The Great illusion By Walrus

Walrus 6

The conclusion of Norman Angells 1909 book "The Great Illusion" was that since Western economies were so intertwined in trade, that war between major western powers was futile, in that the disruption of trade would be so ruinous that war could not lead to sustained economic advantage. Angells conclusion is frequently unfairly misquoted as stating that "war between European powers is impossible" – which World War I emphatically proved was mere wishful thinking. I wonder if the ghost of Angells' acolytes are walking the corridors of Washington at telling President Trump and lawmakers that a confrontation with Russia over Syria is impossible. I disagree with the wormtongues, this could end in general war.

Firstly, the uncritical, willing, acceptance by western governments of the truth of what was obviously a false flag gas attack suggests to me that the Borg is serious this time. Americas allies know it. No equivocation is going to go unpunished. I saw this attitude once before in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. We knew about two months in advance that the game was afoot, long before President Bush publicly announced his decision to invade. Then  there is President Trumps ominous suggestion that he isn't finished with Syria yet.

I think President Trump is under pressure to "maintain the momentum" for a resolution of the Syrian civil war that he is being told his airstrike last week created. I believe, without evidence, that this will be followed next week by the announcement of "a safe zone" in Idlib province that is going to be guaranteed almost immediately by the presence of a force of coalition troops and accompanied by a "no fly zone". I suspect this has already been decided. Turkey would have to be involved if only from a logistics perspective.

I do not believe Assad or Putin is going to accept what in effect is going to be a permanent partition of Syria. The fallout from such an event would be the weakening of the Syrian Governments ability to resist Israeli incursions along its souther borders as Israel attempts to outflank Hezbollah. From Putins perspective, an R2P based incursion into Syria would scuttle his hopes for a return to a world order based on existing international law. Russia would then have to accept her position as a vassal state – something Putin is not going to agree to, however the grand illusionists believe Putin is just another crummy politician who will back down in the face of a barrage of tomahawks.

The only alternative I can think of is the one Col.. Lang has been pleading for. for weeks – for Russia and Syria to get boots on the ground in Idlib right now and roll the Jihadis up. Next week is going to be too late. The race into Idlib has started. Is there a Russian air mobile brigade available? Whoever is first into Idlib is going to determine the course of history for some time to come. 

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67 Responses to The Great illusion By Walrus

  1. Lysander says:

    I haven’t posted here in a very long time, but current events are too important to ignore.
    How exactly would a no fly zone/safe zone work? Will they warn Russian planes they will be shot down and that’s the end of it? Are Mattis ans McMaster “certain” that Russia will back down or is it just better than even money bet from their point of view? Perhaps a good bet if you’re putting down 10 bucks to make it interesting. Not so much when planetary existence is at stake.
    And even worse when Russia has placed enormous prestige behind its Syria mission.
    So what will be plan b when the Russians say “thanks for the advice but we will fly where we please and we pitty the fools who think they are safe?”
    I’m beginning to think Trump can’t think that far ahead. That for him this is merely part of the deal he plans to make and that surely the Russians will understand this.
    I fear he has developed a Pavlovian response to media praise and criticism. He will start to do what earns him praise (aggression) and avoid what brings punishment (rational deescalation)

  2. Sam Peralta says:

    Ever since Col. Lang brought up the necessity for R+6 to add resources and make serious efforts to overrun Idlib, I have been wondering why the Russians and Iranians are not significantly adding forces to assist in that endeavor? Any thoughts on why?

  3. Peter AU says:

    I see in Reuters, a US strike force is moving towards the Korean peninsular.
    Smart move I guess, taking on both China and Russia at the same time.
    Another article in Reuters on a US admiral who leads U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, saying the missile strike had destroyed Syria’s means to deliver chemical weapons. Looked up some pics of her and she looked a bit vacant headed similar to her comments. I guess that can be deceiving though.
    Russia, China, Iran may have had a loose alliance before but I guess since the missile strikes on Syria they may have to tighten up a bit and ensure the downfall of the US.
    Watching Putin, he seems to have taken Russia long way from 1999 till present. I get the impression he would write the book on tactics to achieve an end rather than simply follow what he has read about tactics. Makes it difficult to predict his moves.
    The US had a fig leaf of legality to be in Syria based on the UNSC ISIS resolution. With the attack on the Syrian government, they may well have thrown away the fig leaf.
    Russia mod made a public announcement when they moved the S-400 into Syria. They made another announcement when they moved the S-300 to Syria.
    Another announcement is due shortly, I suspect when the next instalment of air defence is installed. Maybe the US will have to work without aircraft in Syria after the next announcement?

  4. Degringolade says:

    I am reminded of the Russian push into the Pristina Airport.
    If you don’t sweat the logistics and resupply that much, a light infantry regiment can be dialed up fairly quickly.
    It will depend on the state of stores in Latakia/Tartus and control of the M4, 60, an 60A

  5. Bill Herschel says:

    “Whoever is first into Idlib is going to determine the course of history for some time to come.” For what it is worth, and it is worth very little, I believe this is true.

  6. Lemur says:

    Thanks for your assessment Walrus. You obviously speak from experience – I’m interested where that was, if I may.
    It looks like the RuAF is intensively striking Idlib at the moment. Perhaps that presages a major campaign effort.

  7. Dr.Puck says:

    Which version of the false flag op is the obvious one?
    It would be brutally ironic for it to come about that President Trump’s reactiveness quickly morphs into a multi-front series of rash actions that leave the committee to ponder how his administration realized the worst fears it had previously attached to an impending Clinton administration.
    (No-fly zone protecting the liver eaters; provoking the North Koreans into letting their theatre missiles fly; shooting war with Russia; and, one could fold in flash points in the South China sea, between the Kurds and Turkey, and probably not best to imagine what part of the scale Iran might rest a thumb on.)
    Nor would it seem to me to be exactly the Borgist utopia to rush to poke all the bears and dragons at once.

  8. Fred says:

    And R2P state becomes a safe haven for jihadis who will destabilize the whole region.

  9. J says:

    The Russian brass are asking where did the other 36 missiles go???
    How does one spell…..Hmmmm……

  10. Ingolf says:

    I wholly share these concerns and like many others here don’t think Russia, if pushed, will back down. The wildcard is whether China would break cover if the worst comes to the worst.
    It’s ironic that, were Trump a true Machiavelli, he now has his enemies at his mercy. All those who have been baying for his blood and accusing him of collaboration with the Kremlin are suddenly singing hosannas. One militarily irrelevant but “decisive” attack on a Syrian airbase was all it took.
    If he knew or strongly suspected the Syrians didn’t deliberately do it and ordered the attack as a ploy to neuter his political enemies (and, as a bonus, bolster his reputation for unpredictability and decisiveness), all he needs to do now is wait for the next one and then let the blame fall on the rebels/terrorists. As a show of being willing to go where the evidence takes him, he could even find himself forced to accept that the current incident had been wrongly blamed on Assad. His righteous, if reluctant, anger at being misled could then be turned on all the people who have been trying so hard to bring him “under control” or get rid of him. Including, of course, the intelligence agencies.
    Check, if not checkmate.
    An intriguing little fantasy but that’s of course almost certainly all it is. To be true would require Trump to have an almost supernatural degree of cold-bloodedness, patience and acting ability.

  11. Thirdeye says:

    According to AlMasdar the SAA fired on an American drone, forcing it to flee. The rules of engagement seem to have already changed on the initiative of R+6. Russia has already announced upgrading of air defense systems for Syria.
    I have a suspicion that the 39% hit rate of the cruise missiles is not something the US expected and that there is quiet alarm over its implications.
    I agree that a strong pre-emptive action in Idlib by R+6 is warranted and very possible under the new framework that has been forced upon them. Closing the route from Bab Al-Hawa would be a good start.

  12. Serge says:

    Very easy to imagine the beleaguered IS true believers in Raqqa licking their chops in anticipation. They are fighting the long war,and such a move is what they have wanted since 2014:
    “As for the near future, you will be forced into a direct confrontation, with Allah’s permission, despite your reluctance. And the sons of Islam have prepared themselves for this day, so wait and see, for we too are also going to wait and see”

  13. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    What turned Trump so quickly and completely? Did someone make him an offer he couldn’t refuse?

  14. Thirdeye says:

    You seem very optimistic. If something happens to embarrass the chemical attack narrative – say, Khan Sheikhoun gets overrun followed by an invitation to the UN for an on-ground inspection, the blame game could break the other way. The Democratic cheering section for the missile strike could become born-again advocates for international law, claiming they were deceived (much like the aftermath of the Iraq invasion), and maybe even calling for impeachment. It would be completely hypocritical, but that wouldn’t stop them.

  15. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Is there any indication that Russian-Syrian counter-measures might have caused the diminished hit rate?

  16. Alaric says:

    The Russians and Iranians need to end this now but i don’t agree with this assessment.
    Trump’s air strike seemed designed to inflict as little real damage as possible to the Syrian military. Doing that does not suggest a desire to fight Iran let alone Russia which is what you are effectively suggesting here.
    In fact, all the available info suggests Trump’s strike was largely for show (theater) and not for real military purposes. It has in fact succeeded in hardening the target (the syrian government) Russia is now strengthening Syria’s air defenses and maybe their own. Russia is sending more ships. I suspect Iran and Russia will double up their efforts to take Idlib and will start with massive cruise missile launches from the Russian Navy ships that are just arriving.
    That said, i don’t know what Trump is up to. He is now surrounded by neocons and he is also a bit too fond of Netanyahu for my tastes. Russia and Iran must escalate and end this. The longer this goes on, the more chances the neocons have to turn Syria into a balkanized caliphate.

  17. J says:

    Here’s the Russian Military statement.
    Statement of the Russian Defence Ministry spokesman on the missile strike carried out by the US Navy against the Shayrat Air Base in Syria

  18. Yeah, Right says:

    Purely an aside, but I’m mighty curious to see if the Izzies have the balls to continue their incursions into Syrian airspace.
    After all, if Putin is looking for an oblique way to show that he means business then what better way than to swat down an IDF F-16 and leave it in smoking ruins around Damascus?
    Oooops! Sorry! We thought it was one of those missing Tomahawks!

  19. Yeah, Right says:

    The wording in that report is odd, to say the least.
    …..”according to Russia’s data recording equipment”….
    …..”According to the data recording equipment,”….
    There is no need for them to rely on what they were seeing on their radar screens. The Russians have access to the airfield. They can simply go out and count the holes in the ground: .. 21.. 22.. 23.. .. .. yep, I’m only counting 23 holes.
    The Russians are definitely sending out another message in that statement, though I’m not certain what it is.
    Are they insinuating that they have “equipment” that can send Tomahawks flying off in Directions Unknown, and no less than 36 of them made the mistake of flying within range of that EM stuff?
    …”The place where the other missiles fell remains unknown,”…
    Niiiice bit of plausible deniability there.

  20. fanto says:

    Ingolf, I had exactly the same fantasy. Time will tell. Also, my another fantasy was that Assad would give himself up ( in another thread) seems to find a support in the news (if it is true) that Sadr asks for Assad to step down – (I do not have the link, because of too many places to read, sorry)

  21. Yeah, Right says:

    Ingolf, you seem to forget that if Trump was aware that the Syrians didn’t do it then a lotta’ people in the chain of command below him also know it.
    His “masterstroke” is therefore hostage to any one of those subordinates leaking the information to WikiLeaks.
    Heck, even if he *wasn’t* aware then his impulsive action is still at the mercy of those who are.
    Imagine a future briefing where a powerpoint-presenting flunky tells Trump: umm, err, the Russians were telling the truth all along. Would you like us to inform the press, or will you be tweeting this yourself Mr President?
    Trumps action is only a masterstroke if Assad Actually Did Do It.
    If Assad isn’t responsible then Trump’s actions are either those of an ignorant, impulsive fool or that of an unscrupulous and sociopathic charlatan.
    Take. Your. Pick.
    But either way if Assad didn’t do it then the neocons now have Trump by the short and curlies, and I’m not talking about his comb-over.

  22. Yeah, Right says:

    From that statement: “The Russian military department is looking forward to receiving explanations from the USA concerning the existence of irrefutable proof that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun.”
    Ouch. That reeks of the confidence of a poker player who says I Know Your Hand Is Rubbish So I’m Calling Your Bluff.
    Seems like Trump is holding a rubbish hand.

  23. Yeah, Right says:

    “That said, i don’t know what Trump is up to”
    But does Trump know, or is he just winging it?

  24. Thirdeye says:

    That is exactly what I am wondering. I’m also wondering if some of the “hits” might have been off their intended targets within the base, and if some of the damage might have been happenstance. How many of the hits did actual damage? In any event, there are probably some people highly displeased at the base returning to operational status about a day after 59 missile launches.

  25. Cee says:

    Speaking of illusions, I’ve read various accounts of who the White Helmets are and what they do.
    I believe what Duff writes below.
    President Trump is now threatening to take America into a war against Syria, Iran and even Russia, a war he says is justified by “evidence” he has received from the Syrian White Helmets. We will prove beyond any doubt that this is a “Deep State” organization, a melding of CIA, al Qaeda and Britain’s intelligence services. We now have “slam dunk” proof that Trump and the “fake news” MSM are and always have been in lockstep, playing us all.

  26. Cee says:

    I believe the worst.
    Of course you knew that no GB was used against Khan Sheikoun, because the fake first responders, the CIA funded death squads in Syria, those child-beheadering White Helmets, whose fraudumentary got them an Oscar and a standing ovation by the perverted Hollywood elite. Of course you know that these fake first responders — who don’t own a stethoscope among them, who can’t do CPR, who haven’t been taught spinal precautions — were founded by a Brit intelligence officer, and are headquartered in Istanbul. When they are not on camera, they carry weapons and they murder Syrian soldiers, and Syrian civilians.
    Of course you saw the various deviant, dramatically staged rescue scenes. You surely noticed how some wore useless surgical masks, and nobody had on skin protection. Nu, none of your advisors told you that GB is both pneumonic and transdermal?

  27. anon says:

    35.008142,36.835521 on top of mount smokey.

  28. Ingolf says:

    I’m not at all optimistic. If this little fantasy turned out to be anywhere near right I’d be astonished, albeit happily so.
    However, I think the setup stands. Trump’s enemies are deeply invested in the anti-Assad, pro-war narrative; it’s part of their worldview and raison d’être. He could walk away from it easily, indeed with profit; they couldn’t (and probably wouldn’t under any imaginable circumstances).

  29. Ingolf says:

    Yeah Right,
    Please see my reply to Thirdeye above.
    Even if many in the administration had doubts about the chemical attack, is it likely the record of internal deliberations would show an entirely cynical decision to launch the strike against the available evidence? Presumably everyone involved would want to cover themselves.
    As for your second concern, evidence that “the Russians were telling the truth all along” would suit this fantasy scenario perfectly. Something like it would be what’s needed to allow Trump to once again take control of the narrative, this time with his enemies entangled in their own history and their newfound praise for Trump, Commander-in-Chief.
    P.S. Again, just to be clear, this is not something I’m expecting. It’s simply a curious and somewhat ironic hypothetical.

  30. Ante says:

    In order to prevent escalation it would ideally be shot down by a Syrian jet the second it entered Syrian airspace.

  31. JJackson says:

    The mind boggles. US ground troops in Idlib amongst their friends the ‘moderates’ and KSA backed AQ types. While these groups may have been happy to take their arms and money to attack Assad I can not see them relinquishing control of hard won territory to US forces whom their rank and file would be happier to kill than the SAA. So now we have the prospect of US forces fighting, and being killed, by US supplied weapons fired by US trained moderates. Given the UK gov’s recent statements I am sure they will want to send our brave troops into this meat-grinder if they can perjure it through Parliament.

  32. LeaNder says:

    It would be brutally ironic for it to come about that President Trump’s reactiveness quickly morphs into a multi-front series of rash actions …
    Dear Puck, depending on your specific interpretation, in my case based on admittedly very little knowledge about a series of fields that matter, it may not be an irony but more an obvious result based on a basic consent in the mainstream of reigning foreign policy elites and circles both sides of the Atlantic. Plus a degree of system driven continuity … I had to reflect longer how to put this better. …
    How did you personally interpret Trump’s foreign policy speech? Admittedly it left me with very, very mixed feelings. No doubt my attention my have focused on specific details that surfaced.
    Two contributions to the SST discussion by Michael Brenner, come to mind – more associatively in this context:
    25 September 2016, “HOW THE BORG SPENDS 36 HOURS IN TEXAS”
    I may have asked you before. What’s your field. Dr. suggests one. Or is your intent to pick up on the Rudyard Kipling discussions David Habakkuk offered for debate at one time or another? Puck? No doubt is a real family name too.

  33. LeaNder says:

    His “masterstroke” is therefore hostage to any one of those subordinates leaking the information to WikiLeaks.
    Seems I have this knot on my mindwaves, slightly modifying a German proverb here. No Eureka effect.
    Anyway what specific Wikileaks masterstroke are you referring to here?

  34. NotTimothyGeithner says:

    Trump isn’t a world beater, but if twitter is Trump unfiltered, Trump has already accused Obama of bombing countries to increase his polling. As an aside, I believe Obama made decisions based on least resistance. Generals work for the President, and Congressmen can tell the President to bug off.
    Back to Trump, how had his week been going? 40,000 doorman jobs were created. Rumors are tax reform and infrastructure are dead. He had nothing on Healthcare. Then there is of course what I like to call the “OMG Putin!” garbage.
    Guys like McCain are openly stating Putin will fold. If Trump buys this assessment of Putin, I can see how Trump, a classic bully, will try to throw his weight around to cover his own insecurities expecting Putin to fold. The usual toadies will be ecstatic, and Trump has already said he could shoot a man on fifth Avenue and still maintain his followers. Joining with Hillary might be an unforgivable sin.

  35. Was Trump briefed on the futility of TOMAHAK strikes to fully disable the airport?

  36. Old Microbiologist says:

    I don’t know but last week Putin out of the blue announced that West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Putin never says anything without a good reason so this is perplexing. Then all the Tomahawks had to fly through Israeli airspace as they had been denied permission 2 weeks earlier (from Russian articles) by Lebanon. This lends credence to the Russian MoD statement that the strikes had been planned for weeks and predate the false flag of the chemical attack. So, what is really going on here is anyone’s guess. Tillerson is still going to meet with Lavrov and Putin this week which is somewhat unusual given the typical response would be to cancel all meetings.
    To me it looks like a 3D chess game with multiple levels.

  37. b says:

    Russia has an insecure naval supply line to Syria.
    The U.S. would like to push Russia into a quagmire in Syria. It could keep the war going and going by providing more and more capabilities to the Jihadis. Erdogan could cut off the seaways and call up more of his jobless youth to enter the fight.
    A second front in Ukraine could open any day with Crimea in danger.
    NATO is pushing more troops into the Baltics which would totally cut off Kaliningrad in the case of a crisis. There would then be an exchange offer Kaliningrad versus Crimea.
    I understand that Putin is careful to not put more into the Syria basket. He needs all reserves he possibly has. He is trying again and again to find a solution with the U.S. but is put off or deceived (Deir Ezzor attack) each and every time.

  38. Macgupta123 says:

    Is it possible to be very crisp and clear that simultaneously, the US is no longer in the regime change business, as well as, the US will not let any use of WMD go unanswered because of the bad precedent that no retaliation for WMD use would set? (and of course, take the care needed to deliver the retaliation to the actual perpetrator)?
    I think this administration has lost that clarity, if it ever had it.

  39. Chris Chuba says:

    “From Putins perspective, an R2P based incursion into Syria would scuttle his hopes for a return to a world order based on existing international law. Russia would then have to accept her position as a vassal state – something Putin is not going to agree to, however the grand illusionists believe Putin is just another crummy politician who will back down in the face of a barrage of tomahawks.”

    Agreed, regarding Russia ending deconfliction protocols what do people make of this? Given that I don’t see the Russians are prone to empty gestures, I read this as a simple statement that it has benefited us and worked to their disadvantage.
    1. They believe it was used at Deir Ezzor to hit the Syrian army.
    2. They see some machination at Khan Sheikhun. Maybe they think we gave the Jihadis a heads up allowing them to stage the false flag (long shot), or more likely turning their innocent reconnaissance mission into another grandstanding moment to blame them for the WMD attack.
    3. Had we not notified them of the air port attack, they are confident that the could have taken out all of our Tomahawk missiles so the risk to their personnel is not a compelling enough reason to maintain it.

  40. BraveNewWorld says:

    “Reuters: Russia, Iran Joint Command Center Will ‘Respond With Force’ If US Strikes Syria Again ”
    I am going to the link to RI as includes a number of links to other organizations reporting this. Becuase it was released in Arabic translations can very.
    And the US is getting ready for an attack on North Korea as well.

  41. Phodges says:

    The Russians will wait until the last minute to show their hand. How long did it take the 58th Army to mobilise into Georgia…with no apparent warning?
    That said, I doubt the Russians will make a large commitment to Syria if it come to blows. They may write off a certain size force while supporting their allies in an effort to make American operations as expensive as possible. They will then prepare the next line of defense.
    Does anyone have an explanation why the Russian don’t pin one of the many Salafi ops in Russia on al Saud and lob a few missiles of their own? Is the latest NSA leak an as symmetrical response?

  42. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no “next line of defense” – Syria is that line of defense.
    The attack by the United States on SAR was preceded by a Sunni Muslim terrorist attack on Christians in Sweden (she is not involved in wars among Muslim) and was followed by the terrorist attacks by a number of Sunni Muslims against Christians in Egypt (who have not been involved in any military actions against Muslims).
    The political position of the United States, and indeed the entire Western Fortress is not tenable. You cannot put any lipstick on this pig.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Russia has not put that many forces into Syria – fewer than 30 airplanes, if my memory serves.
    SAR’s supporters are not just Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
    Algeria is sending them oil and oil derivatives.
    I would not be surprised if Egypt, Hungary, Romania, Greece also be helping SAR indirectly.

  44. Jack says:

    The implication is that if Pax Americana decides to up the ante, and state that regime change will take place in Syria as part of the “war on ISIS” and an all out military action will commence to “settle” Syria, the Russians will fold and pull out all their forces.

  45. Joe100 says:

    Nice compilation of recent White Helmet victim actors photos/videos, including a couple from the recent incident, at the Colonel Cassad blog today. This material is so obvious it is hard to imagine that anyone can take it seriously – but then the MSM never points out any of this readily available information…

  46. Tigermoth says:

    Russian, Iran, and Hezbollah military leaders issued a joint statement which threatens the US.
    This is at Al-Masdar but their site has just gone down and I could no longer access it.
    Times of Israel has some of it:
    ““The aggression against Syria oversteps all red lines. We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out,” read a statement from the Syria-based joint operations room.
    “The United States knows very well our ability to react,” said the statement published on the website of Al-Watan, a daily newspaper close to the regime.”

  47. Jack says:

    Since the Borg serves Jerusalem, Putin is playing his last few cards to get the Dogs of War re-called. Will he accede to Ersatz Israel that includes parts of Syria and Lebanon, and the destruction of Iran? The real question is how far will Putin go in resisting Pax Americana? Up to and including MAD? Or accept vassal status?
    The Borg groupthink is that everyone folds. So they are not gonna calculate rationally.

  48. Cee says:

    Playinv the Long Game? Revenge is a dish best served cold?

  49. charly says:

    Why Israel, seems to me that the logical way is to fly over sea and Syria. Besides has Lebanon an air-defense?

  50. visitor says:

    Wait a minute there regarding the South Ossetia affair.
    Russia did take quite some time to prepare its counter-offensive. What was really fast was not the mobilization, but the redirection of the effort after Georgians struck Ossetia instead Abkhazia — where Russians were expecting the battle to take place.
    1) Russia had mobilized and sent elite troops: 76th air assault division, 96th airborne division, 45th intelligence regiment. Those units, based in St Petersburg and Moscow, had to be relocated all the way to the Caucasus. It required time.
    How did they manage to pull it off inconspicuously, thus surprising both Georgians and NATO officials? Well,
    2.a) it all took place on Russian territory;
    2.b) maskirovka;
    2.c) all NATO drones, satellites and AWACS were busy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia at that time;
    2.d) Russia had suspended the treaty on conventional forces one year before, and was therefore no longer obliged to inform other countries on major troop movements.
    And of course, Russia mobilized plenty of local military units too, that did not have to travel far.
    Russia was definitely expecting Georgia to strike — but in Abkhazia, not Ossetia. This because:
    3.a) South Ossetia has zero economic or strategic relevance. Abkhazia has a harbour suitable for warships in the Black Sea; coal resources; tourism (rebirth) potential.
    3.b) In early 2008, there were duels between Georgian drones and Russian airplanes — taking place over Abkhazia.
    3.c) Georgia and Russia had reconfirmed the peace-keeping agreement on South Ossetia just before the war started — for Moscow another indication that Tbilisi did not consider that region to be a priority.
    As tension rose, Moscow was preparing militarily for a show-down about Abkhazia. How do we know? Because
    4) In May 2008, Moscow sent hundreds of railway military troops to repair the Soviet-era railway lines in Abkhazia. They had just completed their work by the end of July. Why would military personnel overhaul a railway system in that disputed province?
    When Georgia attacked Southern Ossetia, Russians were completely ready and just waiting for the opportunity to beat an offensive against Abkhazia. They were dumbfounded for about 24 hours; afterwards, they replied in the right direction.
    Relevance for the situation in Syria: at least points (2.a) and (2.c) do not apply, which makes things vastly more complicated. Furthermore, while the assumption that Idlib province will be the decisive field of confrontation is a rational one, the events in the Russo-Georgian war show that the interested parties might occasionally decide upon a course of action whose logic is rather difficult to comprehend. A relevant point especially with personalities like Erdogan, Trump, and Netanyahu.

  51. Chris Chuba says:

    Is Nikki Haley the new Samantha Power, more like an Edith Bunker, a Dingbat.
    That’s the thought that I had when she glared into the camera and accusingly said of Russia, ‘rather than condemn Assad, the first thing that Russia did was deny Assad’s guilt’. Uhhh… yeah Nikki, that’s how it works. You give your ally the benefit of the doubt until there is actual evidence proving their guilt. Don’t we do that for Israel or do we assume Israel is guilty of war crimes the second an Arab accuses them of one?
    But yeah, openly contradicting Trump’s policy is a sign that she answers to a higher authority. I wish she would use some her outrage by talking to the Donald about the KSA’s starvation blockade of Yemen.

  52. ISL says:

    60% did not hit the airport (a big target), and as far as I can tell from the damage report, perhaps 2 actually hit a target that makes sense to have been targeted, of the four that actually did any damage. For the 23 that reached the airport, I am guessing that they lost GPS, and continued on a ballistic trajectory with winds and gravitational anomalies causing them to not strike where targeted.
    Of the 60% that did not hit on the airport, I am guessing they lost control while in a course correction, and thus were no longer even correctly aimed as well as losing GPS.
    So, now, will the generals tell the President that our uber expensive missiles were rendered inoperative by Russian EW and that sending fighters creates a similar risk to the USAF? Then what happens if most of the US aircraft are unable to function and emergency land with pilots captured/dead?
    I would guess a new massive arms race.
    And Russia would probably respond in a range of other ways that would be highly detrimental to US FP. Perhaps share the ECM with Hezbollah? S-400 to Crimea? Or even more imaginative, such as supporting instability on our southern border.

  53. Bill SMith says:

    The TLAM-E have 2 back up systems if they lose GPS that would deliver them very closely their targets.
    Wikipedia has an article on the TLAM’s.
    Likely the true number of hits is higher than the Russians claim.

  54. Jim MacMillan says:

    ISL –
    Tomahawks do not fly a ballistic trajectory.

  55. Old Microbiologist says:

    It is very hard to say but generally when Lavrov or Putin speaks it means something real. They warned yesterday that any further aggression would be met with force. My prediction is a US drone will be shot down today or tomorrow. They will also start screwing with navigation and light up the threat radars. So, basically Syria is a no-fly zone now for anyone other than R+6. If the drone warning isn’t taken seriously then a Turkish jet will be next as they still owe one. That is if he follows through which is ballsy even for Putin. At this point Trump looks as mad as Kim Jong Un. Over time I have noticed Putin very rarely warns and never backs down. That is something the Borg just can’t understand. His ratings are back to all time highs after the US bombing so he has some wiggle room for action. Every Russian I know, including the ones that vehemently hate him, are now strongly anti-US. I am left wondering about all those Russians living in the US and where their heads are at now. But dealing with a madman is something we can’t estimate and Trump looks over the top nuts now. Now I am left wondering if HRC was better or worse? It looks to me like we are getting the same result regardless.
    I keep laughing at all the new sanctions being put onto Russia. I wonder what is left? The Borg doesn’t get that this further forces Russia to divest from the US dollar and to set up alternate systems for international banking and trade. Many countries are piling on so this is taking on a life of its own. Russia stupidly started down the road of globalization in 1992 and lost their somewhat unique (Brazil also had it briefly until we decimated their economy and political system) complete economic independence and self-sufficiency. The actions by the US/EU have forced Russia to once again become self-sufficient or to only trade with countries facing similar problems with the US like China, India, Iran etc. Okay the elite can’t get French Champagne or Roquefort cheese, or Mercedes but they have found alternatives such as Land Rovers from China etc.
    There are a lot of other factors going on more or less simultaneously. We are still attempting to destroy any resistance from South America. Africa is once again a zone of contention and the ME and Central Asia are major efforts for the US. Beyond that we are messing with Moldova, Belarus, Kosovo, Macedonia, all the Balkans, Ukraine (don’t forget that hot war is still ongoing and central to US plans for world domination), Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan etc. Then we have minor feints in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia plus we are funding terrorist training in Bosnia. Add in the Asian gambits and we have a ton of shit happening simultaneously. They somehow expect the military to back up all this nonsense and these guys are burnt out completely. I have friends on active duty with over 15 years of combat deployments now. That takes a toll on men and equipment. I remember guys back during ‘Nam with 3 combat tours being so salty and burnt out and now we have people with way more than that. Very spooky.
    So, let’s say Trump is wildly optimistic and buys the BS from the Pentagon that they can handle it all. We could have people fighting in earnest in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia, South China Sea, and Korea. Remember after 15 years we haven’t won in Afghanistan or Iraq. The reasons are varied but that is where we are at. So, they really think we can handle a real war against a real group of Armies? No way, no how. I am worried as a retiree that I might have to come back and fight. World War III is going to be a doozy.

  56. TonyL says:

    So am I. If anon were serious, the only way this could be explained is the TLAM GINS boxes were pwned by the Russian. ECM can’t do this.

  57. Yeah, Right says:

    LeaNder, the claim was made that Trump knew that this was a false-flag even as he ordered this missile attack.
    That’s what Ingolf was describing as Trump’s Machiavellian masterstroke.
    The point I was making is that if that *were* true (and I don’t know if it is) then one leak to WikiLeaks would present the public with irrefutable proof that Trump ordered this attack out of nothing more – nor less – than murderous criminal intent.
    That seems risky to me; any President needs to clothe himself in some argument – however flimsy – regarding the military necessity for going BANG on an opponent.
    But if Trump did know that the Syrian forces were not responsible for that CW attack then….. where’s the military necessity for killing them?
    None that I can see. None at all.
    It seems to me that the equation is simple:
    IF Trump was told that this was a false-flag
    AND proof of that foreknowledge is made public
    THEN Trump’s arse is toast.
    Ingolf disagrees, of course, but I find his arguments very unconvincing.

  58. jld says:

    IF Trump was told that this was a false-flag
    AND proof of that foreknowledge is made public
    THEN Trump’s arse is toast.

    I see no reason why it necessarily would be, could you explain how it would work out?

  59. Serge says:

    Little correction,the Sweden attack happened the day after. And not that it matters,but Sweden has 70 troops in Iraq training the peshmerga against IS. That’s less than 20% of the number of swedes estimated to have gone to fight for IS

  60. ISL says:

    if their electronics went dead….

  61. ISL says:

    Bill Smith – that would only be true if they have power. RT released drone videos that seemed to cover much of the airfield, and satellite imagery. The US has released nothing and has not provided any claims other than the 23 at the airport. If the US missiles did more destruction, one wonders why the US is not crowing about it and releasing their famous missile cam videos.
    For hardened targets, or a runway, even just 30 m is a miss, and I do not think inertial systems are that good over those distances under varying wind stresses.

  62. Ingolf says:

    Yeah Right,
    If convincing evidence turned up that Trump knew it was a false flag and went ahead anyway, then of course he’d be in serious trouble. That’s not what I was disagreeing with. As per my earlier reply to you:
    “Even if many in the administration had doubts about the chemical attack, is it likely the record of internal deliberations would show an entirely cynical decision to launch the strike against the available evidence? Presumably everyone involved would want to cover themselves.”

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks you are, of course right.

  64. Chris Chuba says:

    Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars, Neocons another galaxy
    We are completely and totally mad, in the span of minutes I watched on FOX / FOX business …
    1. Gen. Jack Keane talked about how much more leverage Tillerson has to bring dictate peace in Syria because of the strikes comparing it to the bombing campaigns against Serbia.
    2. Spicer extended the Red line to ‘Barrel Bombs’, great, given how thoroughly we investigate rebel claims Assad will be guilty of this in minutes.
    3. Tillerson argue yet again that Russia knew about Assad’s WMD attack. What arrogance, we choose not to investigate something and assume everyone else’s guilt. Why not just pound our chest and declare, ‘we are the world’s hegemon, bow down and kiss our feet!’ The meeting with Lavrov is going to be very interesting. I do not believe that it will go as Tillerson thinks it will.
    I knew that Russia not blasting the Tomahawks out of the sky would be interpreted as weakness rather than restraint. The Neocons may be correct about ‘appeasement’ after all. I moved some of my 401k to cash yesterday because the market does not see the war coming and will be surprised when the Russians finally shoot back. It will be a good buying opportunity if it doesn’t end up going nuclear (I think we will eventually be forced back into reality).

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