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Syria and the Three Wars

As Russian fighters begin their baptism of fire in Syria, it is worth pointing out there are at least three separate wars going on here. And they’re all quite distinct.

(1) The Actual War

Once again I urge people to familiarize themselves with a map of the Syrian conflict (e.g. here). All of Assad’s most critical fronts – the big region between Aleppo and Latakia, and the pockets around Homs and Damascus – are FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda. So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities, including its capital and the Alawite heartlands (where Russia’s airbases happen to be located), focusing on the Islamic State would be sheer military folly.

Striking ISIS intensively right now would be pointless because there are no ready SAA forces that could rush in to exploit it. The US coalition’s own record proves that. Which is not to say that Russia is avoiding striking the Islamic State on principle, as the more deranged neocons have been claiming. You will just not be hearing much of them, first because (as per above) Al Nusra/FSA are the main priorities right now, second because the Western MSM has clearly been given a directive to discredit the Russian intervention.

Here is a side-by-side map of areas of control in Syria, and of the location of the Russian air strikes. ISIS territories do get bombed, but the main targets are logically those that are closer to SAA positions.

russian-syria-air-strikes

As those of you who have been following my recent writings on the Arab militaries will know, one of the key problems that the SAA – as a conventional Muslim Arab army – continues to face even now is a relative lack of morale (compared to those who fight for God, like Al Nusra or IS, or those who fight for clan, like the Kurds, the Druze, and the Shi’ite militias). This means that although it is able to hold on quite effectively when defending its Shi’ite heartlands, it finds it much more difficult to make offensive gains, since its combat efficiency is lower due to those morale hits that typically accrue to any Arab conventional state army, and its superiority in military capital (tanks, fighters, etc) is considerably nullified by their incompetence in using them. Like it not, but the sad reality is that clannish, ~85 IQ peoples just do not make good soldiers for the purposes of modern combined arms warfare. Needless to say, it also doesn’t help that it is usually attacking well-fortified urban outposts (attackers generally need a 3-to-2 total combat power advantage to make gains in such conditions).

This is where the Russian Air Force can hopefully make a big difference. Even the fighters already in place will allow the Syrians to effectively double their number of sorties, and Russian fighter pilots are much more skilled and have more modern armaments than their Syrian counterparts. Effectively, this translates to a tripling or quadrupling of Syrian air power that can be concentrated in support of SAA ground operations. Air power can seriously degrade the combat power of enemy formations that do not have adequate AA counters to it (that describes both the FSA/Al Nusra and ISIS). Whereas a front might have once been in equilibrium, due to roughly matching combat power on either side, a sustained air campaign could begin to systemically swing the advantage over to the SAA and eventually enable the reconquista of Syrian territorities currently under renegade Islamist control.

Why are American air strikes hopeless? Because they are missing the ground element. Even in its most benign interpretation it is nothing but a big Whac-a-Mole game. It refused to countenance any sort of coordination with the SAA. If it had, then the ISIS takeover of Palmyra – which involved crossing 150km+ of open desert over a single major road over a period of a month – would have been impossible (and Khaled al-Asaad, the executed architect who became the object of many MSM crocodile tears, would still have his head attached to his shoulders). Even the Pentagon has admitted that its project to train “moderate” fighters to combat IS has been a colossal, expensive failure. It claims that its airstrikes killed 10,000 ISIS fighters but these are frankly dubious. Even if it did, considering that IS probably has close to 100,000 troops by now, it wouldn’t have made a major difference anyway.

(2) The Propaganda War

This pretty much says everything there is to say.

Homs Airstrike: White Helmets Caught Faking Syria Casualties

propaganda-2

No wonder everybody sane from Russia to Hungary to Egypt are kicking out American NGOs!

Mark Adomanis sardonically points out that whereas the US couldn’t find moderate rebels in 3 years, the Russians did so in 24 hours.

https://twitter.com/MarkAdomanis/status/649186242903568385

Senile Cold Warriors from McCain to cuckservative icon Tom Cotton rave and demand to knock Russian fighters out of the sky to protect their beloved Al Qaeda proteges. On the off chance this leads to WW3 and the world of Stalker/Fallout, Americans should know that they did this to protect literal cannibals, genocidal fanatics, and – horror of horrors – homophobes.

Note also that there were no loud proclamations from Obama and his stooge Hollande when Turkey hit only Kurdish targets under the pretense of fighting ISIS.

This is because the US is disinterested in combatting ISIS and cares only about overthrowing President Assad, no matter if doing so involves flagrant violations of international law (Syria never gave it permission to use its airspace) and effectively allying itself with the people who carried out 9/11.

Perhaps the only redeeming feature in all of this is that, to the elites’ horror and bewilderment, the general public and their representative The Donald have stopped lapping up their lies and propaganda, something that is easy to observe from the comments sections on sites from YouTube to CNN (incidentally, has anyone else noticed how all the MSM sites are beginning to close their comments sections? What’s up with that LOL).

(3) The Geopolitical War

Remember my account of Egor Prosvirnin’s recent legal travails? Well, his Sputnik i Pogrom site has produced the following propaganda poster:

soviet-regimes-end

“The finale of Soviet regimes is remarkably simiar: Afghanistan, 1979 – Syria, 2015.”

This poster encompasses two big criticisms of Russia’s new Syria adventure from the (nationalist) Right.

(There are is also the usual predictable whining in Russia from pro-Western liberals going on about how Russia is supporting a “bloody dictator” and hoping the freedom fighters knock Russian fighter jets from the sky but nobody cares about their opinions except the American NGOs who finance them).

(1) The idea that Syria will become an Afghanistan-like quagmire.

After all, the Soviet Union never *invaded* Afghanistan either (even if it was presented as such by the Cold Warriors). It came by request of the legitimate Afghan authorities. And it ended getting bogged down and losing the lives of 15,000 soldiers, in an ultimately futile attempt to preserve some semblance of civilization against mujahedeen financed and sponsored by the Saudis and their best friends the Americans. According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The key difference: So far Russia is only sending fighter aircraft, and military advisors who will not be actively taking part in the fighting. So long as things stay that way, the Syria intervention will not constitute a major financial commitment, or a major commitment in terms of morale and approval ratings. The worst that can happen is that a fighter pilot is captured and gruesomely executed by Al Nusra or ISIS.

That, however, runs the risk of provoking a larger-scale Russian ground intervention, especially if the SAA fails to make the hoped for advances with the help of the Russian Air Force. They could get gradually sucked in like the Americans did in Vietnam. At least this is how this argument goes in Russian liberal and some nationalist circles. But I assume the Russians are familiar with that particular history and will not fall into a similar trap, no matter how much the neocons might be wishing otherwise.

(2) The idea that it involves abandoning the Novorossiya project.

There is, in fact, a recent Guardian article to that effect, which happens to quote Prosvirnin himself:

In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down. Egor Prosvirnin, editor of the nationalist blog Sputnik and Pogrom, has been called in for questioning in recent weeks over suspicions that his website may contain “extremist material”.

The article in question, while advocating for Russia to take full control of eastern Ukraine, does not contain anything that could not have been heard regularly on Russian state television over the past year and a half, and Prosvirnin believes Russian authorities are now trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle.

“The conflict is being frozen and we are too strongly in support of the Novorossia project, we’re too independent. This is a warning to us to stop what we’re doing,” he said.

As a result, there is currently a great deal of hatred for Assad and Syria in Sputnik i Pogrom circles. (The hatred for Putin has always been there).

At this point, it’s worth quoting the main parts of SiP’s “conspiracy theory” as I recounted it (otherwise known in Russian discussions as “Putinsliv” theory, lit. Putin flushing [Novorossiya] away):

But then again… back in July of this year, Prosvirnin on his Facebook page – I can’t locate it now, but it was certainly there – predicted that Novorossiya would soon be betrayed (nothing new) and replaced with a propaganda campaign in favor of Russian involvement in Syria, including boots on the ground (very new!).

He even argued that this would be a way of mending US-Russian relations, which certainly cuts against the conventional wisdom – both in the mainstream and the altsphere – that the West and Russia are fundamentally at odds in Syria and that the US is committed to seeing Assad go.

In effect, Russia would doing the “dirty” work of wrapping up the Syrian Civil War with the quiet acquiescence and approval of the West and the Gulf Arab states while they get to wash their hands of it, condemn Russia, take meaningless symbolic actions against it (e.g. requesting that Greece close its airspace to Russian military cargo only for Greece to promptly refuse it), and otherwise quietly shake Putin’s hand and congratulate him with the restoration of order in the Levant and, in the Europeans’ case, for helping end the refugee crisis.

And for all my, and the Saker’s, prior skepticism… some of this does seem to be happening.

Russians tanks and gunships are appearing in the Alawite heartlands. Bases are getting expanded. According to the latest reports from gazeta.ru (an anti-Kremlin publication), Russian military contractors are being sent to Syria to fight for Assad against their will.

It looks increasingly that Prosvirnin must have either guessed very, very well… or that he had very, very senior informants in the Kremlin.

If this version of affairs is in any way accurate, then it appears that Putin is setting himself up for a fail of epic, 1989-like proportions.

My operating assumption is that the US does not tend to honor those of its commitments that are not both written and binding (just ask Gorbachev about NATO expansion). Imagine that Russia “sorts out” Syria, assuming onto itself the opprobrium of keeping “bloody Assad” in power and doubtless taking some military casualties in the process to boot. Assume it also betrays Novorossiya, as Prosvirnin has been insisting it would for over a year now. Assume it does all this on some promise from the US to drop sanctions, accept Crimea, and help reintegrate Russia into the international (read: Western) community.

But why would it?

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on… shame on you, as that old Texan saying somewhere in Tennessee goes. If Putin falls for a trap this obvious, he will have nobody to blame himself. And with an approval rating now presumably in tatters, he will find both nationalists and liberals coming at him with knives unsheathed (unless, perhaps, he takes care of them beforehand).

And indeed the points in support of this theory have arguably grown since then. Now we know for sure that Russia’s intervention in Syria is 100% real. We have evidence of a real de-escalation in the Donbass, perhaps even in preparation for “stuffing back” the LDNR into Ukraine (though I should remind panicky readers that the DNR is preparing to go forwards with local elections on October 18th and the LNR on November 1st, which is is evidence against Putinsliv because these elections do not abide by the conditions of Minsk 2). And, away from neocon and Cold Warrior hysterics, it seems that the CENTCOM and the Russian military, and Obama and Putin at the higher level, are initiating a real dialog on avoiding costly “misunderstandings” in Syrian airspace.

All of this must be very distressing for those Russians who consider Novorossiya to be orders of magnitude greater importance than what is going on in Syria. That is perfectly understandable.

But as I also wrote in my Ask.fm answer to a question on the future of Novorossiya:

The military power of the NAF continues increasing. It now has 40,000 well-equipped troops and (reportedly) 450 MBTs. A year ago, it had no more than 20,000 troops, with just a few dozen MBTs. More importantly, it is a *real* army now, with centralized C&C, whereas a year ago it consisted primarily of independent militias. These can be adequate in defense, but you cannot carry out coherent, large-scale offensive operations with that kind of structure. Prosvirnin and Co. say the purging of the most recalcitrant militia leaders is “proof” that a zrada is nigh. But it could just as plausibly be interpreted as rational, consecutive steps to increase the NAF’s military power. I do not think these changes could have been possible without Russia’s support. Ultimately, why would Russia bother with upgrading the NAF if it planned to give it all back to the junta anyway?

In the meantime, with any luck, the Ukrainian economy will continue to degrade, and Poroshenko finds himself trapped between a rock (the Minsk Accords) and a hard place (the Maidan absolutists and the hardliners of the Far Right), and we will see a collapse into complete chaos, which may finally convince the Western powers to give up on Ukraine and create many other opportunities. But it’s also quite possible that the system will manage to pull through. That is the risk Putin took when he decided against military intervention last April.

Ultimately, the military power of the Novorossiya Armed Forces (to say nothing of the Russian Southern Military District) is still incomparably bigger than Russia’s current, ultimately modest investment in Syria.

The transfer of a couple dozen modern ground attack fighters to Latakia does not represent any real diminution of Russia’s military capabilities relative to the Ukrainian junta.

It will however provide valuable “real life” training opportunities for the Russian Air Force, much like Spain in the 1930s or Korea in the early 1950s.

And another potential advantage (though one I expect absolutely no-one will exploit) is that observing the fighting in Syria will serve to better demonstrate what real Russian combined arms warfare actually looks like in practice. So that the next time some two-bit neocon propaganda stooge like Paul Goble or Roderick Gregory claims a bazillion Pskov paratrooper casualties in the Donbass they would be laughed off the stage instead of getting endlessly and respectfully requoted in MSM outlets. But in fairness I don’t expect any of this to happen, since Poroshenko is in the West’s pocket and the “independence” of the Western media is mostly a fiction, while Russian soft power doesn’t have the requisite reach and sophistication.

So as before I still say that the Putinsliv theory remains unproven, and as such, there is no reasonable cause for dismay just yet. It’s not a very satisfying answer, to be sure, but if I was in the business of giving simple, satisfying, and self-confident answers, my readership would be a lot higher than it actually is.

 
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  1. Just to be clear, there’s not going to be a world war 3 because of this. No, it’s not even an “off-chance” it’s like a 0.00000001% chance. That chance is reserved for a Turkish jet accidentally hitting a Russian Su-34, while the IDF does some dick-move bombarding SAA positions, killing Russian advisers and destroying Russian tech.

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.

    This is why our dear leader (Erdogan), was called to Moscow recently, as well as Bibi and Quds force commander general Soleimani. All went to stake out areas of interest, and to make sure no side would ever hit the other. Israel Shamir, a fellow writer here, even says Moscow and Tel Aviv have a special red phone between them now.

    Interestingly enough after Vladimir Vladimirovich and Erdo met, the pipeline negotiations became unfrozen after a 4 month standstill. Funny how that works.

    Whatever the case, Syria is finished. The place is not a country anymore, it is a graveyard. This really reminds of the 30 years war in Germany: 1/3 of the population of Germany ultimately died.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.
     
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/russia/prelude-war-russia-united-states/

    ... Both diplomatic representatives were quick to reassure the world that they were not at cross-purposes in Syria, but their actions tell another story. Washington is faced with a terrible choice: Withdraw unceremoniously and invite further Russian aggression or deter Moscow’s military activities abroad through the credible threat of force. The Pentagon is preparing for the latter course.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was readying a set of options for the president should he choose to protect Washington-supported rebel groups on the ground in Syria from air attack by Russian forces. The details of such a plan remain a secret, but they would necessarily include putting U.S. air assets in close proximity to Russian forces, triggering an international incident with the expectation – or perhaps the hope – that Russia would climb down from the crisis it has ignited. “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid,” Fox News reported.
     
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  2. “FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda”

    Reuters (16 hours ago) Russia says U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army not a terrorist group Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and “other terrorist groups” in Syria. “We targeted ISIL-associated depots, armaments and sites,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    “So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities”
    Russia is simply lying about what they are doing They Russians have killed the best known and longest standing Free Syrian Army commander in an attack in north of Homs,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15625642
    Homs, Syria’s third largest city, has been a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

    It was dubbed the “capital of the revolution” after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

    However, over the past two years government forces retook most of the opposition strongholds, laying siege to districts once home to tens of thousands of people.

    After being forced into ever smaller areas, and denied access to food and medical supplies, rebel fighters finally left the Old City in May 2014 under a UN-brokered deal, bringing to an end to three years of resistance.

    The Russian attacks are not at points where the regime is in danger they are eliminating the remnants of the original rebels, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. There are many Islamic State training camps in the west of Syria that could be hit if the Russians were trying to weaken IS. It is perfectly plain that the Russians and Assad (who is supplying them with targeting intelligence)do not fear IS or al Nusra which are both internationally recognised as terrorist organisations getting relatively stronger, quite the opposite.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Of course. It is in Assad's interest for his primary enemy standing to be ISIS. It makes him more tolerable in the eyes of the world. It's much harder to support Assad's ouster when the only alternative left, is ISIS. Assad himself focused his struggle against non-ISIS forces. Why would his Russian helpers be any different?

    This doesn't mean I oppose Assad in Syria. Most likely if he were overthrown ISIS or something like it would take over, as Islamic hardliners took over Iran after the Shah was overthrown.
    , @5371
    [, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. ]

    OMG! They killed Kenny! The bastards!
    , @KA
    After a two-year absence from the international stage -- during which the mainstream media dispatched them to the realm of nonexistent entities -- on October 1 the "moderate rebels" of Syria were back. The New York Times said so. Russian attacks were targeting moderates rather than ISIS, a man with a camera was quoted saying; and the Times story by Anne Barnard appeared to confirm his suspicion; even as a companion report on Russian actions in Syria by Helene Cooper, Michael R. Gordon, and Neil MacFarquhar revealed that these are the same moderates who were carefully vetted by the CIA, and concerning whom little was heard ever after. Their numbers are put at 3,000 to 5,000, though the Cooper-Gordon-MacFarquhar article leaves uncertain if that is their original or their present strength. This illumination, after so long a blackout, will doubtless be a subject for inquiry in coming days. Why it would seem worthwhile for the Russians to attack so small a force, neither of the Times stories bothered to say; nor did they explain why, if the moderate rebels are anti-Jihadist, they were allowed to garrison in the town of Talbiseh in a region north of Homs that (according to the veteran Middle East reporter Patrick Cockburn) has been "ruled" for the past two years "by Jabhat al-Nusra and associated extreme Islamist groups."


    One cannot help being struck, in the Barnard story, by a disparity between the thinness of the evidence and the cocksure tone of the analysis. Consider the single piece of local testimony (generically confirmed by US sources) that is used to get us to take on trust a rebel's characterization of himself:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/syria-the-times-and-myste_b_8236164.html

    And then Obama to Friedman" It's always been a fantasy, this idea that we could provide some light arms, or even more sophisticated arms, to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists, and so forth, and that that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state, but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah. That was never in the cards."

    David Bromwich.


    THERE IS NO MODERATE AMONG THE REBEL THEY DISAPPEARED THE DAY SYRIAN OFFICIALS WERE KILLED BY THE REBELS IN DARA IN 2011.

    Believing Reuter,NYT,Guardin or CNN is akin to reposing faith in the anonymous sources who are being quoted by the media when the same anonymous source from Israel Neocon,Pentagon,or Downing Street has been tutoring the media what to report. They are circling the wagon of lies to face off the reality . They won't stop until the truth is replaced .

    Don't they remind one of Wolfowitz quoting Mylorie who then would sing the praise of Cheney briefed by Judith Miller who has already been provided with the talking points of Wolfowitz by another scumbag by name Kristol or Krauthhammer.
    , @annamaria
    There is a mess in Syria, but look what "democratic" country is adamantly against a sane solution:

    "The route toward peace would be to collaborate with Russia and Iran to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to accept a power-sharing unity government that would fairly represent Syria’s major religious and ethnic groups – Christians, Alawites, Shiites and moderate Sunnis – along with a commitment for free, internationally monitored elections once adequate security is restored.
    But for such an arrangement to work, Obama also would have to crack down aggressively on U.S. regional “allies” to ensure that they stopped funding, supplying and otherwise assisting the Sunni extremist forces including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State (or ISIS). Obama would have to confront the Sunni “allies” – including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – as well as Israel.
    His pressure would have to include stern action aimed at the global finances of the Gulf states – i.e., seizing their assets as punishment for their continuing support for terrorism – as well as similar sanctions against Turkey, possibly ousting it from NATO if it balked, and a withdrawal of political and financial support for Israel if it continued helping Nusra fighters and viewing Al Qaeda as the “lesser evil” in Syria.»

    Is not this too much for the «only democracy» in the Middle East and for the «most moral» and «chosen» people professing their stand against any kind of terrorism? Amazing how the loud squeaking about "nazis" and "terrorists" got mute when the US went to Ukraine to fraternize with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and to the Middle East to fraternize with jihadis. By supporting and promoting these actions, AIPAC made it clear that the memories of Holocaust victims are for pussies, whereas the US sacrifices (limb and treasure) in the Middle East are just trifles when the Zionists' grandiose plans are concerned.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/06/obama-boots-syrian-peace-chance/
  3. @Sean
    "FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda"

    Reuters (16 hours ago) Russia says U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army not a terrorist group Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and "other terrorist groups" in Syria. "We targeted ISIL-associated depots, armaments and sites," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
     
    "So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities"
    Russia is simply lying about what they are doing They Russians have killed the best known and longest standing Free Syrian Army commander in an attack in north of Homs,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15625642
    Homs, Syria's third largest city, has been a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

    It was dubbed the "capital of the revolution" after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

    However, over the past two years government forces retook most of the opposition strongholds, laying siege to districts once home to tens of thousands of people.

    After being forced into ever smaller areas, and denied access to food and medical supplies, rebel fighters finally left the Old City in May 2014 under a UN-brokered deal, bringing to an end to three years of resistance.

     

    The Russian attacks are not at points where the regime is in danger they are eliminating the remnants of the original rebels, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. There are many Islamic State training camps in the west of Syria that could be hit if the Russians were trying to weaken IS. It is perfectly plain that the Russians and Assad (who is supplying them with targeting intelligence)do not fear IS or al Nusra which are both internationally recognised as terrorist organisations getting relatively stronger, quite the opposite.

    Of course. It is in Assad’s interest for his primary enemy standing to be ISIS. It makes him more tolerable in the eyes of the world. It’s much harder to support Assad’s ouster when the only alternative left, is ISIS. Assad himself focused his struggle against non-ISIS forces. Why would his Russian helpers be any different?

    This doesn’t mean I oppose Assad in Syria. Most likely if he were overthrown ISIS or something like it would take over, as Islamic hardliners took over Iran after the Shah was overthrown.

    Read More
  4. This poster encompasses two big criticisms of Russia’s new Syria adventure from the (nationalist) Right.

    (There are is also the usual predictable whining in Russia from pro-Western liberals going on about how Russia is supporting a “bloody dictator” and hoping the freedom fighters knock Russian fighter jets from the sky but nobody cares about their opinions except the American NGOs who finance them).

    That raises an interesting point, Anatoly. Since the Russian ‘liberals’ are so obviously irrelevant now, I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists (‘Putin is with the 5th column!’) and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia. I base my speculation (for now, that’s all it is) on the fact that, in the middle east, the West has routinely relied on the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist/takfiri groups–who are all supposedly anti-western–to destabilize and overthrow ME governments that really are independent of the West. So, as a pro-Russian, I encourage you to continue to monitor these groups and report on what they are doing.

    And it ended getting bogged down and losing the lives of 15,000 soldiers, in an ultimately futile attempt to preserve some semblance of civilization against mujahedeen financed and sponsored by the Saudis and their best friends the Americans.

    The Afghanistan/Syria analogy is now being made often in the West too. Here’s where I think it breaks down:

    1.) The Afghan Mujahideen was overwhelmingly indigenous, with a few Arab and foreign volunteers sprinkled in. At present, most of the Syrian jihadists are not Syrian–in fact, a growing number are not even Arab. They are roundly regarded by most of the Syrian public, not as defenders, but as invaders. Only the most bigoted, sectarian Sunni elements in Syria would consider laying down their lives for some Turkish-backed Iraqi ‘caliph’.

    2.) The terrain of Afghanistan is some of the most mountainous on Earth. ‘Mountains,’ as an old adage has it, ‘are God’s gift to smugglers and guerillas.’ They give lightly armed rebels a place to hide as well as some shelter from aircraft, armor and artillery. Most of eastern Syria, by way of contrast, is flat, wide-open desert. Where’s ISIS going to hide their matching white Toyota pickup convoys there?

    That, however, runs the risk of provoking a larger-scale Russian ground intervention, especially if the SAA fails to make the hoped for advances with the help of the Russian Air Force.

    Personally, I believe that if a larger ground-troop presence in the war becomes necessary, it is more likely to come from Iran than Russia. The Iranian stake in the war, after all, is far greater even than Russia’s. And their troops have even more experience fighting in that sort of terrain, and a better grasp of Arab culture than the average Russian grunt would have. So, with proper air-support and AA defense, they would probably be more effective.

    In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down.

    That’s a nice talking-point, both for Russian ultra-ultra-nats as well as for the cynical western MSM, but there was never the slightest evidence that Putin was down with the Novorossiya project. If so, he would have acknowledged the independence of Donbass right after their sovereignty vote, and he would not have prevented the rebels (Spetznatz?) from taking Mariupol last year. He has been very consistent about this from the start, and has acknowledged–in both Minsk I and Minsk II–that Donbass is to remain officially a part of Ukraine, albeit with some degree of local government and protection for language-rights.

    Keep up the good work, Anatoly!

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists (‘Putin is with the 5th column!’) and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia.

    The likelihood of that happening in Russia is increased by the fact that it's already happened in the Ukraine. Right Sector, the Azov Regiment, the Svoboda party - ostensibly ultra-right groups - are fighting for and supported by neocons and oligarchs. I think that most of these people are sincerely far-right and that they don't see the extent to which they're being used for divide-and-rule purposes.
    , @Glossy
    It is said that Mariupol wasn't taken because Rinat Akhmetov was against it. He was pre-war Ukraine's richest man. He owns factories in Mariupol. The things that these factories produce have to be certified as having been made in Russia, Ukraine or some other internarionally-recognized country to be sold abroad. The Donetsk People's Republic isn't internationally recognized. Akhmetov has worked with both sides in the war. Prosvirnin claims that Borodai told him that Russia/DNR didn't take Mariupol because they needed Akhmetov's cooperation in other matters. I find that plausible.

    I think it's possible that Putin planned a Crimean scenario for the southeastern half of the Ukraine before April 25th of 2014 and that this plan was derailed on that day due to some threat (probably economic) from the US. After that his plan for the Donbass has been to keep it de jure Ukrainian but de facto as tied to Russia as the junta is to the US. His offer to the US was to formalize this arrangement in the form of a Ukrainian federation. This offer was rejected but is still on the table and I think that Putin assumes that it could be accepted by the US in the future if the situation on Cold War II's other fronts goes well for Russia.
  5. well-fortified urban outposts (attackers generally need a 3-to-2 total combat power advantage to make gains in such conditions

    Doctrinally, you want a 10:1 force ratio for attacking an enemy in a built up area. A clever, manouevrist approach can achieve this even when you possess no overall force advantage but, basically, attacking a city is very tough!

    Read More
  6. Air power can seriously degrade the combat power of enemy formations that do not have adequate AA counters to it (that describes both the FSA/Al Nusra and ISIS)

    Good close air support from a position of air superiority means that you will win at conventional warfare.

    To be good, however, it needs to be coordinated from the ground and properly ‘combined’ as air can’t hold ground. So your infantry has to follow it up immediately.

    If the Russians can effectively integrate into the SAA, probably via embedded special forces, then the SAA’s advance outside of built up areas will be unstoppable, resources permitting, of course.

    It will be much more effective in built up areas too, but it is likely that the enemy will resort to insurgent tactics to counter the air threat. At this point it will be up to Assad’s intelligence services to step up.

    Read More
  7. the Western MSM has clearly been given a directive to discredit the Russian intervention

    It doesn’t work like that and you know it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    It does work like that and you are an idiot if you don't know it.
    , @Hunsdon
    iffen, you're a new presence here, and I'm generally happy to see new people show up. But I encourage you to elevate your game. You seem to do quick and baseless posts, lacking argument or evidentiary support. You can do better!
  8. I’d take a couple of Apache attack helicopters and a battalion of disciplined infanteers with a good forward air controller over all of IS’s fighter in a conventional battle.

    Of course IS would quickly learn to avoid conventional battle…

    Read More
  9. @Seamus Padraig

    This poster encompasses two big criticisms of Russia’s new Syria adventure from the (nationalist) Right.

    (There are is also the usual predictable whining in Russia from pro-Western liberals going on about how Russia is supporting a “bloody dictator” and hoping the freedom fighters knock Russian fighter jets from the sky but nobody cares about their opinions except the American NGOs who finance them).
     
    That raises an interesting point, Anatoly. Since the Russian 'liberals' are so obviously irrelevant now, I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists ('Putin is with the 5th column!') and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia. I base my speculation (for now, that's all it is) on the fact that, in the middle east, the West has routinely relied on the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist/takfiri groups--who are all supposedly anti-western--to destabilize and overthrow ME governments that really are independent of the West. So, as a pro-Russian, I encourage you to continue to monitor these groups and report on what they are doing.


    And it ended getting bogged down and losing the lives of 15,000 soldiers, in an ultimately futile attempt to preserve some semblance of civilization against mujahedeen financed and sponsored by the Saudis and their best friends the Americans.
     
    The Afghanistan/Syria analogy is now being made often in the West too. Here's where I think it breaks down:

    1.) The Afghan Mujahideen was overwhelmingly indigenous, with a few Arab and foreign volunteers sprinkled in. At present, most of the Syrian jihadists are not Syrian--in fact, a growing number are not even Arab. They are roundly regarded by most of the Syrian public, not as defenders, but as invaders. Only the most bigoted, sectarian Sunni elements in Syria would consider laying down their lives for some Turkish-backed Iraqi 'caliph'.

    2.) The terrain of Afghanistan is some of the most mountainous on Earth. 'Mountains,' as an old adage has it, 'are God's gift to smugglers and guerillas.' They give lightly armed rebels a place to hide as well as some shelter from aircraft, armor and artillery. Most of eastern Syria, by way of contrast, is flat, wide-open desert. Where's ISIS going to hide their matching white Toyota pickup convoys there?


    That, however, runs the risk of provoking a larger-scale Russian ground intervention, especially if the SAA fails to make the hoped for advances with the help of the Russian Air Force.
     
    Personally, I believe that if a larger ground-troop presence in the war becomes necessary, it is more likely to come from Iran than Russia. The Iranian stake in the war, after all, is far greater even than Russia's. And their troops have even more experience fighting in that sort of terrain, and a better grasp of Arab culture than the average Russian grunt would have. So, with proper air-support and AA defense, they would probably be more effective.


    In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down.
     
    That's a nice talking-point, both for Russian ultra-ultra-nats as well as for the cynical western MSM, but there was never the slightest evidence that Putin was down with the Novorossiya project. If so, he would have acknowledged the independence of Donbass right after their sovereignty vote, and he would not have prevented the rebels (Spetznatz?) from taking Mariupol last year. He has been very consistent about this from the start, and has acknowledged--in both Minsk I and Minsk II--that Donbass is to remain officially a part of Ukraine, albeit with some degree of local government and protection for language-rights.

    Keep up the good work, Anatoly!

    I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists (‘Putin is with the 5th column!’) and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia.

    The likelihood of that happening in Russia is increased by the fact that it’s already happened in the Ukraine. Right Sector, the Azov Regiment, the Svoboda party – ostensibly ultra-right groups – are fighting for and supported by neocons and oligarchs. I think that most of these people are sincerely far-right and that they don’t see the extent to which they’re being used for divide-and-rule purposes.

    Read More
  10. @Seamus Padraig

    This poster encompasses two big criticisms of Russia’s new Syria adventure from the (nationalist) Right.

    (There are is also the usual predictable whining in Russia from pro-Western liberals going on about how Russia is supporting a “bloody dictator” and hoping the freedom fighters knock Russian fighter jets from the sky but nobody cares about their opinions except the American NGOs who finance them).
     
    That raises an interesting point, Anatoly. Since the Russian 'liberals' are so obviously irrelevant now, I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists ('Putin is with the 5th column!') and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia. I base my speculation (for now, that's all it is) on the fact that, in the middle east, the West has routinely relied on the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist/takfiri groups--who are all supposedly anti-western--to destabilize and overthrow ME governments that really are independent of the West. So, as a pro-Russian, I encourage you to continue to monitor these groups and report on what they are doing.


    And it ended getting bogged down and losing the lives of 15,000 soldiers, in an ultimately futile attempt to preserve some semblance of civilization against mujahedeen financed and sponsored by the Saudis and their best friends the Americans.
     
    The Afghanistan/Syria analogy is now being made often in the West too. Here's where I think it breaks down:

    1.) The Afghan Mujahideen was overwhelmingly indigenous, with a few Arab and foreign volunteers sprinkled in. At present, most of the Syrian jihadists are not Syrian--in fact, a growing number are not even Arab. They are roundly regarded by most of the Syrian public, not as defenders, but as invaders. Only the most bigoted, sectarian Sunni elements in Syria would consider laying down their lives for some Turkish-backed Iraqi 'caliph'.

    2.) The terrain of Afghanistan is some of the most mountainous on Earth. 'Mountains,' as an old adage has it, 'are God's gift to smugglers and guerillas.' They give lightly armed rebels a place to hide as well as some shelter from aircraft, armor and artillery. Most of eastern Syria, by way of contrast, is flat, wide-open desert. Where's ISIS going to hide their matching white Toyota pickup convoys there?


    That, however, runs the risk of provoking a larger-scale Russian ground intervention, especially if the SAA fails to make the hoped for advances with the help of the Russian Air Force.
     
    Personally, I believe that if a larger ground-troop presence in the war becomes necessary, it is more likely to come from Iran than Russia. The Iranian stake in the war, after all, is far greater even than Russia's. And their troops have even more experience fighting in that sort of terrain, and a better grasp of Arab culture than the average Russian grunt would have. So, with proper air-support and AA defense, they would probably be more effective.


    In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down.
     
    That's a nice talking-point, both for Russian ultra-ultra-nats as well as for the cynical western MSM, but there was never the slightest evidence that Putin was down with the Novorossiya project. If so, he would have acknowledged the independence of Donbass right after their sovereignty vote, and he would not have prevented the rebels (Spetznatz?) from taking Mariupol last year. He has been very consistent about this from the start, and has acknowledged--in both Minsk I and Minsk II--that Donbass is to remain officially a part of Ukraine, albeit with some degree of local government and protection for language-rights.

    Keep up the good work, Anatoly!

    It is said that Mariupol wasn’t taken because Rinat Akhmetov was against it. He was pre-war Ukraine’s richest man. He owns factories in Mariupol. The things that these factories produce have to be certified as having been made in Russia, Ukraine or some other internarionally-recognized country to be sold abroad. The Donetsk People’s Republic isn’t internationally recognized. Akhmetov has worked with both sides in the war. Prosvirnin claims that Borodai told him that Russia/DNR didn’t take Mariupol because they needed Akhmetov’s cooperation in other matters. I find that plausible.

    I think it’s possible that Putin planned a Crimean scenario for the southeastern half of the Ukraine before April 25th of 2014 and that this plan was derailed on that day due to some threat (probably economic) from the US. After that his plan for the Donbass has been to keep it de jure Ukrainian but de facto as tied to Russia as the junta is to the US. His offer to the US was to formalize this arrangement in the form of a Ukrainian federation. This offer was rejected but is still on the table and I think that Putin assumes that it could be accepted by the US in the future if the situation on Cold War II’s other fronts goes well for Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Taras Gitlerov
    The seps could've taken Mariupol easily in the early stages of the war since it was empty, but they had orders not to take it.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/syria-and-the-three-wars/?replytocom=1168128#respond

    Ctrl+f Мариуполь, relevant info is about halfway through the article.
  11. We used/helped the commies get rid of the Nazis so why not use the descendants of the Nazis to confound the descendants of the commies?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    Are you a believer in generational guilt for everyone everywhere, or only in this case? If my grandfather was a bad man, are you justified in shooting me down?
  12. iffen,

    The neocons are the intellectual (and in many cases physical) descendants of Trotskyists, the original Commies. The US led the leftist side in Cold War I. It’s doing the same in Cold War II.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    I was talking about WW2 (Germany v. Russia) and today's Ukrainian neo-Nazis v. Russia.

    Operating from superficial knowledge, I think that it would have been better for all concerned if Trotsky had won out over Stalin.
  13. @Glossy
    It is said that Mariupol wasn't taken because Rinat Akhmetov was against it. He was pre-war Ukraine's richest man. He owns factories in Mariupol. The things that these factories produce have to be certified as having been made in Russia, Ukraine or some other internarionally-recognized country to be sold abroad. The Donetsk People's Republic isn't internationally recognized. Akhmetov has worked with both sides in the war. Prosvirnin claims that Borodai told him that Russia/DNR didn't take Mariupol because they needed Akhmetov's cooperation in other matters. I find that plausible.

    I think it's possible that Putin planned a Crimean scenario for the southeastern half of the Ukraine before April 25th of 2014 and that this plan was derailed on that day due to some threat (probably economic) from the US. After that his plan for the Donbass has been to keep it de jure Ukrainian but de facto as tied to Russia as the junta is to the US. His offer to the US was to formalize this arrangement in the form of a Ukrainian federation. This offer was rejected but is still on the table and I think that Putin assumes that it could be accepted by the US in the future if the situation on Cold War II's other fronts goes well for Russia.

    The seps could’ve taken Mariupol easily in the early stages of the war since it was empty, but they had orders not to take it.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/syria-and-the-three-wars/?replytocom=1168128#respond

    Ctrl+f Мариуполь, relevant info is about halfway through the article.

    Read More
  14. @iffen

    the Western MSM has clearly been given a directive to discredit the Russian intervention
     
    It doesn't work like that and you know it.

    It does work like that and you are an idiot if you don’t know it.

    Read More
  15. @Sean
    "FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda"

    Reuters (16 hours ago) Russia says U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army not a terrorist group Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and "other terrorist groups" in Syria. "We targeted ISIL-associated depots, armaments and sites," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
     
    "So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities"
    Russia is simply lying about what they are doing They Russians have killed the best known and longest standing Free Syrian Army commander in an attack in north of Homs,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15625642
    Homs, Syria's third largest city, has been a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

    It was dubbed the "capital of the revolution" after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

    However, over the past two years government forces retook most of the opposition strongholds, laying siege to districts once home to tens of thousands of people.

    After being forced into ever smaller areas, and denied access to food and medical supplies, rebel fighters finally left the Old City in May 2014 under a UN-brokered deal, bringing to an end to three years of resistance.

     

    The Russian attacks are not at points where the regime is in danger they are eliminating the remnants of the original rebels, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. There are many Islamic State training camps in the west of Syria that could be hit if the Russians were trying to weaken IS. It is perfectly plain that the Russians and Assad (who is supplying them with targeting intelligence)do not fear IS or al Nusra which are both internationally recognised as terrorist organisations getting relatively stronger, quite the opposite.

    [, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. ]

    OMG! They killed Kenny! The bastards!

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  16. I don’t think anyone has realised just what a mess the US was in.

    Or how desperate it was to hand this over to Russia
    Or how inconceivable it was that the US could remain involved in partnership with Iran, Hesbollah, Russia AND SYRIA
    or how Putin would never have taken it on unless he felt that syrian regime change was well and truly over (= Assad is now safe)
    or how awful this is for the US/Obama in terms of US reputation (the very th0ught of China helping out Russia in Syria with a single ship is surreal)

    Or that the US & Obama now have purely PR interested and no political goals any longer in Syria.

    If Ukraine is part of the deal it means Putin gets whatever he wants in Ukraine. The sole condition requested by Obama is no bragging please.

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  17. @5371
    It does work like that and you are an idiot if you don't know it.

    Are you sure? About the idiot part I mean.

    Read More
  18. “According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? Some years ago I read Rodric Braithwaite’s “Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan” and he thought that the Afghanistan war was of negligible importance for the collapse of the Soviet Union…and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam. His arguments seemed convincing to me…do you have an opinion on that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Mearsheimer said the military ellipse of the Soviet productive capacity was what started the collapse of the Soviet Union. The problem was epitomised by the head of the Soviet general staff complained that their equipment was backward and they could not keep up with President Ray-Gun and star wars see here.

    Funny perspective on why the Frogfoot and other Russian aircraft are right at home in war zones. Here at 1:40 onwards.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? ... and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam.
     
    I agree with that.

    Even militarily, the USSR suffered 4 times fewer casualties than the Americans. In any case withdrawal from Afghanistan preceded the USSR's legitimacy crisis.

    I have read a lot of stuff on the Soviet collapse. It is very contradictory, no real consensus as to why it really happened or whether it was inevitable. My own opinion is that contemporaneous economic and political reform was what did it in; the first should have been pursued well before the latter. (The transition from central planning to markets would always have been a very rocky, chaotic process - much more difficult than in China, because the USSR was far more industrialized). That appears to have been Andropov's plan, but he died too soon.
    , @athEIst
    Price of oil 1982 $35.
    Price of oil 1986 $9.
    Price of oil 1991 >$10.
    Collapse of USSR
    , @anonymous coward

    “According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this?
     
    No truth at all. The Soviet Union collapsed due to a) nationalism and b) religion.

    There was a bloody war between Azerbaijan and Armenia (two Soviet republics) in 1988. The Russian Orthodox Church was legalized in 1988. By 1990 Tajikistan had an Islamist political party. In 1987 Estonia had a separatist movement. (Spearheaded by the Greens.)

    Etc., etc.

    All these events happened well before the Soviet Union collapsed.

    Point is, by (roughly) 1987 it was obvious to everyone that the communist pseudo-religious leftist creed had failed. Theoretically, it could have been possible to preserve the USSR without the CPSU, but in practice the banning of CPSU collapsed all of the Soviet bureaucracy with it, along with the economy. (This was by design; the government of USSR was designed to function only under the CPSU.)
  19. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/c9de7c47-566a-4c8e-8b7b-050f17613bd8

    Captain Iyad al-Deek was about the last of the original rebel commanders of The Free Syrian Army (officer defectors from the regular army and the most competent). The ones who tried to sty with the Free Syrian Army are dead about to be dead, and those young men are not being replaced, because the military age cohort who want to fight Assad are going to IS and al Nusra, where they are much less likely to get blasted to smithereens , and yes so the bulk of the resistance are Jihadist now. However the US which has massive intelligence gathering capability is refusing to attack the clear cut terrorist group IS training camps for fear of killing non combatants, and the Russian are more interested in attacking those Assad points them at. Mearsheimer made a great point about the role of allies having an interest getting their patron in escalation. I am sure Assad is lying to the Russians about the rebels. The war will go on, the war is the Hornets nest that Edward Snowden talked about, and like the war in Algeria the excess young men migrating to Europe is a solution for everybody except a few nationalists in Europe.

    Padraig

    I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists (‘Putin is with the 5th column!’) and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia. I base my speculation (for now, that’s all it is) on the fact that, in the middle east, the West has routinely relied on the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist/takfiri groups–who are all supposedly anti-western–to destabilize and overthrow ME governments that really are independent of the West. So, as a pro-Russian, I encourage you to continue to monitor these groups and report on what they are doing.

    Those regimes were fundamentally unstable because they suppressed dissent and had no method of changing government Putin is more popular in Russia than Obama was at his peak in the US. A BBC WS reporter said the young woman doing her nails in Russia had a Putin T shirt on. Compare Italy, lot of governments and scandals but not breaking up. Putin probably understands that Ukraine and Syria are gone and only an embattled client buffer state will survive. Not what he wanted, but the long term results will be massive ongoing immigration into Europe and virtually none into Russia.

    5371, yes it is almost like anyone who joins the CIA backed rebels is retarded. I said that weeks ago and you made a fool of me. The failure of the West to crush Assad may turn out to be a bad mistake because the Syria refugee crisis seems to have altered Western Europe’s attitude to refugees quite dramatically.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    Those regimes were fundamentally unstable because they suppressed dissent and had no method of changing government Putin is more popular in Russia than Obama was at his peak in the US.
     
    Regarding the first part of your statement, I think it's the other way around: they suppressed dissent because they were unstable. Governments of countries that are prosperous, confident and stable usually do not have reason to fear dissent. However, I definitely agree that Putin is more popular than Obama--or indeed any western ruler at this point.

    The failure of the West to crush Assad may turn out to be a bad mistake because the Syria refugee crisis seems to have altered Western Europe’s attitude to refugees quite dramatically.
     
    The fall of the Syrian government would lead to a far larger tidal wave of refugees. Think of all the internally displaced persons--mostly religious minorities--living in western Syria at the moment. If that region falls to the jihadists, they will have to flee immediately, or else they will be put to the sword.
  20. @German_reader
    "According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union."

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? Some years ago I read Rodric Braithwaite's "Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan" and he thought that the Afghanistan war was of negligible importance for the collapse of the Soviet Union...and that Soviet "defeat" there wasn't remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam. His arguments seemed convincing to me...do you have an opinion on that?

    Mearsheimer said the military ellipse of the Soviet productive capacity was what started the collapse of the Soviet Union. The problem was epitomised by the head of the Soviet general staff complained that their equipment was backward and they could not keep up with President Ray-Gun and star wars see here.

    Funny perspective on why the Frogfoot and other Russian aircraft are right at home in war zones. Here at 1:40 onwards.

    Read More
  21. The comment about how the Soviets entered Afghanistan is well taken. It’s worth remembering.

    Then again, on this site of all sites it should be remembered that legitimacy is a loaded concept. The Soviets entered to sort out [in GROSSLY simplified form] the ongoing iteration of the Khalqi/Parchami dispute in the ruling PDPA, so less at the invitation of the ‘legitimate authorities’ than in the role of a patron whose role was to determine the identity of the legitimate authorities.

    Also, the PDPA was ruling at all because it had seized power. [It is not clear at what point it became ‘legitimate’ other than by the usual, admittedly not trivial, qualification of being already in place and tolerated as OK. The same could be said of Daoud, who they overthrew, but then his 1973 coup was also PDPA-backed.

    How is that significantly different from the sequence of events that led America into Vietnam, or indeed any of the other manipulations in which the US has used force over much of the Cold War period?

    The eventual price of statecraft, since mistakes will be made sooner or later.

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  22. @Glossy
    iffen,

    The neocons are the intellectual (and in many cases physical) descendants of Trotskyists, the original Commies. The US led the leftist side in Cold War I. It's doing the same in Cold War II.

    I was talking about WW2 (Germany v. Russia) and today’s Ukrainian neo-Nazis v. Russia.

    Operating from superficial knowledge, I think that it would have been better for all concerned if Trotsky had won out over Stalin.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Your knowledge isn't just superficial, it's also incorrect.
  23. @iffen
    I was talking about WW2 (Germany v. Russia) and today's Ukrainian neo-Nazis v. Russia.

    Operating from superficial knowledge, I think that it would have been better for all concerned if Trotsky had won out over Stalin.

    Your knowledge isn’t just superficial, it’s also incorrect.

    Read More
  24. @Sean
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/c9de7c47-566a-4c8e-8b7b-050f17613bd8
    Captain Iyad al-Deek was about the last of the original rebel commanders of The Free Syrian Army (officer defectors from the regular army and the most competent). The ones who tried to sty with the Free Syrian Army are dead about to be dead, and those young men are not being replaced, because the military age cohort who want to fight Assad are going to IS and al Nusra, where they are much less likely to get blasted to smithereens , and yes so the bulk of the resistance are Jihadist now. However the US which has massive intelligence gathering capability is refusing to attack the clear cut terrorist group IS training camps for fear of killing non combatants, and the Russian are more interested in attacking those Assad points them at. Mearsheimer made a great point about the role of allies having an interest getting their patron in escalation. I am sure Assad is lying to the Russians about the rebels. The war will go on, the war is the Hornets nest that Edward Snowden talked about, and like the war in Algeria the excess young men migrating to Europe is a solution for everybody except a few nationalists in Europe.


    Padraig

    I have begun to suspect that Russian ultra-ultra-nationalists (‘Putin is with the 5th column!’) and neo-nazis could be used by forces sympathetic to EU/NATO to try and destabilize and/or embarrass Russia. I base my speculation (for now, that’s all it is) on the fact that, in the middle east, the West has routinely relied on the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist/takfiri groups–who are all supposedly anti-western–to destabilize and overthrow ME governments that really are independent of the West. So, as a pro-Russian, I encourage you to continue to monitor these groups and report on what they are doing.
     
    Those regimes were fundamentally unstable because they suppressed dissent and had no method of changing government Putin is more popular in Russia than Obama was at his peak in the US. A BBC WS reporter said the young woman doing her nails in Russia had a Putin T shirt on. Compare Italy, lot of governments and scandals but not breaking up. Putin probably understands that Ukraine and Syria are gone and only an embattled client buffer state will survive. Not what he wanted, but the long term results will be massive ongoing immigration into Europe and virtually none into Russia.

    5371, yes it is almost like anyone who joins the CIA backed rebels is retarded. I said that weeks ago and you made a fool of me. The failure of the West to crush Assad may turn out to be a bad mistake because the Syria refugee crisis seems to have altered Western Europe's attitude to refugees quite dramatically.

    Those regimes were fundamentally unstable because they suppressed dissent and had no method of changing government Putin is more popular in Russia than Obama was at his peak in the US.

    Regarding the first part of your statement, I think it’s the other way around: they suppressed dissent because they were unstable. Governments of countries that are prosperous, confident and stable usually do not have reason to fear dissent. However, I definitely agree that Putin is more popular than Obama–or indeed any western ruler at this point.

    The failure of the West to crush Assad may turn out to be a bad mistake because the Syria refugee crisis seems to have altered Western Europe’s attitude to refugees quite dramatically.

    The fall of the Syrian government would lead to a far larger tidal wave of refugees. Think of all the internally displaced persons–mostly religious minorities–living in western Syria at the moment. If that region falls to the jihadists, they will have to flee immediately, or else they will be put to the sword.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    If you looked at the link Taleb compared Syria to Italy, which had quite a lot of terrorism and high level assassinations actually. On paper Italy is fundamentally unstable. The most powerful post war politician in the country was convicted of murder a decade ago. More recently it had a unelected technocrats imposed on it.

    NYT 2014, It speaks to the strange state of Italian democracy that Silvio Berlusconi, the disgraced former prime minister, is now claiming the high moral ground in politics — and that his claim is not completely without merit as Italy prepares for its third consecutive unelected prime minister.

    Mr. Berlusconi — he of the endless scandals, a recent tax fraud conviction for which he is awaiting sentencing and a humiliating expulsion from Italy’s Senate — has been quick to remind people that he is the last Italian prime minister actually elected by the Italian people, in 2008.

    Matteo Renzi, 39, could become Italy's youngest prime minister.The Saturday Profile: Political Star Rises on Vow to Upend Italy’s Old OrderFEB. 14, 2014 Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy left his house in Rome on Friday. His resignation came a day after his party voted to replace him with its new leader, Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence.Italy’s Premier Leaves Post Amid Dispute Since then, Italy has experienced crisis management as much as democracy. Mr. Berlusconi resigned under pressure in 2011 at the height of Europe’s debt crisis. To succeed him, President Giorgio Napolitano appointed a technocratic government led by the economist Mario Monti. Then, in 2013, national elections were inconclusive, so Mr. Napolitano jammed together a coalition government and named Enrico Letta as prime minister.
     

    Assad already has fallen. Anyone from a war zone or who is fleeing military service can get asylum. What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him. IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad's war would . The difference is Russia would have to take the Asaad regime supporters. Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against. Don't think western strategist are blind to the fact that the immigration into Europe is from a regime the Russians are backing, and it has taken the pressure of Russia over Ukraine. Despite Russia's transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces, which are supported by the mass of the population, and necessarily in strategically vital areas.
  25. @German_reader
    "According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union."

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? Some years ago I read Rodric Braithwaite's "Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan" and he thought that the Afghanistan war was of negligible importance for the collapse of the Soviet Union...and that Soviet "defeat" there wasn't remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam. His arguments seemed convincing to me...do you have an opinion on that?

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? … and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam.

    I agree with that.

    Even militarily, the USSR suffered 4 times fewer casualties than the Americans. In any case withdrawal from Afghanistan preceded the USSR’s legitimacy crisis.

    I have read a lot of stuff on the Soviet collapse. It is very contradictory, no real consensus as to why it really happened or whether it was inevitable. My own opinion is that contemporaneous economic and political reform was what did it in; the first should have been pursued well before the latter. (The transition from central planning to markets would always have been a very rocky, chaotic process – much more difficult than in China, because the USSR was far more industrialized). That appears to have been Andropov’s plan, but he died too soon.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    A lot of truth to that.
    , @German_reader
    Thanks for the answer! I have to admit, I don't really know that much about the end of the Soviet Union, but your argument seems convincing to me...looks to me like Gorbachev wanted to do too much at once and eventually lost control.
    The Braithwaite book about the Soviets in Afghanistan is pretty interesting btw, some things really surprised me...according to Braithwaite the Soviets realised fairly early that they had gotten themselves into a quagmire and looked for a way out, well before such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important...in his view the Soviets weren't defeated in Afghanistan, they just realized it wasn't worth the cost which is contrasted favorably with Western actions after 9/11).
    I suppose much of this is well-known to a Russian audience, but for a Westerner like me who doesn't know any Russian, it was an interesting change of perspective.
    , @CK
    For many years, American fiction used the trope of Russian fifth columnists educated in Russia in those multitudinous westernized Potemkin cities planting suitcase bombs, bio weapons etc. etc. and Destroying The USA from Within.
    Same plot but Gorby is the mole not some fictional Russian. It was Gorby who destroyed the USSR, Yeltsin only destroyed Russia.
  26. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? ... and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam.
     
    I agree with that.

    Even militarily, the USSR suffered 4 times fewer casualties than the Americans. In any case withdrawal from Afghanistan preceded the USSR's legitimacy crisis.

    I have read a lot of stuff on the Soviet collapse. It is very contradictory, no real consensus as to why it really happened or whether it was inevitable. My own opinion is that contemporaneous economic and political reform was what did it in; the first should have been pursued well before the latter. (The transition from central planning to markets would always have been a very rocky, chaotic process - much more difficult than in China, because the USSR was far more industrialized). That appears to have been Andropov's plan, but he died too soon.

    A lot of truth to that.

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  27. @Kamran
    Just to be clear, there's not going to be a world war 3 because of this. No, it's not even an "off-chance" it's like a 0.00000001% chance. That chance is reserved for a Turkish jet accidentally hitting a Russian Su-34, while the IDF does some dick-move bombarding SAA positions, killing Russian advisers and destroying Russian tech.

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.

    This is why our dear leader (Erdogan), was called to Moscow recently, as well as Bibi and Quds force commander general Soleimani. All went to stake out areas of interest, and to make sure no side would ever hit the other. Israel Shamir, a fellow writer here, even says Moscow and Tel Aviv have a special red phone between them now.

    Interestingly enough after Vladimir Vladimirovich and Erdo met, the pipeline negotiations became unfrozen after a 4 month standstill. Funny how that works.

    Whatever the case, Syria is finished. The place is not a country anymore, it is a graveyard. This really reminds of the 30 years war in Germany: 1/3 of the population of Germany ultimately died.

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/russia/prelude-war-russia-united-states/

    … Both diplomatic representatives were quick to reassure the world that they were not at cross-purposes in Syria, but their actions tell another story. Washington is faced with a terrible choice: Withdraw unceremoniously and invite further Russian aggression or deter Moscow’s military activities abroad through the credible threat of force. The Pentagon is preparing for the latter course.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was readying a set of options for the president should he choose to protect Washington-supported rebel groups on the ground in Syria from air attack by Russian forces. The details of such a plan remain a secret, but they would necessarily include putting U.S. air assets in close proximity to Russian forces, triggering an international incident with the expectation – or perhaps the hope – that Russia would climb down from the crisis it has ignited. “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid,” Fox News reported.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Wow, really insane stuff...I'd never read Commentary magazine before, but Max Boot and the other neocons writing there are really as deranged as I had heard...why are these people taken seriously and not just taken away in a straitjacket?
    , @KA
    Yes. There is a huge possibility .But it would not possibly have happened if the conflicts in Syria were not intimately linked to the desires of the maximalist Israelis ( who live in Israel and in US -UK-France ) . Iraq project isnt finished yet . Yes Iraq,Yemen,Sudan,Somalia Libya are down but the other pillars of old arrangement ( PNAC wanted to transcend ) are still standing and getting better. This why David Brooks in a piece of 2/21/03 for the on-line Daily Standard let his anguished screed out by suggesting that anti-Semitism was playing a role in criticism of Bush Iraq policy ( foreshadowing the arguments among the Maximalist that attempt to debunk the hysteria against Iranain nuke is anti semitism ).

    Neocons have invested heavily to get the desired result of fragmentation of Syria

    WW3 is a possibility . That will be the end of Western Civilization .


    ". A secret document leaked to the press by Wikileaks revealed that State Department and CIA officials sought to destabilize Syria for years, in part by stoking sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, and through support of dormant anti-regime Islamist factions already within the country, and Islamists who fled to Syria after the US ‘surge’ in Iraq in 2007 and its exit in 2011.

    US officials now claim to be arming and training only ‘moderate’ rebels now – not understanding that many ‘moderates’ have defected to, or are fighting against and losing to, Islamic State and other extremist factions. This helps account for the flow of arms into Syria, and into the hands of IS members, radically changing the character of the war by turning it into an even bloodier catastrophe." http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/02/heading-toward-a-collision-syria-saudi-arabia-and-regional-proxy-wars/

    I believe that the plan was always to pick up some feckless,alienated young recruits and train them knowing fully well that they for their own survival after a while have to join ISIS while same time telling high IQ Americans through much higher IQ Fox host that the moderates Syrian Army would change the world for better .
    , @rod1963
    These people are insane, really. To precipitate WWIII because you want to protect some Muslim terrorists.

    What's scary they will find plenty of Pentagon generals who approve of the plan. Congressional okay isn't even a question when you have lunatics like McCain. Grahm, McConnell in charge.
  28. @Anatoly Karlin

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? ... and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam.
     
    I agree with that.

    Even militarily, the USSR suffered 4 times fewer casualties than the Americans. In any case withdrawal from Afghanistan preceded the USSR's legitimacy crisis.

    I have read a lot of stuff on the Soviet collapse. It is very contradictory, no real consensus as to why it really happened or whether it was inevitable. My own opinion is that contemporaneous economic and political reform was what did it in; the first should have been pursued well before the latter. (The transition from central planning to markets would always have been a very rocky, chaotic process - much more difficult than in China, because the USSR was far more industrialized). That appears to have been Andropov's plan, but he died too soon.

    Thanks for the answer! I have to admit, I don’t really know that much about the end of the Soviet Union, but your argument seems convincing to me…looks to me like Gorbachev wanted to do too much at once and eventually lost control.
    The Braithwaite book about the Soviets in Afghanistan is pretty interesting btw, some things really surprised me…according to Braithwaite the Soviets realised fairly early that they had gotten themselves into a quagmire and looked for a way out, well before such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important…in his view the Soviets weren’t defeated in Afghanistan, they just realized it wasn’t worth the cost which is contrasted favorably with Western actions after 9/11).
    I suppose much of this is well-known to a Russian audience, but for a Westerner like me who doesn’t know any Russian, it was an interesting change of perspective.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important
     
    Obviously he did not watch Charlie Wilson's War.
    , @sher
    No the soviets wanted India to invade pok which they didn't want to do, especially as a us fleet was already in the Arabian Sea.

    Contrast with war of 71 where the Russians were in the bay of Bengal first.

    So basically the ussr wasn't able to get the strategi depth it wanted to be able to pull Pakistan away.
  29. @Anatoly Karlin

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.
     
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/russia/prelude-war-russia-united-states/

    ... Both diplomatic representatives were quick to reassure the world that they were not at cross-purposes in Syria, but their actions tell another story. Washington is faced with a terrible choice: Withdraw unceremoniously and invite further Russian aggression or deter Moscow’s military activities abroad through the credible threat of force. The Pentagon is preparing for the latter course.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was readying a set of options for the president should he choose to protect Washington-supported rebel groups on the ground in Syria from air attack by Russian forces. The details of such a plan remain a secret, but they would necessarily include putting U.S. air assets in close proximity to Russian forces, triggering an international incident with the expectation – or perhaps the hope – that Russia would climb down from the crisis it has ignited. “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid,” Fox News reported.
     

    Wow, really insane stuff…I’d never read Commentary magazine before, but Max Boot and the other neocons writing there are really as deranged as I had heard…why are these people taken seriously and not just taken away in a straitjacket?

    Read More
  30. Wow. What a bold move by Putin. The odds for WWIII have increased dramatically.

    The battle lines are clearly drawn between those who want to do to Assad what they did to Gaddafi, and those who want to save him. On one side you have the Anglosphere, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; and opposing them are Russia, Iran, Iraq, and the Kurds.

    Ultimately it really is America vs Russia. One side will have to back down. Who will it be? Who will end up losing face?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bliss
    I forgot to include Turkey in the side that wants Assad toppled. Turks vs Kurds is a serious complication in this whole scenario.

    Then there is the Hezbollah of Lebanon already fighting to save Assad....
  31. @Bliss
    Wow. What a bold move by Putin. The odds for WWIII have increased dramatically.

    The battle lines are clearly drawn between those who want to do to Assad what they did to Gaddafi, and those who want to save him. On one side you have the Anglosphere, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; and opposing them are Russia, Iran, Iraq, and the Kurds.

    Ultimately it really is America vs Russia. One side will have to back down. Who will it be? Who will end up losing face?

    I forgot to include Turkey in the side that wants Assad toppled. Turks vs Kurds is a serious complication in this whole scenario.

    Then there is the Hezbollah of Lebanon already fighting to save Assad….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    The majority of the population of Syria oppose any continued role for Assad, and that is the real reason why he has lost most of the country.
  32. @iffen

    the Western MSM has clearly been given a directive to discredit the Russian intervention
     
    It doesn't work like that and you know it.

    iffen, you’re a new presence here, and I’m generally happy to see new people show up. But I encourage you to elevate your game. You seem to do quick and baseless posts, lacking argument or evidentiary support. You can do better!

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Thank you for the vote of confidence. It is true that my posts are quick but they are not baseless. If you see an opinion of mine that seems baseless, please call it to my attention and I will do my best to explain my reasons for arriving at said opinion.
  33. @iffen
    We used/helped the commies get rid of the Nazis so why not use the descendants of the Nazis to confound the descendants of the commies?

    Are you a believer in generational guilt for everyone everywhere, or only in this case? If my grandfather was a bad man, are you justified in shooting me down?

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    With an eye on HBD, an argument can be made that punishment should be delivered upon the person and his family for a few generations before and after. Not to mention the horse he rode in on.
  34. “A sword never jams, never has to be reloaded, is always ready. Its worst shortcoming is that it takes great skill and patient, loving practice to gain that skill; it can’t be taught to raw recruits in weeks, nor even months.” https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Glory_Road

    They have a lot of people with no skill and guns out to settle scores. Now with a dead end air strategy things will go from bad to worse. It went from a pile of shit to a pile of shit on fire, which is an improvement in a Russian winter.

    “What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits.” (Albert Einstein)
    War’s unlimited and they have three (insert stooge jokes) of them.

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  35. “Thus the myth of distant punishment fulfills a deep-seated need, rooted in the avoidance of personal confrontation and a need to deny the consequences of combat. And across the generations airpower adherents have believed with all their hearts, in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in the myth that they can just “wave the magic bombers and make the bad man go away.”

    The innocent civilians they kill in this process they euphemistically deny by simply terming them “collateral damage.” And the consistent history of the ineffectiveness of distant punishment they simply choose to ignore, or to rationalize by saying, “This time it will work because…our bombs are more accurate…or more powerful.” Or whatever. But they refuse to acknowledge that, while the nature of weapons may change, the basic nature of human beings does not change. Human nature is one of the constants of warfare, and what did not work before will not work now.

    Our perennial airpower adherents base their calls for distant punishment on a myth, which in turn is based on long-debunked “scientific conclusions” that are close to a century old–the equivalent of basing your space program on the flat earth theory. Thus it is time to drive a stake through the heart of this myth and bury it once and for all. The basic concept is about as morally, scientifically, and politically sound as claiming that you can police New York City with cruise missiles.” http://www.killology.com/art_bomb_death.htm

    The people selling the gear are making out. The enemy is underground digging tunnels.

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  36. @Seamus Padraig

    Those regimes were fundamentally unstable because they suppressed dissent and had no method of changing government Putin is more popular in Russia than Obama was at his peak in the US.
     
    Regarding the first part of your statement, I think it's the other way around: they suppressed dissent because they were unstable. Governments of countries that are prosperous, confident and stable usually do not have reason to fear dissent. However, I definitely agree that Putin is more popular than Obama--or indeed any western ruler at this point.

    The failure of the West to crush Assad may turn out to be a bad mistake because the Syria refugee crisis seems to have altered Western Europe’s attitude to refugees quite dramatically.
     
    The fall of the Syrian government would lead to a far larger tidal wave of refugees. Think of all the internally displaced persons--mostly religious minorities--living in western Syria at the moment. If that region falls to the jihadists, they will have to flee immediately, or else they will be put to the sword.

    If you looked at the link Taleb compared Syria to Italy, which had quite a lot of terrorism and high level assassinations actually. On paper Italy is fundamentally unstable. The most powerful post war politician in the country was convicted of murder a decade ago. More recently it had a unelected technocrats imposed on it.

    NYT 2014, It speaks to the strange state of Italian democracy that Silvio Berlusconi, the disgraced former prime minister, is now claiming the high moral ground in politics — and that his claim is not completely without merit as Italy prepares for its third consecutive unelected prime minister.

    Mr. Berlusconi — he of the endless scandals, a recent tax fraud conviction for which he is awaiting sentencing and a humiliating expulsion from Italy’s Senate — has been quick to remind people that he is the last Italian prime minister actually elected by the Italian people, in 2008.

    Matteo Renzi, 39, could become Italy’s youngest prime minister.The Saturday Profile: Political Star Rises on Vow to Upend Italy’s Old OrderFEB. 14, 2014 Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy left his house in Rome on Friday. His resignation came a day after his party voted to replace him with its new leader, Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence.Italy’s Premier Leaves Post Amid Dispute Since then, Italy has experienced crisis management as much as democracy. Mr. Berlusconi resigned under pressure in 2011 at the height of Europe’s debt crisis. To succeed him, President Giorgio Napolitano appointed a technocratic government led by the economist Mario Monti. Then, in 2013, national elections were inconclusive, so Mr. Napolitano jammed together a coalition government and named Enrico Letta as prime minister.

    Assad already has fallen. Anyone from a war zone or who is fleeing military service can get asylum. What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him. IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad’s war would . The difference is Russia would have to take the Asaad regime supporters. Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against. Don’t think western strategist are blind to the fact that the immigration into Europe is from a regime the Russians are backing, and it has taken the pressure of Russia over Ukraine. Despite Russia’s transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces, which are supported by the mass of the population, and necessarily in strategically vital areas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what's now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now--big deal.

    Assad already has fallen.
     
    Sounds a little premature to me. Last time I checked, he was still president. And the front is basically still where it was, say, 3 years ago.

    Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against.
     
    That's just risible! It was Erdogan who sent the refugees into the EU, and it was Merkel who casually disregarded both German and EU law to force the Hungarians to release them to Germany. The EU is not defenseless. There is a difference between defenseless and refusing to defend yourself. Merkel falls into the latter category.

    IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad’s war would .
     
    Oh really? Then why are more Syrians fleeing from the east to the west than vice-versa? Most Syrian refugees are actually internally displaced persons from the east temporarily residing in western--that is, government controlled--Syria.

    Despite Russia’s transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces,
     
    Russia has attacked ISIS, Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham forces. Take a look at the map provided by Karlin above. Notice those little bomb-blast symbols over Raqqa? Well, guess who presently controls Raqqa? That's right: It's the provisional capital of ISIS.

    What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him.
     
    You seem very sold on this the-majority-hates-Assad theory, yet you present no evidence for it. The terrorist groups fighting him are by long now mostly made up of foreigners sneaking in through Turkey. Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army, which is majority Sunni, has remained intact and loyal to government through four straight years of intense conflict. So forgive me if I don't take too much stock in your theory.
  37. @Bliss
    I forgot to include Turkey in the side that wants Assad toppled. Turks vs Kurds is a serious complication in this whole scenario.

    Then there is the Hezbollah of Lebanon already fighting to save Assad....

    The majority of the population of Syria oppose any continued role for Assad, and that is the real reason why he has lost most of the country.

    Read More
    • Replies: @KA
    No it doesnt . Assad has won an election and it as as good as Ohio 0f 2004 and Florida of 2000 and as good as Iraq/Afghanistan election
  38. @Sean
    If you looked at the link Taleb compared Syria to Italy, which had quite a lot of terrorism and high level assassinations actually. On paper Italy is fundamentally unstable. The most powerful post war politician in the country was convicted of murder a decade ago. More recently it had a unelected technocrats imposed on it.

    NYT 2014, It speaks to the strange state of Italian democracy that Silvio Berlusconi, the disgraced former prime minister, is now claiming the high moral ground in politics — and that his claim is not completely without merit as Italy prepares for its third consecutive unelected prime minister.

    Mr. Berlusconi — he of the endless scandals, a recent tax fraud conviction for which he is awaiting sentencing and a humiliating expulsion from Italy’s Senate — has been quick to remind people that he is the last Italian prime minister actually elected by the Italian people, in 2008.

    Matteo Renzi, 39, could become Italy's youngest prime minister.The Saturday Profile: Political Star Rises on Vow to Upend Italy’s Old OrderFEB. 14, 2014 Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy left his house in Rome on Friday. His resignation came a day after his party voted to replace him with its new leader, Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence.Italy’s Premier Leaves Post Amid Dispute Since then, Italy has experienced crisis management as much as democracy. Mr. Berlusconi resigned under pressure in 2011 at the height of Europe’s debt crisis. To succeed him, President Giorgio Napolitano appointed a technocratic government led by the economist Mario Monti. Then, in 2013, national elections were inconclusive, so Mr. Napolitano jammed together a coalition government and named Enrico Letta as prime minister.
     

    Assad already has fallen. Anyone from a war zone or who is fleeing military service can get asylum. What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him. IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad's war would . The difference is Russia would have to take the Asaad regime supporters. Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against. Don't think western strategist are blind to the fact that the immigration into Europe is from a regime the Russians are backing, and it has taken the pressure of Russia over Ukraine. Despite Russia's transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces, which are supported by the mass of the population, and necessarily in strategically vital areas.

    Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what’s now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now–big deal.

    Assad already has fallen.

    Sounds a little premature to me. Last time I checked, he was still president. And the front is basically still where it was, say, 3 years ago.

    Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against.

    That’s just risible! It was Erdogan who sent the refugees into the EU, and it was Merkel who casually disregarded both German and EU law to force the Hungarians to release them to Germany. The EU is not defenseless. There is a difference between defenseless and refusing to defend yourself. Merkel falls into the latter category.

    IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad’s war would .

    Oh really? Then why are more Syrians fleeing from the east to the west than vice-versa? Most Syrian refugees are actually internally displaced persons from the east temporarily residing in western–that is, government controlled–Syria.

    Despite Russia’s transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces,

    Russia has attacked ISIS, Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham forces. Take a look at the map provided by Karlin above. Notice those little bomb-blast symbols over Raqqa? Well, guess who presently controls Raqqa? That’s right: It’s the provisional capital of ISIS.

    What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him.

    You seem very sold on this the-majority-hates-Assad theory, yet you present no evidence for it. The terrorist groups fighting him are by long now mostly made up of foreigners sneaking in through Turkey. Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army, which is majority Sunni, has remained intact and loyal to government through four straight years of intense conflict. So forgive me if I don’t take too much stock in your theory.

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    • Replies: @KA
    Government is not necessary to run a country .Somalia didnt have any from 1994 to 2006.
    In middle ages a lot of cities did well without one and started looking for one ( usually a dictator like Venice or Milan would seek out for one against French or Papal Rome invasion ) only when there was a foreign threat. Accepted institutions that Belgium have or US have could work fine . But one definitely needs a government to wage war .
    , @Eric siverson
    Russia gets the blame they have been fighting for 4 days . The United States and western allies have been supporting Jihadists coming from all over the world destabilizing Syria for more than 4 yrs , chopping heads off , millions have fled their homes , refugees are piling into Europe . and a idiot blames the whole mess on Russia because they have decided enough is enough 4 days ago .
  39. @Anatoly Karlin

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.
     
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/russia/prelude-war-russia-united-states/

    ... Both diplomatic representatives were quick to reassure the world that they were not at cross-purposes in Syria, but their actions tell another story. Washington is faced with a terrible choice: Withdraw unceremoniously and invite further Russian aggression or deter Moscow’s military activities abroad through the credible threat of force. The Pentagon is preparing for the latter course.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was readying a set of options for the president should he choose to protect Washington-supported rebel groups on the ground in Syria from air attack by Russian forces. The details of such a plan remain a secret, but they would necessarily include putting U.S. air assets in close proximity to Russian forces, triggering an international incident with the expectation – or perhaps the hope – that Russia would climb down from the crisis it has ignited. “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid,” Fox News reported.
     

    Yes. There is a huge possibility .But it would not possibly have happened if the conflicts in Syria were not intimately linked to the desires of the maximalist Israelis ( who live in Israel and in US -UK-France ) . Iraq project isnt finished yet . Yes Iraq,Yemen,Sudan,Somalia Libya are down but the other pillars of old arrangement ( PNAC wanted to transcend ) are still standing and getting better. This why David Brooks in a piece of 2/21/03 for the on-line Daily Standard let his anguished screed out by suggesting that anti-Semitism was playing a role in criticism of Bush Iraq policy ( foreshadowing the arguments among the Maximalist that attempt to debunk the hysteria against Iranain nuke is anti semitism ).

    Neocons have invested heavily to get the desired result of fragmentation of Syria

    WW3 is a possibility . That will be the end of Western Civilization .

    “. A secret document leaked to the press by Wikileaks revealed that State Department and CIA officials sought to destabilize Syria for years, in part by stoking sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, and through support of dormant anti-regime Islamist factions already within the country, and Islamists who fled to Syria after the US ‘surge’ in Iraq in 2007 and its exit in 2011.

    US officials now claim to be arming and training only ‘moderate’ rebels now – not understanding that many ‘moderates’ have defected to, or are fighting against and losing to, Islamic State and other extremist factions. This helps account for the flow of arms into Syria, and into the hands of IS members, radically changing the character of the war by turning it into an even bloodier catastrophe.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/02/heading-toward-a-collision-syria-saudi-arabia-and-regional-proxy-wars/

    I believe that the plan was always to pick up some feckless,alienated young recruits and train them knowing fully well that they for their own survival after a while have to join ISIS while same time telling high IQ Americans through much higher IQ Fox host that the moderates Syrian Army would change the world for better .

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  40. @Sean
    The majority of the population of Syria oppose any continued role for Assad, and that is the real reason why he has lost most of the country.

    No it doesnt . Assad has won an election and it as as good as Ohio 0f 2004 and Florida of 2000 and as good as Iraq/Afghanistan election

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  41. @Seamus Padraig
    Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what's now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now--big deal.

    Assad already has fallen.
     
    Sounds a little premature to me. Last time I checked, he was still president. And the front is basically still where it was, say, 3 years ago.

    Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against.
     
    That's just risible! It was Erdogan who sent the refugees into the EU, and it was Merkel who casually disregarded both German and EU law to force the Hungarians to release them to Germany. The EU is not defenseless. There is a difference between defenseless and refusing to defend yourself. Merkel falls into the latter category.

    IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad’s war would .
     
    Oh really? Then why are more Syrians fleeing from the east to the west than vice-versa? Most Syrian refugees are actually internally displaced persons from the east temporarily residing in western--that is, government controlled--Syria.

    Despite Russia’s transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces,
     
    Russia has attacked ISIS, Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham forces. Take a look at the map provided by Karlin above. Notice those little bomb-blast symbols over Raqqa? Well, guess who presently controls Raqqa? That's right: It's the provisional capital of ISIS.

    What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him.
     
    You seem very sold on this the-majority-hates-Assad theory, yet you present no evidence for it. The terrorist groups fighting him are by long now mostly made up of foreigners sneaking in through Turkey. Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army, which is majority Sunni, has remained intact and loyal to government through four straight years of intense conflict. So forgive me if I don't take too much stock in your theory.

    Government is not necessary to run a country .Somalia didnt have any from 1994 to 2006.
    In middle ages a lot of cities did well without one and started looking for one ( usually a dictator like Venice or Milan would seek out for one against French or Papal Rome invasion ) only when there was a foreign threat. Accepted institutions that Belgium have or US have could work fine . But one definitely needs a government to wage war .

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  42. Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what’s now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now–big deal.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/c9de7c47-566a-4c8e-8b7b-050f17613bd8 The Calm Before the Storm, Why Volatility Signals Stability, and 
Vice Versa Taleb points to Lebanon as his main case but he mentions Italy too. (and by the way Italy borrowed from French banks which now are being heavily bankrolled by Germany, that is the main indebtedness in Europe).

    My reading of Nassim Taleb’s argument was that by comparison to the enforced uniformity and concentration of power in Syria, Italy’s constant infighting produced decentralisation of power which made the country actually rather stable . For instance, Italian prosecutors are literally a law unto themselves they have their own self governing board and no one else can discipline them. Prosecutors in Perugia actually convicted ex PM Andreotti of murdering a journalist. No one dares investigate politicians like that elsewhere. Italy is on paper a train wreck country with weak top level government, Syria had strong top level government concentrated in a few hands and enforcing uniformity.

    Assad had a rather large army with heavy weapons and a air force, yet he could barely hold his ground anywhere outside the Alawites’ turf. He is fighting in the major population centres, against people with home made artillery, and now he has had to call the Russians in to destroy his enemies in the most populous areas of the country. It is perfectly obvious that he is in trouble because he lacks support in those areas and his own supporter (ie those willing to die for him) are, if not limited to the Alawite, are too few.

    Russia may want negotiations and a settlement in Syria, and the bombing is a preliminary to that (possibly bundled with a Ukraine settlement) all well and good. But, if the bear thinks it can go on telling the US that it is hitting IS when the net effect of the airstrikes is making IS stronger in relative terms, then it is in for a nasty surprise. These attack on the western backed Syrian groups coinciding with a refugee crisis partly of Russia’s making are making the US look ridiculous.

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    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    Assad had a rather large army with heavy weapons and a air force, yet he could barely hold his ground anywhere outside the Alawites’ turf. He is fighting in the major population centres ...
     
    Syria's major population centers are not Alawite. The Alawites live mostly along the coast (Latakia). But the government has also been able hold down Damascus, Homs and Hama. Aleppo and Idlib have been more problematic, but jihadi control of those towns has not gone uncontested. The long and the short of it is, the government has been holding the part of Syria were 70% or more of the population lives--possibly more now because of refugees from the east. Except for Raqqa and a handful of ruins and oases, what ISIS controls is mostly open desert.

    As for what Russia's plans are, a brokered settlement is not outside the realm of possibility. Putin is usually wise enough to allow his opponent a face-saving exit. But I'm sure that Russia's fundamental interests will be non-negotiable, and so will Syria's. They're not going to accept some fake 'caliphate' in the east. And they'll be damned before they let Washington pick the next president of Syria.
  43. @Sean

    Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what’s now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now–big deal.
     
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/c9de7c47-566a-4c8e-8b7b-050f17613bd8 The Calm Before the Storm, Why Volatility Signals Stability, and 
Vice Versa Taleb points to Lebanon as his main case but he mentions Italy too. (and by the way Italy borrowed from French banks which now are being heavily bankrolled by Germany, that is the main indebtedness in Europe).

    My reading of Nassim Taleb's argument was that by comparison to the enforced uniformity and concentration of power in Syria, Italy's constant infighting produced decentralisation of power which made the country actually rather stable . For instance, Italian prosecutors are literally a law unto themselves they have their own self governing board and no one else can discipline them. Prosecutors in Perugia actually convicted ex PM Andreotti of murdering a journalist. No one dares investigate politicians like that elsewhere. Italy is on paper a train wreck country with weak top level government, Syria had strong top level government concentrated in a few hands and enforcing uniformity.

    Assad had a rather large army with heavy weapons and a air force, yet he could barely hold his ground anywhere outside the Alawites' turf. He is fighting in the major population centres, against people with home made artillery, and now he has had to call the Russians in to destroy his enemies in the most populous areas of the country. It is perfectly obvious that he is in trouble because he lacks support in those areas and his own supporter (ie those willing to die for him) are, if not limited to the Alawite, are too few.

    Russia may want negotiations and a settlement in Syria, and the bombing is a preliminary to that (possibly bundled with a Ukraine settlement) all well and good. But, if the bear thinks it can go on telling the US that it is hitting IS when the net effect of the airstrikes is making IS stronger in relative terms, then it is in for a nasty surprise. These attack on the western backed Syrian groups coinciding with a refugee crisis partly of Russia's making are making the US look ridiculous.

    Assad had a rather large army with heavy weapons and a air force, yet he could barely hold his ground anywhere outside the Alawites’ turf. He is fighting in the major population centres …

    Syria’s major population centers are not Alawite. The Alawites live mostly along the coast (Latakia). But the government has also been able hold down Damascus, Homs and Hama. Aleppo and Idlib have been more problematic, but jihadi control of those towns has not gone uncontested. The long and the short of it is, the government has been holding the part of Syria were 70% or more of the population lives–possibly more now because of refugees from the east. Except for Raqqa and a handful of ruins and oases, what ISIS controls is mostly open desert.

    As for what Russia’s plans are, a brokered settlement is not outside the realm of possibility. Putin is usually wise enough to allow his opponent a face-saving exit. But I’m sure that Russia’s fundamental interests will be non-negotiable, and so will Syria’s. They’re not going to accept some fake ‘caliphate’ in the east. And they’ll be damned before they let Washington pick the next president of Syria.

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  44. We have evidence of a real de-escalation in the Donbass, perhaps even in preparation for “stuffing back” the LDNR into Ukraine (though I should remind panicky readers that the DNR is preparing to go forwards with local elections on October 18th and the LNR on November 1st, which is is evidence against Putinsliv because these elections do not abide by the conditions of Minsk 2).

    Prior to their latest meeting with meeting with Putin, Hollande and Merkel were declaring that the local elections were a “red line” for lifting of sanctions. And now its being reported that all of the local elections, both in Ukraine and in the DNR/LNR, have been postponed until sometime in 2016. The renewal of sanctions comes up in January 2016.

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  45. @German_reader
    "According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union."

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? Some years ago I read Rodric Braithwaite's "Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan" and he thought that the Afghanistan war was of negligible importance for the collapse of the Soviet Union...and that Soviet "defeat" there wasn't remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam. His arguments seemed convincing to me...do you have an opinion on that?

    Price of oil 1982 $35.
    Price of oil 1986 $9.
    Price of oil 1991 >$10.
    Collapse of USSR

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    • Replies: @5371
    correlation, still not causation
    shanti shanti shanti
  46. @athEIst
    Price of oil 1982 $35.
    Price of oil 1986 $9.
    Price of oil 1991 >$10.
    Collapse of USSR

    correlation, still not causation
    shanti shanti shanti

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  47. @German_reader
    "According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union."

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? Some years ago I read Rodric Braithwaite's "Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan" and he thought that the Afghanistan war was of negligible importance for the collapse of the Soviet Union...and that Soviet "defeat" there wasn't remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam. His arguments seemed convincing to me...do you have an opinion on that?

    “According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this?

    No truth at all. The Soviet Union collapsed due to a) nationalism and b) religion.

    There was a bloody war between Azerbaijan and Armenia (two Soviet republics) in 1988. The Russian Orthodox Church was legalized in 1988. By 1990 Tajikistan had an Islamist political party. In 1987 Estonia had a separatist movement. (Spearheaded by the Greens.)

    Etc., etc.

    All these events happened well before the Soviet Union collapsed.

    Point is, by (roughly) 1987 it was obvious to everyone that the communist pseudo-religious leftist creed had failed. Theoretically, it could have been possible to preserve the USSR without the CPSU, but in practice the banning of CPSU collapsed all of the Soviet bureaucracy with it, along with the economy. (This was by design; the government of USSR was designed to function only under the CPSU.)

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Economic collapse leading to loss of legitimacy and the under appreciated importance of the rise in nationalism in the various republics are the two key causes. Socialist environmental degradation is another factor greens like to ignore.
  48. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    What is your opinion of the idea that Putin advisor Vladislav Surkov is responsible for the demise of Novorussia?

    Surkov convinced Putin that Ukraine would completely disintegrate before the end of 2014 and that the best course of action was to simply wait for the collapse, opposed helping pro-Russian forces in both Donbass and pre-return Crimea, has ties to Ukrainian oligarchs (including Poroshenko), and has a long history of hostility to and dirty tricks against Russian nationalists (including Dmitry Rogozin). Add to that the fact that he started his career working for then-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his Chechen ancestry, and his infamous story advocating (under a pseudonym) for his country to lose to a US-like country so that it would be rebuilt like “Germany and France after . . . the second World War,” and you have someone extremely hostile to both Russia and Russian nationalism.

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  49. Unless there is to be a permanent ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis ( and maybe there is) it would seem that Assad’s minority Alawite regime (13% of the pre-war population) is doomed as there is no way to put Syria back together after 4-5 years of civil war with a hereditary minority dictatorship. Be like trying to make Uday Hussein the president of Iraq were he still around.

    Karlin’s own arguments make this point. Assad’s Army is in many ways much like the old Army of the Republic of Vietnam. It could fight as long as the US Air Force was overhead and US advisors were embedded within it but absent that it was not going to be able to stand on its own and defend South Vietnam for long. Now Iran maybe willing to play the long game here in its efforts to build an Iranian empire on Arab lands but it will be opposed by Turkey, Egypt and Israel who also aren’t going away.

    The Russian interest here seems pitiful but it is about the only place on the globe Russian military forces can make a ( temporary ) difference even if it is in the service of Iranian ambitions and for Putin to be seen as a important player even in a supporting role is perhaps the only real Russian interest being served.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Sisi's Egypt has come out in support of the Russian bombing campaign, and has never expressed discomfort with Iranian influence anywhere. Perhaps you meant to write "Saudi Arabia" instead of "Egypt" but feared to take the name of your employer in vain.
    , @KA
    From Jerusalem Post
    Dec 2014


    Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian
    rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.


    "The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not

    appear to be injured."

    At one point, a small tent city was erected around 300 meters away from the Israeli sector for about 70 families of Syrian deserters, the report said.



    http://m.jpost.com/Middle-East/New-UN-report-reveals-collaboration-between-Israel-and-Syrian-rebels-383926#article=0RTIyNjYxQTE5NEUyQ0QxOTI4RUQ0ODZGODA4MUJEM0Q=


    How is Israel going to swallow the new alchemy? It can't.
    So the beltway boy in Fox are freaking out .
    It can be compared as if Russia ,Iran,China suddenly had showed up on Feb 2003 and asked America return home .
  50. @Hunsdon
    iffen, you're a new presence here, and I'm generally happy to see new people show up. But I encourage you to elevate your game. You seem to do quick and baseless posts, lacking argument or evidentiary support. You can do better!

    Thank you for the vote of confidence. It is true that my posts are quick but they are not baseless. If you see an opinion of mine that seems baseless, please call it to my attention and I will do my best to explain my reasons for arriving at said opinion.

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  51. @Hunsdon
    Are you a believer in generational guilt for everyone everywhere, or only in this case? If my grandfather was a bad man, are you justified in shooting me down?

    With an eye on HBD, an argument can be made that punishment should be delivered upon the person and his family for a few generations before and after. Not to mention the horse he rode in on.

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  52. @German_reader
    Thanks for the answer! I have to admit, I don't really know that much about the end of the Soviet Union, but your argument seems convincing to me...looks to me like Gorbachev wanted to do too much at once and eventually lost control.
    The Braithwaite book about the Soviets in Afghanistan is pretty interesting btw, some things really surprised me...according to Braithwaite the Soviets realised fairly early that they had gotten themselves into a quagmire and looked for a way out, well before such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important...in his view the Soviets weren't defeated in Afghanistan, they just realized it wasn't worth the cost which is contrasted favorably with Western actions after 9/11).
    I suppose much of this is well-known to a Russian audience, but for a Westerner like me who doesn't know any Russian, it was an interesting change of perspective.

    such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important

    Obviously he did not watch Charlie Wilson’s War.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Hollywood movies, your go-to source for historical scholarship.
    , @German_reader
    Braithwaite actually mentioned that movie...he thinks it's inaccurate, triumphalist Hollywood crap that has onley a tenuous conncetion to historical reality.
  53. @iffen

    such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important
     
    Obviously he did not watch Charlie Wilson's War.

    Hollywood movies, your go-to source for historical scholarship.

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    • Replies: @iffen

    Hollywood movies.
     
    A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments.
  54. @unit472
    Unless there is to be a permanent ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis ( and maybe there is) it would seem that Assad's minority Alawite regime (13% of the pre-war population) is doomed as there is no way to put Syria back together after 4-5 years of civil war with a hereditary minority dictatorship. Be like trying to make Uday Hussein the president of Iraq were he still around.

    Karlin's own arguments make this point. Assad's Army is in many ways much like the old Army of the Republic of Vietnam. It could fight as long as the US Air Force was overhead and US advisors were embedded within it but absent that it was not going to be able to stand on its own and defend South Vietnam for long. Now Iran maybe willing to play the long game here in its efforts to build an Iranian empire on Arab lands but it will be opposed by Turkey, Egypt and Israel who also aren't going away.

    The Russian interest here seems pitiful but it is about the only place on the globe Russian military forces can make a ( temporary ) difference even if it is in the service of Iranian ambitions and for Putin to be seen as a important player even in a supporting role is perhaps the only real Russian interest being served.

    Sisi’s Egypt has come out in support of the Russian bombing campaign, and has never expressed discomfort with Iranian influence anywhere. Perhaps you meant to write “Saudi Arabia” instead of “Egypt” but feared to take the name of your employer in vain.

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  55. @5371
    Hollywood movies, your go-to source for historical scholarship.

    Hollywood movies.

    A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    "A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments."

    Soviet documents which were later disclosed show that the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was made as early as 1985. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB272/ I saw the movie after having read the book "Charlie Wilson's War." (I thought Tom Hanks was totally miscast as the drug taking and alcoholic womanizer Charlie Wilson. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was terrific as Gust Avrakotos.) I just checked my copy of the book, and George Crile states at p. 420-21 that the final decision to supply the Afghan mujahadeen with Stinger missiles was not made (over very strenuous opposition) until the early part of 1986. So a strong argument can be made that our decision to supply Stingers had no bearing on the Soviet decision to withdraw.

    BTW I was living in Washington, D.C. during the 80's, and the Washington Post was my hometown newspaper. So I was able to read periodically on the front pages of the Post updates of the so-called "secret war" we were waging in Afghanistan. (I am totally amused by the American claim that we needed to keep our support of the Afghan mujahadeen a secret from the Soviets, for fear of offending them. It just shows how stupid our American foreign policy elite is that they assume the Russians are really so stupid that they wouldn't realize that the illiterate and backward Afghans weren't producing those sophisticated and deadly ground to air missiles themselves.) I was busy on other matters at the time, so, even if I was better informed that most Americans, I didn't give a whole lot of thought to Afghanistan. If anything, I thought the idea of giving a black eye to the Soviets was a pretty cool idea, as long as other people were doing the fighting and dying. What caused me to change my mind was reading on the front page of the Post about the bureaucratic struggle to supply Stinger missiles to the mujahadeen. I thought that was an insane idea since we would lose control over those missiles once we gave them to illiterate Afghan tribesmen, who could sell them to other parties who could use them to shoot down American and other airliners. I thought the risks vastly outweighed any possible benefits. So unless we did things with those missiles to reduce the risks (such as implanting chips to track their position or something similar, which couldn't be overridden without destroying the missile), I think even now that our supplying such weapons was insane. Since the 80's, I have completely revised my thinking about Afghanistan and have concluded that our involvement in that backward Muslim country, half a world away, was insane in all respects.

    BTW with respect to 5371's skeptical point about Hollywood movies, I will cite only the very good movie "A Beautiful Mind," directed by Ron Howard and starring the always good Russell Crowe. I liked the movie so much that I decided to read the book as well. Imagine my shock when I read the book and discovered that John Nash, the mathematical genius who is credited with being the inventor of game theory, did suffer from schizophrenia but the delusions he had were not about Communists as the movie portrayed but about extraterrestrials. Not that I had a lot of knowledge when it came to game theory, but, when I was watching the movie, I had a hard time grasping why the Pentagon would hire a game theorist to "crack encrypted enemy telecommunications," as the movie portrayed it. (It turns out that he worked for the RAND corporation and never worked for the Pentagon, contrary to the movie.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)

    As the paperback says on the back cover, "'How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?' the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. 'Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,' came the answer. 'So I took them seriously.'" That little blurb is a distillation of a quote that Nasar cites in the Prologue to the book, which says in part "'How could you,' began [Harvard professor George] Mackey, 'how could you, a a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof . . . how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you . . .?'"

    I don't recall reading any review of the movie pointing out this major discrepancy between Nash actually believing in aliens from outer space and the movie's portrayal of him obsessed by imaginary Communists. I realize that it is often necessary to make adjustments, both minor and major, when translating a book into a movie, but that change from obsession about aliens to obsession about Communists is pretty large, even by Hollywood standards. Keep in mind that the movie was forced to invent a character who was supposed to be his imaginary Pentagon contact. One has to ask why the screen writer, Akiva Goldsman, thought it necessary to make such a drastic change in Nash's story. The one explanation that occurred to me is Hollywood's dicy experience and love affair with Communism. Recall that Ronald Reagan, when he was still a liberal Roosevelt Democrat and headed the Hollywood screen actors union, fought successfully against great opposition to the infiltration of Communists in Hollywood. English actress Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" and was another liberal Democrat who strongly backed Reagan's fight against Communism in Hollywood, later stated (according to a WS Journal piece in 2006) that she was still puzzled by the mystery of how so many brilliant people in Hollywood got seduced by Communism. Hollywood icon Lillian Hellman, blacklisted as a Communist, remained loyal to Stalin even after Nikita Khrushchev had denounced him in a "secret speech" at the 1956 Soviet Communist Party Congress. And, of course, those Hollywood communist sympathizers gave Ms. Hellman a standing ovation in 1977 when they also rewarded the movie based in part on her memoir, "Julia," with an Oscar for best movie. Of course, that fraudulent liar went to that place where all good Communists go to die, Martha's Vineyard. At the same time, Hollywood treated with disdain one of the greatest talents in movies and on Broadway, Elia Kazan, who was the director of some of the greatest movies ever made in Hollywood (e.g., On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd, Streetcar Named Desire (both on Broadway and in Hollywood)), but who was an admitted member of the Communist Party for a very short period, quickly realized his mistake and renounced the Party, named names before Congress, and as a result was never completely forgiven by Hollywood. It was only after ardent lobbying by Warren Beatty (who co-starred in "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood (who was absolutely terrific), a movie directed by Mr. Kazan) that Hollywood reluctantly decided to award Kazan a "lifetime achievement" Oscar
    in 1999. (Two pretty good directors in their own right, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, held Kazan in very high regard. Kubrick said of Kazan: "without question, the best director we have in America, [and] capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses.")

    Anyway, the reason I came up with to explain Hollywood's change from Nash's obsession with extraterrestrials to Communists is that it was part of Hollywood's continuing education program to brainwash Americans to believing that our obsession with Communism was not because of a real threat posed by the Communist Soviet Union but rather a product of temporary insanity, completely ignoring the reality of what Communist control of Russia and East European countries had produced and what the Communist movement was actively trying to produce in other countries around the world. Since most Americans get their somewhat limited knowledge of history these days from the movies, it is no wonder that Hollywood tweaked the truth in A Beautiful Mind and made Nash's crazed obsession about "non-existent Communists" rather than extraterrestrials.
  56. “Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.

    “The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not

    appear to be injured.”

    At one point, a small tent city was erected around 300 meters away from the Israeli sector for about 70 families of Syrian deserters, the report said.

    http://m.jpost.com/Middle-East/New-UN-report-reveals-collaboration-between-Israel-and-Syrian-rebels-383926#article=0RTIyNjYxQTE5NEUyQ0QxOTI4RUQ0ODZGODA4MUJEM0Q=

    How is Israel going to swallow the new alchemy

    Read More
  57. @unit472
    Unless there is to be a permanent ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis ( and maybe there is) it would seem that Assad's minority Alawite regime (13% of the pre-war population) is doomed as there is no way to put Syria back together after 4-5 years of civil war with a hereditary minority dictatorship. Be like trying to make Uday Hussein the president of Iraq were he still around.

    Karlin's own arguments make this point. Assad's Army is in many ways much like the old Army of the Republic of Vietnam. It could fight as long as the US Air Force was overhead and US advisors were embedded within it but absent that it was not going to be able to stand on its own and defend South Vietnam for long. Now Iran maybe willing to play the long game here in its efforts to build an Iranian empire on Arab lands but it will be opposed by Turkey, Egypt and Israel who also aren't going away.

    The Russian interest here seems pitiful but it is about the only place on the globe Russian military forces can make a ( temporary ) difference even if it is in the service of Iranian ambitions and for Putin to be seen as a important player even in a supporting role is perhaps the only real Russian interest being served.

    From Jerusalem Post
    Dec 2014

    Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian
    rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.

    “The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not

    appear to be injured.”

    At one point, a small tent city was erected around 300 meters away from the Israeli sector for about 70 families of Syrian deserters, the report said.

    http://m.jpost.com/Middle-East/New-UN-report-reveals-collaboration-between-Israel-and-Syrian-rebels-383926#article=0RTIyNjYxQTE5NEUyQ0QxOTI4RUQ0ODZGODA4MUJEM0Q=

    How is Israel going to swallow the new alchemy? It can’t.
    So the beltway boy in Fox are freaking out .
    It can be compared as if Russia ,Iran,China suddenly had showed up on Feb 2003 and asked America return home .

    Read More
    • Replies: @unit472
    Why should it be surprising that Israel is willing to work with Syrian rebels? Israel's main concern is Hezbollah/Iran and seeing to it that they do not run Syria. Ditto Turkey and the Gulf States. I really don't see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren't much different than Hezbollah or Assad's militias. They do what Muslims do... kill and torture people. The way I see it Islamic State is a sump into which radical Sunnis can drain and die fighting radical Shia Muslims. I've got no problem with that and wish everyone would let them do their thing. Its Iran's problem!
  58. @iffen

    such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important
     
    Obviously he did not watch Charlie Wilson's War.

    Braithwaite actually mentioned that movie…he thinks it’s inaccurate, triumphalist Hollywood crap that has onley a tenuous conncetion to historical reality.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    I will take your word that it is a good book.

    Even so, weigh the impact of the movie (and like) against the impact of the book upon what is assumed to be historical reality by most Americans.
  59. @German_reader
    Braithwaite actually mentioned that movie...he thinks it's inaccurate, triumphalist Hollywood crap that has onley a tenuous conncetion to historical reality.

    I will take your word that it is a good book.

    Even so, weigh the impact of the movie (and like) against the impact of the book upon what is assumed to be historical reality by most Americans.

    Read More
  60. @Anatoly Karlin

    In other words, a total shitshow that will never happen.
     
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/europe/russia/prelude-war-russia-united-states/

    ... Both diplomatic representatives were quick to reassure the world that they were not at cross-purposes in Syria, but their actions tell another story. Washington is faced with a terrible choice: Withdraw unceremoniously and invite further Russian aggression or deter Moscow’s military activities abroad through the credible threat of force. The Pentagon is preparing for the latter course.

    On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was readying a set of options for the president should he choose to protect Washington-supported rebel groups on the ground in Syria from air attack by Russian forces. The details of such a plan remain a secret, but they would necessarily include putting U.S. air assets in close proximity to Russian forces, triggering an international incident with the expectation – or perhaps the hope – that Russia would climb down from the crisis it has ignited. “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the administration would like to avoid,” Fox News reported.
     

    These people are insane, really. To precipitate WWIII because you want to protect some Muslim terrorists.

    What’s scary they will find plenty of Pentagon generals who approve of the plan. Congressional okay isn’t even a question when you have lunatics like McCain. Grahm, McConnell in charge.

    Read More
  61. @KA
    From Jerusalem Post
    Dec 2014


    Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian
    rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.


    "The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not

    appear to be injured."

    At one point, a small tent city was erected around 300 meters away from the Israeli sector for about 70 families of Syrian deserters, the report said.



    http://m.jpost.com/Middle-East/New-UN-report-reveals-collaboration-between-Israel-and-Syrian-rebels-383926#article=0RTIyNjYxQTE5NEUyQ0QxOTI4RUQ0ODZGODA4MUJEM0Q=


    How is Israel going to swallow the new alchemy? It can't.
    So the beltway boy in Fox are freaking out .
    It can be compared as if Russia ,Iran,China suddenly had showed up on Feb 2003 and asked America return home .

    Why should it be surprising that Israel is willing to work with Syrian rebels? Israel’s main concern is Hezbollah/Iran and seeing to it that they do not run Syria. Ditto Turkey and the Gulf States. I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren’t much different than Hezbollah or Assad’s militias. They do what Muslims do… kill and torture people. The way I see it Islamic State is a sump into which radical Sunnis can drain and die fighting radical Shia Muslims. I’ve got no problem with that and wish everyone would let them do their thing. Its Iran’s problem!

    Read More
    • Replies: @KA
    "They are not that different from Hizbullah or Assad's militia"

    So why is Assad fighting with them? Why is Hizbullah fighting against ISIS?
    Why is Russia fighting ISIS?Why Europe supports Hizbullah? Why not Israel supporting Hizbullah?
    Brutal behavior of Zionist is so common ,it doesn't elicit any more reaction from the dumbed and numbed Hibullah hater.
    Hizbullah is a great defense organization against Israel. It got Israel out of S Lebanon.
    Hopefully it will do better in future .

    , @Bliss

    I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren’t much different than Hezbollah or Assad’s militias.
     
    The big difference between the Baathist regime of Assad and the Islamic State, al-Nusra et al is that the Baathists are secular (like America) while the latter are ruthlessly intolerant salafi fanatics. Assad's army includes sunnis, shias, alawis, druze....and christians.

    Putin can rightly promote himself as the Saviour of the christians of Syria. By saving the Assad regime he is saving the christians of Syria. It should be clear who is occupying the moral high ground.

    It is worth noting here that the Baath Party was founded by a christian Syrian.

    By the way, the Kurds in the north are also secularists. Since secularism is a founding principle of the American Republic shouldn't America be throwing it's weight behind the secularists instead of the saudi backed salafis hell bent on imposing Sharia on Syria?
  62. @unit472
    Why should it be surprising that Israel is willing to work with Syrian rebels? Israel's main concern is Hezbollah/Iran and seeing to it that they do not run Syria. Ditto Turkey and the Gulf States. I really don't see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren't much different than Hezbollah or Assad's militias. They do what Muslims do... kill and torture people. The way I see it Islamic State is a sump into which radical Sunnis can drain and die fighting radical Shia Muslims. I've got no problem with that and wish everyone would let them do their thing. Its Iran's problem!

    “They are not that different from Hizbullah or Assad’s militia”

    So why is Assad fighting with them? Why is Hizbullah fighting against ISIS?
    Why is Russia fighting ISIS?Why Europe supports Hizbullah? Why not Israel supporting Hizbullah?
    Brutal behavior of Zionist is so common ,it doesn’t elicit any more reaction from the dumbed and numbed Hibullah hater.
    Hizbullah is a great defense organization against Israel. It got Israel out of S Lebanon.
    Hopefully it will do better in future .

    Read More
  63. Russians don’t take a dump without a plan. The plan has to be supported by rules and a committee to draft the rules, another committee to review the rules and a third committee to revise the reviewed rules and forth committee to update the rules.

    With more dissent and no fixed rules and no plan the US is going for infinity.
    Thing that got me was not her list of things she hated, since she was obviously crazy as a Cyborg, but fact that always somebody agreed with her prohibitions. Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: “Please pass this so that I won’t be able to do something I know I should stop.” Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them “for their own good” — not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.

    You got another thing comin’!

    Read More
  64. To date 5% of the Russian attacks have been on Islamic State and Al-Nusra (ie the Jihadists). I know the Frogfoot is referred to as tank-like but it is a plane and unlike a T-72B or can fly to anywhere in Syria and this idea that Russia has to attack only these critical areas (which sounds like Assad is close to defeat despite his supposed support by most of the population and his bloody great army so keen to fight) is silly. All this is to be explained by the ‘critical’ opposition being a minority of Jihadi fanatics who can get by without proper heavy weapons (the free Syrian Army have homemade cannons only) and are not stopped by BM-30 Smerch bombardments like this.

    I think it is more likely that to the extent the FRA actually have been able to put pressure on Assad it is because the FSA can draw on a much larger population for recruits. Frankly the FSA represent the majority and that is why Assad can’t destroy them himself. He has tried to use IS to weaken his enemies. Now he is using Russia. he is a dead duck who will never control more that a rump ste and russia should cut its losses and tell him to come to a settlement.

    “Once again I urge people to familiarize themselves with a map of the Syrian conflict (e.g. here). All of Assad’s most critical fronts – the big region between Aleppo and Latakia, and the pockets around Homs and Damascus – are FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda. So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities, including its capital and the Alawite heartlands (where Russia’s airbases happen to be located), focusing on the Islamic State would be sheer military folly.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602

    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    “Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,” a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State’s fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    “The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria,” a military source said.

    Syrian air force continued an escalation in bombing on Monday, assisting an Islamic State offensive on rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in northern Syria.

    The Local Coordination Committees reported confirmation of 83 deaths across the country, with 35 of them in Aleppo Province and 25 in Idlib Province.

    Significantly, most of the Aleppo deaths were from regime strikes on Mare’ and Tel Rifaat, where rebels are trying to hold back the Islamic State offensive that surged over the weekend.

    http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-in-syria-kobani-stood-up-to-the-jihadists-and-won-but-its-still-a-city-under-siege/

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-states-gains-reveal-new-prowess-on-battlefield-1432592298 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN0OJ0RA20150603

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914

    Islamic State moved its best fighters from Aleppo (the Syrian Stalingrad) and took Ramadi in (Iraq). Then having humiliated the US trained Iraqi elite Golden Division, IS’s focus moved back into Syria, where they attacked Hasaka and Assad’s forces collapsed. But IS got hammered by US airpower which is backing the Kurds, who ended up with almost total control of Hasaka. Finally, Assad apparently facilitated Islamic State gains north of Aleppo against rival insurgents. IS has achieved hardy any crucial gains against Assad’s heartland and short lived gains in Hasaka occurred mainly because Assad’s troops didn’t really fight. IS’s only reverse at Hasaka was at the hands of the Kurds, the US proxy that the superpower’s actully giving real backing (with air strikes).

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914
    HASAKA had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June.Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city’s defense to Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka. The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    The FSA only exists in expensive hotels on western-funded junkets outside of Syria.
    , @KA
    Can ypu,ease next time refer to a report , could you please tell us that the source is American government.

    It helps.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602

    U.S. accuses Syria of backing Islamic State's Aleppo advance


    The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.

    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    "Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL's advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population," a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State's fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    "The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria," a military source said.

    The United States suspended operations in its embassy in Damascus in 2012 but still publishes messages on the embassy Twitter feed.

    The account said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had long lost legitimacy and "will never be an effective counterterrorism partner."

    Assad and Syrian officials have frequently called for international cooperation to fight jihadists in Syria. Damascus has described all insurgents fighting against it as foreign-backed "terrorist organizations."

    State news agency SANA said on Tuesday the military had "eliminated" a number of Islamic State fighters in the Aleppo countryside and that air strikes had destroyed some of the group's vehicles.

    But the U.S. Twitter feed said Damascus had a hand in promoting Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has seized land in Syria and Iraq.

    "With these latest reports, (the military) is not only avoiding ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their position," it said. Syria has accused its regional enemies of backing hardline insurgent groups.

    The Syrian military has carried out recent air bombardments in the province, including inside Aleppo city and on the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab to the northeast, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

    Some rebels have questioned why U.S.-led forces bombing Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have not focused on bombing the jihadists around Aleppo city.

    In rebel-held Aleppo, a local council that helps run civilian affairs called on fighters to be ready for battle with Islamic State, the Observatory said on Tuesday, citing a statement.

    It called on "all mujahideen" to respond to Islamic State fighters which it said were receiving "air cover from the regime."

    (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans)
    -
    , @KA
    Can ypu,ease next time refer to a report , could you please tell us that the source is American government.

    It helps. Also can you p,ease repeat the fact that Observatory is the UK based UK managed USA political front for FSA .


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602

    U.S. accuses Syria of backing Islamic State's Aleppo advance


    The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.

    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    "Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL's advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population," a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State's fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    "The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria," a military source said.

    The United States suspended operations in its embassy in Damascus in 2012 but still publishes messages on the embassy Twitter feed.

    The account said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had long lost legitimacy and "will never be an effective counterterrorism partner."

    Assad and Syrian officials have frequently called for international cooperation to fight jihadists in Syria. Damascus has described all insurgents fighting against it as foreign-backed "terrorist organizations."

    State news agency SANA said on Tuesday the military had "eliminated" a number of Islamic State fighters in the Aleppo countryside and that air strikes had destroyed some of the group's vehicles.

    But the U.S. Twitter feed said Damascus had a hand in promoting Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has seized land in Syria and Iraq.

    "With these latest reports, (the military) is not only avoiding ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their position," it said. Syria has accused its regional enemies of backing hardline insurgent groups.

    The Syrian military has carried out recent air bombardments in the province, including inside Aleppo city and on the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab to the northeast, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

    Some rebels have questioned why U.S.-led forces bombing Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have not focused on bombing the jihadists around Aleppo city.

    In rebel-held Aleppo, a local council that helps run civilian affairs called on fighters to be ready for battle with Islamic State, the Observatory said on Tuesday, citing a statement.

    It called on "all mujahideen" to respond to Islamic State fighters which it said were receiving "air cover from the regime."

    (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans)
    -
  65. @Anatoly Karlin

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this? ... and that Soviet “defeat” there wasn’t remotely as bad as what the US suffered in Vietnam.
     
    I agree with that.

    Even militarily, the USSR suffered 4 times fewer casualties than the Americans. In any case withdrawal from Afghanistan preceded the USSR's legitimacy crisis.

    I have read a lot of stuff on the Soviet collapse. It is very contradictory, no real consensus as to why it really happened or whether it was inevitable. My own opinion is that contemporaneous economic and political reform was what did it in; the first should have been pursued well before the latter. (The transition from central planning to markets would always have been a very rocky, chaotic process - much more difficult than in China, because the USSR was far more industrialized). That appears to have been Andropov's plan, but he died too soon.

    For many years, American fiction used the trope of Russian fifth columnists educated in Russia in those multitudinous westernized Potemkin cities planting suitcase bombs, bio weapons etc. etc. and Destroying The USA from Within.
    Same plot but Gorby is the mole not some fictional Russian. It was Gorby who destroyed the USSR, Yeltsin only destroyed Russia.

    Read More
  66. Another western propaganda B.S. to divert attention from the real criminals behind the proxy war going on Syria for over four years. In 2013, the Washington Post admitted that it’s the Jewish groups which are campaigning for a US invasion of Syria to bring a regime change in Damascus.

    Last month, the Holy Spirit struck Joe Biden, whose two children have Jewish spouses. He said: “America has no problem with a nuclear Iran. It wants a regime change in Tehran because that’s what Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and powerful Jewish lobby groups in the US want.”

    One doesn’t need a PhD to figure out that ISIS/ISIL is creation of United States to protect Israel’s interests in the region.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/09/05/joe-biden-netanyahu-wants-a-regime-change-in-tehran/

    Read More
  67. @Sean
    To date 5% of the Russian attacks have been on Islamic State and Al-Nusra (ie the Jihadists). I know the Frogfoot is referred to as tank-like but it is a plane and unlike a T-72B or can fly to anywhere in Syria and this idea that Russia has to attack only these critical areas (which sounds like Assad is close to defeat despite his supposed support by most of the population and his bloody great army so keen to fight) is silly. All this is to be explained by the 'critical' opposition being a minority of Jihadi fanatics who can get by without proper heavy weapons (the free Syrian Army have homemade cannons only) and are not stopped by BM-30 Smerch bombardments like this.

    I think it is more likely that to the extent the FRA actually have been able to put pressure on Assad it is because the FSA can draw on a much larger population for recruits. Frankly the FSA represent the majority and that is why Assad can't destroy them himself. He has tried to use IS to weaken his enemies. Now he is using Russia. he is a dead duck who will never control more that a rump ste and russia should cut its losses and tell him to come to a settlement.

    "Once again I urge people to familiarize themselves with a map of the Syrian conflict (e.g. here). All of Assad’s most critical fronts – the big region between Aleppo and Latakia, and the pockets around Homs and Damascus – are FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda. So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities, including its capital and the Alawite heartlands (where Russia’s airbases happen to be located), focusing on the Islamic State would be sheer military folly."

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602
    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    "Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL's advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population," a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State's fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    "The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria," a military source said.
     


    Syrian air force continued an escalation in bombing on Monday, assisting an Islamic State offensive on rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in northern Syria.

    The Local Coordination Committees reported confirmation of 83 deaths across the country, with 35 of them in Aleppo Province and 25 in Idlib Province.

    Significantly, most of the Aleppo deaths were from regime strikes on Mare’ and Tel Rifaat, where rebels are trying to hold back the Islamic State offensive that surged over the weekend.
     

    http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-in-syria-kobani-stood-up-to-the-jihadists-and-won-but-its-still-a-city-under-siege/

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-states-gains-reveal-new-prowess-on-battlefield-1432592298 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN0OJ0RA20150603

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914

    Islamic State moved its best fighters from Aleppo (the Syrian Stalingrad) and took Ramadi in (Iraq). Then having humiliated the US trained Iraqi elite Golden Division, IS’s focus moved back into Syria, where they attacked Hasaka and Assad’s forces collapsed. But IS got hammered by US airpower which is backing the Kurds, who ended up with almost total control of Hasaka. Finally, Assad apparently facilitated Islamic State gains north of Aleppo against rival insurgents. IS has achieved hardy any crucial gains against Assad’s heartland and short lived gains in Hasaka occurred mainly because Assad’s troops didn’t really fight. IS’s only reverse at Hasaka was at the hands of the Kurds, the US proxy that the superpower’s actully giving real backing (with air strikes).


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914
    HASAKA had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June.Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city’s defense to Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka. The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes
     

    The FSA only exists in expensive hotels on western-funded junkets outside of Syria.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Nice links to back up that trenchant analysis of why the best known FSA line commander Captain Iyad al-Deek was killed in the first airstrikes by the Russians.
  68. @anonymous coward

    “According to Islamist propaganda, which neocons admire greatly (at least so long as it is aimed against Russia), this provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    Somewhat off-topic, but is there actually any truth to this?
     
    No truth at all. The Soviet Union collapsed due to a) nationalism and b) religion.

    There was a bloody war between Azerbaijan and Armenia (two Soviet republics) in 1988. The Russian Orthodox Church was legalized in 1988. By 1990 Tajikistan had an Islamist political party. In 1987 Estonia had a separatist movement. (Spearheaded by the Greens.)

    Etc., etc.

    All these events happened well before the Soviet Union collapsed.

    Point is, by (roughly) 1987 it was obvious to everyone that the communist pseudo-religious leftist creed had failed. Theoretically, it could have been possible to preserve the USSR without the CPSU, but in practice the banning of CPSU collapsed all of the Soviet bureaucracy with it, along with the economy. (This was by design; the government of USSR was designed to function only under the CPSU.)

    Economic collapse leading to loss of legitimacy and the under appreciated importance of the rise in nationalism in the various republics are the two key causes. Socialist environmental degradation is another factor greens like to ignore.

    Read More
  69. @5371
    The FSA only exists in expensive hotels on western-funded junkets outside of Syria.

    Nice links to back up that trenchant analysis of why the best known FSA line commander Captain Iyad al-Deek was killed in the first airstrikes by the Russians.

    Read More
  70. Lots of people here, including possibly the article author, have missed a key point about Ukraine / Novorussia, and that’s the fact that Russia has never had any plans to take over that territory and absorb it into Russia. In fact, Russia has stated from day 1 that they wanted the contested areas of East Ukraine to remain inside Ukraine. I think everyone is so used to the kind of propaganda we get from our own governments that we all went “ya right” in response to this, but I believe Russia is and was telling the simple truth.

    This is because Russia does not want to lose Ukraine to American interests and suddenly have an American puppet state right on it’s border brimming with American military bases, American missile, nukes, etc.

    Russia would far prefer to keep Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence, and East Ukraine is the key to this. By keeping East Ukraine inside the Ukraine, and by keeping Ukraine a bi-lingual (Russian / Ukrainian) state, and keeping a healthy does of Russian media and Russian influence coming in, it effectively prevents the above scenario from taking place.

    That’s why the Ukrainian Nazis want to purge / genocide all the Russian speaking people out of their country. Of course this is impractical and idiotic, and Russia would never allow it.

    I believe that Putin’s “long game” on Ukraine is for the American puppet / Nazi government to crumble in on itself, and then have the country return to a unified federalist government system that includes East Ukraine and protects the rights of Russian speaking people constitutionally. Ukraine then goes back to the way it essentially always was, under the Russian sphere of influence, except that one of the best parts of the country, Crimea, is now owned by Russia, and it makes the Americans look like the clowns that they are.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean

    Russia does not want to lose Ukraine to American interests and suddenly have an American puppet state right on it’s border brimming with American military bases, American missile, nukes,
     
    Er, the Ukrainians had nukes on their territory from day one. If they had taken Professor Mearsheimer's advice and kept their nuclear weapons they would not be in the soup right now.

    http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/should-ukraine-have-gotten-rid-its-nukes/
    With Russian troops now occupying Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Kiev's beleagered interim leaders may be thinking twice about their nation's 1994 decision to abandon nuclear weapons.

    The East European country actually held the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But Kiev in 1994 agreed to transfer all its atomic arms to Russia for elimination, shortly thereafter joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear nation, and within two years was weapons-free.

    At the time, John Mearsheimer was one of very few who saw it as an unwise move.

    "As soon as it declared independence, Ukraine should have been quietly encouraged to fashion its own nuclear deterrent," the University of Chicago scholar wrote in a 1993 Foreign Policy piece. "A nuclear Ukraine ... is imperative to maintain peace between Ukraine and Russia. ... Ukraine cannot defend itself against a nuclear-armed Russia with conventional weapons, and no state, including the United States, is going to extend to it a meaningful security guarantee."
     

    , @Glossy
    Most of what you say is correct. The US government, through its Kiev puppets, has rejected the federal solution that Putin has proposed. Putin may be hoping that the neocons will reconsider the federal solution if things go well for Russia on the other fronts of Cold War II, in exchange for something else. Regardless of whether or not that happens, he will not give Novorossiya back to the junta. Novorossiya will either continue to be an unrecognized state under Russian influence or it will become a part of federalized Ukraine, which would be divided into the Russian and US spheres of influence. I think that the former is more likely.
  71. @Greg S.
    Lots of people here, including possibly the article author, have missed a key point about Ukraine / Novorussia, and that's the fact that Russia has never had any plans to take over that territory and absorb it into Russia. In fact, Russia has stated from day 1 that they wanted the contested areas of East Ukraine to remain inside Ukraine. I think everyone is so used to the kind of propaganda we get from our own governments that we all went "ya right" in response to this, but I believe Russia is and was telling the simple truth.

    This is because Russia does not want to lose Ukraine to American interests and suddenly have an American puppet state right on it's border brimming with American military bases, American missile, nukes, etc.

    Russia would far prefer to keep Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence, and East Ukraine is the key to this. By keeping East Ukraine inside the Ukraine, and by keeping Ukraine a bi-lingual (Russian / Ukrainian) state, and keeping a healthy does of Russian media and Russian influence coming in, it effectively prevents the above scenario from taking place.

    That's why the Ukrainian Nazis want to purge / genocide all the Russian speaking people out of their country. Of course this is impractical and idiotic, and Russia would never allow it.

    I believe that Putin's "long game" on Ukraine is for the American puppet / Nazi government to crumble in on itself, and then have the country return to a unified federalist government system that includes East Ukraine and protects the rights of Russian speaking people constitutionally. Ukraine then goes back to the way it essentially always was, under the Russian sphere of influence, except that one of the best parts of the country, Crimea, is now owned by Russia, and it makes the Americans look like the clowns that they are.

    Russia does not want to lose Ukraine to American interests and suddenly have an American puppet state right on it’s border brimming with American military bases, American missile, nukes,

    Er, the Ukrainians had nukes on their territory from day one. If they had taken Professor Mearsheimer’s advice and kept their nuclear weapons they would not be in the soup right now.

    http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/should-ukraine-have-gotten-rid-its-nukes/
    With Russian troops now occupying Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Kiev’s beleagered interim leaders may be thinking twice about their nation’s 1994 decision to abandon nuclear weapons.

    The East European country actually held the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But Kiev in 1994 agreed to transfer all its atomic arms to Russia for elimination, shortly thereafter joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear nation, and within two years was weapons-free.

    At the time, John Mearsheimer was one of very few who saw it as an unwise move.

    “As soon as it declared independence, Ukraine should have been quietly encouraged to fashion its own nuclear deterrent,” the University of Chicago scholar wrote in a 1993 Foreign Policy piece. “A nuclear Ukraine … is imperative to maintain peace between Ukraine and Russia. … Ukraine cannot defend itself against a nuclear-armed Russia with conventional weapons, and no state, including the United States, is going to extend to it a meaningful security guarantee.”

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  72. @Sean
    To date 5% of the Russian attacks have been on Islamic State and Al-Nusra (ie the Jihadists). I know the Frogfoot is referred to as tank-like but it is a plane and unlike a T-72B or can fly to anywhere in Syria and this idea that Russia has to attack only these critical areas (which sounds like Assad is close to defeat despite his supposed support by most of the population and his bloody great army so keen to fight) is silly. All this is to be explained by the 'critical' opposition being a minority of Jihadi fanatics who can get by without proper heavy weapons (the free Syrian Army have homemade cannons only) and are not stopped by BM-30 Smerch bombardments like this.

    I think it is more likely that to the extent the FRA actually have been able to put pressure on Assad it is because the FSA can draw on a much larger population for recruits. Frankly the FSA represent the majority and that is why Assad can't destroy them himself. He has tried to use IS to weaken his enemies. Now he is using Russia. he is a dead duck who will never control more that a rump ste and russia should cut its losses and tell him to come to a settlement.

    "Once again I urge people to familiarize themselves with a map of the Syrian conflict (e.g. here). All of Assad’s most critical fronts – the big region between Aleppo and Latakia, and the pockets around Homs and Damascus – are FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda. So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities, including its capital and the Alawite heartlands (where Russia’s airbases happen to be located), focusing on the Islamic State would be sheer military folly."

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602
    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    "Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL's advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population," a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State's fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    "The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria," a military source said.
     


    Syrian air force continued an escalation in bombing on Monday, assisting an Islamic State offensive on rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in northern Syria.

    The Local Coordination Committees reported confirmation of 83 deaths across the country, with 35 of them in Aleppo Province and 25 in Idlib Province.

    Significantly, most of the Aleppo deaths were from regime strikes on Mare’ and Tel Rifaat, where rebels are trying to hold back the Islamic State offensive that surged over the weekend.
     

    http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-in-syria-kobani-stood-up-to-the-jihadists-and-won-but-its-still-a-city-under-siege/

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-states-gains-reveal-new-prowess-on-battlefield-1432592298 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN0OJ0RA20150603

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914

    Islamic State moved its best fighters from Aleppo (the Syrian Stalingrad) and took Ramadi in (Iraq). Then having humiliated the US trained Iraqi elite Golden Division, IS’s focus moved back into Syria, where they attacked Hasaka and Assad’s forces collapsed. But IS got hammered by US airpower which is backing the Kurds, who ended up with almost total control of Hasaka. Finally, Assad apparently facilitated Islamic State gains north of Aleppo against rival insurgents. IS has achieved hardy any crucial gains against Assad’s heartland and short lived gains in Hasaka occurred mainly because Assad’s troops didn’t really fight. IS’s only reverse at Hasaka was at the hands of the Kurds, the US proxy that the superpower’s actully giving real backing (with air strikes).


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914
    HASAKA had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June.Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city’s defense to Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka. The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes
     

    Can ypu,ease next time refer to a report , could you please tell us that the source is American government.

    It helps.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602

    U.S. accuses Syria of backing Islamic State’s Aleppo advance

    The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.

    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    “Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,” a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State’s fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    “The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria,” a military source said.

    The United States suspended operations in its embassy in Damascus in 2012 but still publishes messages on the embassy Twitter feed.

    The account said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had long lost legitimacy and “will never be an effective counterterrorism partner.”

    Assad and Syrian officials have frequently called for international cooperation to fight jihadists in Syria. Damascus has described all insurgents fighting against it as foreign-backed “terrorist organizations.”

    State news agency SANA said on Tuesday the military had “eliminated” a number of Islamic State fighters in the Aleppo countryside and that air strikes had destroyed some of the group’s vehicles.

    But the U.S. Twitter feed said Damascus had a hand in promoting Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has seized land in Syria and Iraq.

    “With these latest reports, (the military) is not only avoiding ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their position,” it said. Syria has accused its regional enemies of backing hardline insurgent groups.

    The Syrian military has carried out recent air bombardments in the province, including inside Aleppo city and on the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab to the northeast, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

    Some rebels have questioned why U.S.-led forces bombing Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have not focused on bombing the jihadists around Aleppo city.

    In rebel-held Aleppo, a local council that helps run civilian affairs called on fighters to be ready for battle with Islamic State, the Observatory said on Tuesday, citing a statement.

    It called on “all mujahideen” to respond to Islamic State fighters which it said were receiving “air cover from the regime.”

    (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans)
    -

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  73. @Sean
    To date 5% of the Russian attacks have been on Islamic State and Al-Nusra (ie the Jihadists). I know the Frogfoot is referred to as tank-like but it is a plane and unlike a T-72B or can fly to anywhere in Syria and this idea that Russia has to attack only these critical areas (which sounds like Assad is close to defeat despite his supposed support by most of the population and his bloody great army so keen to fight) is silly. All this is to be explained by the 'critical' opposition being a minority of Jihadi fanatics who can get by without proper heavy weapons (the free Syrian Army have homemade cannons only) and are not stopped by BM-30 Smerch bombardments like this.

    I think it is more likely that to the extent the FRA actually have been able to put pressure on Assad it is because the FSA can draw on a much larger population for recruits. Frankly the FSA represent the majority and that is why Assad can't destroy them himself. He has tried to use IS to weaken his enemies. Now he is using Russia. he is a dead duck who will never control more that a rump ste and russia should cut its losses and tell him to come to a settlement.

    "Once again I urge people to familiarize themselves with a map of the Syrian conflict (e.g. here). All of Assad’s most critical fronts – the big region between Aleppo and Latakia, and the pockets around Homs and Damascus – are FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda. So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities, including its capital and the Alawite heartlands (where Russia’s airbases happen to be located), focusing on the Islamic State would be sheer military folly."

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602
    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    "Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL's advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population," a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State's fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    "The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria," a military source said.
     


    Syrian air force continued an escalation in bombing on Monday, assisting an Islamic State offensive on rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in northern Syria.

    The Local Coordination Committees reported confirmation of 83 deaths across the country, with 35 of them in Aleppo Province and 25 in Idlib Province.

    Significantly, most of the Aleppo deaths were from regime strikes on Mare’ and Tel Rifaat, where rebels are trying to hold back the Islamic State offensive that surged over the weekend.
     

    http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-in-syria-kobani-stood-up-to-the-jihadists-and-won-but-its-still-a-city-under-siege/

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-states-gains-reveal-new-prowess-on-battlefield-1432592298 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN0OJ0RA20150603

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914

    Islamic State moved its best fighters from Aleppo (the Syrian Stalingrad) and took Ramadi in (Iraq). Then having humiliated the US trained Iraqi elite Golden Division, IS’s focus moved back into Syria, where they attacked Hasaka and Assad’s forces collapsed. But IS got hammered by US airpower which is backing the Kurds, who ended up with almost total control of Hasaka. Finally, Assad apparently facilitated Islamic State gains north of Aleppo against rival insurgents. IS has achieved hardy any crucial gains against Assad’s heartland and short lived gains in Hasaka occurred mainly because Assad’s troops didn’t really fight. IS’s only reverse at Hasaka was at the hands of the Kurds, the US proxy that the superpower’s actully giving real backing (with air strikes).


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914
    HASAKA had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June.Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city’s defense to Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka. The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes
     

    Can ypu,ease next time refer to a report , could you please tell us that the source is American government.

    It helps. Also can you p,ease repeat the fact that Observatory is the UK based UK managed USA political front for FSA .

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN0OI13D20150602

    U.S. accuses Syria of backing Islamic State’s Aleppo advance

    The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.

    Islamic State fighters pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

    Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they were worried Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis.

    “Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,” a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said late on Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    Syrian officials have previously dismissed as nonsense allegations by Washington and Syrian opposition activists that the Syrian military has helped Islamic State’s fight against rival Syrian insurgent forces.

    “The Syrian army is fighting Islamic State in all areas where it is present in Syria,” a military source said.

    The United States suspended operations in its embassy in Damascus in 2012 but still publishes messages on the embassy Twitter feed.

    The account said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had long lost legitimacy and “will never be an effective counterterrorism partner.”

    Assad and Syrian officials have frequently called for international cooperation to fight jihadists in Syria. Damascus has described all insurgents fighting against it as foreign-backed “terrorist organizations.”

    State news agency SANA said on Tuesday the military had “eliminated” a number of Islamic State fighters in the Aleppo countryside and that air strikes had destroyed some of the group’s vehicles.

    But the U.S. Twitter feed said Damascus had a hand in promoting Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has seized land in Syria and Iraq.

    “With these latest reports, (the military) is not only avoiding ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their position,” it said. Syria has accused its regional enemies of backing hardline insurgent groups.

    The Syrian military has carried out recent air bombardments in the province, including inside Aleppo city and on the Islamic State-held town of al-Bab to the northeast, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

    Some rebels have questioned why U.S.-led forces bombing Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have not focused on bombing the jihadists around Aleppo city.

    In rebel-held Aleppo, a local council that helps run civilian affairs called on fighters to be ready for battle with Islamic State, the Observatory said on Tuesday, citing a statement.

    It called on “all mujahideen” to respond to Islamic State fighters which it said were receiving “air cover from the regime.”

    (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans)
    -

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  74. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    And another potential advantage (though one I expect absolutely no-one will exploit) is that observing the fighting in Syria will serve to better demonstrate what real Russian combined arms warfare actually looks like in practice.

    I would be very interested in seeing how those S300s and the small number of Su-30s they have there handle an incursion by NATO aircraft.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    Actually, those are Su-30SMs it seems. It could be really interesting to see them in real action.
    , @anonymous
    Please reference the USS Donald Cook. 27 crew members of the Donald Cook asked to be relived of active service after the ship was buzzed by a Russian Su-24 on April 12, 2014.
  75. @unit472
    Why should it be surprising that Israel is willing to work with Syrian rebels? Israel's main concern is Hezbollah/Iran and seeing to it that they do not run Syria. Ditto Turkey and the Gulf States. I really don't see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren't much different than Hezbollah or Assad's militias. They do what Muslims do... kill and torture people. The way I see it Islamic State is a sump into which radical Sunnis can drain and die fighting radical Shia Muslims. I've got no problem with that and wish everyone would let them do their thing. Its Iran's problem!

    I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren’t much different than Hezbollah or Assad’s militias.

    The big difference between the Baathist regime of Assad and the Islamic State, al-Nusra et al is that the Baathists are secular (like America) while the latter are ruthlessly intolerant salafi fanatics. Assad’s army includes sunnis, shias, alawis, druze….and christians.

    Putin can rightly promote himself as the Saviour of the christians of Syria. By saving the Assad regime he is saving the christians of Syria. It should be clear who is occupying the moral high ground.

    It is worth noting here that the Baath Party was founded by a christian Syrian.

    By the way, the Kurds in the north are also secularists. Since secularism is a founding principle of the American Republic shouldn’t America be throwing it’s weight behind the secularists instead of the saudi backed salafis hell bent on imposing Sharia on Syria?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    please throw your logic out of the window. usa wants assad gone, who cares if we have to ally with AQ who we started 2 wars trying to get rid of.

    who cares if assad was elected by 80% of the votes. we want him gone. so he must go.

    , @Ace
    America wasn't founded as a secular country; the Congress was merely prevented from establishing a religion. States were not thus constrained and some did have established churches.

    But any secular regime is better than a Muslim one.

  76. @Bliss

    I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren’t much different than Hezbollah or Assad’s militias.
     
    The big difference between the Baathist regime of Assad and the Islamic State, al-Nusra et al is that the Baathists are secular (like America) while the latter are ruthlessly intolerant salafi fanatics. Assad's army includes sunnis, shias, alawis, druze....and christians.

    Putin can rightly promote himself as the Saviour of the christians of Syria. By saving the Assad regime he is saving the christians of Syria. It should be clear who is occupying the moral high ground.

    It is worth noting here that the Baath Party was founded by a christian Syrian.

    By the way, the Kurds in the north are also secularists. Since secularism is a founding principle of the American Republic shouldn't America be throwing it's weight behind the secularists instead of the saudi backed salafis hell bent on imposing Sharia on Syria?

    please throw your logic out of the window. usa wants assad gone, who cares if we have to ally with AQ who we started 2 wars trying to get rid of.

    who cares if assad was elected by 80% of the votes. we want him gone. so he must go.

    Read More
  77. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @The most deplorable one

    And another potential advantage (though one I expect absolutely no-one will exploit) is that observing the fighting in Syria will serve to better demonstrate what real Russian combined arms warfare actually looks like in practice.
     
    I would be very interested in seeing how those S300s and the small number of Su-30s they have there handle an incursion by NATO aircraft.

    Actually, those are Su-30SMs it seems. It could be really interesting to see them in real action.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Eric siverson
    If you are talking about the Russian fighter plane that Russia flew at the Bangalore air show in India a few yrs ago . American pilots watching the show said ejection would be the only defense against that plane . they estimated the plane would have a greater than 10 to 1 kill ratio . in a dog fight .
  78. @Sean
    "FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda"

    Reuters (16 hours ago) Russia says U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army not a terrorist group Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and "other terrorist groups" in Syria. "We targeted ISIL-associated depots, armaments and sites," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
     
    "So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities"
    Russia is simply lying about what they are doing They Russians have killed the best known and longest standing Free Syrian Army commander in an attack in north of Homs,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15625642
    Homs, Syria's third largest city, has been a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

    It was dubbed the "capital of the revolution" after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

    However, over the past two years government forces retook most of the opposition strongholds, laying siege to districts once home to tens of thousands of people.

    After being forced into ever smaller areas, and denied access to food and medical supplies, rebel fighters finally left the Old City in May 2014 under a UN-brokered deal, bringing to an end to three years of resistance.

     

    The Russian attacks are not at points where the regime is in danger they are eliminating the remnants of the original rebels, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. There are many Islamic State training camps in the west of Syria that could be hit if the Russians were trying to weaken IS. It is perfectly plain that the Russians and Assad (who is supplying them with targeting intelligence)do not fear IS or al Nusra which are both internationally recognised as terrorist organisations getting relatively stronger, quite the opposite.

    After a two-year absence from the international stage — during which the mainstream media dispatched them to the realm of nonexistent entities — on October 1 the “moderate rebels” of Syria were back. The New York Times said so. Russian attacks were targeting moderates rather than ISIS, a man with a camera was quoted saying; and the Times story by Anne Barnard appeared to confirm his suspicion; even as a companion report on Russian actions in Syria by Helene Cooper, Michael R. Gordon, and Neil MacFarquhar revealed that these are the same moderates who were carefully vetted by the CIA, and concerning whom little was heard ever after. Their numbers are put at 3,000 to 5,000, though the Cooper-Gordon-MacFarquhar article leaves uncertain if that is their original or their present strength. This illumination, after so long a blackout, will doubtless be a subject for inquiry in coming days. Why it would seem worthwhile for the Russians to attack so small a force, neither of the Times stories bothered to say; nor did they explain why, if the moderate rebels are anti-Jihadist, they were allowed to garrison in the town of Talbiseh in a region north of Homs that (according to the veteran Middle East reporter Patrick Cockburn) has been “ruled” for the past two years “by Jabhat al-Nusra and associated extreme Islamist groups.”

    One cannot help being struck, in the Barnard story, by a disparity between the thinness of the evidence and the cocksure tone of the analysis. Consider the single piece of local testimony (generically confirmed by US sources) that is used to get us to take on trust a rebel’s characterization of himself:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/syria-the-times-and-myste_b_8236164.html

    And then Obama to Friedman” It’s always been a fantasy, this idea that we could provide some light arms, or even more sophisticated arms, to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists, and so forth, and that that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state, but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah. That was never in the cards.”

    David Bromwich.

    THERE IS NO MODERATE AMONG THE REBEL THEY DISAPPEARED THE DAY SYRIAN OFFICIALS WERE KILLED BY THE REBELS IN DARA IN 2011.

    Believing Reuter,NYT,Guardin or CNN is akin to reposing faith in the anonymous sources who are being quoted by the media when the same anonymous source from Israel Neocon,Pentagon,or Downing Street has been tutoring the media what to report. They are circling the wagon of lies to face off the reality . They won’t stop until the truth is replaced .

    Don’t they remind one of Wolfowitz quoting Mylorie who then would sing the praise of Cheney briefed by Judith Miller who has already been provided with the talking points of Wolfowitz by another scumbag by name Kristol or Krauthhammer.

    Read More
  79. Er, the Ukrainians had nukes on their territory from day one. If they had taken Professor Mearsheimer’s advice and kept their nuclear weapons they would not be in the soup right now.

    Actually, the nukes on their soil were completely useless because the PAL codes needed to arm them were back in Moscow. They had physical control, but not operational control.

    Furthermore, even if the Ukrainians had somehow obtained the codes, they didn’t have the money to maintain such a large arsenal. And refusing to give up the nukes would have meant no Western economic aid. So they really had no choice but to give them up.

    And even if Ukraine were a nuclear power in 2014, why would that have stopped Russia from annexing Crimea and supporting the Donbass rebels? Nuclear powers have fought border conflicts against each other before (USSR vs. China in 1969, and India vs. Pakistan in 1999).

    Read More
  80. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @The most deplorable one

    And another potential advantage (though one I expect absolutely no-one will exploit) is that observing the fighting in Syria will serve to better demonstrate what real Russian combined arms warfare actually looks like in practice.
     
    I would be very interested in seeing how those S300s and the small number of Su-30s they have there handle an incursion by NATO aircraft.

    Please reference the USS Donald Cook. 27 crew members of the Donald Cook asked to be relived of active service after the ship was buzzed by a Russian Su-24 on April 12, 2014.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    Personally, I think that story stinks.

    I doubt that the Su-24 has the ability to take down the systems on an Arleigh Burke destroyer.
  81. @Greg S.
    Lots of people here, including possibly the article author, have missed a key point about Ukraine / Novorussia, and that's the fact that Russia has never had any plans to take over that territory and absorb it into Russia. In fact, Russia has stated from day 1 that they wanted the contested areas of East Ukraine to remain inside Ukraine. I think everyone is so used to the kind of propaganda we get from our own governments that we all went "ya right" in response to this, but I believe Russia is and was telling the simple truth.

    This is because Russia does not want to lose Ukraine to American interests and suddenly have an American puppet state right on it's border brimming with American military bases, American missile, nukes, etc.

    Russia would far prefer to keep Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence, and East Ukraine is the key to this. By keeping East Ukraine inside the Ukraine, and by keeping Ukraine a bi-lingual (Russian / Ukrainian) state, and keeping a healthy does of Russian media and Russian influence coming in, it effectively prevents the above scenario from taking place.

    That's why the Ukrainian Nazis want to purge / genocide all the Russian speaking people out of their country. Of course this is impractical and idiotic, and Russia would never allow it.

    I believe that Putin's "long game" on Ukraine is for the American puppet / Nazi government to crumble in on itself, and then have the country return to a unified federalist government system that includes East Ukraine and protects the rights of Russian speaking people constitutionally. Ukraine then goes back to the way it essentially always was, under the Russian sphere of influence, except that one of the best parts of the country, Crimea, is now owned by Russia, and it makes the Americans look like the clowns that they are.

    Most of what you say is correct. The US government, through its Kiev puppets, has rejected the federal solution that Putin has proposed. Putin may be hoping that the neocons will reconsider the federal solution if things go well for Russia on the other fronts of Cold War II, in exchange for something else. Regardless of whether or not that happens, he will not give Novorossiya back to the junta. Novorossiya will either continue to be an unrecognized state under Russian influence or it will become a part of federalized Ukraine, which would be divided into the Russian and US spheres of influence. I think that the former is more likely.

    Read More
  82. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @anonymous
    Please reference the USS Donald Cook. 27 crew members of the Donald Cook asked to be relived of active service after the ship was buzzed by a Russian Su-24 on April 12, 2014.

    Personally, I think that story stinks.

    I doubt that the Su-24 has the ability to take down the systems on an Arleigh Burke destroyer.

    Read More
  83. @iffen

    Hollywood movies.
     
    A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments.

    “A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments.”

    Soviet documents which were later disclosed show that the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was made as early as 1985. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB272/ I saw the movie after having read the book “Charlie Wilson’s War.” (I thought Tom Hanks was totally miscast as the drug taking and alcoholic womanizer Charlie Wilson. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was terrific as Gust Avrakotos.) I just checked my copy of the book, and George Crile states at p. 420-21 that the final decision to supply the Afghan mujahadeen with Stinger missiles was not made (over very strenuous opposition) until the early part of 1986. So a strong argument can be made that our decision to supply Stingers had no bearing on the Soviet decision to withdraw.

    BTW I was living in Washington, D.C. during the 80′s, and the Washington Post was my hometown newspaper. So I was able to read periodically on the front pages of the Post updates of the so-called “secret war” we were waging in Afghanistan. (I am totally amused by the American claim that we needed to keep our support of the Afghan mujahadeen a secret from the Soviets, for fear of offending them. It just shows how stupid our American foreign policy elite is that they assume the Russians are really so stupid that they wouldn’t realize that the illiterate and backward Afghans weren’t producing those sophisticated and deadly ground to air missiles themselves.) I was busy on other matters at the time, so, even if I was better informed that most Americans, I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to Afghanistan. If anything, I thought the idea of giving a black eye to the Soviets was a pretty cool idea, as long as other people were doing the fighting and dying. What caused me to change my mind was reading on the front page of the Post about the bureaucratic struggle to supply Stinger missiles to the mujahadeen. I thought that was an insane idea since we would lose control over those missiles once we gave them to illiterate Afghan tribesmen, who could sell them to other parties who could use them to shoot down American and other airliners. I thought the risks vastly outweighed any possible benefits. So unless we did things with those missiles to reduce the risks (such as implanting chips to track their position or something similar, which couldn’t be overridden without destroying the missile), I think even now that our supplying such weapons was insane. Since the 80′s, I have completely revised my thinking about Afghanistan and have concluded that our involvement in that backward Muslim country, half a world away, was insane in all respects.

    BTW with respect to 5371′s skeptical point about Hollywood movies, I will cite only the very good movie “A Beautiful Mind,” directed by Ron Howard and starring the always good Russell Crowe. I liked the movie so much that I decided to read the book as well. Imagine my shock when I read the book and discovered that John Nash, the mathematical genius who is credited with being the inventor of game theory, did suffer from schizophrenia but the delusions he had were not about Communists as the movie portrayed but about extraterrestrials. Not that I had a lot of knowledge when it came to game theory, but, when I was watching the movie, I had a hard time grasping why the Pentagon would hire a game theorist to “crack encrypted enemy telecommunications,” as the movie portrayed it. (It turns out that he worked for the RAND corporation and never worked for the Pentagon, contrary to the movie.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)

    As the paperback says on the back cover, “‘How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?’ the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. ‘Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,’ came the answer. ‘So I took them seriously.’” That little blurb is a distillation of a quote that Nasar cites in the Prologue to the book, which says in part “‘How could you,’ began [Harvard professor George] Mackey, ‘how could you, a a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof . . . how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you . . .?’”

    I don’t recall reading any review of the movie pointing out this major discrepancy between Nash actually believing in aliens from outer space and the movie’s portrayal of him obsessed by imaginary Communists. I realize that it is often necessary to make adjustments, both minor and major, when translating a book into a movie, but that change from obsession about aliens to obsession about Communists is pretty large, even by Hollywood standards. Keep in mind that the movie was forced to invent a character who was supposed to be his imaginary Pentagon contact. One has to ask why the screen writer, Akiva Goldsman, thought it necessary to make such a drastic change in Nash’s story. The one explanation that occurred to me is Hollywood’s dicy experience and love affair with Communism. Recall that Ronald Reagan, when he was still a liberal Roosevelt Democrat and headed the Hollywood screen actors union, fought successfully against great opposition to the infiltration of Communists in Hollywood. English actress Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie in “Gone With the Wind” and was another liberal Democrat who strongly backed Reagan’s fight against Communism in Hollywood, later stated (according to a WS Journal piece in 2006) that she was still puzzled by the mystery of how so many brilliant people in Hollywood got seduced by Communism. Hollywood icon Lillian Hellman, blacklisted as a Communist, remained loyal to Stalin even after Nikita Khrushchev had denounced him in a “secret speech” at the 1956 Soviet Communist Party Congress. And, of course, those Hollywood communist sympathizers gave Ms. Hellman a standing ovation in 1977 when they also rewarded the movie based in part on her memoir, “Julia,” with an Oscar for best movie. Of course, that fraudulent liar went to that place where all good Communists go to die, Martha’s Vineyard. At the same time, Hollywood treated with disdain one of the greatest talents in movies and on Broadway, Elia Kazan, who was the director of some of the greatest movies ever made in Hollywood (e.g., On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd, Streetcar Named Desire (both on Broadway and in Hollywood)), but who was an admitted member of the Communist Party for a very short period, quickly realized his mistake and renounced the Party, named names before Congress, and as a result was never completely forgiven by Hollywood. It was only after ardent lobbying by Warren Beatty (who co-starred in “Splendor in the Grass” with Natalie Wood (who was absolutely terrific), a movie directed by Mr. Kazan) that Hollywood reluctantly decided to award Kazan a “lifetime achievement” Oscar
    in 1999. (Two pretty good directors in their own right, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, held Kazan in very high regard. Kubrick said of Kazan: “without question, the best director we have in America, [and] capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses.”)

    Anyway, the reason I came up with to explain Hollywood’s change from Nash’s obsession with extraterrestrials to Communists is that it was part of Hollywood’s continuing education program to brainwash Americans to believing that our obsession with Communism was not because of a real threat posed by the Communist Soviet Union but rather a product of temporary insanity, completely ignoring the reality of what Communist control of Russia and East European countries had produced and what the Communist movement was actively trying to produce in other countries around the world. Since most Americans get their somewhat limited knowledge of history these days from the movies, it is no wonder that Hollywood tweaked the truth in A Beautiful Mind and made Nash’s crazed obsession about “non-existent Communists” rather than extraterrestrials.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Thanks for the comment.

    I am not one who expects the movie to be like the book so I don't get upset when the movie people change things around.

    I am skeptical of your reasoning explaining the changes in A Beautiful Mind.

    Interesting that you mention the risks involved in providing ground-to-air missiles to less than competent minions. I guess these items were not in the tons of military equipment left behind in Iraq and increasing available to all concerned. No doubt some of the conspiracy minded can come up with an explanation that says that was the plan all along.
    , @Ace
    An interesting comment! I did not know that about Beatty. Good for him.

    Another such movie was "Sum of All Fears." Arab terrorist were turned into neo-Nazis in the movie.

    Hollywood (and all the media) would rather choke that tell the truth about Islam. Dragging in Nazis serves to advance fundamental interests of the left:

    1. Never allow the crimes of communism any air time. Keep the focus only on the Holocaust which was only 6/100ths as deadly as communist crimes.

    2. Distort at all costs the true nature of National Socialism as a radical leftist movement. To that end, brand NS as "right-wing" to smear constitutional conservatives and traditionalists also on the right.

    3. Conceal the extent of communist penetration of the US government and US society which continues today. Hence the unseemly effort to smear Diana West and her latest book. And hence the absence of media outrage that Obama started his political career in the living room of two communist terrorists.

    4. To a lesser extent, conceal the heavy over-representation of Jews in American communism and first 20 years of the Bolsheviks Revolution.

    5. Use NS as a tool to discredit "nationalism" so as to conceal the anti-democratic nature of the EU which is "solving" the "problem" of nationalism. And "solving" the "problem" of the European peoples.

    The deflection from Muslims in SOAF also serves to advance the Red-Green alliance of which Jim Simpson has written.
  84. Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-middle-east-would-be-better-off-with-saddam-gaddafi_56116b78e4b0768127025efd

    Donald Trump said Sunday that the Middle East would be more stable if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.

    Trump suggested that ousting Syrian president Bashar Assad would yield a “mess” similar to the ones in Iraq and Libya.

    Trump also doubled down on comments he made earlier in the week hailing Russian president Vladimir Putin’s initiation of airstrikes in Syria as a “wonderful thing” that will help the U.S. in its fight against the Islamic State.

    Huffington Post is a very liberal site that has put all news about Trump in it’s Entertainment section deeming him a joke, yet amazingly the commenters cannot help agreeing with him.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    "Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself"

    I will say up front that I in no way anticipated the Donald Trump phenomenon. If you had asked me in the early spring, I would have predicted, just as I correctly predicted in the 2012 cycle, that there was no way he would run for President. Having said that, the first thing that got my attention, after his surprise announcement (at least to me) that he was running after all, was his startling claim that John McCain was no war hero, something I had concluded back in 2000 when he was first running for President. That went so contrary to conventional thinking that it just grabbed my attention.

    My initial surprise that he was running was soon replaced by total astonishment at Trump's performance. It should be kept in mind that any presidential candidate has a difficult path to follow, especially if you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Witness Mitt Romney's performance in 2008 and 2012. Whenever he attempted to take a position that could be interpreted as slightly dovish, he got slammed by those right wing-bat warriors John McCain (in 2008) and Ms, Lindsey Graham (in 2012). In 2008, he expressed slight reservations about "the Surge" in Iraq and got hammered by McCain in South Carolina ("the Surge IS working, Gov. Romney"), and when he expressed reservations about Afghanistan in the 2012 campaign, he got hammered by Graham. As I posted in February 2012 on TAC, " Look at the flack Romney received back in June when he stated during one of the debates that the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting Afghanistan’s “war of independence” for the Afghans. Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked him for his “isolationism.” " Now, in my opinion, Romney might have gained considerable stature if he had chosen to stand tall in the face of those utterly irresponsible attacks and not backed down, but it is easy for me to say since I wasn't the candidate on the firing line. As Disraeli once said about pursuit of higher office, "it's a slippery pole." In other words, Trump has to be extremely careful in stating his foreign policy positions if he is to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Without the nomination, Trump is nothing but a footnote.

    Now let's look at Trump's positions thus far in the current campaign:

    1. He volunteered (i.e., not in response to a specific question) at the first debate that he was opposed to the Iraq War as early as July 2004 (about a year and 4 months after it started). Compare that position with that taken by virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul. Hell, it took Jeb!!! nearly a week to state, finally, that the Iraq War was a bad idea.

    2. Even though he has made a lot of noise re the deal with Iran, he has stated that, as President, he would comply with that agreement. Contrast that position with virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul.

    3. He has stated that he welcomed the Russians involvement in Syria and their intention to take on ISIS. Compare that position with virtually every other Republican candidate.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump's positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.
  85. @tbraton
    "A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments."

    Soviet documents which were later disclosed show that the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was made as early as 1985. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB272/ I saw the movie after having read the book "Charlie Wilson's War." (I thought Tom Hanks was totally miscast as the drug taking and alcoholic womanizer Charlie Wilson. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was terrific as Gust Avrakotos.) I just checked my copy of the book, and George Crile states at p. 420-21 that the final decision to supply the Afghan mujahadeen with Stinger missiles was not made (over very strenuous opposition) until the early part of 1986. So a strong argument can be made that our decision to supply Stingers had no bearing on the Soviet decision to withdraw.

    BTW I was living in Washington, D.C. during the 80's, and the Washington Post was my hometown newspaper. So I was able to read periodically on the front pages of the Post updates of the so-called "secret war" we were waging in Afghanistan. (I am totally amused by the American claim that we needed to keep our support of the Afghan mujahadeen a secret from the Soviets, for fear of offending them. It just shows how stupid our American foreign policy elite is that they assume the Russians are really so stupid that they wouldn't realize that the illiterate and backward Afghans weren't producing those sophisticated and deadly ground to air missiles themselves.) I was busy on other matters at the time, so, even if I was better informed that most Americans, I didn't give a whole lot of thought to Afghanistan. If anything, I thought the idea of giving a black eye to the Soviets was a pretty cool idea, as long as other people were doing the fighting and dying. What caused me to change my mind was reading on the front page of the Post about the bureaucratic struggle to supply Stinger missiles to the mujahadeen. I thought that was an insane idea since we would lose control over those missiles once we gave them to illiterate Afghan tribesmen, who could sell them to other parties who could use them to shoot down American and other airliners. I thought the risks vastly outweighed any possible benefits. So unless we did things with those missiles to reduce the risks (such as implanting chips to track their position or something similar, which couldn't be overridden without destroying the missile), I think even now that our supplying such weapons was insane. Since the 80's, I have completely revised my thinking about Afghanistan and have concluded that our involvement in that backward Muslim country, half a world away, was insane in all respects.

    BTW with respect to 5371's skeptical point about Hollywood movies, I will cite only the very good movie "A Beautiful Mind," directed by Ron Howard and starring the always good Russell Crowe. I liked the movie so much that I decided to read the book as well. Imagine my shock when I read the book and discovered that John Nash, the mathematical genius who is credited with being the inventor of game theory, did suffer from schizophrenia but the delusions he had were not about Communists as the movie portrayed but about extraterrestrials. Not that I had a lot of knowledge when it came to game theory, but, when I was watching the movie, I had a hard time grasping why the Pentagon would hire a game theorist to "crack encrypted enemy telecommunications," as the movie portrayed it. (It turns out that he worked for the RAND corporation and never worked for the Pentagon, contrary to the movie.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)

    As the paperback says on the back cover, "'How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?' the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. 'Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,' came the answer. 'So I took them seriously.'" That little blurb is a distillation of a quote that Nasar cites in the Prologue to the book, which says in part "'How could you,' began [Harvard professor George] Mackey, 'how could you, a a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof . . . how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you . . .?'"

    I don't recall reading any review of the movie pointing out this major discrepancy between Nash actually believing in aliens from outer space and the movie's portrayal of him obsessed by imaginary Communists. I realize that it is often necessary to make adjustments, both minor and major, when translating a book into a movie, but that change from obsession about aliens to obsession about Communists is pretty large, even by Hollywood standards. Keep in mind that the movie was forced to invent a character who was supposed to be his imaginary Pentagon contact. One has to ask why the screen writer, Akiva Goldsman, thought it necessary to make such a drastic change in Nash's story. The one explanation that occurred to me is Hollywood's dicy experience and love affair with Communism. Recall that Ronald Reagan, when he was still a liberal Roosevelt Democrat and headed the Hollywood screen actors union, fought successfully against great opposition to the infiltration of Communists in Hollywood. English actress Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" and was another liberal Democrat who strongly backed Reagan's fight against Communism in Hollywood, later stated (according to a WS Journal piece in 2006) that she was still puzzled by the mystery of how so many brilliant people in Hollywood got seduced by Communism. Hollywood icon Lillian Hellman, blacklisted as a Communist, remained loyal to Stalin even after Nikita Khrushchev had denounced him in a "secret speech" at the 1956 Soviet Communist Party Congress. And, of course, those Hollywood communist sympathizers gave Ms. Hellman a standing ovation in 1977 when they also rewarded the movie based in part on her memoir, "Julia," with an Oscar for best movie. Of course, that fraudulent liar went to that place where all good Communists go to die, Martha's Vineyard. At the same time, Hollywood treated with disdain one of the greatest talents in movies and on Broadway, Elia Kazan, who was the director of some of the greatest movies ever made in Hollywood (e.g., On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd, Streetcar Named Desire (both on Broadway and in Hollywood)), but who was an admitted member of the Communist Party for a very short period, quickly realized his mistake and renounced the Party, named names before Congress, and as a result was never completely forgiven by Hollywood. It was only after ardent lobbying by Warren Beatty (who co-starred in "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood (who was absolutely terrific), a movie directed by Mr. Kazan) that Hollywood reluctantly decided to award Kazan a "lifetime achievement" Oscar
    in 1999. (Two pretty good directors in their own right, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, held Kazan in very high regard. Kubrick said of Kazan: "without question, the best director we have in America, [and] capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses.")

    Anyway, the reason I came up with to explain Hollywood's change from Nash's obsession with extraterrestrials to Communists is that it was part of Hollywood's continuing education program to brainwash Americans to believing that our obsession with Communism was not because of a real threat posed by the Communist Soviet Union but rather a product of temporary insanity, completely ignoring the reality of what Communist control of Russia and East European countries had produced and what the Communist movement was actively trying to produce in other countries around the world. Since most Americans get their somewhat limited knowledge of history these days from the movies, it is no wonder that Hollywood tweaked the truth in A Beautiful Mind and made Nash's crazed obsession about "non-existent Communists" rather than extraterrestrials.

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am not one who expects the movie to be like the book so I don’t get upset when the movie people change things around.

    I am skeptical of your reasoning explaining the changes in A Beautiful Mind.

    Interesting that you mention the risks involved in providing ground-to-air missiles to less than competent minions. I guess these items were not in the tons of military equipment left behind in Iraq and increasing available to all concerned. No doubt some of the conspiracy minded can come up with an explanation that says that was the plan all along.

    Read More
  86. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    The US president stated in effect that the Russian endeavor will not go as smoothly as they expect and that a quagmire will result. I wonder what plans the US is making to bring that about? Ratchet up confrontation in Ukraine or maybe elsewhere? As usual, it’s the ordinary people in all these places that suffer when these grand games go into play. It’s also very curious how the US seems to be in alliance with Al-Qaeda even though they were blamed for 9-11 which set off this massive ‘war on terror’ with all the hysteria that goes with it. Little by little the layers of the onion have been getting peeled showing how the US has itself been secretly sponsoring terrorists around the world for many years now. How many billions has the US spent to date on this Syrian adventure? Our tax money that could be used to repair roads and promote medical advances, things that could benefit the American public, is being used in ways that don’t benefit us but are actually harmful to people around the world.

    Read More
    • Replies: @mad1
    Although Kadyrov is itching to get into the fight with his Chechen special forces to really put the fear of Allah in ISIS I suspect Putin is holding him in reserve for the moment the US makes it's next obvious move of sponsoring terrorism in the Caucasus, that is what I would do.
  87. @anonymous
    The US president stated in effect that the Russian endeavor will not go as smoothly as they expect and that a quagmire will result. I wonder what plans the US is making to bring that about? Ratchet up confrontation in Ukraine or maybe elsewhere? As usual, it's the ordinary people in all these places that suffer when these grand games go into play. It's also very curious how the US seems to be in alliance with Al-Qaeda even though they were blamed for 9-11 which set off this massive 'war on terror' with all the hysteria that goes with it. Little by little the layers of the onion have been getting peeled showing how the US has itself been secretly sponsoring terrorists around the world for many years now. How many billions has the US spent to date on this Syrian adventure? Our tax money that could be used to repair roads and promote medical advances, things that could benefit the American public, is being used in ways that don't benefit us but are actually harmful to people around the world.

    Although Kadyrov is itching to get into the fight with his Chechen special forces to really put the fear of Allah in ISIS I suspect Putin is holding him in reserve for the moment the US makes it’s next obvious move of sponsoring terrorism in the Caucasus, that is what I would do.

    Read More
  88. @Bliss
    Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-middle-east-would-be-better-off-with-saddam-gaddafi_56116b78e4b0768127025efd


    Donald Trump said Sunday that the Middle East would be more stable if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.

    Trump suggested that ousting Syrian president Bashar Assad would yield a "mess" similar to the ones in Iraq and Libya.

    Trump also doubled down on comments he made earlier in the week hailing Russian president Vladimir Putin's initiation of airstrikes in Syria as a "wonderful thing" that will help the U.S. in its fight against the Islamic State.
     

    Huffington Post is a very liberal site that has put all news about Trump in it's Entertainment section deeming him a joke, yet amazingly the commenters cannot help agreeing with him.

    “Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself”

    I will say up front that I in no way anticipated the Donald Trump phenomenon. If you had asked me in the early spring, I would have predicted, just as I correctly predicted in the 2012 cycle, that there was no way he would run for President. Having said that, the first thing that got my attention, after his surprise announcement (at least to me) that he was running after all, was his startling claim that John McCain was no war hero, something I had concluded back in 2000 when he was first running for President. That went so contrary to conventional thinking that it just grabbed my attention.

    My initial surprise that he was running was soon replaced by total astonishment at Trump’s performance. It should be kept in mind that any presidential candidate has a difficult path to follow, especially if you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Witness Mitt Romney’s performance in 2008 and 2012. Whenever he attempted to take a position that could be interpreted as slightly dovish, he got slammed by those right wing-bat warriors John McCain (in 2008) and Ms, Lindsey Graham (in 2012). In 2008, he expressed slight reservations about “the Surge” in Iraq and got hammered by McCain in South Carolina (“the Surge IS working, Gov. Romney”), and when he expressed reservations about Afghanistan in the 2012 campaign, he got hammered by Graham. As I posted in February 2012 on TAC, ” Look at the flack Romney received back in June when he stated during one of the debates that the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting Afghanistan’s “war of independence” for the Afghans. Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked him for his “isolationism.” ” Now, in my opinion, Romney might have gained considerable stature if he had chosen to stand tall in the face of those utterly irresponsible attacks and not backed down, but it is easy for me to say since I wasn’t the candidate on the firing line. As Disraeli once said about pursuit of higher office, “it’s a slippery pole.” In other words, Trump has to be extremely careful in stating his foreign policy positions if he is to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Without the nomination, Trump is nothing but a footnote.

    Now let’s look at Trump’s positions thus far in the current campaign:

    1. He volunteered (i.e., not in response to a specific question) at the first debate that he was opposed to the Iraq War as early as July 2004 (about a year and 4 months after it started). Compare that position with that taken by virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul. Hell, it took Jeb!!! nearly a week to state, finally, that the Iraq War was a bad idea.

    2. Even though he has made a lot of noise re the deal with Iran, he has stated that, as President, he would comply with that agreement. Contrast that position with virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul.

    3. He has stated that he welcomed the Russians involvement in Syria and their intention to take on ISIS. Compare that position with virtually every other Republican candidate.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    Read More
    • Agree: Bliss
    • Replies: @tbraton
    I forgot to add to my list of three positions Trump has taken in the foreign policy area a fourth. He stated at the first debate in Cleveland, in terms that reminded me of Pat Buchanan, that it was ridiculous that we had 25,000+ soldiers on the DMZ in Korea to protect the Koreans from attack by the North. This is one more instance where he is stating something that clearly goes against the conventional thinking.

    Now it may be easy to dismiss these four positions and blow them off as so much campaign chatter, but it should be kept in mind that no other Republican candidate is saying the same things. In fact, they are all stating the exact opposite. The exception, of course, is Rand Paul, but he has become such a timid soul in asserting a contrary foreign policy stance that I, who had been inclined to favor him because of his foreign policy positions, have written him off as one of the big disappointments of the 2016 campaign. There is also the complication that his "libertarian" beliefs have become nearly religious in nature and prevent him from embracing Trump's strong stance even against illegal immigration.
    , @mad1
    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease.
    , @Bliss

    I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs.
     
    Me too. Trump was against the Iraq War as well. He has better judgement on foreign affairs than any other candidate for President, Republican or Democrat.

    This is probably the real reason why the Establishment is not supporting him.
  89. Ok, I agree with much in this article. That said, let me cover what I think is nonsense.

    Mr.Karlin, when the Russian army, despite huge firepower superiority, was generally outfought by Chechen separatists in the first chechen war, was the fact that the russians performed relatively poorly, despite its superiority in “military capital”, due to low IQ? I would bet that you would say ‘no’. I don’t think you would also suggest that the israelis are low IQ people, yet, despite massive numerical superiority and even greater firepower advantages over Hezbollah in 06, a fighting force lacking AA cover against a generally modern and well armed israeli air force, the israelis were completely defeated on the ground.
    The truth is, the reasons for whatever weaknesses the Syrian military has, must be found elsewhere.

    Fact of the matter is that at the beginning of the war, with the exception of a few units, most of the syrian military was make up of poorly trained and poorly equipped conscripts.
    There are certainly other problems, too.

    That said, the syrians have learned a lot, adapted, and even sources hostile to Assad and Syria, such as Robert Fisk and even the BBc recently, admit the syrian army has good morale and is well disciplined.

    Do you realize that even Latakia has a SUNNI MAJORITY? How about the Damascus Governorate, which has been very well defended and largely cleared of islamic militants? Huge Sunni majority there. I think only Tartous may have a Alawite majority, maybe. Since even these provinces have been receiving large numbers of Syrian refugees – most syrian refugees are internally displaced persons – and given that most of them are Sunnis, the demographics in favor of Sunnis have most certainly increased in all government held areas.

    Looking at a map, one can see just how terrible the strategic position of Syria has been. Waahabi bandits are based out of safe-havens in Turkey and Jordan. The Syrian military could not attack such bases or even get too close to the borders without risking a conflict escalation, possibly the excuse for NATO to intervene and become AL-CIADA’S airforces. A couple of Syrian aircraf which got too close to the border were even shot down by the Turks.

    Destabilization in eastern Syria created the conditions for AL-CIADA in Iraq on steroids, i.e, DAESH/ISIS to materialize and control the areas bordering Syria. Free flow of crazies from there too. The israelis have been backing the Nusra front. Fighters and equipment were also coming heavily through Lebanon, though much less so now, given hezbollah/SAA campaings in the Syrian-lebanese border areas.

    Despite all that, fighting a poor man’s war – just look at syrian equipment* – against waahabi mercenaries from all over the World, plus the local syrian ones, heavily supported by outside powers with money and weapons, the Syrian military was actually, slowly but surely, making steady GAINS until early 2015, when Turkey/NATO intervened massively, throwing in thousands of new fighters to stop Syrias new advances in Aleppo and then to take Idlib. Even so, Syrian forces still control, in part or in total, 12 of the 14 Governorate capitals. Given the odds, they have done a remarkable job.
    *The Donbass separatists, on average, have more modern military equipment then Syrias ground forces.

    IF the SAA were as incompetent a fighting force as you claim it to be, the limited Russian Air Force presence would not be able to make much of a difference. But, unlike what you claim, Russian intel probably knows that the SAA is, despite its shortcomings, a force good enough to capitalize on the air strikes. That is the reason the russians have gone in in the first place, because they realize they have a solid partner on THE GROUND. If Russia considered the SAA to be so hopeless, it would have moved in a different direction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    Generally agree with you. But then there's this:


    A couple of Syrian aircraf which got too close to the border were even shot down by the Turks.
     
    When did that happen? I once remember a Syrian jet shooting down a Turkish jet that had wandered into Syrian airspace, but never this.
  90. For example, this BBC war correspondent, recently in Jobar, Damascus, had this to say on the war and about the Syrian Army;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps_uaCmnL-8

    Read More
  91. @L.K
    Ok, I agree with much in this article. That said, let me cover what I think is nonsense.

    Mr.Karlin, when the Russian army, despite huge firepower superiority, was generally outfought by Chechen separatists in the first chechen war, was the fact that the russians performed relatively poorly, despite its superiority in “military capital”, due to low IQ? I would bet that you would say ‘no’. I don’t think you would also suggest that the israelis are low IQ people, yet, despite massive numerical superiority and even greater firepower advantages over Hezbollah in 06, a fighting force lacking AA cover against a generally modern and well armed israeli air force, the israelis were completely defeated on the ground.
    The truth is, the reasons for whatever weaknesses the Syrian military has, must be found elsewhere.

    Fact of the matter is that at the beginning of the war, with the exception of a few units, most of the syrian military was make up of poorly trained and poorly equipped conscripts.
    There are certainly other problems, too.

    That said, the syrians have learned a lot, adapted, and even sources hostile to Assad and Syria, such as Robert Fisk and even the BBc recently, admit the syrian army has good morale and is well disciplined.

    Do you realize that even Latakia has a SUNNI MAJORITY? How about the Damascus Governorate, which has been very well defended and largely cleared of islamic militants? Huge Sunni majority there. I think only Tartous may have a Alawite majority, maybe. Since even these provinces have been receiving large numbers of Syrian refugees – most syrian refugees are internally displaced persons – and given that most of them are Sunnis, the demographics in favor of Sunnis have most certainly increased in all government held areas.

    Looking at a map, one can see just how terrible the strategic position of Syria has been. Waahabi bandits are based out of safe-havens in Turkey and Jordan. The Syrian military could not attack such bases or even get too close to the borders without risking a conflict escalation, possibly the excuse for NATO to intervene and become AL-CIADA’S airforces. A couple of Syrian aircraf which got too close to the border were even shot down by the Turks.

    Destabilization in eastern Syria created the conditions for AL-CIADA in Iraq on steroids, i.e, DAESH/ISIS to materialize and control the areas bordering Syria. Free flow of crazies from there too. The israelis have been backing the Nusra front. Fighters and equipment were also coming heavily through Lebanon, though much less so now, given hezbollah/SAA campaings in the Syrian-lebanese border areas.

    Despite all that, fighting a poor man’s war – just look at syrian equipment* - against waahabi mercenaries from all over the World, plus the local syrian ones, heavily supported by outside powers with money and weapons, the Syrian military was actually, slowly but surely, making steady GAINS until early 2015, when Turkey/NATO intervened massively, throwing in thousands of new fighters to stop Syrias new advances in Aleppo and then to take Idlib. Even so, Syrian forces still control, in part or in total, 12 of the 14 Governorate capitals. Given the odds, they have done a remarkable job.
    *The Donbass separatists, on average, have more modern military equipment then Syrias ground forces.

    IF the SAA were as incompetent a fighting force as you claim it to be, the limited Russian Air Force presence would not be able to make much of a difference. But, unlike what you claim, Russian intel probably knows that the SAA is, despite its shortcomings, a force good enough to capitalize on the air strikes. That is the reason the russians have gone in in the first place, because they realize they have a solid partner on THE GROUND. If Russia considered the SAA to be so hopeless, it would have moved in a different direction.

    Generally agree with you. But then there’s this:

    A couple of Syrian aircraf which got too close to the border were even shot down by the Turks.

    When did that happen? I once remember a Syrian jet shooting down a Turkish jet that had wandered into Syrian airspace, but never this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @L.K
    @Seamus Padraig

    Hello, Mr.Padraig, good posts by you, sir, countering the usual zio/zamerican propaganda on this war.

    I chose to follow this war closely, even more so than the nato criminal attack on Lybia.
    There are several Syrian sources, which translate news from Arabic(a language i don't speak) into English, news which come out in official syrian media outlets, but oftentimes only in Arabic.
    I also follow http://sana.sy/en/ .

    These sources have reported, if memory serves, 2 aircraft downed by the Turks, in separate incidents. They were conducting bombing runs against the terrorists supported by the turks, close to the border.
    One incident, i remember very clearly, the syrian jet was shot down, but the pilot managed to bail out and was picked up by the army.
    The turks have also fired artillery strikes in support of their terrorist proxies on several different occasions, often as support for the Waahabis offensives in Northern Syria.
    Btw, the turkish jet was downed by ground based syrian A.A.

    Best regards
  92. @tbraton
    "Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself"

    I will say up front that I in no way anticipated the Donald Trump phenomenon. If you had asked me in the early spring, I would have predicted, just as I correctly predicted in the 2012 cycle, that there was no way he would run for President. Having said that, the first thing that got my attention, after his surprise announcement (at least to me) that he was running after all, was his startling claim that John McCain was no war hero, something I had concluded back in 2000 when he was first running for President. That went so contrary to conventional thinking that it just grabbed my attention.

    My initial surprise that he was running was soon replaced by total astonishment at Trump's performance. It should be kept in mind that any presidential candidate has a difficult path to follow, especially if you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Witness Mitt Romney's performance in 2008 and 2012. Whenever he attempted to take a position that could be interpreted as slightly dovish, he got slammed by those right wing-bat warriors John McCain (in 2008) and Ms, Lindsey Graham (in 2012). In 2008, he expressed slight reservations about "the Surge" in Iraq and got hammered by McCain in South Carolina ("the Surge IS working, Gov. Romney"), and when he expressed reservations about Afghanistan in the 2012 campaign, he got hammered by Graham. As I posted in February 2012 on TAC, " Look at the flack Romney received back in June when he stated during one of the debates that the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting Afghanistan’s “war of independence” for the Afghans. Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked him for his “isolationism.” " Now, in my opinion, Romney might have gained considerable stature if he had chosen to stand tall in the face of those utterly irresponsible attacks and not backed down, but it is easy for me to say since I wasn't the candidate on the firing line. As Disraeli once said about pursuit of higher office, "it's a slippery pole." In other words, Trump has to be extremely careful in stating his foreign policy positions if he is to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Without the nomination, Trump is nothing but a footnote.

    Now let's look at Trump's positions thus far in the current campaign:

    1. He volunteered (i.e., not in response to a specific question) at the first debate that he was opposed to the Iraq War as early as July 2004 (about a year and 4 months after it started). Compare that position with that taken by virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul. Hell, it took Jeb!!! nearly a week to state, finally, that the Iraq War was a bad idea.

    2. Even though he has made a lot of noise re the deal with Iran, he has stated that, as President, he would comply with that agreement. Contrast that position with virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul.

    3. He has stated that he welcomed the Russians involvement in Syria and their intention to take on ISIS. Compare that position with virtually every other Republican candidate.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump's positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    I forgot to add to my list of three positions Trump has taken in the foreign policy area a fourth. He stated at the first debate in Cleveland, in terms that reminded me of Pat Buchanan, that it was ridiculous that we had 25,000+ soldiers on the DMZ in Korea to protect the Koreans from attack by the North. This is one more instance where he is stating something that clearly goes against the conventional thinking.

    Now it may be easy to dismiss these four positions and blow them off as so much campaign chatter, but it should be kept in mind that no other Republican candidate is saying the same things. In fact, they are all stating the exact opposite. The exception, of course, is Rand Paul, but he has become such a timid soul in asserting a contrary foreign policy stance that I, who had been inclined to favor him because of his foreign policy positions, have written him off as one of the big disappointments of the 2016 campaign. There is also the complication that his “libertarian” beliefs have become nearly religious in nature and prevent him from embracing Trump’s strong stance even against illegal immigration.

    Read More
  93. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    That opens the possibility, however unlikely, of the Americans and Russians coming to blows.

    From: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20151006/us-syrias-crowded-skies-7b74467c26.html

    With the noise that NATO is making over the accidental incursion by Russian jets into Turkish airspace that seems more likely now.

    Read More
  94. @Seamus Padraig
    Generally agree with you. But then there's this:


    A couple of Syrian aircraf which got too close to the border were even shot down by the Turks.
     
    When did that happen? I once remember a Syrian jet shooting down a Turkish jet that had wandered into Syrian airspace, but never this.

    Hello, Mr.Padraig, good posts by you, sir, countering the usual zio/zamerican propaganda on this war.

    I chose to follow this war closely, even more so than the nato criminal attack on Lybia.
    There are several Syrian sources, which translate news from Arabic(a language i don’t speak) into English, news which come out in official syrian media outlets, but oftentimes only in Arabic.
    I also follow http://sana.sy/en/ .

    These sources have reported, if memory serves, 2 aircraft downed by the Turks, in separate incidents. They were conducting bombing runs against the terrorists supported by the turks, close to the border.
    One incident, i remember very clearly, the syrian jet was shot down, but the pilot managed to bail out and was picked up by the army.
    The turks have also fired artillery strikes in support of their terrorist proxies on several different occasions, often as support for the Waahabis offensives in Northern Syria.
    Btw, the turkish jet was downed by ground based syrian A.A.

    Best regards

    Read More
  95. @L.K
    @Seamus Padraig

    Hello, Mr.Padraig, good posts by you, sir, countering the usual zio/zamerican propaganda on this war.

    I chose to follow this war closely, even more so than the nato criminal attack on Lybia.
    There are several Syrian sources, which translate news from Arabic(a language i don't speak) into English, news which come out in official syrian media outlets, but oftentimes only in Arabic.
    I also follow http://sana.sy/en/ .

    These sources have reported, if memory serves, 2 aircraft downed by the Turks, in separate incidents. They were conducting bombing runs against the terrorists supported by the turks, close to the border.
    One incident, i remember very clearly, the syrian jet was shot down, but the pilot managed to bail out and was picked up by the army.
    The turks have also fired artillery strikes in support of their terrorist proxies on several different occasions, often as support for the Waahabis offensives in Northern Syria.
    Btw, the turkish jet was downed by ground based syrian A.A.

    Best regards

    Ah, yes. SANA. Thanks, L.K.

    Read More
  96. @tbraton
    "Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself"

    I will say up front that I in no way anticipated the Donald Trump phenomenon. If you had asked me in the early spring, I would have predicted, just as I correctly predicted in the 2012 cycle, that there was no way he would run for President. Having said that, the first thing that got my attention, after his surprise announcement (at least to me) that he was running after all, was his startling claim that John McCain was no war hero, something I had concluded back in 2000 when he was first running for President. That went so contrary to conventional thinking that it just grabbed my attention.

    My initial surprise that he was running was soon replaced by total astonishment at Trump's performance. It should be kept in mind that any presidential candidate has a difficult path to follow, especially if you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Witness Mitt Romney's performance in 2008 and 2012. Whenever he attempted to take a position that could be interpreted as slightly dovish, he got slammed by those right wing-bat warriors John McCain (in 2008) and Ms, Lindsey Graham (in 2012). In 2008, he expressed slight reservations about "the Surge" in Iraq and got hammered by McCain in South Carolina ("the Surge IS working, Gov. Romney"), and when he expressed reservations about Afghanistan in the 2012 campaign, he got hammered by Graham. As I posted in February 2012 on TAC, " Look at the flack Romney received back in June when he stated during one of the debates that the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting Afghanistan’s “war of independence” for the Afghans. Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked him for his “isolationism.” " Now, in my opinion, Romney might have gained considerable stature if he had chosen to stand tall in the face of those utterly irresponsible attacks and not backed down, but it is easy for me to say since I wasn't the candidate on the firing line. As Disraeli once said about pursuit of higher office, "it's a slippery pole." In other words, Trump has to be extremely careful in stating his foreign policy positions if he is to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Without the nomination, Trump is nothing but a footnote.

    Now let's look at Trump's positions thus far in the current campaign:

    1. He volunteered (i.e., not in response to a specific question) at the first debate that he was opposed to the Iraq War as early as July 2004 (about a year and 4 months after it started). Compare that position with that taken by virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul. Hell, it took Jeb!!! nearly a week to state, finally, that the Iraq War was a bad idea.

    2. Even though he has made a lot of noise re the deal with Iran, he has stated that, as President, he would comply with that agreement. Contrast that position with virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul.

    3. He has stated that he welcomed the Russians involvement in Syria and their intention to take on ISIS. Compare that position with virtually every other Republican candidate.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump's positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    "Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease."

    The reason I left out Hillary is that I thought the answer there was obvious, and, secondly, I am not convinced she will be the Democratic nominee. Of course, she was one of the "three harpies" who convinced Obama to attack Libya and thus responsible for producing one of the biggest messes in that part of the world. I think her foreign policy record is absolutely dreadful.

    Of course, there is no certainty that Trump will be the nominee either, but I was just setting forth the argument why Trump may be the best possible nominee among the Republican candidates. I totally agree with your second point. Even I was taken aback by his strong position on Syria and his welcoming the Russians attacking ISIS, which I thought was supposed to be the great menace to World Civilization. Apparently, he remembers how the American public reacted last year when Obama threatened to attack Syria for crossing his "red line," and how that response forced Obama to completely revise his plans for Syria. I actually heard Trump in an interview about a week or so ago criticize Obama for drawing the "red line" in the first place. He stated that, if he were President, he never would have drawn the "red line."
  97. @tbraton
    "Trump again demonstrates that he is his own man, that he thinks for himself"

    I will say up front that I in no way anticipated the Donald Trump phenomenon. If you had asked me in the early spring, I would have predicted, just as I correctly predicted in the 2012 cycle, that there was no way he would run for President. Having said that, the first thing that got my attention, after his surprise announcement (at least to me) that he was running after all, was his startling claim that John McCain was no war hero, something I had concluded back in 2000 when he was first running for President. That went so contrary to conventional thinking that it just grabbed my attention.

    My initial surprise that he was running was soon replaced by total astonishment at Trump's performance. It should be kept in mind that any presidential candidate has a difficult path to follow, especially if you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Witness Mitt Romney's performance in 2008 and 2012. Whenever he attempted to take a position that could be interpreted as slightly dovish, he got slammed by those right wing-bat warriors John McCain (in 2008) and Ms, Lindsey Graham (in 2012). In 2008, he expressed slight reservations about "the Surge" in Iraq and got hammered by McCain in South Carolina ("the Surge IS working, Gov. Romney"), and when he expressed reservations about Afghanistan in the 2012 campaign, he got hammered by Graham. As I posted in February 2012 on TAC, " Look at the flack Romney received back in June when he stated during one of the debates that the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting Afghanistan’s “war of independence” for the Afghans. Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked him for his “isolationism.” " Now, in my opinion, Romney might have gained considerable stature if he had chosen to stand tall in the face of those utterly irresponsible attacks and not backed down, but it is easy for me to say since I wasn't the candidate on the firing line. As Disraeli once said about pursuit of higher office, "it's a slippery pole." In other words, Trump has to be extremely careful in stating his foreign policy positions if he is to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Without the nomination, Trump is nothing but a footnote.

    Now let's look at Trump's positions thus far in the current campaign:

    1. He volunteered (i.e., not in response to a specific question) at the first debate that he was opposed to the Iraq War as early as July 2004 (about a year and 4 months after it started). Compare that position with that taken by virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul. Hell, it took Jeb!!! nearly a week to state, finally, that the Iraq War was a bad idea.

    2. Even though he has made a lot of noise re the deal with Iran, he has stated that, as President, he would comply with that agreement. Contrast that position with virtually every other Republican candidate with the exception of Rand Paul.

    3. He has stated that he welcomed the Russians involvement in Syria and their intention to take on ISIS. Compare that position with virtually every other Republican candidate.

    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump's positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs.

    Me too. Trump was against the Iraq War as well. He has better judgement on foreign affairs than any other candidate for President, Republican or Democrat.

    This is probably the real reason why the Establishment is not supporting him.

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  98. @Sean
    "FSA/Al Nusra/Al Qaeda"

    Reuters (16 hours ago) Russia says U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army not a terrorist group Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations that Russian air strikes that began on Wednesday targeted Islamic State militants and "other terrorist groups" in Syria. "We targeted ISIL-associated depots, armaments and sites," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
     
    "So long as they threaten Syria’s three biggest cities"
    Russia is simply lying about what they are doing They Russians have killed the best known and longest standing Free Syrian Army commander in an attack in north of Homs,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15625642
    Homs, Syria's third largest city, has been a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

    It was dubbed the "capital of the revolution" after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

    However, over the past two years government forces retook most of the opposition strongholds, laying siege to districts once home to tens of thousands of people.

    After being forced into ever smaller areas, and denied access to food and medical supplies, rebel fighters finally left the Old City in May 2014 under a UN-brokered deal, bringing to an end to three years of resistance.

     

    The Russian attacks are not at points where the regime is in danger they are eliminating the remnants of the original rebels, they killed the best known of them Captain Iyad al-Deek on the very first day, which was probably deliberate targeting. There are many Islamic State training camps in the west of Syria that could be hit if the Russians were trying to weaken IS. It is perfectly plain that the Russians and Assad (who is supplying them with targeting intelligence)do not fear IS or al Nusra which are both internationally recognised as terrorist organisations getting relatively stronger, quite the opposite.

    There is a mess in Syria, but look what “democratic” country is adamantly against a sane solution:

    “The route toward peace would be to collaborate with Russia and Iran to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to accept a power-sharing unity government that would fairly represent Syria’s major religious and ethnic groups – Christians, Alawites, Shiites and moderate Sunnis – along with a commitment for free, internationally monitored elections once adequate security is restored.
    But for such an arrangement to work, Obama also would have to crack down aggressively on U.S. regional “allies” to ensure that they stopped funding, supplying and otherwise assisting the Sunni extremist forces including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State (or ISIS). Obama would have to confront the Sunni “allies” – including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – as well as Israel.
    His pressure would have to include stern action aimed at the global finances of the Gulf states – i.e., seizing their assets as punishment for their continuing support for terrorism – as well as similar sanctions against Turkey, possibly ousting it from NATO if it balked, and a withdrawal of political and financial support for Israel if it continued helping Nusra fighters and viewing Al Qaeda as the “lesser evil” in Syria.»

    Is not this too much for the «only democracy» in the Middle East and for the «most moral» and «chosen» people professing their stand against any kind of terrorism? Amazing how the loud squeaking about “nazis” and “terrorists” got mute when the US went to Ukraine to fraternize with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and to the Middle East to fraternize with jihadis. By supporting and promoting these actions, AIPAC made it clear that the memories of Holocaust victims are for pussies, whereas the US sacrifices (limb and treasure) in the Middle East are just trifles when the Zionists’ grandiose plans are concerned.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/06/obama-boots-syrian-peace-chance/

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  99. A black general was sent to congress to report $500 million had been spent training and equipping “moderate Syrians” and about 4 were left (it would be racist to fire a black general) all the rest surrendered themselves and their equipment but more importantly their training immediately.
    Now I propose we can believe one of two things:

    1. Our leadership is so monumentally stupid the likes of which have not been seen in thousands of years (tempting but unlikely)

    2. It was the plan all along, ISIS was going to need the equipment and the training to take out Assad as planned decades ago in Israel

    Thus all the Western handwringing over Bad Vlad wiping the floor with all those Humvees and Ammo dumps.

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  100. @mad1
    In sum, I am encouraged by Trump’s positions in the area of foreign affairs. They indicate that he may be a lot less hawkish than virtually any other Republican candidate, with the exception of Rand Paul. Paul, btw, is in the low one digits in the polls.

    Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease.

    “Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease.”

    The reason I left out Hillary is that I thought the answer there was obvious, and, secondly, I am not convinced she will be the Democratic nominee. Of course, she was one of the “three harpies” who convinced Obama to attack Libya and thus responsible for producing one of the biggest messes in that part of the world. I think her foreign policy record is absolutely dreadful.

    Of course, there is no certainty that Trump will be the nominee either, but I was just setting forth the argument why Trump may be the best possible nominee among the Republican candidates. I totally agree with your second point. Even I was taken aback by his strong position on Syria and his welcoming the Russians attacking ISIS, which I thought was supposed to be the great menace to World Civilization. Apparently, he remembers how the American public reacted last year when Obama threatened to attack Syria for crossing his “red line,” and how that response forced Obama to completely revise his plans for Syria. I actually heard Trump in an interview about a week or so ago criticize Obama for drawing the “red line” in the first place. He stated that, if he were President, he never would have drawn the “red line.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @mad1
    Great fun at Scott Adam's blog, his "Wizard" series on Trump will make your day.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/
  101. @tbraton
    "Appears to me he is also a lot less hawkish than Hillary, and the Tea Party types are lapping it up, wonders will never cease."

    The reason I left out Hillary is that I thought the answer there was obvious, and, secondly, I am not convinced she will be the Democratic nominee. Of course, she was one of the "three harpies" who convinced Obama to attack Libya and thus responsible for producing one of the biggest messes in that part of the world. I think her foreign policy record is absolutely dreadful.

    Of course, there is no certainty that Trump will be the nominee either, but I was just setting forth the argument why Trump may be the best possible nominee among the Republican candidates. I totally agree with your second point. Even I was taken aback by his strong position on Syria and his welcoming the Russians attacking ISIS, which I thought was supposed to be the great menace to World Civilization. Apparently, he remembers how the American public reacted last year when Obama threatened to attack Syria for crossing his "red line," and how that response forced Obama to completely revise his plans for Syria. I actually heard Trump in an interview about a week or so ago criticize Obama for drawing the "red line" in the first place. He stated that, if he were President, he never would have drawn the "red line."

    Great fun at Scott Adam’s blog, his “Wizard” series on Trump will make your day.

    http://blog.dilbert.com/

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  102. @Seamus Padraig
    Are you seriously comparing Syria with Italy? Exactly how obtuse are you? Italy has more than 10 times the per-capita GDP of Syria, and say what you will about political corruption and the mafia in the south, but Italy has not known anything remotely similar to what's now going in Syria since the British and Americans invaded it during WW2. Even the Red Brigades were nothing compared to the jihadists in Syria. Parliamentary machinations and foibles are a very different matter from open warfare and invasion. Belgium, for example, has been without a government for about 5 years now--big deal.

    Assad already has fallen.
     
    Sounds a little premature to me. Last time I checked, he was still president. And the front is basically still where it was, say, 3 years ago.

    Right now Russia is creating a massive refugee problem for Europe (Syrians are merely the test case) which it is defenseless against.
     
    That's just risible! It was Erdogan who sent the refugees into the EU, and it was Merkel who casually disregarded both German and EU law to force the Hungarians to release them to Germany. The EU is not defenseless. There is a difference between defenseless and refusing to defend yourself. Merkel falls into the latter category.

    IS al Nusra rule creates no more refugees than Assad’s war would .
     
    Oh really? Then why are more Syrians fleeing from the east to the west than vice-versa? Most Syrian refugees are actually internally displaced persons from the east temporarily residing in western--that is, government controlled--Syria.

    Despite Russia’s transparent lies that it is there to attack IS, what is happening is Russia is attacking the Non IS and non Al Nusra forces,
     
    Russia has attacked ISIS, Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham forces. Take a look at the map provided by Karlin above. Notice those little bomb-blast symbols over Raqqa? Well, guess who presently controls Raqqa? That's right: It's the provisional capital of ISIS.

    What the Russians are doing is prolonging the war without any prospect of Assad ever ruling Syria because the mass of the population will never accept him.
     
    You seem very sold on this the-majority-hates-Assad theory, yet you present no evidence for it. The terrorist groups fighting him are by long now mostly made up of foreigners sneaking in through Turkey. Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army, which is majority Sunni, has remained intact and loyal to government through four straight years of intense conflict. So forgive me if I don't take too much stock in your theory.

    Russia gets the blame they have been fighting for 4 days . The United States and western allies have been supporting Jihadists coming from all over the world destabilizing Syria for more than 4 yrs , chopping heads off , millions have fled their homes , refugees are piling into Europe . and a idiot blames the whole mess on Russia because they have decided enough is enough 4 days ago .

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  103. I would like to support a three man presidency for the United States I want Donald Trump Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson What gets done is what two out of three can agree on . I also would support dividing the US into three independent equal countries .

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  104. @The most deplorable one
    Actually, those are Su-30SMs it seems. It could be really interesting to see them in real action.

    If you are talking about the Russian fighter plane that Russia flew at the Bangalore air show in India a few yrs ago . American pilots watching the show said ejection would be the only defense against that plane . they estimated the plane would have a greater than 10 to 1 kill ratio . in a dog fight .

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    It might have been the SU30 or the SU35.

    However, do you have a link to those claims? I find them hard to believe.

    I think those planes are good, but not that good, however, what do I know.
  105. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Eric siverson
    If you are talking about the Russian fighter plane that Russia flew at the Bangalore air show in India a few yrs ago . American pilots watching the show said ejection would be the only defense against that plane . they estimated the plane would have a greater than 10 to 1 kill ratio . in a dog fight .

    It might have been the SU30 or the SU35.

    However, do you have a link to those claims? I find them hard to believe.

    I think those planes are good, but not that good, however, what do I know.

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  106. @German_reader
    Thanks for the answer! I have to admit, I don't really know that much about the end of the Soviet Union, but your argument seems convincing to me...looks to me like Gorbachev wanted to do too much at once and eventually lost control.
    The Braithwaite book about the Soviets in Afghanistan is pretty interesting btw, some things really surprised me...according to Braithwaite the Soviets realised fairly early that they had gotten themselves into a quagmire and looked for a way out, well before such supposedly decisive developments like the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen (which Braithwaite considers as actually not that important...in his view the Soviets weren't defeated in Afghanistan, they just realized it wasn't worth the cost which is contrasted favorably with Western actions after 9/11).
    I suppose much of this is well-known to a Russian audience, but for a Westerner like me who doesn't know any Russian, it was an interesting change of perspective.

    No the soviets wanted India to invade pok which they didn’t want to do, especially as a us fleet was already in the Arabian Sea.

    Contrast with war of 71 where the Russians were in the bay of Bengal first.

    So basically the ussr wasn’t able to get the strategi depth it wanted to be able to pull Pakistan away.

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  107. @Bliss

    I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Islamic State. They are brutal but, other than putting their videos on YouTube ( a practice they have ceased) they aren’t much different than Hezbollah or Assad’s militias.
     
    The big difference between the Baathist regime of Assad and the Islamic State, al-Nusra et al is that the Baathists are secular (like America) while the latter are ruthlessly intolerant salafi fanatics. Assad's army includes sunnis, shias, alawis, druze....and christians.

    Putin can rightly promote himself as the Saviour of the christians of Syria. By saving the Assad regime he is saving the christians of Syria. It should be clear who is occupying the moral high ground.

    It is worth noting here that the Baath Party was founded by a christian Syrian.

    By the way, the Kurds in the north are also secularists. Since secularism is a founding principle of the American Republic shouldn't America be throwing it's weight behind the secularists instead of the saudi backed salafis hell bent on imposing Sharia on Syria?

    America wasn’t founded as a secular country; the Congress was merely prevented from establishing a religion. States were not thus constrained and some did have established churches.

    But any secular regime is better than a Muslim one.

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  108. @tbraton
    "A source that explains more of the why behind contemporary political and cultural values and thought than the total sum of all unz.com posts, articles and comments."

    Soviet documents which were later disclosed show that the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was made as early as 1985. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB272/ I saw the movie after having read the book "Charlie Wilson's War." (I thought Tom Hanks was totally miscast as the drug taking and alcoholic womanizer Charlie Wilson. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was terrific as Gust Avrakotos.) I just checked my copy of the book, and George Crile states at p. 420-21 that the final decision to supply the Afghan mujahadeen with Stinger missiles was not made (over very strenuous opposition) until the early part of 1986. So a strong argument can be made that our decision to supply Stingers had no bearing on the Soviet decision to withdraw.

    BTW I was living in Washington, D.C. during the 80's, and the Washington Post was my hometown newspaper. So I was able to read periodically on the front pages of the Post updates of the so-called "secret war" we were waging in Afghanistan. (I am totally amused by the American claim that we needed to keep our support of the Afghan mujahadeen a secret from the Soviets, for fear of offending them. It just shows how stupid our American foreign policy elite is that they assume the Russians are really so stupid that they wouldn't realize that the illiterate and backward Afghans weren't producing those sophisticated and deadly ground to air missiles themselves.) I was busy on other matters at the time, so, even if I was better informed that most Americans, I didn't give a whole lot of thought to Afghanistan. If anything, I thought the idea of giving a black eye to the Soviets was a pretty cool idea, as long as other people were doing the fighting and dying. What caused me to change my mind was reading on the front page of the Post about the bureaucratic struggle to supply Stinger missiles to the mujahadeen. I thought that was an insane idea since we would lose control over those missiles once we gave them to illiterate Afghan tribesmen, who could sell them to other parties who could use them to shoot down American and other airliners. I thought the risks vastly outweighed any possible benefits. So unless we did things with those missiles to reduce the risks (such as implanting chips to track their position or something similar, which couldn't be overridden without destroying the missile), I think even now that our supplying such weapons was insane. Since the 80's, I have completely revised my thinking about Afghanistan and have concluded that our involvement in that backward Muslim country, half a world away, was insane in all respects.

    BTW with respect to 5371's skeptical point about Hollywood movies, I will cite only the very good movie "A Beautiful Mind," directed by Ron Howard and starring the always good Russell Crowe. I liked the movie so much that I decided to read the book as well. Imagine my shock when I read the book and discovered that John Nash, the mathematical genius who is credited with being the inventor of game theory, did suffer from schizophrenia but the delusions he had were not about Communists as the movie portrayed but about extraterrestrials. Not that I had a lot of knowledge when it came to game theory, but, when I was watching the movie, I had a hard time grasping why the Pentagon would hire a game theorist to "crack encrypted enemy telecommunications," as the movie portrayed it. (It turns out that he worked for the RAND corporation and never worked for the Pentagon, contrary to the movie.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)

    As the paperback says on the back cover, "'How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?' the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. 'Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,' came the answer. 'So I took them seriously.'" That little blurb is a distillation of a quote that Nasar cites in the Prologue to the book, which says in part "'How could you,' began [Harvard professor George] Mackey, 'how could you, a a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof . . . how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you . . .?'"

    I don't recall reading any review of the movie pointing out this major discrepancy between Nash actually believing in aliens from outer space and the movie's portrayal of him obsessed by imaginary Communists. I realize that it is often necessary to make adjustments, both minor and major, when translating a book into a movie, but that change from obsession about aliens to obsession about Communists is pretty large, even by Hollywood standards. Keep in mind that the movie was forced to invent a character who was supposed to be his imaginary Pentagon contact. One has to ask why the screen writer, Akiva Goldsman, thought it necessary to make such a drastic change in Nash's story. The one explanation that occurred to me is Hollywood's dicy experience and love affair with Communism. Recall that Ronald Reagan, when he was still a liberal Roosevelt Democrat and headed the Hollywood screen actors union, fought successfully against great opposition to the infiltration of Communists in Hollywood. English actress Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" and was another liberal Democrat who strongly backed Reagan's fight against Communism in Hollywood, later stated (according to a WS Journal piece in 2006) that she was still puzzled by the mystery of how so many brilliant people in Hollywood got seduced by Communism. Hollywood icon Lillian Hellman, blacklisted as a Communist, remained loyal to Stalin even after Nikita Khrushchev had denounced him in a "secret speech" at the 1956 Soviet Communist Party Congress. And, of course, those Hollywood communist sympathizers gave Ms. Hellman a standing ovation in 1977 when they also rewarded the movie based in part on her memoir, "Julia," with an Oscar for best movie. Of course, that fraudulent liar went to that place where all good Communists go to die, Martha's Vineyard. At the same time, Hollywood treated with disdain one of the greatest talents in movies and on Broadway, Elia Kazan, who was the director of some of the greatest movies ever made in Hollywood (e.g., On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd, Streetcar Named Desire (both on Broadway and in Hollywood)), but who was an admitted member of the Communist Party for a very short period, quickly realized his mistake and renounced the Party, named names before Congress, and as a result was never completely forgiven by Hollywood. It was only after ardent lobbying by Warren Beatty (who co-starred in "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood (who was absolutely terrific), a movie directed by Mr. Kazan) that Hollywood reluctantly decided to award Kazan a "lifetime achievement" Oscar
    in 1999. (Two pretty good directors in their own right, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, held Kazan in very high regard. Kubrick said of Kazan: "without question, the best director we have in America, [and] capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses.")

    Anyway, the reason I came up with to explain Hollywood's change from Nash's obsession with extraterrestrials to Communists is that it was part of Hollywood's continuing education program to brainwash Americans to believing that our obsession with Communism was not because of a real threat posed by the Communist Soviet Union but rather a product of temporary insanity, completely ignoring the reality of what Communist control of Russia and East European countries had produced and what the Communist movement was actively trying to produce in other countries around the world. Since most Americans get their somewhat limited knowledge of history these days from the movies, it is no wonder that Hollywood tweaked the truth in A Beautiful Mind and made Nash's crazed obsession about "non-existent Communists" rather than extraterrestrials.

    An interesting comment! I did not know that about Beatty. Good for him.

    Another such movie was “Sum of All Fears.” Arab terrorist were turned into neo-Nazis in the movie.

    Hollywood (and all the media) would rather choke that tell the truth about Islam. Dragging in Nazis serves to advance fundamental interests of the left:

    1. Never allow the crimes of communism any air time. Keep the focus only on the Holocaust which was only 6/100ths as deadly as communist crimes.

    2. Distort at all costs the true nature of National Socialism as a radical leftist movement. To that end, brand NS as “right-wing” to smear constitutional conservatives and traditionalists also on the right.

    3. Conceal the extent of communist penetration of the US government and US society which continues today. Hence the unseemly effort to smear Diana West and her latest book. And hence the absence of media outrage that Obama started his political career in the living room of two communist terrorists.

    4. To a lesser extent, conceal the heavy over-representation of Jews in American communism and first 20 years of the Bolsheviks Revolution.

    5. Use NS as a tool to discredit “nationalism” so as to conceal the anti-democratic nature of the EU which is “solving” the “problem” of nationalism. And “solving” the “problem” of the European peoples.

    The deflection from Muslims in SOAF also serves to advance the Red-Green alliance of which Jim Simpson has written.

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    "An interesting comment! I did not know that about Beatty. Good for him."

    That was based on something I read around the time of the award (1999). In Googling to refresh my memory, I came across another account which credits Karl Malden for lobbying for the award. Probably both of them worked actively for Kazan's belated award, but at the time I think Warren Beatty had more clout in Hollywood than Malden. So I will make up for my earlier error by crediting both Malden and Beatty for Kazan's lifetime achievement award. Beatty credits Kazan for his first movie, "Splendor in the Grass," in which he co-starred with Natalie Wood. Beatty was good, but Natalie Wood was absolutely outstanding. I didn't see the movie when it first came out but caught it about five years ago on DVD.

    Malden, on the other hand, hand a much richer experience with Kazan. After serving in the military in WWII, Malden co-starred on Broadway in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," directed by one Elia Kazan. In 1951, Malden played Mitch both in the stage version and in the movie version (both directed by Kazan) of "A Streetcar Named Desire," the best friend of Stanley Kowalski (played by Marlon Brando), who courts Stanley's sister-in-law Blanche DuBois, played by Vivian Leigh. Malden won an Oscar for best supporting actor for that role. The following year Malden played a priest advising Terry Malloy (played by Marlon Brando) in Kazan's "On the Waterfront" for which he was nominated for an Osar. And two years later, he starred in Tennessee Williams' "Baby Doll" (which I have never seen). Kazan had a great ability to bring out the best in great actors, whether Brando, James Dean (first starring role in "East of Eden"), Malden, Wood, and others. Probably the most remarkable performance imo was the role of Andy Griffin in "Face in the Crowd." That was the only serious role Griffin had on stage (where he first gained fame), the movies or TV (where he achieved his greatest fame). When I first saw the movie (which I had heard about since I was a teenager) about 10 years ago on DVD from Netflix, I was blown away.

    BTW here is what Wikipedia says about Kazan's 1999 Oscar: "Nearly a half-century later, his anti-Communist testimony continued to cause controversy. When Kazan was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1999, dozens of actors chose not to applaud as 250 demonstrators picketed the event.[10]" I would guess that many of those actors not standing were not even born when "Splendor in the Grass," one of Kazan's last films was made in 1961, or were too young to see it in a movie theater. And 1999 was eight years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
  109. @Ace
    An interesting comment! I did not know that about Beatty. Good for him.

    Another such movie was "Sum of All Fears." Arab terrorist were turned into neo-Nazis in the movie.

    Hollywood (and all the media) would rather choke that tell the truth about Islam. Dragging in Nazis serves to advance fundamental interests of the left:

    1. Never allow the crimes of communism any air time. Keep the focus only on the Holocaust which was only 6/100ths as deadly as communist crimes.

    2. Distort at all costs the true nature of National Socialism as a radical leftist movement. To that end, brand NS as "right-wing" to smear constitutional conservatives and traditionalists also on the right.

    3. Conceal the extent of communist penetration of the US government and US society which continues today. Hence the unseemly effort to smear Diana West and her latest book. And hence the absence of media outrage that Obama started his political career in the living room of two communist terrorists.

    4. To a lesser extent, conceal the heavy over-representation of Jews in American communism and first 20 years of the Bolsheviks Revolution.

    5. Use NS as a tool to discredit "nationalism" so as to conceal the anti-democratic nature of the EU which is "solving" the "problem" of nationalism. And "solving" the "problem" of the European peoples.

    The deflection from Muslims in SOAF also serves to advance the Red-Green alliance of which Jim Simpson has written.

    “An interesting comment! I did not know that about Beatty. Good for him.”

    That was based on something I read around the time of the award (1999). In Googling to refresh my memory, I came across another account which credits Karl Malden for lobbying for the award. Probably both of them worked actively for Kazan’s belated award, but at the time I think Warren Beatty had more clout in Hollywood than Malden. So I will make up for my earlier error by crediting both Malden and Beatty for Kazan’s lifetime achievement award. Beatty credits Kazan for his first movie, “Splendor in the Grass,” in which he co-starred with Natalie Wood. Beatty was good, but Natalie Wood was absolutely outstanding. I didn’t see the movie when it first came out but caught it about five years ago on DVD.

    Malden, on the other hand, hand a much richer experience with Kazan. After serving in the military in WWII, Malden co-starred on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” directed by one Elia Kazan. In 1951, Malden played Mitch both in the stage version and in the movie version (both directed by Kazan) of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the best friend of Stanley Kowalski (played by Marlon Brando), who courts Stanley’s sister-in-law Blanche DuBois, played by Vivian Leigh. Malden won an Oscar for best supporting actor for that role. The following year Malden played a priest advising Terry Malloy (played by Marlon Brando) in Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” for which he was nominated for an Osar. And two years later, he starred in Tennessee Williams’ “Baby Doll” (which I have never seen). Kazan had a great ability to bring out the best in great actors, whether Brando, James Dean (first starring role in “East of Eden”), Malden, Wood, and others. Probably the most remarkable performance imo was the role of Andy Griffin in “Face in the Crowd.” That was the only serious role Griffin had on stage (where he first gained fame), the movies or TV (where he achieved his greatest fame). When I first saw the movie (which I had heard about since I was a teenager) about 10 years ago on DVD from Netflix, I was blown away.

    BTW here is what Wikipedia says about Kazan’s 1999 Oscar: “Nearly a half-century later, his anti-Communist testimony continued to cause controversy. When Kazan was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1999, dozens of actors chose not to applaud as 250 demonstrators picketed the event.[10]” I would guess that many of those actors not standing were not even born when “Splendor in the Grass,” one of Kazan’s last films was made in 1961, or were too young to see it in a movie theater. And 1999 was eight years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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  110. Why are American air strikes hopeless?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/14/us-mideast-crisis-hasaka-idUSKCN0RE17X20150914
    HASAKA had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June. The FSA Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city’s defense to Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka. The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes

    The US will not attack facilities such as training camps which are near many civilians for fear of killing innocent people. When the Americans are trying to bomb IS people who are actually engaged in fighting,, as when they gave successful support to the Kurds who defeated Islamic State, the US air strikes are effective. A front line is difficult to disguise and the opposing troops know exactly where the enemy are. Where Islamic State are not fighting they are essentially invisible. This is why they can survive in the face of US planes. The answer is to get a ground force attacking IS territory and that will make is easy to locate them. Like Afghanistan all that was needed was a small local army from the north and the US air force annihilated the Taliban who made a stand. Islamic State will be unable to hold their territory. At present no one is attacking IS, they are doing the attacking and with the Russian air force as air support.

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  111. Hmm. An Orthodox Russia, the third Rome, coming to rescue civilization? Better than helping Albanian Muslims. As long as no American lives or resources are spent, why not?
    At least they have leaders that look at life in realistic terms.

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