tactics of the attack, but from the defenders side, the chaos created by the attack.

  37. turcopolier says:

    There is no such system. Perhaps the Swiss could invent one, or the Israelis. I am always amused by the way civilians expect there to be some whiz-bang solution to all military problems. In fact ground war is mainly a nasty, messy, primitive thing that is not amenable to high tech solutions.

  38. turcopolier says:

    “kill ’em all and let god sort’em out.” Are you an air force guy? pl

  39. LeaNder says:

    How could I fit this answer into your long-term theoretical explanation pattern? The “shoa cultist”, I prefer the less loaded expression destruction by the way, following Raul Hilberg, are after all a more recent phenomenon.
    But once again somewhat unsatisfactory response for me. Not that I am easy to satisfy, admittedly.

  40. Exordium_Antipodean says:

    My understanding from reading a variety of articles was that support for the intervention was wide but not deep, unlike the extremely concerted support for the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy. If this is true, should significant numbers of Russian servicemen return to Russia in bodybags, without demonstrable results (which cannot be guaranteed), the public could become unhappy. Anger at Turkey is one thing, scores of dead soldiers are quite another.
    While I enjoy military LARPing as much as the next guy, the reality is Putin is a various cautious actor, and seems to always prefer to use minimum force as a very last resort.
    Interventions often result in unforeseen complications. South Front warns that NATO would love to bog Russia down in Syria, and The Saker averes Russia does not have the resources to distribute widely indefinitely.
    Now perhaps I’m wrong, but I think caution is uppermost in the minds of both the kremlin and the Russian public.

  41. turcopolier says:

    I am not “the next guy” and in my opinion Putin has run out of options other than to reinforce if he does not want to be defeated in Syria. pl

  42. LeaNder says:

    correction: “are” … phenomenon = phenomena
    or alternatively, “is” a more recent phenomenon.
    What was it about the rectification of terms? Or was it names? Words? Could this “misuse” be judged as somewhat clouded thinking?

  43. BraveNewWorld says:

    Does it have to be Russians? We know there are at least some groups out side of Russia whom the Russians use from time to time and some of them are in Syria now. Are there more of them the Russias could influence to come help?

  44. Chris Chuba says:

    “What utterly baffles me is how a suicide bomber driving an explosive-filled car or truck on a modern battlefield manages to survive for more than a few nanoseconds.”-Trey
    I have a bad habit of introducing too many topics in one post, South Front did an interesting study on suicide truck bombers
    Suicide Bomber Tactics
    1. They use commonly available vehicles in populated areas.
    2. They approach checkpoints in newly captured areas where command and control has not been fully established.
    3. The trucks use metal plating in the front to protect against small arms fire.
    4. They have multiple occupants to ensure bomb detonation in case the driver becomes incapacitated.
    I wonder if enough of these trucks survive to find the VIN number since most of them are Honda or Toyota vehicles. I’d like to see if their purchase history could be tracked to see if they are being bought by Saudi Arabians or other Sunni states. If so then I’d like to see sanctions filed at the U.N. and hearings in our U.S. Congress (the same place that is hosting the Assad, the war criminal tour).

  45. BraveNewWorld says:

    Solomon had a post on the issues of trying to stop a VBIED over at SNAFU. You should give it and the comments a read.

  46. steve says:

    Because as president she would have the ability to assemble much of the power of the US government to disregard, ignore, and spin away whatever information is contained in those emails. As a candidate she doesn’t quite have that ability yet.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    He tried and failed to get a deal from NATO states; on Syria or on Ukraine.
    But he owed it to the Russian people to try.
    Now he will have to resume cooperation with the mercurial (in his view) Iranians.

  48. turcopolier says:

    We do not do LARP here and if you think SST is a frivolity of that kind you do not belong here. pl

  49. LeaNder says:

    Associatively, Cris, What do we know about the larger context of “new” EU sanctions against Russia, and how did it come about?
    Maybe ideally about the central driving forces behind it? Am I somehow unaware of a specific trigger event?
    Could it be, that it was Cameron or the GB parliament, GB as the central driving force? As Quartz seems to assume one day after Brexit.

  50. turcopolier says:

    “Does it have to be the Russians?” yes it does. Have you not learned yet that armies are not created equal and that only part of the difference is about equipment. pl

  51. BraveNewWorld says:

    It would certainly be a far saner approach than the current one but there are a number of problems with the story. First unless Germany is getting out of the EU and they aren’t, the treaty would have to be between the EU and Russia not Germany and Russia.
    Second Merkel insisted on being the one to negotiate with the Russians rather than the Americans because she thought the American approach was way over the top and she didn’t want Germany or the rest of the EU dragged into a war that was completely against Germany’s interests. Also she speaks fluent Russian and Putin speaks German.

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I will make it plain to you:
    The Shoah Cultists, the idol worshippers of the god Democracy, and the Lost Children of Liberty are arrayed against the Coalition of the Willing that consist of the Knight of Palestine, the Knight of Muscovy, the Defenders of the House of Prophet, and the Flag Bearers of the Holy Trinity.
    One side is fighting for the right of every man to marry his own mother and the other fights for God, the Son, and the Prophet.

  53. LeaNder says:

    sorry, I realized it’s nothing but an extension for six month.
    Not helpful anyway.

  54. LeaNder says:

    Ok, thanks. I’ll try to let that sink.
    On the other hand it could be spun as interference in elections. No?

  55. different clue says:

    If this is correct about Trump, then it re-inforces what I said elsewhere about it being a decision about which one is scarier. Right now it looks as if Trump is no better on his Bad Things than Clinton is on her Bad Things.
    (Unless Trump secretly sees himself as an elevendy mentional chess strategerist. If so, maybe he thinks an Israeli West Bank/ East Jerusalem annexation will be what causes Israel to self-destruct. But that would also pose all kinds of wider war dangers and would simply be another Bad Thing).

  56. different clue says:

    Putin could say to the Russian public that permitting any Islamic Emirate of Jihadistan to exist in Syria would be to permit the existence of a training area for Russian jihadis to go to Jihadistan, get trained, and come back to Russia. If the Russian public accepted that logic, the Russian public might back a serious committment to exterminate all traces of every rebellion within Syria for real. If he also pointed out that the clock is ticking down towards the Evil Clinton possibly becoming US President and ramping up support for the Global Axis of Jihad, the Russian public might develop a real sense of urgency.

  57. different clue says:

    Because if she became President, she would be in a position to say “Damn the emails! Full steam ahead!”

  58. Exordium_Antipodean says:

    my apologies col if that came across as dismissal of your expertise; my intent was to convey that as a layman (my background is pol sci not military strategy), my attempts at devising strategy are necessarily amateurish and hence LARPy like those of other non-experts, ie ‘the next guy’.

  59. Trey N says:

    Wow, thanks for all the replies! I’m going to follow up the links and try to get a better handle on this — but right now, I’m still simply astounded that driving a giant bomb through a battlefield *ever* succeeds, let alone as often as it does.
    I wonder who first thought up that tactic, and how he sold it to his fellow jihadists. “Hey, guys, I’ve got a great idea…”

  60. ISL says:

    Lord Palmerston:
    “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”
    This was said three centuries ago, and has never been refuted, propaganda is the act of calling these interests good and noble.

  61. Amir says:

    A personal opinion that is shared by nearly all people around me: why would ANY Iranian soldier die to protect Paris, Brussels, Hamburg or Rome and especially U.S., when the latter’s (part or the nature, doesn’t really matter) supports the Liver Eaters. The minimal effort to keep the House of Saud Wahabi Jihadists at bay, would suffice. Those that support the Salafists, will be rewarded by the latter in a manner that is consistent with their ideology, as they have already shown. To me/us, Hillary and Ziocons are the mirror image of GCC funded Takfiris and they deserve eachother.

  62. Fred says:

    If you think what was done here was costumed role play you are greatly mistaken.

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iranians and Russians have sunk equities in Syria that they need to protect.
    My guess is that at least the Iranian leaders estimation is that of 4 more years of war.

  64. bth says:

    what’s your point?

  65. bth says:

    “three ground division equivalents; an airborne division, two motorized rifle divisions and ancillary units in Syria. Along with three RuAF regiments providing airbase security”
    Fred, now we are getting to something specific. Thanks. Would this need to move by ship?

  66. bth says:

    Eric, another possibility is that Iran is concerned that their supply link with Syria is by air and specifically using commercial airliners. This air bridge could be severed at will. So Iran dangles the very large Boeing civilian aircraft purchase order out there with the theory that they have nothing to loose by talking about it and from their perspective might think that it might wedge greedy corporate American against a Hillary administration that could easily seek to clip that airline supply link to Syria. Just a thought.

  67. bth says:

    “thirty thousand additional Quds forces are already there and an extra thirty thousand will join them soonest” Will what evidence is there of this?

  68. bth says:

    I’m guessing a concentration of armor would be needed to swing north and around Aleppo instead of through it and perhaps an airborne unit at least. Last year we watched the Bosporus for a spike in activity. This link has recent photos of ships in transit from Russia. I’m not seeing a spike in activity or a lot of vehicles on the decks like before.
    I’m not seeing the ships I would think necessary if a ground force were being added.Perhaps air lift is possible.

  69. Fred says:

    The equipment certainly would. Food and ammunition too. The logistics count just as much otherwise your combat power runs down pretty quickly. That’s why Erdogan was so outraged when the ISIS oil to Turkey fuel convoys got shot up the first time (money counts too). The question is where and how is ISIS getting all theirs and how to stop it.

  70. Fred says:

    “… the clock is ticking down towards the Evil Clinton possibly becoming US President…”
    I’m sure he’ll also say something like this:
    “Remember what happened to us when the West came to help the Russian people last regime change? Who was the US President in those years?”

  71. Croesus says:

    1. It seems pretty obvious that a goal of US & Israel has been to draw Iran into a quagmire, forcing it to overextend. It’s equally obvious that Iranians are aware of and wary of granting their adversaries wishes.
    2. In addition, Russia’s and Iran’s interests in the region are not the only ones in play; according to NYTimes, Putin visited Xi Jinping the other day, in the wake of the British vote, and alert to its implications for China’s 57-member Development Bank.
    3. Where is the American anti-war movement? USA/Israel/John Kerry are keeping this war hot, in complicity with Saudis. Why are we tolerating this? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi hosting a pajama party to discuss US involvement in an undeclared war in Syria?

  72. LeaNder says:

    Tried some irony, but apparently failed.
    BNW & Chris have good links on the issue.
    From the story BNW linked to:
    “…But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site, and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event – just Iraqi police. If there was any chance of finding out what actually happened, and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it, because a combat award requires two eyewitnesses, and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer. I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police, all of whom told the same story. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police related that some of them also fired, and then, to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured, some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated, and with tears welling up, said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” What he didn’t know until then, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion, he said, “Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did. They saved us all.” What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned after I submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras recorded some of the attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated. You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. I suppose it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. No time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”

  73. alba etie says:

    Russia sees Syria as its vital strategic interest , its part of the Russian Near Abroad especially in the face of the Salafist Wahhabist threat – . The EU is also coming to terms with Syria being in its Near Abroad too . President Putin recently went to Greece and visited that Orthodox Monastery that has had a Russian Orthodox imprint for the past 1000 years . I believe that ever since the CW was shipped out of Syria , the Obama administration has been trying to shift away from the neocon agenda. I wonder if Mrs Clinton will be able to pursue’ Assad must go neocon ” agenda should she be elected ? We shall see.

  74. jld says:

    Don’t feed our beloved resident troll.

  75. BraveNewWorld says:

    The NYTimes story reads like State Dept sloganeering.
    The answer to number 3 is Israel. Tulsi is kicking up a storm but she is to low profile for the media to care.

  76. Imagine says:

    News: A.I. can now drive unmanned fighter-jet dogfighting in the lab. This puts it a couple years out from deployment.
    This represents a qualitative increase in the ability to project firepower. The moral hazard that this will create, to start battles with little immediate consequence, will be difficult for either slated candidate’s team to resist IMO.

  77. Mark Logan says:

    abla etie,
    I suggest watching “the witches” for omens. The campaign circus is one of pleasing the crowd, and the crowd is pleased by gibberish. What Clinton says or doesn’t say doesn’t mean much. I’ve been watching Powers and Rice and my overall impression is, with apologies to Bob Dylan, “Now they don’t talk so loud, now they don’t seem so proud” -or much at all, really. The difference between now and how they behaved when appointed is stark indeed.
    It’s merely a hopeful omen, but if a few years of real world experience have modified the views they dragged with them out of the academic bubble-world a wee bit it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.

  78. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, but its was the foreigners who paid in blood for their learning experience. And in a few years, like McNamara before them, they will write a book and repent – but the dead cannot be brought back to life; the maimed cannot be made whole, and the exiles will remain so.

  79. Barish says:

    “Frankly, I doubt that Suheil has enough men and tanks in hand to accomplish the closure of the Aleppo pocket from the north.”
    An-Nimr’s progress into the life-line to the rebel-held eastern part of Halab city is slowly, but steadily gaining ground since Sunday, it appears. First reports are coming in today that most of al-Mallah farms, excepting the southern portion, have been captured by SAA and allies. Might be a good idea to give the YPG in Sheikh Maqsoud-district to the south a hand to establish firm firing control over the Castello road, or arrange for SAA-forces to pass through said district and do that. On the other hand, there’s the Bani Zaid district which would also serve as a point of advance from the south, yet needs to be cleared first which would, of course, be far more difficult.
    I also note that, apparently, Jaish al-Fatah hasn’t yet been deployed to this northern theater and, with Hezbollah increasing its presence to the south of the city, they haven’t made any gains on al-Hadher nor on the road leading south out of Halab to it.
    So what’s the read on this: is JaF, hence Nusra, happy to see their competition of the Fatah Halab op center ground to dust here in the face of Russian and Syrian barrages, are they just not willing to waste their top tier assault forces here which already are running into problems south of Halab, or both?
    In a wider context, Başbakan Erdoğan has now officially apologized for the SU-24 incident and is set to receive a phone-call by Putin tomorrow. Further, Alparslan Çelik, the Gri Kurt-“tourist” to the jihadi-front in Latakia-province, who on camera had bragged about how he and his men would bring in the Russian pilots shall now be charged with the death of one of the Russian rescuers of said pilots:
    This, along with scattered reports that Turkey has shut tight its Hatay border to the jihadi-crews on said Latakia-front, might indicate that Başbakan Erdoğan might want a way out of the proxy-war business. And not just him, but maybe Jordan, the other direct neighbour of Syria in on that business as well, given the report sourced to both American and Jordanian officials published a couple days back of corruption in connection to armaments intended for “moderate” rebels.

  80. turcopolier says:

    “a hand to establish firm firing control over the Castello road, or arrange for SAA-forces to pass through said district and do that” Not sure exactly what you mean. This road has been within coverage of SAA artillery all along and it evidently has not been possible to close the road by covering it with fire. pl

  81. alba etie says:

    Babak Makkinejad
    Totally agree with you here Sir . – The R2P ‘ers have been a disaster that others mostly in the Levant have paid dearly . – But I would hope that President Obama will get some credit for taking the off ramp when it came to getting the CW out of Syria .

  82. alba etie says:

    Mark Logan
    ” And you stare into the vaccum of his blood shot eyes & ask “do you want to make a deal ?” I hold out hope that the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party can mitigate against the worst impulses of the neocon Witches & Harpies should Ms Clinton win . Meanwhile I am looking very seriously at the Libertarian ticket .

  83. Barish says:

    “firing control” as in manning positions from where smaller arms can readily cover that road. A while ago YPG did hold some buildings from whence they could cover the road with sniper fire, but had to withdraw, which was misreported as them withdrawing from the Sheik Maqsoud district entirely.
    About artillery/air covering the road, the question is whether it may not already have effectively halted traffic there. A bridge on Castello Road is said to have been demolished at the beginning of this month:
    In your newest post here:
    you are right in raising the question how well territory at the Castello road can be held by SAA and allies once they take it. The next question then is how large stockpiles of the insurgents dug in within Aleppo city are, and how much further damage they are willing to do should Fatah Halab and Jaish al-Fatah (latter of whom I do wonder whether they’d actually join such efforts) prove incapable of re-gaining that portion of the road.

  84. LeaNder says:

    I got quite old, really, before I understood the idea of the Holy Trinity. Once I did, it fascinated me, before my concentration was on the son. This allows me to approach your “Flag Bearers of the Holy Trinity” argument, to pick out one of the groups.
    The “Coalition of the Willing”? Europeans shouldn’t have pondered about the how the Iraq war was started, but realized it was “just” on a much higher level? Americans should have visited their respective places of prayer and simply shut up?
    Maybe I am not sensible enough to grasp the “worshippers of freedom”, beyond the basic consent here. I don’t think it makes sense to worship freedom, fate always limits it. If that satisfies you.
    But: Beyond that, I never stumbled across a man wanting to or marrying his mother. But then even in its most famous fictional setting, it needed a couple of complicating factors: an oracle, whose warning was heard and heeded, precautions taken resulted in an unfortunate chain of events which then led to the predicted. …
    Vague thoughts, a dead friend once wrote a poem for me. Man – husband – wife – mother. In a nutshell, man searching his mother in his wife.
    I heard about rumors that boys were misused, I suppose mainly emotionally, but I am not completely sure about the personal stories the group studied or their claims. Concerning sons abused by mothers during the time their fathers were absent in war. Maybe there was even sexual misuse too. I wouldn’t put it completely beyond imagination. …
    It is said to happen between father and daughter too, although outside any desire to marry apparently. I know a lawyer who was heavily shocked by what he had to confront. He told me about parts of the evidence and the scenario which included the mother. in this case it concerned no doubt the man’s own daughters …

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Read today that the Joint Chiefs of Iranian Armed Forces was replaced after 27 years. The new JC was given instructions to defend and neutralize all threads to the Islamic Republic of Iran through revolutionary action; also a younger man replacing an older one.

  86. LeaNder says:

    I am honored, jld. I misread. Meaning I am sorry. I didn’t try to visualize the areas and present respective fighters concerned first.

  87. Fred says:

    Alba etie,
    “…the Obama administration has been trying to shift away from the neocon agenda.”
    Just which neocon did he fire? Oh, yeah, not a single one. He’s in charge of the Executive Branch. He’s the head of the Borg.

  88. turcopolier says:

    we would call that “interdiction by fire” I think. pl

  89. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I surmise that you have lived much of your life in a very sheltered environment; playing with the likes of Joseph Beuys and his clique, for example.
    One has to face the despair of evil first before even attempting to devise prescriptions for other people.

  90. bth says:

    The handling of Celik is very interesting. The charges had actually been dropped against him back in May. Putin has every right to be skeptical about the handling of him by Erdogan.

  91. bth says:

    Wasn’t there also a recent change in the Iranian foreign ministry staff that might herald a change in negotiating posture by Iran with regard to Syria?

  92. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I doubt that there is going to be any concession to the Jihadi agenda in the Levant or in Iraq by Iran.
    I suspect that the policy adopted by Iran during the nuclear confrontation has been adopted here as well; “From now on, we will answer with pressure.”
    That also could explain the sudden verbal missiles in regards on Bahrain.

  93. Barish says:

    Thanks for the correction, my civilian background shows.

  94. turcopolier says:

    Not a correction, just terminology. FIDO pl

  95. Dabbler says:

    It might be more appropriate to say that Obama is the face of the Borg or the spokesman for the Borg. He is likely listening closely to someone before he speaks or acts. Completely agree with the idea of counting how many R2pers he’s fired (or for that matter, how many Wall Street people have been indicted). “Count the number of ships in the harbor not the number of speeches of the politicians” or something like that.

  96. alba etie says:

    Happy 4 of July appending ..
    I wonder sometimes how many neocon R2P ‘ers are left holed up and burrowed down in the ‘deep state’ that is our USG, and how much control even POTUS might have over that generational structure ? I believe the best way President Obama had for not ‘ repeating old mistakes expecting different results ‘ was simply refuse to create the ‘safe zone ‘ that Big Grandma Clinton wanted in Syria. Now it appears GOP Nominee Trump is also talking about a safe zone in Syria. I am really glad we got the CW out of Syria without bombing the Assad government . Its hard to know what is really going on policy wise with BHO and defeating Daesh , but it sure looks like the Liver Eaters are on the defensive notwithstanding the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey & elsewhere in Europe. But I am encouraged that we are not in Syria helping Erdogan defend a ‘safe zone ” . It appears to me its much better to have Erdogan on side as we ramp up use of Incirlik – and judiciously add more GB to the mix in places like Manjib . We shall see.

  97. Fred says:

    “I am really glad we got the CW out of Syria…”
    I believe the thanks should go to Lavrov.

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