In Re Syria:


A number of things:

  • R+6 is learning to fight together better and better.  It is clear that the Russians attached to the SAA have made major contributions in assisting; campaign planning, coordinating all arms, arranging re-equipping (T-90 tanks, aircraft, field uniforms, etc.).  Most of all their presence has brought new heart to the Syrians as such help always does to an army desperately locked in combat.  Examples are numerous in history.  For Americans, the beneficial psychological factor that came with the French "Expedition Particuliere" should come to mind.
  • IMO the "siege" of Aleppo will not last long.  Rebels are deserting the cause in what they hold of the city.  They know that they are likely to be trapped in a pocket there and given their previous behavior in the war they may well receive Article 45 as a reward for that.  The Russians would have little control over that.  Local allies are never really under positive control by an intervening great power ally.  IMO Aleppo proper has not yet been occupied by R+6 because its partial occupation by rebels serves to "fix" rebel forces more or less in place throughout the NW.
  • IMO the refugee flight to the Bab al-Hawaa border crossing west of Aleppo City is not flight from bombardment.  It is flight from the knowledge that a major engagement may occur in and around the city.   There are always a lot of civilians casualties from such an engagement whether the combatants want that or not.
  • These "fixed' forces make wonderful objectives for R+6.  Committed to defending localities, they cannot move away from developing R+6 combat power and are being ground to bits as they try to do such things as protecting remaining border crossings into Turkey.
  • IMO Turkey continues to debate its future actions.  If Turkey crosses the border with major forces, the Russians may match their escalation either in Syria or closer to home.  NATO must know that such a scenario could escalate to global war and IMO NATO is telling Turkey to be very careful or risk a refusal of support.
  • IMO the policy of the US remains both belligerent  and ignorant of actual conditions in the ME region.  The notion that a pan-Sunni armed force can be created for the re-conquest of Iraq and IS controlled Syria is a fantasy.  Why?  Answer:  There are no Sunni dominated countries who either have the forces needed or who are willing to deprive themselves of the homeland presence of what are in essence internal security forces.  The idea that Saudi Arabia with its puny actual combat power could be the core of such a force is known to be ridiculous by all with a modicum of actual knowledge of the region.  Any such force would inevitably be a screen for the employment of major US ground forces to do the real fighting.  The US citizenry will not accept such a thing.   The US government appears to be living in a world of its own dreams and group think.
  • There has been some speculation recently on SST concerning the causes of the low quality and inaccuracy of MSM reporting in the US, Britain and other countries.   IMO there are two basic  causes of such journalistic malpractice.  1- Corporate leadership is integrated into the world-wide informal group think network of governments, media. academia, think-tanks and mega-capitalists that I have shorthanded as the Borg.  Such corporate stakeholders are easily pushed in editorial directions desired by governments and special interest groups.  The tools are always the same; money for sponsorship of programs and access to supposedly key people.  2- Media people at the operational level (especially in TV) are generally not well educated.  They are typically products of schooling and experience in the communications arts (including journalism).  Such people are often woefully ignorant of the Humanities (history, languages, area studies, etc.) and lack any context with which to understand events on the world scene.  They are easy prey for the editorial policy given them by the corporate leaders.  There are occasional moments of comedy created by the dissonance brought to the fore by confrontations with reality.  Yesterday, CNN's Jake Tapper was distracted from the primary election circus long enough to show us all film done recently by a CNN reporter in government occupied Aleppo neighborhoods.   Life looked quite normal.  There was a lot of food in the markets.  Children played in the streets.  Women walked around without their faces covered.  Taxis drove up and down picking up and discharging fares.  Several older men were interviewed and they attributed their good conditions to the hard fighting and victories of the Syrian Army.  Tapper did not know what to say and changed the subject.   pl
This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Current Affairs, Middle East, Policy, Politics, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, The Military Art, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to In Re Syria:

  1. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Thanks, good read.

  2. Paul Mooney says:

    Thanks Pat for this excellent post. I finally got a definition of “the borg!” 🙂
    After reading this blog for months I am shocked at the discussion of how to address the challenge of ISIS in forums such as the presidential debates. It really does seem like they must live in a different world. I alternate between being extremely nervous about the quality of our elected leaders and thinking that these statements in the debates are designed to drive votes and behind the scenes a more knowledgeable analysis prevails.

  3. Richard C says:

    Excellent analysis Col. Lang – as always.

  4. Old Microbiologist says:

    Kudos on a fine piece.

  5. Fredw says:

    I think the key is that the issue actually being considered is not “how to address the challenge of ISIS?” but “whether to address the challenge of ISIS?” Lacking any “good” options for getting favorable outcomes, the US has pretty consistently chose to tolerate the ongoing civil war rather than to actually do anything about it. I think that only the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees in Europe has begun to change that. (Which of course raises the question of whether that was a side effect of the war or a deliberate move by the participants.)

  6. Fredw says:

    Upon re-reading your post, I realize that you are talking about presidential candidates who really are considering how to address the Syrian civil war. The US government, on the other hand, seems pretty clearly to be considering “whether”. So my prior post is rather less coherent than I intended.

  7. oofda says:

    In addition to not knowing history language, area studies, today’s journos are totally ignorant of science and engineering. Only rarely do we see a journalist that has more than a superficial awareness of those subjects. And totally forget military and naval affairs. That is why the networks rely on retired military that are shills for think tanks and the Pentagon.

  8. Petrous says:

    Colonel Lang
    your paragraph descriptive of a careless moment by the CNN reporter who let reality seep through to his broadcast is worth its weight in gold. Thank you for including the reference.

  9. Tony says:

    Your description of the Borg is just about exactly the same as Marx’s description of the Ruling Class

  10. kooshy says:

    Col. Lang
    Thank you for this informative post, the CNN clip it’s so funny, I wonder how it escaped the editorial? unfortunately I missed it, since I try to avoid CNN. I hope someone can post a link if still available.

  11. cynic says:

    It seems that in service to their lies the American government sent a couple of bombers over Aleppo to destroy hospitals and other facilities – and then blamed the destruction on the Russians!
    “At 13:55 Moscow time, two US Air Force A-10 attack aircraft entered Syrian airspace from Turkish territory. Reaching Aleppo by the most direct path, they made strikes against objects in the city,”
    The statement came after the Pentagon accused Russian and Syrian government forces of destroying two main hospitals in Aleppo in air raids.
    Konashenkov said Russian warplanes only hit targets some 20 km (12 miles) from the city on Wednesday.

  12. Thomas says:

    “Which of course raises the question of whether that was a side effect of the war or a deliberate move by the participants.”
    It was Sultan Tayyip’s gambit to keep his Neo-Ottoman dream alive.

  13. cynic says:

    Real investigative and informative journalism has deliberately been replaced by tittle-tattle on social media. Most of the public does not want anything better. Media and public reciprocally debase each other.

  14. Thomas says:

    Most of the public does not want anything better.

  15. gemini33 says:

    Anti-ISIL coalition spox Col Warren is battling with Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Twitter and elsewhere (see this RT article
    Col Steve Warren on Twitter:
    Russia MoD on Twitter:
    Russia claims US flew two A-10s out of Turkey yesterday plus drones, straight into Aleppo and bombed targets. Warren denies it.
    Warren claims Russia bombed the two main hospitals in Aleppo, leaving 50K people with no access to care. Russia says they didn’t do any strikes in the city of Aleppo yesterday.
    The pressure has been ramping up like crazy for the past two days for Russia to stop bombing, for humanitarian reasons, not because the “rebels” are about to lose Aleppo. All the mucketies are in Munich meeting on Syria. Same mucketies were in London last week at the Syria Donors Conference, where all the backers are not happy. Plus, the NATO defense ministers are all meeting in Brussels. A confluence.
    Anyway, I thought our militaries were carefully deconflicting all air activity in Syria. Is this argument a sign that we’re not doing that? It looks to me OIR spox is adding to the massive outcry to stop bombing as part of the campaign to pressure Russia. Surprising because up until now I thought he was stellar in the job he was doing.

  16. Abu Sinan says:

    al-Arabiya, a Saudi mouth piece, is quoting a Saudi general saying that their decision to invade Syria, with 150,000 troops, is going forward.
    “Saudi’s decision to send troops to Syria in an attempt to bolster and toughen efforts against militants is “final” and “irreversible,” the Saudi military spokesman announced on Thursday.
    “Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, said that Riyadh is “ready” and will fight with its U.S.-led coalition allies to defeat ISIS militants in Syria, however, he said Washington is more suitable to answer questions on further details about any future ground operations.
    “We are representing Saudi’s [decision] only” in sending troops, he said.”

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nah, that is not new – during the Apollo missions you saw some pretty little thing asking the break-fasting astronauts about the thrust characteristics of Saturn V or LEM etc. – not knowing a single thing about physics let alone aerospace engineering.
    And the tired look on the face of the poor astronaut who had to say something meaningful without either contempt or derision.

  18. Jack says:

    How serious do you think Erdogan is with respect to militarily invading Syria? It would seem a very foolish move considering there is a decent probability that NATO and Obama may let him hang himself by just making threatening noises and doing nothing. It could have devastating consequences for both Turkey and EU.

  19. Jack says:

    US and Russia have a deconfliction agreement on Syrian air space. Both sides know about each others flight plans.

  20. Fred says:

    “Several older men were interviewed and they attributed their good conditions to the hard fighting and victories of the Syrian Army.”
    Reality strikes the Borg again. I guess all the young ones took Merkel up on her welfare offer, to include all those ISIS members who of course aren’t in Europe. I can only guess what the the borgist EU media is not saying about that situation. That video you provided a link for shows the markets are full and streets crowded with pedestrians. Heck the fruit looked a whole lot fresher than what I’m seeing in the stores in Michigan, but I live in the 1st world so what should I expect.

  21. CaliHalibut says:

    Thought you guys might be interested in this Syrian war live map I found on social media:

  22. Seamus Padraig says:

    The total fusion of state and corporate power is also how some people define fascism.

  23. Seamus Padraig says:

    Regarding your last point, here’s someone from Aleppo: “Stop the Lies!” (
    But on the lighter side, here’s the wedding of Nada and Hassan, a Syrian soldier, in Homs:

  24. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    An excellent analysis and summation of the situation. Of note, especially, is your assessment of the reason for the refugee exodus from Aleppo and surroundings. This is being propagandized in order to stop the fighting.
    It will be interesting to see how the ceasefire negotiation develops. IMO, the Russians will move on their offered date of 1 March for the ceasefire to begin – because they know that their main objectives will be seized before then.

  25. Trey N says:

    Well, there’s one sure way to settle the matter: it’ll be hard for the Borg to continue their lie if the Russians shoot down the next foreign plane to invade Syrian airspace that deeply!
    Seriously, this alleged flight of two US A-10s is hard to make sense of for exactly that reason. Running a risk of that magnitude — for what, exactly??! Just to see if the Russians are serious about defending the skies over Syria? Testing Russian capabilities, as well as intentions? Bombing hospitals to try and frame the Russians for R2P propaganda points?
    Sounds like a helluva lot of risk for very little gain. And what would have been the US response if the reports turn out to be true — and one/both of the planes had been shot down? How in hell could the US explain that? And to save face, how could the US not escalate and respond in force?
    I thought the loose cannon US General in Turkey had been canned last year, but if this report turns out to be true then we can only hope that his replacement is just as batshit crazy. Because if this was planned at a higher level (Pentagon, White House, NATO) then we are all in serious harm’s way….

  26. Linda Lau says:

    Glad to know what the Borg is – I felt it would look stupid of me to ask!

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Russia has offered a cease-fire provided Turkish border is sealed to material support for the anti-government forces in Syria.
    I do not think NATO states are willing to accept that because that would add more pressure on Turkey than presently is applied and could cause Erdogan to commit something even more disastrous.

  28. Ante says:

    There have been mumblings about this for quite awhile, during the August republican party debate, Marco Rubio “We need to use our leadership to pull together a Sunni army…”
    The problem was then, it was a stupid plan. Today, it’s a stupider plan. R+6 victories must be boiling butts for them to attempt to pull this rabbit out of a hat. I can’t wait to see the batting order of the Sunni Army. The special forces of the itsy bitsy king? Saudi National Guard in their RVs? Some Colombians on salary with patches that say Royal Guard of H.H. Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi? Who’s fooling who?

  29. Trey N and gemini33,
    The alleged flight of the two A-10s would have been coordinated with the Russians. I seriously doubt the A-10s would make a NOE dash to Aleppo without coordination. That would be beyond crazy. If the Pentagon keeps pushing its denial, the Russians should easily be able to produce evidence. I read somewhere about someone wondering what the A-10s were trying to destroy in Aleppo. Were they trying to destroy evidence of some kind before it falls into the hands of the R+6?

  30. bth says:

    This story has been denied by the US government, has no corroborating evidence whatever and is almost certainly fabricated by the Russian Defense Minster. It likely was in response to a misquote by Warren which I believe was corrected on Twitter regarding a Rus/Syr attack on hospitals last month, not yesterday.

  31. bth says:

    This bold but caveated statement by the Saudi general is easy to make if he knows the US isn’t going to throw ground forces into the Syrian fight against Assad. Erdogan is taking on the same meme as both SA and Turkey plan on blaming the US for their own failures in Syria.

  32. Kooshy says:

    Col. Lang
    Thank you

  33. bth says:

    The other CNN video from Syria posted in the last 24 hours showed many people trying to get across to Turkey. I was struck by how many were men of draft age without beards and wearing clean track suits. They did not appear organized. There are probably people on this blog that saw Iraqi troops that had changed clothes and walked away from the front in 2003. I wonder if another poster on the blog could describe what they saw among the Iraqi deserters. Was footwear or clothing an indicator of prior employment so to speak?

  34. Kooshy says:

    “The tools are always the same; money for sponsorship of programs and access to supposedly key people.”
    With regard to Western/ English MSM, IMO the key point is what PL wrote above which is “usual tools” used by Borg to coerce the journalist in the “politicly correct” direction, in a simpler format, is the fear of losing one’ job and having any meaningful economically not challenging future. In recent years the corporate media has not been shy of showing her power by excusing, forcing to leave, or outright firing unwanted journalist in key anchor positions.
    So I don’t contribute much to know how on how to research and fact check if allowed, any graduate from a decent US college and U is thought on how to research and fact check before turning in their paper. I have been told the western corporate journalist need to watch their backs more than they need to do to their fronts.

  35. Kooshy says:

    No I also don’t buy that last point, IMO the reason they bring in retired military officers is: that an experienced military officer will give more punch and credibility on military maters then a journalist’ opinion or report. But, they know they have to bring people like Rick Francona and not Pat Lang, that is because they know Francona will read the script it’s given, but Lang is only willing to write his own and read it to them. That’s why we are here isn’t it?

  36. Fredw says:

    “Media people at the operational level (especially in TV) are generally not well educated.”
    For all the failures of media reporting in Vietnam, the reporters had mostly been in World War II or Korea. The younger ones had at least been through the draft. Today’s reporters often know absolutely nothing about how a war or an army works. They can be fooled by almost any story. Congress seems much the same. I never would have thought that I might someday miss the draft, but I do.

  37. aleksandar says:

    I wonder if the main objectives for SAA at the ende of this operational phase are Azza and Al Bab.
    For the future of the Syrian state, it may be essential to prevent the Kurds from uniting along the turkish border.
    ” Keep your heads low ”

  38. Kooshy says:

    This doesn’t make sense, If true where were the S400s? And why the Russians didn’t shout them down? IMO the US is not going to risk a WW over Syria, what IMO will prevent that, like the case with Chaney’ wanting war with Iran, is not the politicians who are unwilling, but IMO is the sober US military that for 5 decades has had to pay with blood for the politician’ missjudgment and incompetence. They are not enthuse to have a war with Russia over Syria or Ukraine.

  39. turcopolier says:

    Are you suggesting that these people in clean track suits are deserters from the winning army? pl

  40. turcopolier says:

    Then Captain Francona was one of my staff assistants for several years in the 1980s. He is quite intelligent but I regret that I did not understand him better at the time. pl

  41. Fred says:

    How many governments were toppled by the Apollo program? How many people killed? Nothing new indeed.

  42. A. Pols says:

    Reflecting on what’s been said about what one sees on TV or reads in the MSM, I think the problem is multi faceted. Yes the talking heads and columnists may be ignorant of history,war, and culture in most cases, but beyond that there is the laziness factor in play. People are paid to look good,”perform well”, and use their elocution training to sound authoritative, all in very short segments sandwiched between commercial breaks. Any true analysis is beyond the point.
    In many cases they regurgitate what they read on a screen and what they read is often syndicated material, much of loaded with confirmation bias laden talking points. They are actors in the same way that TV weather people are and for the most part don’t know s&$t from applebutter.
    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but mass culture often behaves as though there were one and I hear a lot of superficial crap, indicating to me that manufactured consensus in Edward Bernays fashion is being foisted off on the public
    in lieu of informing them and encouraging them to think critically.
    I am an avid people watcher and a shameless eavesdropper who likes to listen to conversations. Much of what I hear relates to the simple repetition of a set of memes, fairly small in number and not representing any sort of reasoned conclusions on the part of the speakers.
    I hope this isn’t one of those posts you recently spoke ill of…

  43. Trey N says:

    Well, that at least makes some kind of sense. Any idea what evidence would be worth all the trouble and risk? People, or equipment??

  44. mbrenner says:

    On the ceasefire proposal that just has hit the headlines, here is what a knowledgeable French observer who was an Geneva in a non-official capacity has to say:
    “That’s typically a Lavrov trick !
    And very simple.
    “We (the Russians), and subsequently the Syrian regime, are ready for a ceasefire anytime !
    What about you in the West and your friends of Al-Nosra, Jaïsh al-Islam and other “moderates” ?
    What about your Turk allies of the Nato ?
    What about your KSA protectorate ?”
    As it is obvious that the US, Europe, Turkey, KSA and of course ISIL are not in a mood to give a single, simple and rapid answer to these questions, Lavrov will be entitled to claim before the UN that the entire responsibility of the war, destructions and human losses are not on the syro-irano-russian side.
    Furthermore, this strategy jeopardizes any kind of deal with the so-called “moderates”, undermines their position and leaves only two main actors on the ground : ISIL and the syrian regime. Which one do you choose, folks ?”

  45. Cortes says:

    Your analysis was excellent but depressing, Colonel.
    Depressing because prior to Bush I (or maybe Clinton part 1) viewers of BBC2 flagship current affairs programme “Newsnight” could routinely expect such reality based reports. Thereafter the airwaves became infested with the hectoring Rubin’s, Perles, Armitages, Boltons, Soros’s etc crowding out rational argument. The BBC is a faint shadow of its former self, the Guardian also. I hope you and your countrymen can salvage the media in the USA.

  46. mbrenner says:

    This is the key:
    “Any fighting group that signed on to and complied with a cease-fire would be exempt from airstrikes. It presumes that the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, considered by all parties to be terrorist groups, would not participate. Opposition groups embedded with al-Nusra in the anti-Assad fight would have to decide whether to sever those links and separate themselves geographically from the militants.”

  47. MRW says:

    Case in point about journalistic malpractice. Just heard on NPR. Laughable.
    “Secretary Of State John Kerry Meets Russian Counterpart In Munich” 3.21 min

  48. kooshy says:

    Thanks col., I kind of guessed that, since you both were involved in Iraq back in 80s. My guess is, he was more toward the end and he was AF?

  49. MRW says:

    The former Chairman of the BBC said (and I have a link to this discussion somewhere) that he and Victor de Rothschild fired the highly competent director of the BBC in 1989–at the instigation of Victor de Rothschild–and purposely destroyed its journalistic independence. (This Chairman was lamenting his decision over a decade and 1/2 later.) This was two years after his cousin Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Geneva started the Global Warming movement in Sept 1987 at the 4th Worldwide Wilderness Conference (Denver CO). Rothschild was addressing the secret and invitation-only meeting held at Estes Park CO immediately after the conference with the World Bank, the IMF, NGOs, and select investors.

  50. VietnamVet says:

    You nailed it.
    Russia is being realistic.
    The West is schizophrenic. The war hawks have not given up on the use of jihadi proxy forces to destabilize Russia. I fear that sending 2 brigades of the 101st Airborne smack dab in the middle of it is not for show. If the Shiite Crescent was unacceptable to the Saudis in 2012, which led to the founding of the Islamic State, how can they and Turkey be forced to agree to it now?
    If not, this means a world war with Turkey invading from the north and Saudi mercenaries up from the South through Jordon. The increasing number of Combat Takeoffs by fighters from Joint Base Andrews is not reassuring.

  51. Bill Herschel says:

    Either this man is lying through his teeth (unlikely) or we have succeeded in bombing another hospital.

  52. turcopolier says:

    Toward the end of what? He worked for me in DIA during the Iran-Iraq War. Because DIA is a Joint organization his parent service was irrelevant. He had no functions in my office that were air specific. He stayed in DIA after I left the government. pl

  53. turcopolier says:

    From what I understand thus far the cease fire will apply only to those who sign up to it. The jihadis are not going to do that, and so the war will probably continue against them. This will allow humanitarian efforts to go forward for blockaded groups. The Turks, Saudis and Ash Carter will turn and burn. This is quite clever. pl

  54. MRW says:

    Stephen Cohen said the other night on the John Batchelor Show that Ash Carter announced last week that the US “official” enemies and “threats to national security” are (and in this order)
    (1) Russia
    (2) China
    (3) North Korea
    (4) ISIS
    Did you hear this? If so, is he on recreational drugs?

  55. turcopolier says:

    I don’t listen to the show but Carter and Breedlove seem to me to be a kind of social disease. pl

  56. MRW,
    Carter and the Pentagon poohbahs have already bled the GWOT money barrel dry. They’ll get more money out of Congress with enemies like Russia and China. Squealing pigs racing for the trough.

  57. robt willmann says:

    Here is the statement of today (11 February 2016) from the International Syria Support Group (ISSG)–
    It talks about the desire to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 of 18 December 2015, which is here–
    The first thing about the USSG statement, and those it made before, which is a neon sign bigger than those in Las Vegas, is that the country supposedly being “supported” — Syria — is not a member of the group! Twenty-one parties are included in the USSG, but not Syria. Yet, the 21 say they are going to “ensure” that there will be a “political transition” (a loaded phrase), that will be “Syrian-led and Syrian-owned”, and that “it is for the Syrian people to decide the future of Syria.” Well, that means the USSG cannot be part of it, because Syria is going to “own it” and “lead it”, and the the Syrian people are going “to decide the future of Syria”!
    Putting that problem to the side, in earlier statements it seemed to me that the State Department and White House lawyers were trying to set up a situation in which at least the U.S. and Britain (members with a Security Council veto) wanted to control who was designated a “terrorist organization” and who was not. This would allow the U.S. and Britain to protect some armed and violent anti-Assad groups and prevent Russia, Syria, Iran, et. al. from smashing them. I had originally thought that the earlier language cut both ways, and would allow Russia to veto who was not a “terrorist organization”, which was why Russia and China agreed to the wording. This USSG statement talks about that issue, and since it is focusing on UN Security Council resolution 2254, I am going to have to read it to try to see what the language says about that important issue.

  58. Will says:

    1. Jewish Americans control most of the media and they are pre-dominantly Israeli Firsters. Like Rahm Emaanuel and David Brook’s son serving in the Israeli Army in preference to ours. The Borg, in most part, must always toe a line favorable to Netanyahu’s aims.
    2. The Russians must be wary of giving Tayyiban an excuse to close the straits. He can do that under Montreaux in a lesser condition that all out war. If he feels threatened by a way.
    3. Russia has leverage with its forces in Armenia- contiguous to Turkey. Don’t think Armenians like Islamist Turkey too much.
    4. Well, now we have this ceasefire. If i was Lavrov, i would have done a quid pro quo with Ukraine. The Banderistas have been shelling Donetsk nonwithstanding any “stinking” ceasefire.
    5. The Sunni Army may be nominally Saudi but will in fact be Turkish.

  59. turcopolier says:

    IMO there is not going to be a “Sunni Army.” There may be an effort to send an American Army to Syria with a Sunni tinge, but not more. pl

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What happened to Iran?
    I confess that I am miffed.

  61. robt willmann says:

    After mentioning the ISSG (International Syria Support Group) above, I started calling it the USSG. Sorry about that subconscious shift, and the lack of proofreading, but it may be a more correct description: the U.S. Support Group.

  62. Jack says:

    Sometimes the Borg can shed light.
    “The Russians have cut off many of the pathways the C.I.A. has been using for a not-very-secret effort to arm rebel groups, according to several current and former officials.”
    But what is interesting is the 2 top rated comments to the article.
    “The Russians have been right from day one. Assad is far preferable to any of these so called moderate rebels. Why we have been so keen on promoting instability in Syria is completely baffling. I’ll take Assad over Islamic extremists, just like I would take Saddam or Qaddafi over ISIS. We never learn.”
    “What this article does not even gloss over is America’s interest, national interest, in deposing Assad. What is it?
    Why would it not be equally in America’s interest to support Assad against jihadists who have proven time and again that they will kill Americans whenever and wherever they can. Has Assad or his government killed a single American?
    Assad is a brutal dictator? What about the King of Saudi Arabia? Why don’t we depose him?”

  63. Ingolf says:

    Robt Willman,
    I think you can rest reasonably easy on those points.
    UN 2254 already defines “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL” as terrorist groups and specifically excludes them from any eventual ceasefire. In other words, R+6 will be at liberty to continue hammering them regardless.

  64. kooshy says:

    Col. Lang
    i meant toward the end of Iran Iraq war. Years ago I read he flew training or reconnaissance mission? with Iraqi air force pilots in Fav, which was toward the end of the 8 year Iran Iraq war.

  65. turcopolier says:

    He did nothing of the sort. He happened to be in Baghdad on a task I gave him when the Fao offensive happened. The Iraqis offered to take him down there to see and he let them do that. BTW, he is not an aviator. pl

  66. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    Re: coverage of the Syrian civil war: My first undergrad major was journalism. Back in the mid-80s. The entire thrust of the course work was re-writing the press releases of ‘the authorities’ according to a style book. The whole notion of investigative journalism was heavily discouraged. We’ve come a long way from the 18th century scandal sheets to the Mighty Wurlitzer and it’s mostly been down hill.

  67. Emad says:

    OT but related to the Borg’s media arm:
    Apparently some folks in Tehran have learnt their lesson.

  68. Chris Chuba says:

    I watched the clip. The funny thing is that the one hardship that was mentioned was that the residents of Aleppo didn’t have electricity. Does the CNN anchor know why they don’t have electricity? It’s not because of the evil Russians. It’s because the U.S. bombed Aleppo’s power stations a couple of months ago while it was held by ISIS. The Syrian govt agreed not to shell it for obvious reasons. They probably paid the liver eaters for the electricity but extortion has to be paid sometimes.

  69. Chris Chuba says:

    Borg is a great term. In the original usage, they were part of a collective, with a hive mind which allowed them to share information instantaneously which is the ultimate group think. One thing that I have noticed about the Borg is just how quickly they pick up and use the same talking points. In just this past week, I have read George Soros, Thomas Friedman, and Borg U.K. all say that the aim of Putin’s campaign in Syria is to destabilize the EU with refugees.
    Unreal, the same stream of thought is instantaneously distributed and accepted without blinking and it protects the well established mythology that Russia (and Iran) are forever a threat and that we can never share a common enemy (ISIS / Sunni Jihadists); that the Sunni states our always our friends. In group think, the conclusion has to be preserved under all circumstances.
    In this case, let’s ignore that all of the existing refugees arrived when the govt was losing the civil war and before the Russian intervention. The latest Russian action must be to increase refugees. This is the only possible explanation. Friedman even prefaced his statement with ‘I have no doubt …’.

  70. MRW says:

    Babak, never fear, it’s covered here, at the bottom. I just read this. God answers. 😉

  71. Joe100 says:

    My read of the Russian MOD briefing is that Russian forces reacted seriously to initial report’s of Colonel Warren’s statement – that I have read here somewhere initially reported the wrong date for the alleged Russian hospital bombing – when there had been no Russian sorties in or near Aleppo. I read his statement about the A-10 sorties as based on deconflicting information that had previously been agreed by both sides not to be publicly disclosed. I don’t read his statements as accusing the US of bombing hospitals in Aleppo, but rather pointing out that we had bombed Aleppo and the Russians were investigating what the targets were.
    To me, this is a professional who feels Russia is acting quite responsibly who is getting tired of the Western media/Borg’s IO operations suggesting the contrary and who finds IO criticism by a military professional much harder to swallow than from the Western MSM.
    In any case, I suggest reading the excerpt from his briefing below to get your own take.
    “Large-scale desertion is registered in illegal armed groups located near Aleppo.
    Terrorists are frightening civilians and making people go to the Turkish borderline. Having left their weapons, militants are making efforts to “blend” into the crowd because they know that the Russian aviation and Syrian government forces do not carry out strikes against civilians.
    However, pictures of these people along with accusations brought against Russian aircraft of allegedly vandal bombardments of Aleppo have been spread all over Western TV screens since last week.
    It came to the point that pictures of Aleppo destroyed long before the start of the Russian operation in Syria, are demonstrated by leading American and European channels as consequences of allegedly Russian bombardments.
    As it is said, hand of experienced conductor is felt.
    Therefore, it is not a tendency. Starting harping on the favorite tune with accusations against Russia of committing all deadly sins as well as hushing up the effectiveness of aviation activities in Syria as a state secret from the taxpayers became regular.
    A recent example.
    Yesterday official spokesman of the Pentagon Colonel Steve Warren being in Iraq stated that allegedly Russian bombers had bombed two hospitals in Aleppo in the daytime.
    According to him, as a result, allegedly about 50 thousand Syrians were deprived from vital services.
    This official spokesman failed to give anything else. No information on the time, coordinates and sources of this data.
    Just nothing.
    The Russian party had a night for examination of this information.
    Nonsense of the rights activists from London is one thing.
    But if it is declared by the Pentagon representative posing as a military professional – that is another thing.
    The Russian Ministry of Defense has thoroughly analyzed all the data concerning the targets engaged yesterday in the Aleppo province.
    First of all, Colonel Warren is likely to be disappointed – he did not guess.
    Russian aircraft did not work near the Aleppo city yesterday.
    The nearest target to the city was more than 20 km far from it.
    Only aviation of the anti-ISIS coalition flew over the city yesterday: warplanes and strike UAVs.
    As it has been promised previously to the American partners, this information will not be hidden any more.
    Yesterday at 13:55 (MSK), two A-10 attack aircraft of the U.S. Air Force entered the Syrian air space from the territory of Turkey and reaching Aleppo by the shortest path made strikes against objects in the city so that one wouldn’t wish for more.
    Colonel Warren, for some reason, did not make this mission public in the literal and even figurative sense.
    The Russian party will not become similar to the American Colonel and it is to be said frankly: there had not been enough time to identify precisely those 9 objects engaged yesterday in Aleppo. Perhaps, there had been two hospitals among them. The Russian Defense Ministry will find it out.
    The attention is to be paid to the fact that the situation is similar to the one where the Americans bombed a hospital in the city of Kunduz (Afghanistan) or positions of the Iraqi Army in Fallujah. The first steps are unsubstantiated statements against the Russian party – to divert all suspicion from themselves.
    If it keeps going that way, the Russian Defense Ministry will have to hold two briefings every time: first for the Russian party and second for those guys from the coalition who consider themselves professionals.
    Over and over again the Russian Defense department hears an old song that the Russian aviation is performing strikes NOT ONLY against ISIS terrorists.
    Western refined experts must know that NOT ALL terrorists in Syria are walking with black flags and writings on their backs about belonging to a terrorist grouping.”

  72. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks, glad to see that; I was worried…

  73. Thomas says:

    And a good example of the push back is the first comment by Stone Lodge.
    “This essay is just one mass media lie after another. There are so many falsehoods in this story that it is pointless to deconstruct it. The West is 100% responsible for the catastrophe in Syria, and I am saying this as an aware American. Believe nothing written here.”

  74. Kooshy says:

    Understand, thank you col. Never the less IMO as many time as I haves seen he has made continued Borgist analysis of 03 Iraq war on msnbc and now cnn.

  75. turcopolier says:

    What I said to you was that he has always been a sneaky character. pl

  76. Ingolf says:

    “To me, this is a professional who feels Russia is acting quite responsibly who is getting tired of the Western media/Borg’s IO operations suggesting the contrary and who finds IO criticism by a military professional much harder to swallow than from the Western MSM.”
    Exactly, Joe100.

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