Time to clean up the Homs desert pocket.


"On February 11, the Tiger Forces began redeploying their units and equipment from the northeastern Hama countryside to Homs governorate. According to Syrian pro-government activists, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and the Russian Aerospace Forces are preparing to launch a large scale military operation against the besieged ISIS forces in the Homs desert.

The SAA and its allies had besieged more than 500 ISIS fighters in the Homs desert after securing the western bank of the Euphrates River on December 17, 2017. Since then, the SAA has not launched any military operation in the Homs desert as it was busy conducting much needed defensive and offensive operations in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo governorates.

Syrian experts believe that the besieged ISIS fighters in Homs desert pocket are well armed and experienced as most of them participated in several attacks against the SAA in 2017. Moreover, it is high possibility that prominent commanders of ISIS are currently besieged in the pocket.

A source close to the Tiger Forces told SouthFront that the military operation against ISIS in the Homs desert pocket will not begin soon, as the SAA and its allies are currently resupplying their troops and waiting for the weather there to improve."    SF



Well pilgrims, having watched the Syria war closely for several years I feel confident in saying that the transformation of the SAA from the garrison army of a dictatorial state into a first rate fighting force is remarkable.  Behind the shield provided by the Russian supply and training efforts the leaders who emerged from the maelstrom of the war are obviously a pretty solid lot.  Among them one man stands apart in his leadership qualities.  That is Suheil Hassan, the Alawi creator and commander of the Tiger Forces armored task force. He stands at the left in this photo.  The picture says much of his leadership style, relaxed, informal, and at home with his people.  If he survives the war, he will be a lion who will dominate the regional scene.  I would think that his chances of survival are not good.  His rivals in Syria must hate him.  The Israelis are eventually going to focus on him. 

The Tiger Force has been fully engaged in the recent eradication of the east Hama pocket.  Now they have been pulled out of the line of battle for rest, re-fitting and re-supply in preparation for eradication of the big IS pocket out in the eastern desert south of the Sukhna-Deir al-Zor highway.  I presume that they will form the spearheads for this operation, reinforced by  other SAA formations and National Defense Force irregular militia.  As usual the force will ride a wave of air attack in its progress.

When that is done, you can expect the Tiger Forces to return to the Idlib Province front.  pl 


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87 Responses to Time to clean up the Homs desert pocket.

  1. Annem says:

    So, after the clean up is over, what is the SAG plan for reclaiming their US and Turkish-held territories?
    I would assume that Sohail Hassan long had his future in mind, especially when elements in the regime look around for a popular replacement for Bashar. But he may be too charismatic for his own good in the world of faceless security and intel guys who call many of the shots. He will be lucky if he gets “retired” as gently as certain very popular Egyptian generals were when the President became concerned about their appeal.

  2. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    Does a war like this and not just surviving it but also winning it create the next lower echelon of leaders too?
    Gen. Zahreddine hung in there in that Deir ezzor pocket for a long time and then his luck ran out as his vehicle ran over a mine.
    Are there leaders who could take over and be as effective if Suheil Hassan falls? And who is directing where Suheil Hassan and his Tiger Forces fight?

  3. Razor says:

    Colonel, your profile of Suheil Hassan and the SAA leadership generally (also particularly Brig Gen Issam Zahreddine) under Russian tutelage contrasts remarkably with that of the Iraqi and Afghan armies under US and Nato training. Do you have any views as to why this may be so?

  4. DH says:

    An Alawite commander in a majority Sunni country; the liberality of Syria and Lebanon speaks to modernity, and I guess one reason why they threaten Israel’s sense of security.

  5. JPB says:

    Amazing to me is that Hassan is an Air Force officer leading an Army unit. And he has reportedly turned down promotion in order to stay in the field with the troops. You gotta admire the guy. But I cannot say I like the way he wears his cap a la South Central LA gangbanger or golfer Rickie Fowler:
    If tensions keep increasing with the Izzies then maybe they should put him back in the Air Force or back in Air Defense Command?
    Is al-Baghdadi hiding in that HOMS pocket? Or dead as reported many times before? Or in Ankara as suspected by the YPG?

  6. Clueless Joe says:

    Not only are enemies and foreign powers eager to see him gone, not only does he has to fear rivals inside the current regime/administration. Ancient history, including ancient history from the Middle-East, is full of victorious and triumphant generals who were killed because their monarch feared they were too popular and would try to take the throne. Happened to Surena, to Aetius… Suheil Hassan better hopes he’s in good terms with Assad and let him know he’s his faithful servant, not a threat in any way.
    And speaking of Syrian military efficient leaders, I’m still not over Issam Zahreddine’s death.

  7. turcopolier says:

    clueless joe
    “A penny for Belisarius …” pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    He was an air force paratrooper, then an air force intel officer. He should keep leading the TFs. His men don’t give a damn about how he dresses. Remember Stonewall. He was the shabbiest officer in the CS Army. Air force? Army? It means nothing in this situation. pl

  9. turcopolier says:

    OK, one more time. Throughout my professional life I have seen the same thing over and over again. The US is permeated with the idea that the US is the future of mankind and that anything cultural that varies from the US model post Civil War is simply backward and something that people should be trained to abandon. such attempted total transformations fail and result in monstrously distorted local forces that are ineffective. the Russians evidently do not make that mistake. the small number of people in the US government who do not carry that burden of prejudice are generally shunned and suspected of disloyalty. pl

  10. Degringolade says:

    Maybe this is over analysis, but I think that the ceremony itself says a lot about the differing approaches to conflict/war/politics.
    The Russians handed the guy a f&^%ing sword.
    I have a feeling that similar ceremonies for folks we work with aren’t recorded and involve the transfer of funds to a Swiss bank account.
    Might have something to do with the cost-benefit ratio for our respective intercessions.

  11. LG says:

    Iraqi MoI Intelligence: ISIS leader Baghdadi is still alive & in Jazira Syria area near Iraqi border. He is in poor health & in poor mental state. He cannot walk on his own due to injures & he has diabetes. We have a source in his organization.

  12. The Beaver says:

    @ JBP
    Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is “alive and hiding” in #Syria’s northeastern Jazira region according to #Iraq’s intelligence and counterterrorism department head Abu Ali al-Basri, citing “irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organisation”.

  13. turcopolier says:

    I am not a Middle East analyst that you trust? pl

  14. The Beaver says:

    Israel’s security is very much on the line right now… we need to be concerned about an Arab-Persian war, which might be on the horizon.
    The social worker Wendy Sherman on Andrea Mitchell report today.
    Wonder which Arab country(ies) will dare go to war with Iran?
    KSA?UAE/ which proxies will they use?

  15. turcopolier says:

    blue peacock
    For the force to survive a long hard war is more important to the development of future leaders than winning the war. A good example would be the renaissance of the Prussian Army after its total defeat by Napoleon in 1805. Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Clausewitz were produced by the defeated army and were the architects of Prussia’s role in the ultimate destruction of Bonaparte. Whether or not the right man would be appointed is a matter in the hands of Allah as the Muslims would say. IMO the Syrian General Staff decides with Russian and Iranian counsel offered. pl

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Putin was in Tehran in November of 2015 and presented Ayatollah Khamenei with one of the few copies made of the original Quran in the 7-th century.
    What would/could Trump present to Ayatollah Khamenei in a hypothetical meeting in Tehran?
    Or Theresa May?
    Or Berlusconi?
    Or Merkel?

  17. SmoothieX12 says:

    An Alawite commander in a majority Sunni country; the liberality of Syria and Lebanon speaks to modernity, and I guess one reason why they threaten Israel’s sense of security.
    I think you nailed it.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes; like German police in Afghanistan that was trying to teach Afghans how to do policing in Hamburg.
    Iranians would have been more effective, but then, this was never about effectiveness – Afghanistan was made into a sandbox for the Western Diocletians to try their various fantasies – until mugged by Reality – loosing Life or Limb.

  19. Rhondda says:

    “A penny for Belisarius …” pl
    Once again, I thank you for the mini-history lesson. Fascinating!

  20. JTMcPhee says:

    Lots of cogitation about creation of great leaders of great armies. Dare one ask what comes after “war”? I suspect the answer likely to be given is “more war.” Warriors and armies don’t generally grow food, or build stuff that lasts (other than maybe the Romans and their engineering prowess?) I guess it’s a fool’s errand to go looking for the possible forms and shibboleths and structures of some possible future political economy where us humans have eschewed “war” and all its many parts and forms… What’s the quote? “It is fortunate that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it…”?

  21. turcopolier says:

    Sanctimonious crap. We try to deal with the real world on SST. Do you actually know anything about Lee? pl

  22. Peter AU says:

    It is worth researching the second Chechen war (not the western version) and the reason of Kadyrov junior’s loyalty to Putin to gain an understanding of where Putin’s Russia is headed and why they work so well with the forces in Syria.

  23. paul says:

    since you are the most knowledgeable person i can get an educated guess out of, im curious if you have any idea what percentage of the original syrian army has survived, or should what is fighting today be seen as a completely new organization.

  24. turcopolier says:

    i think it is a massively re-trained version of the original with some new leaders added in and some new units generated. So, what I do is guess, eh? Well I have heard that throughout a successful career of analysis. pl pl

  25. An article over at Russia Insider suggests that Erdogan is trying to build a “security belt” around his favorite terrorists in Idlib, countering SAA attempts to get rid of them.
    Turkey Sets up 2nd Base in Rebel-Held Syria, Blocking off Syrian Army Offensive
    Does this make sense to the Syria watchers here? How likely is this to succeed or provoke a confrontation between the SAA and Turkey – or Turkey and Russia?

  26. walter says:

    Col Lang, just wanted to share that these Syrian war military analysis and are my favorite part of your blog…for me, this is the meat and potatoes of Sic Semper Tyrannis

  27. Razor says:

    Thanks Peter Au. Do you have any sources you would recommend re 2nd Chechen war?

  28. Barbara Ann says:

    I stumbled across SST looking for this meat and potatoes. Imagine my surprise at discovering a magnificent banquet.

  29. Barbara Ann says:

    This is interesting news Colonel, thanks.
    Perhaps there is some truth in the news in AMN recently of a long-term ceasefire having been negotiated in Idlib. I must profess some surprise if so – had the R+6 not recently attained a position from which to threaten the Idlib Jihadis with extinction? Why have 500 ISIS surrounded in the desert for 2 months suddenly become more important?

  30. DH says:

    Erdogan reminds me of Wile E. Coyote.

  31. ambrit says:

    Reply to turcopolier @23;
    Robert Graves, a classically trained English officer who fought through the Western Front in WW1. Who better to bring the career of Belisarius to life? As a bonus, Belisarius served in what later became Turkey and the Middle East, plus Italy! An excellent read for this humanities type. Does Graves’ writing, considering his wartime service, resonate with the soldiers? (Serious question.)
    Thanks, ambrit

  32. JPB says:

    LG & Beaver:
    If anyone knows it would be al-Basri. Although I wonder about a source inside – why would he broadcast that? Other than to perhaps head-fake the remaining Daeshis and get them paranoid about each other. In this article below he claims Baghdadi is on an island somewhere between Jadin and al-Bukamal. I have my doubts.

  33. turcopolier says:

    I am a soldier and have a degree in English. I like the book. That is why I recommended it. “humanities type?” What kind of clod are you? pl

  34. turcopolier says:

    Well, Australian doggy, perhaps you have me confused with someone else. If you had the wit to check my CV on SST or the “About” section on the blog you would know that I have a masters in Arab literature and other ME studies and was the first professor of the Arabic language at the US Military Academy. Your presence is not desired on SST. pl

  35. Antoinetta III says:

    Perhaps the R+6 gave the Orcs a “surrender or die” ultimatum. We don’t know what the terms of the cease-fire are, possibly its just to discuss the terms of surrender.
    As for the 500 Daesh in the desert, these are located just South East of the Al Bukamal, Dier Zior area. Recently Syrian and PMU forces tangled with SDF and Kurdish groups in the region. The Daesh fighters are well positioned to deliver a stab-in-the-back to the Syrian Army + Allies, whose attention will be focused on the SDF enemy to the Ease.
    It really makes sense to remove this threat from the scene. Unfortunately, these 500 or so Daesh are the most fanatical of the die-hards. They will have to be hunted down and killed on the battlefield, to the last man, and, mobile and spread around as they are, this could take several months.
    Antoinetta III

  36. turcopolier says:

    Antoinetta III
    “these are located just South East of the Al Bukamal, Dier Zior area.” i think they occupy a wider swath of easter Homs than that. pl

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Farsi” is the name of the language commonly spoken on the Iranian plateau which, in English, is called Persian.
    Using the word “Farsi” is as jarring to a listener as the word “Italiano” would be.

  38. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Although Israel can attempt to assassinate a single person, they cant assassinate an army, and IMO Russian training has seriously altered the balance of power in the ME by not only facilitating the transformation of the SAG, but also similar (albeit less dramatic) improvements in Iranian and Hezbollah. Likely this will tip Lebanon to solidly R+6. Meanwhile Turkey (allied with Israel in the past) has suffered its own (negative) transformation from internal purges.
    These shifts must make the Izzies nervous, as should S400 sales to Saudi Arabia and increasingly close Russian military ties with Egypt, and the upcoming (history sadly does rhyme) betrayal of the Kurds as autonomous actors. Israel is a bully that depends on being able to slap around its neighbors to keep the schoolyard in line, but those days (outside Palestinians) are rapidly drawing to an end (per your earlier thread on the jet shoot down).
    Can Israel adapt to the new geopolitical reality? My educated guess is not – it would require a small thing called humility. My guess is the Izzies will double down on trying to get Uncle Sam to fight their wars for them as that allows Israel to pretend everything is just fine.
    My fear is a false flag attack on a US asset by Israeli operative. (The USS Liberty shows how our ally thinks about US servicemen). Hopefully our IC will spot and warn off Israel before it happens.

  39. JPB says:

    Antoinetta –
    The Kurdish groups you refer to left Deir ez-Zor province two weeks ago to face the TFSA in Afrin. And others went to the northern border at Kobani, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, ad-Darbasiyah, Qamislo and Diwar to meet a potential Turkish threat there.
    There were only Arab SDF units down by the Euphrates. Probably mostly al-Shaitat. Which could be why that pro-regime militia tried to push them out last week on the 7th.

  40. Bill Herschel says:

    I stipulate you are correct. What should be done?

  41. Willybilly says:

    Very very true…..

  42. integer says:

    Not that anyone asked me, however I’ll pipe in to defend JTMcPhee here. He’s a Vietnam vet who has seen a lot, knows too much, and has served his country in many thankless roles since then. JT and I have had our disagreements in the past, however, in my opinion at least, he’s someone who deserves respect, which is not to imply that my opinion should carry any weight around here. In any case, thanks for doing what you do, as it is an invaluable oasis of information within a lifeless desert of disinformation. Cheers.

  43. ambrit says:

    I am the type of ‘clod’ who hasn’t experienced war. That’s why I ask some ‘clueless’ questions. “Humanities type” was poor phrasing. My mistake.

  44. Peter AU says:

    Razor, this is perhaps the best starting point.
    Although this is a US embassy report, it is not the western or US narrative.
    Although the section on Kadyrov, traditianal Chechen Islam, the arrival of Arabs and Salafism/Whabbism begins at paragraph 17, it is worth reading from the start to see what Putin inherited when he came to power.
    Although I cannot find it at the moment, there is a youtube video of Kadyrov junior being interviewed where he talks about the deal Putin made with his father and how Putin stuck by his promise.
    In many videos and other bits and pieces I have read there are sections that add to what is in the embassy cables.

  45. Cortes says:

    There’s nothing particularly remarkable about Graves having a literary career (granted, Graves was extraordinarily learned). Many soldiers have wielded pens to magnificent effect. Jorge Manrique, the great Spanish poet, who died during a siege, belonged to a distinguished family of poets. The conqueror of Mexico, if Diaz del Castillo is to be believed, produced very good poems (also posted on walls) in response to graffiti allegations about the division of spoils in Tenochtitlán. Tolstoy saw service in Crimea. Jaroslav Hasek (author of “The Good Soldier Svejk”) was a conscript in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI. Two British FMs of WWII had significant interest in letters: Wavell produced an anthology of verse, some his own, and could produce (as demonstrated in Alanbrooke’s War Diaries) verses on the flight back from the summit in Moscow to explain how there would be no second front in 1943; “Uncle Bill” Slim supplemented his army income in the interwar years by writing novels (Anthony Mills).
    Further examples seem unnecessary.

  46. Grazhdanochka says:

    Latest Report via Al Masdar appears to be the Tigers are on Route to East Ghouta… If true hopefully a few TOS-1 is accompanying them and if BMPT has indeed been provided now would be a good Time to try use them….
    The Report I saw suggests that they will be joining in Operations around Harasta Base which as we all know was under sustained attack not long ago… This Operation makes sense so as to better secure it and prevent a repeat of those Days.
    Looking at East Ghouta as a whole, and with admitedly ‘questionable’ Maps, I could imagine two Axis of Attack,
    A) From the Helicopter Base (And it appears they already have Positions on other side of the Canal/River Bank) towards – Autaya… A Commited drive with Aircover and preperation could seize this townlet, the minor Canals around it may also make counter attack more difficult as the Opposition do not have the Engineering/Bridging Capabilities to match.. This Places Al-Nashabiyah in a difficult Position and forces it rely on a Northern and more convoluted supply Route (It may also draw Fighters out of Al-Nashabiyah)
    B) Coming South West into Al-Shifuniyah, control of it and the Army Base below would leave the ‘Ghouta’ Pocket in divided once done in conjunction with a move on Autaya…
    Any move into the Heart Land of Ghouta, the Farms etc would likely tempt a Counter Offensive or risk the inevitable loss of the East…. Drawing Fighters out of those Urban Strongholds obviously brings great results…
    Of course all this requires the adequate Force Balances, Dispostions, and at Times LOS/Topographical Data (Raw Satellite does not tell everything)..
    Another perspective however might be that of forcing the Fighters out of the Cities and into the less developed Rural Areas, in which case – Blocking the Path of Retreat forces them to fight…
    I can only wish luck to the SAA and its Allies for this Fight, For Russian Advisors this will likewise provide a good Polygon of Experience and Capabilities

  47. John_Frank says:

    According to @smmsyria
    1. #SAA has begun mobilizing its forces in the western countryside of the #DeirEzzor province as they prepare for battle against #ISIS near the #Homs province border
    2. #Tiger Forces units will be redeployed to #EasternGhouta region of #Damascus after a successful campaign in the #Idlib province.
    3. According to the source #TigerForces will be aiding in clearing #Harasta suburb https://twitter.com/smmsyria/status/963380602836803584
    About half an hour before @smmsyria posted their tweets, @Muraselon reported:
    Exclusive | Syrian Elite forces to Damascus In new Mission –
    https://twitter.com/Muraselon/status/963368969099993088 https://muraselon.com/en/2018/02/exclusive-syrian-elite-forces-damascus-new-mission/
    “On Tuesday , Military source Exclusively told Muraselon website that the elite Syrian Army Tiger forces prepare to start new mission in Damascus .
    The aim of the new objective is to liberate Eastern Gouta neighborhoods , the source added.
    According the the sources, The new mission to begin in the upcoming next days.”
    No way of verifying whether the report that the Tiger Forces will be used to clear Eastern Ghouta is accurate, but since February 5 the fighting in that area has become extremely intense.
    In other news, Sputnik International reports the Russian Military is warning of a potential ‘provocation’ involving the use of chemical weapons in a village in Idlib.
    If one was going to carry out a ‘provocation,’ as the Russians call it, not sure using a village in Idlib makes sense at this time, given the Syrian Army has stopped military operations in that area. Maybe the idea, presuming the reporting is correct, is to have the material ready for use if and when attacks start again?
    Russian MoD: Al-Nusra, White Helmets Preparing Provocation With Chemical Weapons: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201802131061612872-al-nusra-front-white-helmets-chemical-weapons-russia-syria/ via @SputnikInt

  48. turcopolier says:

    I was excessive. 3/4 of successful officers are SJ type (men who make the trains run on time) The other 1/4 are NTs (humanities type). We are an oppressed minority and have the twitches to go with that condition. Try my cycle of novels to see the scars. pl

  49. Adrestia says:

    The other 1/4 are NTs (humanities type).
    IMO that’s actually quite high. Pretty impressive if you’re still able as an organization to host so many thinkers.
    I wish these numbers would apply to the politicians of this world.
    Yeah, scars come with the job. We have a saying: Fighting against the beer quay

  50. turcopolier says:

    Some clown who call himself dogear who may live at Canberra in Aussieland wrote yesterday to tell me that I am a has been who scribbles vainly without merit and who by implication should shut up. Well, I AM NOT going to shut up no matter how much ugly crap I am sent by trolls. So, don’t worry SST will continue so long as I draw breath. As for integer, I do not accept the utopian visions of those who seek a more perfect world. IMO we must do better at dealing with the defects of human nature and must mitigate the effects of stupidity in human action but in reality “only the dead have seen the end of war.” pl

  51. turcopolier says:

    It is not quite 25% because there are a handful of SPs and NFs in the mix. Interestingly enlisted soldiers are about 50% SP in the force. pl

  52. johnf says:

    I’m not sure if Graves can be described as a “professional” soldier. He volunteered at the outbreak of war in 1914, soldiered his way through it, and then left at the end of the war.
    His serious “profession” was poetry which he dedicated his life to. Probably his most influential work was his historical/cultural/mythological “history” of neo-lithic poetic culture, “The White Goddess.” He always regarded his classical novels – “I, Claudius” and “Belisarius” – essentially as moneymakers.
    I know descendents of his who still live in the Wylie Valley in Wiltshire, and recently attended the funeral of a lady there brought up by him. She could vigorously remember precisely how he smelt when he was shaving,and the picnics he used to hold on the Wiltshire Downs with such as Siegried Sassoon, Christopher Hollis and other literary figures.
    The churchyard at Mells is well worth visiting as its filled with ex-military upper class, foxhunting, homosexual socialist poets and literateurs of that set. Graves wasn’t homosexual and is buried in Majorca.

  53. Barbara Ann says:

    Amen to every word of that Colonel. Perhaps this is Mankind’s single biggest failing; the seemingly perpetual inability to accept his own nature. Those who do & celebrate it are a rarity.

  54. kooshy says:

    With regard to Iran, US, and Israel, for years all one could hear was that Israel is going to bomb Iran if not today, for sure will do so tomorrow. Same type of threats was leveled on Iran by, Israel’ mommy statesmen and military brass, we were hearing US will obliterate Iran, Bomb, Bomb, Iran, US will turn Iran to stone age. To my knowledge no one ever reasonably explained for what reason, and why, such a violence was necessary. Now days the war with Iran no longer is to Bomb Iran inside Iran or to obliterate Iran, but to stop Iran’ influence, to stop Iran in Syria and Iraq, Etc. Etc. To me this looks like that in less than a decade, Iranians have successfully shift the threat from inside or near their borders closer to Israel and US’ sacred holly waters of Mediterranean Sea.
    IMO, unlashing of extremist Sunni Muslim, by US and her allies, against, and on Iran, and the Shia Muslim resistance (to western interference) not only did not achieve it’s intended goals and plans, but it rather solidified the so-called Shia crescent for many years to come. It is because of this US’ repeated and elementary strategic mistake(s) that the war has moved further from Iran’ borders and closer to US’ strategic sacred waters. Iranian statesmen have repeatedly and correctly said, if we don’t fight them there, we will have to fight them here.

  55. Alaric says:

    Sorry to hear that. Thank you for doing what you do. I greatly appreciate it.

  56. Sylvia 1 says:

    Off topic–dangerous games are being played in Syria.
    According to a report on Bloomberg today–US strikes have killed “scores” for Russian fighters in Syria. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/u-s-strikes-said-to-kill-scores-of-russian-fighters-in-syria
    “More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by U.S. and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured.”

  57. kooshy says:

    Using “Farsi” instead of “Persian” by English speaking westerners IMO is to imply (showoff) how familiar they are with the Iranian language. I have seen that done by a few western journalists, and a few western analysts. Specially, those westerners who insist using “Farsi” instead of Persian, sally except for a few common words, they don’t speak or understand Persian, Robin Wright comes to mind. For a while this showoff was noticed when various US politicians were showing off their knowledge of the region, by clownishly trying to pronounce the name of various ME country as the local pronunciation instead of common version in English, Paak eastan and Afghaan eastan comes to mind.

  58. JPB says:

    Cortes –
    Long ago I searched for copies of Bill Slim’s novels but with no luck. Have they been republished? Or perhaps I should be looking in used bookstores in England instead of Amazon and Alibris?

  59. ambrit says:

    My sincere apologies for having ‘cast aspersions,’ even if inadvertently. I take this as a lesson in the virtue in slowing down and thinking through what I say before I speak.
    On reflection, my comment did include an implied insult. The Colonels’ instinctive rebuke was warranted. That he later treated me graciously is a sign of his ‘inner grace.’ Thank you for that.
    Others gave examples of “cultured” soldiers. Cultured is in quotes to emphasize the somewhat hypocritical usage that word can be bent to. Basically, why do soldiers get such a ‘bad press’ in some quarters of the society? Discovering it in myself is a shock. It’s an inner bias to be fought against all the time.

  60. ambrit says:

    Sorry folks but I’m a fool! I’ve just experienced another attack of ‘foot in mouth’ disease. That second paragraph comes out as flawed to the extreme. I used “cultured” here as an example of a smear. I see everywhere the juxtaposition of the words ‘soldier’ and ‘culture’ as if the two cannot describe the same person. As I said, a smear. I was trying to argue the opposite, that the smear itself is the hypocricy.
    I’ve got a lot to learn.

  61. Thomas says:

    “Some clown who call himself dogear…”
    A proposal to clean-up the trolls here in this small oasis of sanity:
    A couple of days ago you asked this aussie wolfhound a direct question about his military service which, of course, he didn’t answer. Therefore the proposal, if you ask any commentator a question they must answer it for you and all of us here or cease posting. If one truly believes in what they are saying then show the courage to defend your position and prove your experience.
    It has been amazing recently watching wave after wave of trolls posting across the cyber space and somewhat funny, in the dark humorous way, only because their masters in charge can still do grave damage to all of us.

  62. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, no doubt on US, ME and military matters you are a professional. Like, in the old western movie “The Professionals”, the professionals are not appreciated, accepted or taken seriously as professionals by the unprofessional who hired them ( in this case by your site’ newcomers) until he gets shafted up in the arse by his own hired professionals.

  63. Down_in_Front says:

    Speaking of The White Goddess by Robert Graves. I’ve read it twice. ‘Magnificent’ is an understatement. Probably it needs another go-round shortly. An unexpected reminder. Though one is always surprised by what one learns here.
    And yes, (my un-military mind chimes in) one hopes the SAA can clean up the Homs desert pocket in short order. Speaking of Syria I’m amazed at how reporting of the downed Israeli plane has fallen off the ‘news’ radar. Though I’m sure not off the radar that matters.

  64. JJackson says:

    All, From today’s SF report it appears a move is being made against the Rastan Pocket. Why has it taken so long begin work on clearing this? Back when SST ran the war game I had assumed this would be much earlier on the list, given its strategic position on the M5 and control of an important water resource. What am I missing?

  65. Fellow Traveler says:

    “More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by U.S. and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. ”

  66. Phil Cattar says:

    “A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”…………….Kipling

  67. Cortes says:

    I haven’t read them , JPB, “Defeat Into Victory” is all I’ve read of his. A couple of quick online searches make me believe that your best option may be to get the titles and publisher details from one of the biographies and speak to a friendly local bookseller to gauge how easily and at what expense you could buy copies. If you were happy just reading them, then speak to your local library about inter-library loans.
    Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I wonder – do they use ebri, arabi, hangook?
    I hear you about the pronunciation of the names.
    Unless one knows German very well, one cannot pronounce the name of that city commonly known as Munich correctly.
    And I am tired of saying “Beijing” – I am not Chinese and do not care – “Pe-Kan” is for me.

  69. SmoothieX12 says:

    According to a report on Bloomberg today
    False. If there were some “Russians” there–these were volunteers and no–not “hundreds”, not even tens and, possibly, none at all. Bloomberg merely repeated Ukrainian propaganda. Even if vehemently anti-Russian and anti-Putin Novaya Gazeta talks about 13 KIAs then one may only guess the, obviously, at best insignificant number. And, NO–those are not Russian Armed Forces servicemen, those are volunteers or, as some speculate, Vagner Private Security Company members.

  70. outthere says:

    I just don’t get it, maybe you can explain it to me.
    I was sitting at a computer at the big library in Melbourne, and the man next to me was quite agitated. So I asked him, “is something wrong?”, and he explained his situation, pointing at his computer screen. So I looked over, and there was a language I had never seen, and I asked him what it was, and he said “Farsi”.
    So I don’t get why that is anything but a precise clear answer, I do not comprehend the baggage that comes with “Farsi”.

  71. A couple of takeaways from Southfront’s report today:
    1) Israel is moving anti-aircraft missiles towards Syria, including one Iron Dome.
    2) Then there’s this:
    On the same day, the Pentagon requested $550 million to train and equip units operating under the brand of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-dominated group described by Ankara as a terrorist organization. The YPG is the core of the SDF. The $550 million will be separated into two parts:
    $300 million to train and equip the SDF;
    $250 million for so-called “border security requirements related to the counter-[ISIS] mission”.
    In other words, Washington not only tricked the Erdogan government with its promises to drop support to the SDF, but hasn’t even abandoned the idea of establishing the so-called “border force” in northern Syria. On January 17, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson officially said that the US has no intention to establish a “border force”. But, the reality seems to be quite different. The Pentagon’s request sparked outrage in the Turkish media and negative comments by the Turkish leadership further complicating the diplomatic relations between the sides.
    End Quote
    Also, as to these reports that “hundreds” of Russian contractors died in recent attacks, the reality appears to be somewhat less. According to Reuters, only two contractors could be identified in the Deir Ezzor incident, one a Cossack, the other a “radical Russian nationalist.” And their deaths have not been verified but merely referenced by associates of theirs, including persons in Russian political parties, i.e. rivals to Putin. These Russian politicians have called on Putin to reveal any Russian losses. So the reports are likely politically motivated.
    I suspect if “hundreds” of Russians have died that Putin would be taking a considerably harder line in Syria than he has.

  72. JPB says:

    Thanks Cortes! I’ll try to find my copy of “Uncle Bill” and see if the titles are listed.

  73. turcopolier says:

    You are obviously an Israeli hasbara troll. Your indignation at our willingness to tell the truth here about Syria betrays you. pl

  74. ISL says:

    Sylvia 1:
    Wow, 200 – 300 Russians killed. Hmm. a quick scan of google news shows estimates are from two (!) to a score. Since neither Sputnik nor RT are screaming about the injustice, I am guessing inflated . . . . .

  75. kooshy says:

    Nothing, the correct name in english for Iranian language is Persian, and the correct name for that same language when speaking in Farsi is Farsi or Parsi. Once an Iranian was complaining why should Amerikaies not say Iran, and instead say I Ran, like they are downgrading or speaking down of Iran. I asked him, are you willing to equally cretizaze yourself for calling their country Amrika. There is no P in arabic so after arabs invaded Iran Parsi or Persia became Farsi or Fars , since english speaking folks have not invaded Iran
    or vice versa, I don’t see the need or a requirement to change the pronunciation and spelling of the name in english.
    By the way I noticed Colonel’ full name in Arabic, is missing to of the sounding alphabets, which like in English is actualy available in Persian , so I wonder if colonel’ full name when written in Arabic becomes باتريك لنك

  76. kooshy says:

    Same with Bam Baiee ?

  77. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In Hindi movies that is actually how it is said. And they also say “Amrika”.

  78. kooshy says:

    IMO, using or promoting to use Farsi instead of Persian to English speakers, will automatically distance/ separate Persia and Persians and their 3 millennia of history, in English/western speaking minds, specially the new generations. Use of Farsi instead of Persian will eventually distance the present existing, somewhat newly relation that English speakers have begun to associate between Iran and Iranians and Persia and Persians. On historic related issues, is essential for Iran to promote in Western/English speaking societies, that Iran and Persia are the same, and to prevent use of other terms to replace Persian.

  79. SmoothieX12 says:

    I am guessing inflated . . .
    Didn’t happen at all.

  80. Now the US has bombed a Russian tank…without bothering to see who was running it.
    US destroys Russian tank in Syria, reportedly killing three
    I’d say the probability is that it was Syrian forces, but until we get more details or a statement from either Syria or Russia, we don’t know. Once again, this attack was allegedly in “self-defense” since the tank was allegedly doing indirect fire against a hill occupied by US-supported SDF personnel.
    Now the media – in lockstep – is calling it a “Russian-made” tank…

  81. JPB says:

    “indirect fire”? Was it a tank or SP howitzer?

  82. SmoothieX12 says:

    Now the US has bombed a Russian tank…without bothering to see who was running it.
    No, it didn’t. It is T-72 of first models and it was Syrian. In fact, it most likely not Russian but Soviet.
    I’d say the probability is that it was Syrian forces, but until we get more details or a statement from either Syria or Russia, we don’t know.
    Oh yes, everybody in Russia already knows, most of what US media regurgitate is fake news which originated in CTI (a “opposition” source in Russia–a rough equivalent of Bellingcat). No dozens, let alone hundreds Russia “volunteers” died. NO, military hospitals in St. Petersburg, Rostov, Moscow are not overwhelmed–first hand information, no urgent deliveries of anybody since 7th. The only guy known to die on 7th is former GRU Captain Kosaturov, a volunteer who was retired and fought in Donbass. Where in Syria he died–nobody knows. That is it. NO losses in Russia’s Armed Forces units deployed in Syria, none–zero. Most of what you read in US about Russia is BS anyway. US media and even US “spies” DO NOT have and can not have any credible sources in Russia. If they have any, those will never be exposed to such a pathetic PR fake news campaign. If there, by some chance, some Russian mercenaries in the area, well–comes with the territory but no–there is no crisis, only media hysteria, primarily in the West and has nothing to do with events on the ground in Syria. It has EVERYTHING to do with Russia’s elections and US elites and media-whores obsession with Putin, and Russia. Expect more of this in coming month.

  83. Walrus says:

    If Dogear is from Canberra he can safely be ignored. Canberra is our own version of DC but without the black population. It is entirely composed of SJWs at the University or the federal public service.

  84. turcopolier says:

    His IP was in Canberra. Who knows where he really was. Wanted to jack me up. Good luck to him. pl

  85. Kooshy says:

    I cannot see, or even understand, how is it possible, if, really there were 200 Russian citizens of any walk of life killed, or missing in action by an American attack in Syria Russian government or the Russian media be mute on this event. Only our ever truth reporting American media are running with this report without investigating? Where are the witnesses any survivor?, I haven’t seen any. The only witness ever mentioned is the US military personnel who as usual is sharing this report anonymously with the media military embeds (you read In Bed stenographers ).
    What do our friends in USINFO or Langley think they can archive with this, Is this for our consumption to make us proud and justified, or is suppose to bring about an uprising in Russia against Putin, make him look incompetent and demand for leaving Syria, ala Vietnam style?
    Childish, we need better hands, at least a decent junior collage grad level for our foreign war propaganda campaigns.

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