Syria Report – 17 March 2018


In the ongoing battles around Damascus it seems more and more clear to me that the Syrian Government is consolidating its position in its heartlands in anticipation of an armistice negotiated by the Russians, an armistice that may last for years as the government and the rebels (now mostly jihadis) gather their strength for a renewal of the conflict toward a final result that will result in annihilation of one side.  The East Gouta pocket is being sliced up apace by the SAA.  The western part of the pocket is a built up urban area while the eastern area is farmland and villages.  The SAA chose to go into Gouta from the east and are now evacuating civilians from the remaining jihadi held urban areas in the west of the pocket.  10,000 are reported to have been evacuated thus far.  They are assisted in this by the Russian military police.  The evacuees are leaving by moving east through the farmland rather than west through metropolitan Damascus.  There have been numerous demonstrations in favor of the government in the rebel/jihadi held areas of Gouta.  This has been little reported in Western media.

The continuing US policy of regime change in Syria leaves little possibility that the government can recover Syria east and north of the Euphrates River. That land is under US government "protection."  How the movement of (US) Kurds to Afrin to fight will affect that is unpredictable.

As SST forecast just after the fall of Aleppo City to the government, Idlib Province has become a cancerous wound in the side of the possibility of a fully re-united Syria.  The Turks are taking advantage of their burgeoning relationship with Russia to eradicate Kurdish control of Afrin district in Aleppo Province.  The Turks are making steady progress in this effort.  The evolving tie to Russia is evident in the S-400 SAM deal and Russia seems complicit in the "Olive Branch" campaign.  There are clearly limits to Russian protection of the SAG.  The Turks have now established "observation posts" of company size all along the eastern border of Idlib Province.  These are positioned to impede a renewed advance of  R+6 into Idlib Province once SAA and friends are finished in the Damascus area.    The latest of these posts is now being placed just NW of Aleppo so as to prevent an advance by the government to the west into northern Aleppo Province.  IMO what we are seeing is a slow motion annexation of NW Syria by Turkey.  Tayyip Erdogan seems to want to be remembered as Fatih Sultan Tayyip.  Would the SAG be strong enough to fight Turkey in Idlib?  That is an open question.

The Russian MoD says that the US is planning cruise missile attacks on Syria in response to a putative gas attack in the Gouta area.  This is somewhat amusing  given the recent capture of a jihadi chlorine gas factory in East Gouts, but, we will see.  pl  


This entry was posted in Alastair Crooke, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Middle East, Russia, Syria, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Syria Report – 17 March 2018

  1. Charles says:

    Is the American attempt to bifurcate Syria an attempt to impede the OBOR initiative that China is implementing as well as an attempt to impede Russian oil and gas pipelines from avoiding US “friends” in eastern Europe?
    I can understand the Turkish animosity toward the Kurds and their reciprocity, is that a separate issue.
    General S. Butler wrote that war is an economic activity ( a racket he called it ).

  2. turcopolier says:

    Butler was a soldier in America’s colonial wars, not an intellectual of any kind. War is not always or even predominately an economic activity. US policy in Syria is altogether a result of Zionist political power in the US and the Likud’s obsession with Syria, Hizbullah and Ian. pl

  3. Barbara Ann says:

    Re the Russian assertion that the US now has “Strike groups of naval carriers with cruise missiles” in both the Med. and the Red Sea – is this credible/verifiable? One (Theodore Roosevelt) is already in the Gulf, but short of an attack being launched, how would we learn of the presence of other Naval forces in the area? Is there a recent open source for CSG locations (link below maybe)? I am assuming one cannot sail a CSG between the Pillars of Hercules without being noticed, for example.

  4. luke8929 says:

    Trump doesn’t have any room to maneuver when negotiating with Putin right now. His latest sanctions on Russia was met with derision by the Democrats, CNN and the NYT, saying it wasn’t soon enough and didn’t go far enough.
    I think Trump will push this confrontation with the Russians until the US public is frightened enough that they don’t care what the Dems or their MSM enablers say. He needs his own Cuban Missile Crisis where people are hiding their kids in the sewer system similar to what happened recently in Hawaii.
    Who knows maybe there needs to be an actual military confrontation with the Russians with dead on both sides, perhaps even a limited nuclear strike of some type, maybe on Europe or even a large Canadian city close to the US border to bring the point of MAD home.

  5. Peter AU says:

    There has been for some time a propaganda push by the US that Syria have a secret CW program in contravention to its OPCW commitment.
    Now UK is doing the same with Russia. Secret programs by both Syrian Russia for Chemical weapons of mass destruction. It is known they have them but are not allowing OPCW officials to the site seems the meme.
    Iraq WMD propaganda 2.0.

  6. Andrey Subbotin says:

    Barbara Ann – The Russian briefer said “sea carriers of cruise missiles”, ships capable of launching Tomahawks, not aircraft carriers. The Russian word for aircraft carrier – avianosets – was not used.

  7. Grazhdanochka says:

    Things more or less moved from the Points and in the Direction and Pivots I expected and commented under the Colonels ‘time-to-clean-up-the-homs-desert-pocket’ Update in February, the biggest Hurdles to advances in Ghouta remains two Fold – the prospect of brutal Urban Warfare and the search for a more diplomatic Solution.
    Whilst Idlib will no doubt fall under a similar Fate to a degree (Diplomacy will be necessary whilst low hanging Turkish Fruit remain) I do however propose a different Conclusion is possible that simply acceptance of a divided Syria, at least in its current Form.
    Turkish Observation Posts largely at current prevent or more, Influence R+6 Activities in Eastern Idlib and Aleppo Province, the Door is still open in the South and West – Hama and Latakiya Provinces…
    Through the ‘Desert Hawks’ previously the Syrian Government has demonstrated capability to advance through the Mountainous Warfare that Latakia demands, Ghouta far from simply securing the Syrian Heartland may be an action designed to free up large numbers of maneuver Units which should enable them not only to squeeze the North West but more seriously threaten Jisr Al Shugur… Likewise an advance in the South could force Opposition out of Hama Province ensuring Hama Cities security.
    The ultimate goal depending on Force Ratios and scale of advance could be to render many of the Turkish Positions in East Idlib and Aleppo redundant, inducing a withdrawal from current Positions, or a negotiated Settlement….
    The fact that Towns such as Kafarya and Foua remain isolated forces the R+6 to mount some Operation to ensure or negotiate their Position and indeed the Mountains of Latakia would position R+6 suitably to overlook much of Idlib to support where further advances can be made.
    Colonel, I would respectfully suggest that War is a Combination of Factors – Economic being one along with Ideological Factors, this all weighs heavily on the Calculations for War, In Syrias Case I suspect that those arguing for it not only included the Zionists, but also got consensus from those whom could argue its benefits in Economics and wider Geopolitics (EU relieved of Russian Energy for example)
    By now I suspect the latter Advocates have ideally given up, but the Zionists are incapable of doing so, because unlike Economics they have literally made a Situation worse for the cause they serve.

  8. EEngineer says:

    The cynic in my wonders if the powers that be need something, anything, to trigger the inevitable financial crash that the QE bubble of the last ten years has created. A carrier or two would be a small price to pay, to them anyways. Better to blame that and a quick bust on the Russians in the resulting hysteria than give the soon to be no longer middle class that will be robbed of their pensions and savings time to contemplate the powers that be’s role in their impoverishment during a slow grind down.
    That’s my optimistic view. My pessimistic view is that everyone within the Washington beltway has gone mad. If that’s the case then they just won’t stop until there’s no more fireworks left to shoot off.

  9. scott s. says:

    Barbara Ann:
    If the requirement is a “cruise missile” attack, it can be done by a couple of submarines if needed and you wouldn’t know until the missiles broach the surface.

  10. turcopolier says:

    scott s
    Not enough volume. pl

  11. JPB says:

    The Turkish position being set up northwest of Aleppo is a lot more than an observation post. In addition to troops and armor they are moving in bulldozers and front loaders. Lots of their FSA liver eating allies moving there also. Looks like they perhaps want to set up a strong point at Anadin on route 214 to block SAA access to Afrin and Minnagh Airbase.
    Another thought is that the same road also leads to the Shia villages of Nubl and al-Zahraa that recently sent NDF troops to help the Kurds of Afrin. Turkish Air Force bombed a Shia NDF checkpoint near Nubl just a few days ago.
    So perhaps they want to keep Hezbollah out of NW Aleppo?

  12. Anna says:

    “Jonathan Allen, whose rank we do not know, has become number two in the UK permanent representation at the United Nations. He is currently leading the Security Council against Russia and Syria.”
    More on Jonathan Allen:
    “United Kingdom Ambassador Jonathan Allen today (14 Mar) told an Emergency UN Security Council briefing that Russia has not provided “any credible explanation” for the use of “Russian produced nerve agent” in the Salisbury assassination attempt of an alleged former Russian spy and his daughter.”
    — He is obviously playing a clinically retarded individual to push his favorite line:
    More: In 1999, the United States and Uzbekistan have quietly negotiated and are expected to sign a bilateral agreement today to provide American aid in dismantling and decontaminating one of the former Soviet Union’s largest chemical weapons testing facilities, according to Defense Department and Uzbek officials. Earlier this year, the Pentagon informed Congress that it intends to spend up to $6 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction program to demilitarize the so-called Chemical Research Institute, in Nukus, Uzbekistan. … the Nukus plant was the major research and testing site for a new class of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons called ”Novichok,” which in Russian means ”new guy.”
    It seems that the United Kingdom Ambassador Jonathan Allen is of the same caliber and has the same passion as Mr. Christopher Steele. There is no info on Allen’s education (if any) and on his rank in the UK security apparatus in the web.

  13. Anna says:

    on the web

  14. Bandolero says:

    I want to let you know that I disagree with your opinion.
    What I see is that the reds are marching on. After securing Aleppo city and the east up to the Euphrates, now they are securing the capital region of Damascus.
    Regarding Afrin I see a green on yellow attack that doesn’t change much for the reds.

  15. confusedponderer says:

    Andrey Subbotin,
    re: “The Russian briefer said “sea carriers of cruise missiles”, ships capable of launching Tomahawks, not aircraft carriers
    … and that is a good point.
    To explain it with more detail: The 7 April 2017 US cruise missile attack on Syria was done with two Arleigh Burke destroyers. Any US carrier group has ships of this class as escorts and protectors.
    The cruise missile capability is the side effect of the flexibility of the VLS system Mk.41 and more recently Mk. 57 the US use.
    A VLS Mk. 41, and likely the new Mk. 57 also, can fire anything that ‘fits in’ the silo – Tomahawk cruise missile, VL Asrock, SM-2, SM-3, ESSM. A single Arleigh Burke destroyer has 90 cell silos.
    In the cruise missile attack 7 April 2017 the US used just two Arkleigh Burke’s, fired 59 missiles and still ‘had bullets left’.

  16. Jony Kanuck says:

    So far as offensives to recover territory in Syria go, I’m not sure the Russians are paying attention. If the news reports are true, the Russians have solid intelligence that the USA is planning an attack on Syria.
    I think this is pretty crazy: The Russians have said they will knock out whatever launches missiles into Syria. Is it a ‘damn the torpedoes’ moment? I’m not a certified Kremlinologist but I heard Putin say last week that if push comes to shove he will not hesitate to push the red button. Today I saw a news item that the Russian Navy has run nuclear subs right up to the US coast & they were not detected! I read that as Moscow is willing to consider a first strike.
    I am also not an expert on nuclear warfare but I’m pretty sure that the best results of an American first strike plus missile defence might be 90% of Russian nukes disabled. I’m in no doubt that the remaining 10% would fry every major American city and London. How can that be seen as victory?
    Can we play a game?
    Russian air defence has been overwhelmed & Damascus is a smoking ruin. Hundreds of Russian dead.
    You are an advisor to Vlad the Hammer. What is your advice?
    My advice would be to nuke Warsaw.
    You have to be really awful about this. You don’t want to nuke anything in core NATO & you want to do it without warning, not in the USA & as far Russians are concerned; Poles behave obnoxiously.
    POTUS is presented with a horrid event but only a couple American dead.
    Can there any doubt that Russia will turn north america into a blackened republic of grass & cockroaches!
    I want a drink!

  17. turcopolier says:

    jody kanuck
    “So far as offensives to recover territory in Syria go, I’m not sure the Russians are paying attention.” I would bet you a bucket full of Canadian money that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    “Reds” being the SAA? pl

  19. What would be the Pentagon’s response if only 10% of the next Tomahawk strike reach their target? 2017 success rate appears to have been 50%.

  20. Peter in Toronto says:

    I am also not an expert on nuclear warfare but I’m pretty sure that the best results of an American first strike plus missile defence might be 90% of Russian nukes disabled”
    Perhaps in 1993, under the chaos of Yeltsin and the near-failure of the state and its institutions, but a first strike of this sort cannot go unnoticed with a real-time response.
    BTW, what missile defense? The USN recently tested the latest mark of their state of the art SM-3 interceptor missile and failed to hit single-track non-maneuvering ballistic missile.
    Russian ICBMs will be supersonic, maneuvering, decoyed and many…
    But American civilian casualties may be entirely acceptable to the Likud Party and its proxies in the US. I don’t know the calculus being used to evaluate the costs of direct action against Damascus. Maybe there isn’t one, and it’s simply Ivanka’s whispers into daddy’s ear.

  21. Bandolero says:

    Yes, of course. My mention of the color was not meant in an ideological way, just as the usual color seen on most maps of the situation in Syria. Red = SAA control, Green = FSA and assorted jihadis, Yellow = Kurds.

  22. The Beaver says:

    @ Anna
    Ambassador Allen has Bachelors and Masters degrees in History from Cambridge University. He is married to Elizabeth, and they have two children, Lucy and Benedict (who was born in Sofia in November 2013).

  23. Greco says:

    Trump wants to get the U.S. out of Syria’s war, so he asked the Saudi king for $4 billion
    It sounds like Saudi Arabia is paying $4 billion to “develop” Syrian territory being “protected” by the US.

  24. Fred says:

    Jony Kanuck,
    “Today I saw a news item that the Russian Navy has run nuclear subs right up to the US coast & they were not detected!”
    They probably could. Where did you see that news item? Even little green footballs doesn’t go in for that stick anymore, got a name or a link? BTW on a far more important note: Toronto hasn’t won the cup since you guys put the maple leaf on the flag. Maybe you should change flag designs so as to change thier luck. Or have them hire some Russians like the Red Wings did when they won in 2002 and 2008.

  25. Jony Kanuck says:

    Regarding whether the Russian military can ‘walk & chew gum at the same time’, I confess to be exaggerating for effect. Also, these days, you will need two buckets of devalued cdn dollars.
    My fear, actually terror, is that the Russians are busy; swapping missile loads over to thermonuclear, moving nuclear armed subs into launch positions, recalling any technical military on leave & moving the latest movies into Putin’s bunker.
    I said I’m not a Kremlinologist but my reading of the last few weeks of pronouncements from the Kremlin is that Russia is ready to rock & roll; DefCon3 or deeper. It will only take one mistake or miscalculation & we are all Slim Pickens riding the nuke with our cowboy hat stretched high!

  26. jld says:

    A nuclear strike on an European or Canadian city to “educate” Americans about MAD?
    How nice!
    But that doesn’t sound Russian to me, what do you think?

  27. jld says:

    Just curious, what is exactly the meaning of the seemingly random capitalized letters?

  28. daniel says:

    Colonel ,
    “IMO what we are seeing is a slow motion annexation of NW Syria by Turkey.” 
    Oh Yes !
    And you forget the 4000 km² land or so ( Azaz, Jarbulus, Al Bab) given by Isis/Daesh to Turkey one year ago. This swath of countryside is heavily turkisised ( Postoffice, school, Police, hospitals ) and cleaned of evil thinking. Kurds, Christians and others are looted. Tukmen are settled.
    All that is for lasting. Reuniting the 3 zones ( Azaz- Jarabulus, Afrin, Idlib) makes sense.
    Inviolability of borders ?

  29. Barbara Ann says:

    Andrey Subbotin, scott s, CP
    Thanks for your responses. Well if it is surface vessels my guess is we can expect them to be the subject of a real world demo of the Kinzhal if they are used. I think it is worth reminding everyone what SmoothieX12 said on the subject recently:

    The usage of such a weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed already in Russia’s Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be in the international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off the whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. Russia can also close off the Persian Gulf completely.
    Is anyone out there listening now?

  30. ” .. a news item that the Russian Navy has run nuclear subs right up to the US coast & they were not detected”
    We don’t know that. If they did get that close we also don’t know whether they were detected or not.
    We also don’t know whether the Wunder Waffen talk is mostly just that or whether both sides have capabilities we don’t know about.
    More importantly we don’t know what the two sides are really up to. It seems, if he means it, that Putin has just extended the tripwire. Previously Russian intention was that if NATO breached the Russian borders then, given NATO’s conventional superiority, that would be the occasion for using nuclear weapons. In the old cold war terms, that was the tripwire that would indicate that MAD had come into play. That was understood on both sides and it was that understanding that restricted our actions against Russia to encroachment into the old Soviet space or to covert destabilisation rather than explicit direct attack.
    Now the tripwire’s set a little further out, or is it? And if so, do the US accept that extension of the tripwire to Syria and possibly Donetsk and Lugansk? Will the US accept it or will it test it? We don’t know. We also don’t know how far the US tripwire extends. Riga? Kiev? Warsaw, as you suggest? One would be a fool to put money on any of them.
    As far as Trump is concerned we don’t know the weight of the pressures an American President is subject to. You will recollect that after the UN Israel decision Truman ruefully admitted that he’d been given the bum’s rush by the lobbyists and pressure groups, and that his decision had been against the advice of his more responsible advisors. If an American President could be so boxed in in those days then given that Trump’s position is weaker than anything Truman had to cope with it’s reasonable to assume that Trump is boxed in now.
    Putin also? Are the Hurrah Patriots who’ve been calling him timid since at least the Maidan coup just an internet artefact or do they represent a significant slice of Russian public opinion? Are his military getting fed up with rolling with the punches? One assumes there will be some in Washington who are still hoping for a Russian Spring so is that also a realistic threat Putin has to guard against? We also don’t really know the true state of the Russian economy and society, or rather we know it’s still semi-derelict for many but we don’t know how that affects Russian public opinion with regard to Putin. So does he also look at all those factors and see himself as boxed in as well?
    Such a lot we don’t know. All I see is that our truly extraordinary government here is directing the anti-Russian PR in the direction of more sanctions and the like, not of beating the war drums. But that there is nevertheless something of a feeling of 1914 in the air, as the Colonel indicated recently.
    1914, for all the jingoism and war hysteria around then, was essentially a time when all it needed was a series of damned silly accidents and miscalculations to set the thing off. This is a coming up to being a similar time but with one essential difference. This time the troops are under no illusions that they’d be home by Christmas. Nor are the politicians and the military leadership, so there’s a restraining influence now that there wasn’t then.
    Reassuring I believe, but even so, and especially with all the hysteria around, there can always be accidents. I think I’ll join you in that drink.

  31. turcopolier says:

    Can I take it that there is a certain irony in what you wrote; looting of the evil ones, etc.? Nice place you are at in the French Alps. I would agree with you that the ultimate goal or dream is to annex the whole strip all the way across northern Syria. pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    So, what sort of grade would you give me on this Syria piece? B-? pl

  33. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    One might infer that Syria is more or less acquiescent in the loss of Idlib. SST and your point has been that Ghouta is a sore, but it is a sore that could not grow to threaten the regime, unlike Idlib. The SAA may have calculated that jihadi’s crossing from Turkish territory or from Idlib is the same and they can live with that.
    If so, then the next push would be towards the east – combined Turkish and SAA pressure on the Kurds may force them to realize longterm US protection is not securing their interests and then, in turn, to turn on their current US allies.

  34. ISL says:

    Fred, Barbara Ann
    As to whether this was true, my assessment is yes or mostly yes, see next article from WSJ
    This article from a mainstream source more or less admits that Russia has a modern stealth capability that makes US tracking difficult to impossible at times (when needed). I suspect that same is true of US submarines in terms of their role in the nuclear triad.
    Unsurprisingly, the WSJ article has two meta-messages – the US is not threatened (ignore the MAD implications) and a clear plea for more money (to restore US invulnerability). Interestingly, the US is attributing Russian activities to marketing, not restoring MAD (unclear why actions cannot have two purposes).
    The implications of both articles are that MAD has returned. Expect to see more signaling from Russia to the US along the same line, probably more aggressively if they feel the message has not gotten through.

  35. Matthew says:

    Col: The slow motion train wreck seems to have no conductor. The British feared the rise of Wilhelmine Germany so they shrieked for decades about the Germans before 1914. And what a price to pay for British paranoia and Prussian rigidity.
    Fast forward to today. It’s pretty sad when we really are relying on the Russians to be the grow ups.
    Where is George Marshall now?

  36. turcopolier says:

    ” … more or less acquiescent in the loss of Idlib.” Rather less tham more I would think. IMO the SAG can do something about Gouta but something made them think they could not continue on the victorious campaign against Idlib. Future Turkish/SAG cooperation against the Kurds? I doubt it. Tthe Turks are carving up Syria. the Kurds want autonomy. pl

  37. Tom says:

    Visiting Russia at least two times a year since 1992 and speaking the language. Talking to anybody I meet, knowing journalists, historians ordinary people I think that Russia has found some sort of equilibrium. It is a deeply conservative place afraid of any sudden changes. Living standards might be slowly eroding for many people but that is not the matter. People want stability above anything else. And are quite willing to tolerate a certain amount of corruption and misbehaviour by the authorities. In fact both these amounts have not been going up but rather decreasing.
    The crazies (the Russian equivalent of their Nazi brethren on the Ukrainian side) might howl about how Putin is a weakling and an appeaser but in vast Russia the majority doesn´t give a damn about Ukraine.
    The main problem of Russia internally is the Caucasus. Putin has in effect allowed Chechnya to be independent (even FSB agents have been hindered to do their job by Kadyrow) as long as she toes the overall line and doesn´t conduct her own foreign policy. But Chechnya is only a small part of Muslim Russia. You have a much higher birth rate there then in “real” Russia and a strong religious resurgence.
    As long as there is no help from the outside Putin can keep these forces at bay. But had Syria been turned into some sort of Caliphate there would have been real trouble in Russia´s southern regions. That is why I believe Putin felt he had no choice but to intervene.
    To my mind Russia´s intervention is wholly defensive in nature. Should the US decide to nevertheless effect regime change in Syria all bets are off. I don´t think it will come to that.
    Sometime in the future Europe will just have to accept that chaos in the name of democracy is no solution. The pressure is building in Germany day by day. There are about 15 million in the age bracket of 20-25. BY the end of this year there will be 2 million refugees in this age bracket of which the majority are young men. Young men who´ve seen war and have not been effeminated by a PC education system. But who are completely useless in a high tech country like Germany.
    The temparature on the streets is constantly rising and there is no police force able to deal with such numbers of potentially violent young men. The media is sweeping daily occurences of violence under the carpet. But the discontent among ordinary Germans is steadily rising. Many people get the connection between the havoc the West is creating in the middle east and the rising chaos in Europe. Apart from the fact that Germany is already paying as much for defense as for housing refugees. It would be much cheaper to send the people back, buy into Russia´s peace plan in Syria and fund reconstruction. In the end the pain will be to great and there will be a rupture one way or another. Sooner than people think.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Absolutely on the mark except the last part; the West will not follow the low cost course of action in the last 2 sentences.

  39. Thomas says:

    “Russian air defence has been overwhelmed & Damascus is a smoking ruin. Hundreds of Russian dead.
    You are an advisor to Vlad the Hammer. What is your advice?
    My advice would be to nuke Warsaw.”
    How about Boca Raton or having ground zero at 5801 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago? Hmm, not so sound either. Though on that track it would be more realistic to do New York and Tel Aviv conventionally (no easy out) so the symbiosis of these warmongers can finish the cup they pressed to its very dregs. But that isn’t a good solution either.
    Vladimir has already had his sovereign government formally and officially state that any missile launching platform becomes a legitimate target. There is a valid reason in previous Kaliber missile strikes on the jihadis that Russia showed pictures of the launches coming from Kilo class submarines.
    The military understands this, as for the civilians, especially those with roots from central Europe, that is a question (or they do understand and want to burn the world down anyway).
    Another factor in the escalation ladder is if the “WEST” launches an attack because, for example, poor cuddly Qadea babies got barrel bombed with chemical weapons (“We got proof but classification prevents us from making it public” screams the perpetrators) then there is a highly likely chance that the cold civil war brewing in the United States boils over and it won’t be Black and White.
    Overall the complexity of our current situation is in trying to remove the destroyers infested in the systems without bringing the whole edifice down so that the foundations are still there for future generations.
    And the beat goes on…

  40. Kooshy says:

    Thank you very much for your comment. But IMO the rising pain you describe that exist in Germany’streets, it dose t occur here in our streets in US and that’s what really count. Ever since WWII, Germany is not a foreign policy sovereign country, at such, she wouldn’t be allowed to pursue her own foreign policy interests, unless she wants US’ sanctions, tariff, or even a soft regime change regardless who and what party is in power here. That same goes for the rest of Europe including France, Spain, Italy and the Westminster lapdogs. IMO, is not that the people of Western Europe are not informed,or do not know what’s going on, with their Forign policy, but IMO, in their colonial upbringing mindset they rather know well and just want to have one more free lunch for as long as it lasts. Didn’t they do the same thing many times in this last 300 years?

  41. daniel says:

    Colonel, your 18 March 2018 at 09:05 AM
    I’m sad and grieving.
    I do not want the Kurds to be crushed and Turkey to leave NATO. Emotion (Kurds) and rationality (Turkey) say it is impossible to marry the two. So I’m stuck. And I don’t like…
    But the big picture is Ankara satrap about Greece, S400, brotherhood, European blackmail, Manbij, Cyprus and so on. How do we stop this infamy?
    The Alps are an image of peace and harmony. But they remind us how much we paid for letting down the Spanish Republicans in 1936. (Seek, if you deem it necessary,”the glières, 1944″, a tiny space and event where about 75 Spanish Republican refugees bravely fought and died for a common cause. I live next door.)
    You wrote that this is August 1914. Perhaps the Second World War in Europe began in 1936 with French and British “appeasement”. Cowardice doesn’t pay, yesterday and now. So 1936.

  42. Kooshy says:

    IMO, the Russian are not targeting the message to be heard by the western populations, not yet. I think this initial show of force was to inform the Borg regime for possible change of mind. The time to really inform the western population comes when the Borg media starts showing us how to hide under desks for how to make a good luau.

  43. plantman says:

    It looks to me that you must be right about this:
    “IMO what we are seeing is a slow motion annexation of NW Syria by Turkey.”
    But the deal must have taken a lot of flexibility on both Putin’s and Assad’s part. It looks like there will be a soft partition, although Turkey might not formally annex the land.
    I read recently in the Turkish media, that Turkish Intelligence was helping to remove elements of al nusra from E Ghouta. (but they were having a hard time)
    I can’t see why they would help with that unless concessions were made assad. And I’m sure that Putin must have acted as the interlocutor.
    Putin is starting to look like more of a wheeler-dealer than Trump. I mean, if Turkey, Iran, Syria and Russia have already worked out some kind of arrangement for a soft partition, then maybe the fighting will stop quicker than anyone thought possible.

  44. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    The YPG-PKK cadres, including the all-female units have abandoned Afrin w/o a fight.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  45. LondonBob says:

    Probably should have been more paranoid. I don’t think the British establishment thought the Germans would cynically prod their Austro-Hungarian allies to send a list of demands designed to be rejected and then invade Serbia, inevitably provoking war with Russia and then France. The subsequent invasion of Belgium and accompanying atrocities left the British cabinet, with great regret, to act on their guarantee of Belgian neutrality and declare war. Revisionism has its use, but sometimes the estbished historical narrative is that way because it is true. Anyway I thought the reason Germany chose war in 1914 was the completion of the Kiel canal and, given their rapid pace of indutrialisation, Russia would be too strong in just a few short years to attack and the dream of a German empire in the east would be dead.
    With my cynics hat on the Syrian government didn’t control these areas before and they still don’t now. They are probably as likely to regain some of these areas from the Turks as they would if they were occupied by Kurds backed by the US. Better to see two opponents fighting each other than you.

  46. Anna says:

    “…American civilian casualties may be entirely acceptable to the Likud Party and its proxies in the US.”
    — Agree, the neo-Trotskyists (Israel-firsters) have been guiding the US towards the glory of Eretz Israel by any means, including, potentially, the massive American casualties. It is curious, whether Russians explained Bibi the fate of the “only democracy” in the Middle East in case the US initiates a destruction of Damascus. The Lobby should be aware of the details of the Middle Eastern geography. In addition, the Lobby is perhaps not aware of the psychological consequences of the extensive experience that Russians have had with the Jewish population in a course of more than 200 years. Perhaps, the “chosen” and “most victimized” have become accustomed too much to the western reverence (swiftly dissipating though) to their “eternal sufferings.” Russians remember Kaganovitch (Holodomor), Frankel (GULAG), Zemlyachka (mass execution of the officer corps), Yagoda (security apparatus CheKa) and other influential Bolshevik activists with a particular disdain for the Russian culture and Russian intelligentsia.

  47. Anna says:

    Thank you.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And among the first acts of Turks has been the destruction of an ugly statue of Kaveh the Blacksmith, the Persian hero who raised the flag of Justice, per legend.āve

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Western Europeans, say about half, also think of themselves as being morally superior – even to USA. No modesty there…

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Then you would be grieving over fantasies; among Kurds, or Turks, or Spaniards.
    Appeasment was not the proper descrpition of the Anglo-French policy. Its true name would have been Destroy-USSR-by-Germany. It just blew on their faces.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree. And politically, no power would endorse Turkish occupation of Syria. Turks will leave.

  52. turcopolier says:

    Endorsements are nothing. Land is everything. pl

  53. (38)
    Thank you for that illuminating reply. More illuminating than expected as regards Germany. I’d believed that it would take considerably more time before discontent rose to the level you indicate. To be honest I’d still expect a much longer time scale but against that I don’t see much of the more diverse areas and as you say, the reporting on such subjects is scanty.
    One of the reasons I expect a longer time scale is that for many I meet setting out such figures as you set out above would make them uncomfortable and for not a few it would be racist.
    As to Russia, I believe you entirely when you say “To my mind Russia´s intervention is wholly defensive in nature.” Trouble is, when it’s been going on for a while most tend to forget, if they ever knew, who threw the first punch.
    On Syria I too wish that this approach could be adopted – “It would be much cheaper to send the people back, buy into Russia´s peace plan in Syria and fund reconstruction.” But somehow I don’t think mending what we broke is on the neocon agenda.

  54. fanto says:

    Tom at #38
    Your views are very much in agreement with what I find reading Peter Scholl-Latour’s “Russland im Zangengriff” (2006). And I agree from my own observations with your assessment of Germany. What will happen to joint French- German revitalization of Europe? I do not believe much will come of that. US will probably try to intervene and will obstruct further strengthening of inter-European cohesion. To this end, Poland may be prodded to become more hostile to Germany, by continued refusal to join the Euro currency. There are too many variables in the current geopolitical situation. As the Russian saying goes ‘bez vodki nie rozbieriosh’…

  55. fanto says:

    sorry, missed to add the translation of the last sentence – ‘without vodka one cannot understand’

  56. ISL says:

    Kooshy, First is to try and message the generals surrounding Trump, second will be to message the west. Yup, when duck and cover returns, then the message will have been received.

  57. Croesus says:

    I watch no media other than C Span; it reliably megaphones what US gov wants the Public to believe.
    This morning Wilson Center (a zionist redoubt) scholar Jeffrey Edmonds explained US-Russia relations
    He emphasized (repeated thrice) that “Putin resists the ‘International Order'” and did not demur from anything Nikki Haley declaimed at UN about the need for Russia to “abide by the rule of law” and stop protecting Assad, “who gasses his own children.”
    Edmonds said that military involvement was not a viable option, but his “greatest fear is some mistake, some side-step in shipping lanes:”

    “As we’re stumbling around in places like Syria, the Russians are pushing back on our ships in international waters . . . My worries are an accident . . . interactions between their ships and our ships . . . Something could slip sideways and you can have some kind of military conflict over an accident.”

    @38 min
    Like most SST readers, I’ve watched enough people work through media-training protocols to hypothesize that the three messages Edmonds was tasked to convey are:
    ~ Russia’s crime is failing to comply with US dominance over the “international order
    (which might, indeed, include participation in OBOR,
    tho Israel is also onboard that project — check the maps:; )
    ~ Russia is foiling US illicit intentions over Syria;
    ~ the event that will trigger the desired military conflict will occur between US and Russian naval vessels in “international waters.”

  58. VietnamVet says:

    MAD is back. So is the Cold War. Except, this time Russia and the USA have troops and mercenaries in the same battle zone in combat on opposite sides. The Korea War and Vietnam were dangerous but there were no Soviet Union forces fighting on the ground. What is even more frightening today is the lack of awareness of the risk of a nuclear war and the hysterical scapegoating of Russia. Plus, corporate oligarchs are pushing to dismantle western nation states for a global corporate free trade zone. This has allowed Israel-Firsters and other Tribalists to seize control of government levers of power. If the USA decides to go to war against SAR and Shiite militias to aid Israel or any other reason they think up, all hell will break loose.

  59. kooshy says:

    Yes that’s true, a french collage body once told me, the reason we can milk the Americans, is because we are smarter.

  60. FB Ali says:

    English Outsider (@31)
    “…Such a lot we don’t know…”
    If you’d like to know more about Russia, I would suggest a small donation to Inessa S. You can learn more about her website at .
    As an example, she recently put up on her website a Russian documentary entitled World Order 2018, which is a 1.5 hour interview with Vladimir Putin on recent events.
    With sites like SST and Inessa’s available on the web, no one can advance the excuse that they don’t really know what is going on in the world today.

  61. JamesT says:

    Peter In Toronto wrote:
    “American civilian casualties may be entirely acceptable to the Likud Party and its proxies in the US.”
    I have no doubt that in the event of all out nuclear war Moscow will prioritize Israeli targets. They know that Israel is the senior partner in the US-Israel partnership, and they know that Israel would be far, far less able to absorbe a nuclear strike.
    James in Toronto

  62. JamesT says:

    Jony Kanuck
    Regarding the nuking of Warsaw – I think you are onto something in that I have been thinking for a long time that in the event of a low scale nuclear war, the side with the most allies is the most vulnerable. Nuking the US or Israel would be madness, but who likes the Romanians. Or as I keep insisting is even better, Saudi Arabian economic assets.
    I’m not sure that Warsaw is the best choice – I lived in Poland for a year and the Poles really hate the Russians. I think Putin would want to hit a country that would immediately say “sorry” and renounce its alliance with Washington. Also one that the US would do little to help because they just don’t care about them.
    The Poles would stay loyal to uncle sam if you nuked three of the cities. UAE, I’m thinking, not so much …

  63. If the Russians succeed in tying America to the Kurds then America will have to kill Turks forcing Erdogan to leave NATO. Russian control over the Bosphorus would be a prize of immense strategic value.

  64. Tom says:

    How long can this last in Germany: no more than one or two more years I believe. Remember Germany looks like one unitary state but is still in many ways two countries. It is a federal state with the representation of the Lander -“Bundesrat”- playing a very important part. Basically a lot like the US senate. There is Berlin (itself divided into East and West) plus 5 Lander of the East and 10 Lander of the West. At the latest Bundestag election in all five Eastern Lander the anti-immigrant and far right AFD came in first or second. The AFD has not been coopted into the German system yet and I don´t think it will be. It is pro Russia, anti intervention and anti – open border. Very much like the ruling parties in all the neighboring post communist countries. The citizens of the East don´t trust “western” media. They don´t read “western” newspapers and don´t watch the German equivalent of the BBC. You can´t scare them with Germany´s Nazi past and you couldn´t bribe them sufficiently to suddenly make them happy with what is happening. All this might not matter to much if there weren´t all these Lander elections on the horizon. First Bavaria in 2018. In neighboring Austria the political equivalent of AFD has just come to power. Bavaria might just be saved for the very last time. But in 2019 there will be elections in four of the five Eastern Lander. And it looks very bad for the ruling coalition. I think they will cling to power by hook or by crook. There will be confrontation between local and federal authorities. Germany will become a lot more chaotic and finally Merkel will fall.
    As to the Neocom agenda I am pessimistic as well. But don´t underestimate the pressure in Europe. It is rising and rising…

  65. Thomas says:

    “I do not want the Kurds to be crushed and Turkey to leave NATO. Emotion (Kurds) and rationality (Turkey) say it is impossible to marry the two.”
    Ideas don’t marry, Man does.
    A sincere stranger speaks the peace, “listen you two, your continuous feuding is going to spill over to a real effin’ mess. So here is the deal, Kurds in Turkey will have Turkish passports, Kurds in Iraq will have Iraqi passports, Kurds in Iran will have Iranian passports, and, last but not least, Syrian Kurds will have Syrian Republic passports.”
    “Your concerns. issues and grievances will be addressed at the Concert of Country Lines and Conduct when the agreement will be formally reached. Otherwise, you are on your own and as old cultures you should fully understand the many possibilities this entails while sharing the same fate of lose-lose.”

  66. Charles says:

    The value of the Bosporus diminishes with each advance of the one belt one road initiative. The Bosporus and the Pillars of Hercules are two cork stoppers of the same old Mackinder and Mahan theories. One Belt One Road is intended to finally put the peripheral nations strategy to rest.
    As for the Russia needs Warm Water ports argument, that was true until the invention of the icebreaker technology. Vladivostok, Archangel, Murmansk and St. Petersburg are year round ports now.

  67. Grazhdanochka says:

    I apologise for late Reply, I am not able to Write easily half the Time due to Work. I think it is a bad habit that is responsible…..
    I learned some German and as a early Experience with Latin Alphabet – I find I probably took the Lesson of ‘All Nouns is Capitalized’ to much to Heart…. I notice that worse still, it infects other non Words also and I have no understanding how my Mind chooses which…..
    I really need to try get out of that Habit and I do apologize if it makes my writing more difficult or painful to read

  68. mikee says:

    How easy is it to start a nuclear war?
    “You (and Almost Everyone You Know) Owe Your Life to This Man.”

  69. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I agree with “more” on the acquiescence.
    So I ponder: Strategically, what does Turkey gain by giving up acquired Syrian territory? Since Turkey has weathered a guerrilla Kurdish war on again off again for decades, clearly the Kurds have no say in this. And the SAA is too weak to have a say. Answer: Every reason to keep the territory – even annex it.
    Now if Russia was to withdraw its kindness and deny the airspace to Turkey, that would be a game changer.
    So what does Russia get in exchange (nations are not kind!)? The only guess I can come up with is Incirlik (or at least denial of Incirlik to the NATO). That would be payback for Ukraine in a big way.
    The S-400 sale could be a sign. Will watch closely for the next indicator.

  70. daniel says:

    @ Babak Makkinejad, your 18 March 2018 at 03:11 PM
    Sorry for late. You know english is not my native language.
    1- I’am grieving for Kurds and others in Afrin. Pacific and no harm to Turkey, still they are crushed in the hand of extremists. Bloody war will last. I hope we in Europe don’t pay the price of cowardice. We had about 350 deads and 500 casualties by extremists, in UK, Belgique and France.
    2- I disagree partially. Some men knew and said USSR is our ally against Nazi. For example, Churchill a true anti-soviet. In France a few right and left MP said same things. Some men read Mein Kampf and knew Germany is first enemy, Stalin only second behind. Knowing Germany was their job, all military men , journalists and very few MP. They knew what Nazis stand for. They knew Nazi want first to crush France. They were not heard.
    In France, appeasement was a weak politic, by weak minds and nerves, by incompetent men guided by fears, fear of the people, fear of war, fear of their shadow in the sun. They ignored immediate danger and invented imaginary or distant dangers. Anyway, make a choice was beyond their abilities. They all were veterans of WW1 and traumatized by war experience.
    [They dragged the country into war in reverse. But it’s beyond the current matter.]
    When France defeated , all true men and women made their duty. Communist fighters, after June 1941, had high fighting spirit. Same as spanish Communist and Anarchist refugees in France, after their betrayal by this country and UK.
    [ Yes, it’s all over now. Just a partial and perhaps biased history. But not Kurds in Syria and Ankara satrape…]

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