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The Partition of Syria
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1. On February 7, the Americans destroyed a Syrian column moving in the direction of the Coneco oil fields with artillery, wiping up the rest with helicopters. There were at least 100 deaths in the SAA, versus one lightly injured SDF soldier. Although this could be viewed as a Syrian provocation, the fact remains that it was the Americans who fired first, aiming for – and achieving – total liquidation. What’s worse, at least a few of the deaths were incurred by members of Wagner, a Russian PMC staffed mainly by Donbass vets and overly “passionary” Russians (though rumors speak of a much larger catastrophe, with “Cargo 200″ running into the hundreds; I am skeptical about these claims, for the same reason that I am skeptical of Kremlin propaganda claims about RuAF destroying hundreds of jihadists in a day’s work, but a few dozen Russian casualties are credible). “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.

2. Turkey and TFSA continue making incremental progress into Afrin, incurring casualties larger than they likely expected, but nothing they can’t handle. Enjoys an informal, if not overt, “understanding” with the US (rumors that the US is providing AWACS support). And designs on the region may well be permanent. Erdogan: “55 percent of Afrin is Arab, 35 percent are the Kurds who were later relocated, and about seven percent are Turkmen. We aim to give Afrin back to its rightful owners.” So, ethnic cleansing by any other name. Loosen social tensions, too, by enabling Turkey to rid itself of its Arab refugees. Erdogan also openly says he will move on Manbij after that. The Turks have also established observation outposts within the current borders of the area controlled by the Idlib rebels, well to the east of the M5 motorway that was supposed to delineate Russian/Turkish zones of influence as per the Astana accords.

3. Not exactly a secret that Israel supports the southern rebels, including medical care in Israeli hospitals, and artillery and air support that have forestalled any Syrian attempts to clean out this area. Launched large-scale airstrikes in response to a single Iranian drone that drifted into Israeli airspace.

So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

Islamic State might have been beaten, but there is a difference between Toyota-riding bearded yahoos and serious military Powers like the US, Turkey, and Israel. The latter cannot be dislodged, and they have now effectively partitioned Syria.

syria-civil-war-2018-future-map

By the end of the year, if the military configuration looks something like on this map, they will hold Syria’s fate in their hands.

The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements. Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides. And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.

Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks, false flag or otherwise (admittedly, controlling for false flags is hard). Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There” mercenaries, explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria – or worse, getting themselves wiped off the face of the earth in a futile attempt to fight back – will be orders of magnitude harder.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Geopolitics, Syrian Civil War 
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  1. AK, do you think the recent plane crash in Moscow could’ve been a CIA or Mossad op to send a message to Russia?

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  2. Regarding the map, it looks like the US and Israel could meet up in a pincer formation and encircle the Russians and Iranians, and with the Turks in the north and the US fleet off the eastern Med coast, totally annihilate the Russians, Iranians, and the SAA.

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  3. I am glad I am not American.

    For a superpower like America to be a tributary slave-state to a tiny country like Israel must be deeply degrading.

    To be an American soldier-mercenary fighting another country’s war must make them ashamed of the uniform they wear.

    Sad.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    I am glad I am not American.
     
    Why? If things escalate in Syria due to the machinations of the US and the two shitty rogue countries Israel and Turkey, we might all be dragged down into the abyss. If they persist with their regime change project and when/if Russian soldiers get killed, Putin will have to react in some way, or else he loses all credibility...who knows what will happen then?
    It's grotesque to risk a clash with Russia because of this idiotic "Assad must go" obsession. If it comes to that, I hope the Turks and the Israelis will really suffer, they deserve it.
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  4. @22pp22
    I am glad I am not American.

    For a superpower like America to be a tributary slave-state to a tiny country like Israel must be deeply degrading.

    To be an American soldier-mercenary fighting another country's war must make them ashamed of the uniform they wear.

    Sad.

    I am glad I am not American.

    Why? If things escalate in Syria due to the machinations of the US and the two shitty rogue countries Israel and Turkey, we might all be dragged down into the abyss. If they persist with their regime change project and when/if Russian soldiers get killed, Putin will have to react in some way, or else he loses all credibility…who knows what will happen then?
    It’s grotesque to risk a clash with Russia because of this idiotic “Assad must go” obsession. If it comes to that, I hope the Turks and the Israelis will really suffer, they deserve it.

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    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
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  5. Russia should position nuclear weapons in Syria.

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  6. This is certainly a very sober assessment. What I do you think of colonelcassad’s analysis?

    To summarize he thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran axis. He also thinks Americans are getting squeezed out and that Israel now in much less secure position due to Iran growth.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    There's the camp that thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran, and there's the camp that thinks it's doing its own thing and can turn against them as suddenly as it opened up to them after the coup attempt against Erdogan.

    I suspect it's more the latter.
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  7. Anatoly,

    You do realise that “Russo-Iranian Zone” in Syria is much bigger than all the other zones? It also contains 80% of Syria’s remaining population, but without the hardcore jihadists, who have been bused to Idlib over the past two years. So while Iran and Russia may not have won the entire Syria, they have clearly won (liberated) the lion share of it, so I don’t understand where your scepticism comes from.

    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements.

    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.

    Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides.

    The demarkation line between SAA and Turkey-backed rebels has seen no combat throughout 2017. These visions of Turkish-backed jihadists storming Aleppo is merely a product of your imagination.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.
     
    That would give the perfect pretext for the US to hit Iran. If that happened, Trump would slaughter the Iranians.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Those hardcore jihadists are getting consolidated into a Turkish version of the LDNR; while Islamic State was beatable, that is not, unless the Turks decide to leave of their own accord.
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  8. Syria’s opponents are in a weaker position with that map than they have been in a long time. Direct land linkage to Iran, Shia Crescent meme made real – this is big. Things have not been better for the Russians in Syria. That could just mean they started out hopeless and ended up slightly less hopeless, but I would be more optimistic.

    explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria

    What is this nonsense? Things have not been better for Assad vs the jihadists. The Western-aligned nations will have to attack the Syrian regime directly to have a hope of unseating it, and there has not been a worse time to do this since the beginning of the civil war.

    Nobody wants to pay the price to unseat Assad directly.

    Islamic State might have been beaten, but there is a difference between Toyota-riding bearded yahoos and serious military Powers like the US, Turkey, and Israel. The latter cannot be dislodged, and they have now effectively partitioned Syria.

    And? This leaves the strategic situation considerably better than it was when DeZ was besieged.

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  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Anatoly,

    You do realise that "Russo-Iranian Zone" in Syria is much bigger than all the other zones? It also contains 80% of Syria's remaining population, but without the hardcore jihadists, who have been bused to Idlib over the past two years. So while Iran and Russia may not have won the entire Syria, they have clearly won (liberated) the lion share of it, so I don't understand where your scepticism comes from.


    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements.
     
    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.

    Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides.
     
    The demarkation line between SAA and Turkey-backed rebels has seen no combat throughout 2017. These visions of Turkish-backed jihadists storming Aleppo is merely a product of your imagination.

    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.

    That would give the perfect pretext for the US to hit Iran. If that happened, Trump would slaughter the Iranians.

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    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one. The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.

    Just imagine what losing a couple of thousands of American servicemen will do to US morale and Trump's approval rating. He will be utterly disgraced, and Congress will probably use this opportunity to impeach him.
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  10. Question–isn’t the American zone run by relatively progressive (albeit low IQ) Kurds? If so, what exactly would be the harm if the Syrian Kurds–as opposed to the jihadists in Idlib–overthrow Assad?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Kurds obviously cannot rule the whole of Syria. So it’d mean a perpetuation of the civil war.

    From the Russian POV it’d be even worse, since the Khmeimim air base would need to be evacuated. In other words, a victory for the Empire.
    , @Hanoodtroll
    Kurds aren't interested in fighting Assad. They are happy that they got their own district.

    Things aren't that bad as Anatoly makes it look like. If this is how Syria is partitioned it would actually be a reasonable victory for Syria-Russia-Iran.
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  11. Question–isn’t the American zone run by relatively progressive (albeit low IQ) Kurds? If so, what exactly would be the harm if the Syrian Kurds–as opposed to the jihadists in Idlib–overthrow Assad?

    This will be totally unacceptable to the vast majority of Syrian Arabs, as well as for Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Since the Kurdish enclave is surrounded on all sides by hostile forces (Turkey, Iraq, Assad), the prospects for this formation are very weak.

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  12. @DreadIlk
    This is certainly a very sober assessment. What I do you think of colonelcassad's analysis?

    To summarize he thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran axis. He also thinks Americans are getting squeezed out and that Israel now in much less secure position due to Iran growth.

    There’s the camp that thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran, and there’s the camp that thinks it’s doing its own thing and can turn against them as suddenly as it opened up to them after the coup attempt against Erdogan.

    I suspect it’s more the latter.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think the Americans are now doing this “the coup attempt was a thing of the Obama administration, but it’s now President Trump, and we’re better than Obama, no comparison.” Erdogan has no reason to think that Trump is still as obsessed with “Turkish democracy” as was the Obama administration. In fact, the rules of the Trump administration seem to be really easy: you just have to be strongly anti-Russian and pro-Israel and things will be good. So Erdogan clearly knows how to get back to being chummy with the Americans.
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  13. @Felix Keverich
    Anatoly,

    You do realise that "Russo-Iranian Zone" in Syria is much bigger than all the other zones? It also contains 80% of Syria's remaining population, but without the hardcore jihadists, who have been bused to Idlib over the past two years. So while Iran and Russia may not have won the entire Syria, they have clearly won (liberated) the lion share of it, so I don't understand where your scepticism comes from.


    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements.
     
    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.

    Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides.
     
    The demarkation line between SAA and Turkey-backed rebels has seen no combat throughout 2017. These visions of Turkish-backed jihadists storming Aleppo is merely a product of your imagination.

    Those hardcore jihadists are getting consolidated into a Turkish version of the LDNR; while Islamic State was beatable, that is not, unless the Turks decide to leave of their own accord.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You're way too negative. Look at the bright side: Turkey is using these TFSA rebels to fight the Kurds, weakening both. Assad is letting Kurdish fighters from US zone pass to Afrin, where hundreds of them are being "utilized" alongside the anti-Assad rebels. This serves to weaken American project in NE Syria, because Americans will need lots of boots on the ground to control all the territory they claim as their occupation zone. Airstrikes won't be enough.

    It will get even better if Erdogan makes good on his threats and attacks Manbij. We could potentially have a grand anti-Kurd coalition involving Russia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, forcing American invaders to run for the hills.
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  14. “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.

    Пишут:

    https://vz.ru/society/2018/2/12/907936.html

    В конце концов украинские СМИ приписали американскому министру обороны Джеймсу Мэттису фразу, которой он вообще никогда не произносил. Красивая формулировка «русские говорят, что «их там нет», значит, «вас там не будет» на поверку оказалась плодом творчества известного украинского «военного эксперта» Юрия Бутусова. Генерал Мэттис почти наверняка не обладает способностью так оперировать временными и эмфатическими категориями славянских языков и уж точно не знает контекста мемов, которые используют украинские блогеры и российская либеральная общественность (в данном случае речь идет о хештеге #ихтамнет, который эта категория лиц использует в информационной войне вот уже года два).
    В реальности из сумбурного выступления Мэттиса вытекало только то, что он толком ничего не знает и не понимает. Но дословно он сказал следующее: «Я не думаю, что у русских были какие-то потери». Исчерпывающий ответ прославленного американского морпеха.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Vzglyad has some 'splaining to do. They helped to spread this New Year attack BS by this moron Saponkov (this was called BS immediately by a number of people) by merely referencing rumors from Kommersant (source--Saponkov)--a "reputable" source for military info, LOL. Now they helped to propagate this BS about "hundreds" of supposedly Vagner members. They are right now in a full damage control mode, since there is a shitstorm in comments and if this continues Vzglyad may lose a lot of audience, if not already. Accidentally, even this self-proclaimed military "reporter" Saponkov immediately called this whole thing a BS--I guess burning his ass ones was a good lesson. Not that it is going to help him.
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  15. : What if the Syrian Kurds will incorporate some Syrian Arabs into their forces and leadership ranks? Would a Rojava takeover of Syria then be acceptable to the Syrian Arabs?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It wouldn’t be acceptable to Turkey. I don’t think the Arab population would accept it either.
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  16. @Mr. XYZ
    Question--isn't the American zone run by relatively progressive (albeit low IQ) Kurds? If so, what exactly would be the harm if the Syrian Kurds--as opposed to the jihadists in Idlib--overthrow Assad?

    The Kurds obviously cannot rule the whole of Syria. So it’d mean a perpetuation of the civil war.

    From the Russian POV it’d be even worse, since the Khmeimim air base would need to be evacuated. In other words, a victory for the Empire.

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  17. @Anatoly Karlin
    There's the camp that thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran, and there's the camp that thinks it's doing its own thing and can turn against them as suddenly as it opened up to them after the coup attempt against Erdogan.

    I suspect it's more the latter.

    I think the Americans are now doing this “the coup attempt was a thing of the Obama administration, but it’s now President Trump, and we’re better than Obama, no comparison.” Erdogan has no reason to think that Trump is still as obsessed with “Turkish democracy” as was the Obama administration. In fact, the rules of the Trump administration seem to be really easy: you just have to be strongly anti-Russian and pro-Israel and things will be good. So Erdogan clearly knows how to get back to being chummy with the Americans.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Erdogan has no reason to think that Trump is still as obsessed with “Turkish democracy” as was the Obama administration. In fact, the rules of the Trump administration seem to be really easy: you just have to be strongly anti-Russian and pro-Israel and things will be good. So Erdogan clearly knows how to get back to being chummy with the Americans.
     
    The problem is the Kurds. At the moment, the US and the EU are pursuing a schizophrenic policy while supporting the Kurds and Turks against the Kurds. This policy can not last long.
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  18. @Mr. XYZ
    @melanf: What if the Syrian Kurds will incorporate some Syrian Arabs into their forces and leadership ranks? Would a Rojava takeover of Syria then be acceptable to the Syrian Arabs?

    It wouldn’t be acceptable to Turkey. I don’t think the Arab population would accept it either.

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  19. @reiner Tor
    I think the Americans are now doing this “the coup attempt was a thing of the Obama administration, but it’s now President Trump, and we’re better than Obama, no comparison.” Erdogan has no reason to think that Trump is still as obsessed with “Turkish democracy” as was the Obama administration. In fact, the rules of the Trump administration seem to be really easy: you just have to be strongly anti-Russian and pro-Israel and things will be good. So Erdogan clearly knows how to get back to being chummy with the Americans.

    Erdogan has no reason to think that Trump is still as obsessed with “Turkish democracy” as was the Obama administration. In fact, the rules of the Trump administration seem to be really easy: you just have to be strongly anti-Russian and pro-Israel and things will be good. So Erdogan clearly knows how to get back to being chummy with the Americans.

    The problem is the Kurds. At the moment, the US and the EU are pursuing a schizophrenic policy while supporting the Kurds and Turks against the Kurds. This policy can not last long.

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  20. I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don’t doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They’re mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this ‘entity’. I’m not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD’s internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey’s advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov’t and Iran under Turkey’s nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don’t. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player’s game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey’s clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let’s recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don’t believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You make a number of valid points, but I think Anatoly's pessimism is based on a few factors:

    1) The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia (Andrei Martyanov will disagree, and you might as well, but I think it's always better to be pessimistic, because people, including myself, have a tendency to believe what they'd like to be true, and so it's conservative to err on the side of pessimism)

    2) For the Empire a perpetual chaos would be victory - they can easily afford throwing a couple billions of dollars at Syria on a monthly basis well into the future (it'd still be cheaper than Afghanistan, I guess), and they never really aimed for anything stable; the notion that they wanted a "democratic Syria," or even a "stable jihadist Syrian government" is laughable. They must have known that jihadists (or any other kinds of rebels, including the various militias in the FSA) will be at each other's throats the moment Assad falls. I mean, after Libya, how could they believe this time there'll be a stable government (democratic or otherwise) in Syria after Assad's fall?

    3) On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians need a more or less decisive victory and a stable government. They (especially the Iranians) don't have the resources to keep propping up Assad's regime indefinitely into the future. At the very least, spending this kind of resources causes more problems for them than for the Americans.

    Therefore, it's a tall chance to win at such a lopsided game against the Americans. I agree that there are some grounds for cautious optimism, but the emphasis is on the "cautious" part.
    , @reiner Tor

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.
     
    This seems to contradict it.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources
     
    He wouldn't know the difference if he would be positioned directly into operation room in Russia's MO or CENTCOM. At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with "Kremlins". I think, "Kremlins" may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that "hurts" Kremlins. Even if it is BS, which it is most of the time.
    , @Seamus Padraig
    Anatoly's been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start. As a Russian nationalist, he must be angry at Putin for prioritizing Arabs in Syria over ethnic Russians in Novorossiya. To be sure, this is understandable and, at any rate, totally predictable. If I were a Russian, I might feel the same way. But I think he lets it color his judgement a bit too much on what's actually happening in Syria. On an issue like this, I would put more trust in a 'Putin lapdog' like The Saker.
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  21. In some views – M K Bhadrakumar, Veterans Today – a levant game-changer has occurred with the Russian assistance to Syria in shooting down the Israeli planes in what, it is said, were actually very ineffective and thwarted attacks upon Syria

    The idea is that the age of Israeli hit-and-run upon neighbouring nations is now ending, and combined with Israel’s vulnerablility to the tens of thousands of rockets from both Hezbollah and Iran, the sands of power are shifting

    Another idea is that Iran etc are indulging Turkey in Syria, as a way to sufficiently complicate matters for the USA that its powers as well as Israel’s are diminished

    There is an overall narrative ‘conspiracy theory’ that the New World Order will be built upon the stage-managed collapse of USA influence, and perhaps also even a pariah shaming of Israel … a globalist fake ‘people’s victory’ will be presented with 2 key fake ‘populist agendas’, deceptively ‘taxing the rich’ by ‘ending tax havens’ and of course global universal financial surveillance … and of course the ‘abolition of nuclear weapons’ which nicely addresses the ‘problem’ that in fact they have never existed (Anders Björkman, Hiroshima & Nagasaki were chemical firebombings like Tokyo, etc)

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  22. Early part of 2018 can be the yr US needs .It is election time in Russia . After the election Putin might have a freer hand
    Putin shouldn’t have declared victory and started withdrawing publicly so early on in the process of elimination of terrorists.

    Putin can raise the stakes in other areas -NK Ukraine and Iran against US .

    A cohesive dense Syria much smaller than before can actually work better for Iran and Russia . If Hizbollah could thwart and stand up repeatedly, a country now forced into similar situation can wreck more havoc on its enemies.
    Iran is not going to leave and neither Russia Syria or Lebanon would ask for after seeing the break up of the country and after seeing US gaining foothold on Syria through Syrian Kurdistan.

    For Syrian Kurdistan to function a few things have to play out- permanent US presence and removal of majority Arabs .

    Turkey can start sending the IS fighters back to this area and make a mess of the American lives and of Kurds there. Turkey doesn’t have to , there are other players and local incentives .

    Turkey might keep the area occupied but will not incorporate it .

    A division of Syria can be a transient entity . Once US military is gone ( under pressure from gov and terrorists ) , the field will open up to Syria and Iraq to coordinate and remove the Kurdis threat.

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  23. There is a tremendous threshold for the US to use force against the Russian contingent. It would take an extreme situation for them to go there. It might appear a significant threat, because the US has such an upperhand in terms of forces in the area and as it would so devastatingly cut down any Russian credibility as a counterpart to the US in the region or anywhere in the world. It might seem tempting as an opportunity for the US to show everyone who’s the boss and how useless Russia is as an ally. After Russia has gained so much geopolitical momentum in the Middle East in the last years, US could burst that bubble with one swift blow.

    However, open-ended hostilities with a power with the military capabilities Russia has is a nightmarish situation and the juicy fruit that appears to be ripe for picking is quite poisoned. With Kh-101 cruise missiles (4000km range) Russia holds all of Middle East under a threat from inside Russian national airspace. All the massive number of US military bases are legitimate targets at that point and there is little the US could do other than to play defense, because stopping those strikes would at minimum require taking out a number of very high value targets inside Russia, which is easier said than done and in any case at that point a massive war is way too plausible for anybody’s comfort.

    It is mistaken to think of the Russian forces in Syria as detached from the larger Russian military deterrent. If you have been paying attention to the public statements from the MoD you have noticed that the idea of a conventional deterrence has became a high priority. The conventional deterrence comes from the ability to strike pinpoint targets at great distances. Currently the Russian military lists the cruise missile version of Iskander-M, Kalibr from ships and submarines and Kh-101 from Bears and Blackjacks for this role. As this is way more usable and practical than nuclear deterrence it plays a critical role in dissuading other powers from crossing Russia.
    One slide from the military:

    Of course nations do commit dumb and destructive blunders sometimes, so one cannot discount that possibility. But the Great Game is not for the faint of heart. At this point the Russian intervention is a definite success. Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn’t want. The Kurdish region is a consolation prize, which is of no great importance to Russia and furthermore might be quite troublesome for the US as it is a landlocked area with hostile neighbours. One could (and should) see this Russian victory as a significant milestone in the end of the Post-Cold War period of the overwhelming US dominance. In a conflict out in the open (that is not in the very neighbourhood of a major power) the main terms have been dictated against the will of the hegemony.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn’t want.
     
    It's a question how much they'll accept it. As you write, there's still the chance of an open-ended military confrontation with Russia if they don't.

    I think one reason for the deranged anti-Russian propaganda-campaign that is going on (and which has been going on for quite some time, especially since 2014) is that it is preparing the population for a major war with Russia. With one caveat - they don't actually plan to wage such a war, but if the population seems to be accepting it and even wholeheartedly supporting such a war, then this puts pressure on the Russians. Because otherwise any military threats aimed at Russia would be discarded as empty words. So in order to credibly threaten Russia with military action (which is needed to give them the upper hand in negotiations), they need the constant propaganda campaign. That's not the sole reason for it, but it surely contributes to it.

    The problem is, such propaganda campaigns are difficult to turn off, it tends to take on life of its own. For example after 1991 Saddam was still seen as Hitler, and people didn't understand why G. H. W. Bush left him in place. In retrospect, it would've been better for him if Bush the Elder didn't encourage and participate in the propaganda campaign against Saddam.
    , @Andrei Martyanov
    Didn't I write the whole piece about that about 5 months ago?;-)

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/

    However, open-ended hostilities with a power with the military capabilities Russia has
     
    Even in case of attack on Russia's contingent in Syria (granted there is another S-400 there now) the response on ME CENTCOM assets will be under attack very fast.
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  24. @Bukephalos
    I'm growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don't doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They're mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this 'entity'. I'm not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD's internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey's advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov't and Iran under Turkey's nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don't. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player's game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey's clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let's recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don't believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

    You make a number of valid points, but I think Anatoly’s pessimism is based on a few factors:

    1) The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia (Andrei Martyanov will disagree, and you might as well, but I think it’s always better to be pessimistic, because people, including myself, have a tendency to believe what they’d like to be true, and so it’s conservative to err on the side of pessimism)

    2) For the Empire a perpetual chaos would be victory – they can easily afford throwing a couple billions of dollars at Syria on a monthly basis well into the future (it’d still be cheaper than Afghanistan, I guess), and they never really aimed for anything stable; the notion that they wanted a “democratic Syria,” or even a “stable jihadist Syrian government” is laughable. They must have known that jihadists (or any other kinds of rebels, including the various militias in the FSA) will be at each other’s throats the moment Assad falls. I mean, after Libya, how could they believe this time there’ll be a stable government (democratic or otherwise) in Syria after Assad’s fall?

    3) On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians need a more or less decisive victory and a stable government. They (especially the Iranians) don’t have the resources to keep propping up Assad’s regime indefinitely into the future. At the very least, spending this kind of resources causes more problems for them than for the Americans.

    Therefore, it’s a tall chance to win at such a lopsided game against the Americans. I agree that there are some grounds for cautious optimism, but the emphasis is on the “cautious” part.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    I agree with point 1, but it's certainly nothing new to the situation.

    As for points 2 and 3 I don't agree that Iran can't afford to keep supporting Syria. On the contrary the costs of doing so are not all that significant for a country as oil and manpower rich as Iran. So long as popular support for that foreign policy commitment remains strong in Iran (and contrary to recent US/Israeli propaganda that appears to be the case for the moment), the Iranians can go on indefinitely with the present level of support, and as security improves (it can hardly get worse than it was over the past few years) Iran and Iraq can even benefit from support given to Syria.

    The Syrian government for now is relatively stable, and there's no obvious reason why a decisive total victory is required to move forwards. The areas outside Syrian government control are not and never have been vital, especially if oil revenue is replaced by external loans from Iran and Russia (trivial for those countries to do).

    Meanwhile US/Israeli/Turkish interference has ongoing and probably increasing costs for those countries, that are greater the more open the interference, and it's by no means clear those are all sustainable long term.
    , @KA
    No doubt -The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia and it was for most of the last 40 yrs For some reason it has not been able to take out NK or attacked Iran and remove Assad or prevent US inspired supported and nurtured ISIS 's defeat /scatterings . Neither it has been able to mediate to its advantage the Qatar -S Arab disputes . In other fronts Egypt is not ganging up against Iran but against Turkey and Egypt is making military deals with Russia . India is making deals with Iran . Iran is making deals with China . Iran Russia India and Afghanistan are on board for a lot of projects that was an absolute -NO- in 2006 when same ideas were floated .

    May be US is understanding that it can't fight on the ground anymore . Its airfare has the capacity to destroy anything under. The dilemma for US how to assert and maintain economic exploitative superiority and distribute some that to the allies . US has not found one formula yet . This reality is not lost on other countries . They openly won't challenge US but will exactly do that US doesn't want . It means the power US thinks it has is pure imagination in current world . US's only hope of domination is strife ridden Afvrivcan sub shara who will sell their bodies for US cosmetics and ultra rich oligarchs . Oligarchs will not be bale to do it in Russia Turkey India China but still a good lever of American power projection in Latin America .

    So America is not going to win . Its only hope status quo and that status quo is being slowly eroded .
    Its a slow death . Add to that the misery unhappiness and economic situation of the 80%b Americans with debt and drugs . It is abyss you are looking at.

    So for the sake of arguments, there is one Kurdish nation in N E of Syria . It is land locked . It can't do business unless it makes concession to Turkey or Iraq or Syria . EWE now what the concessions will be .
    Uncle Sam can flout the air embargo put by surrounding countries . But what will it achieve by flying few planes despite objection of Syria or Iraq ?

    So the argument that this nation could survive is dream gone wrong . Neither US can make it survive .

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  25. @Epicurus
    There is a tremendous threshold for the US to use force against the Russian contingent. It would take an extreme situation for them to go there. It might appear a significant threat, because the US has such an upperhand in terms of forces in the area and as it would so devastatingly cut down any Russian credibility as a counterpart to the US in the region or anywhere in the world. It might seem tempting as an opportunity for the US to show everyone who's the boss and how useless Russia is as an ally. After Russia has gained so much geopolitical momentum in the Middle East in the last years, US could burst that bubble with one swift blow.

    However, open-ended hostilities with a power with the military capabilities Russia has is a nightmarish situation and the juicy fruit that appears to be ripe for picking is quite poisoned. With Kh-101 cruise missiles (4000km range) Russia holds all of Middle East under a threat from inside Russian national airspace. All the massive number of US military bases are legitimate targets at that point and there is little the US could do other than to play defense, because stopping those strikes would at minimum require taking out a number of very high value targets inside Russia, which is easier said than done and in any case at that point a massive war is way too plausible for anybody's comfort.

    It is mistaken to think of the Russian forces in Syria as detached from the larger Russian military deterrent. If you have been paying attention to the public statements from the MoD you have noticed that the idea of a conventional deterrence has became a high priority. The conventional deterrence comes from the ability to strike pinpoint targets at great distances. Currently the Russian military lists the cruise missile version of Iskander-M, Kalibr from ships and submarines and Kh-101 from Bears and Blackjacks for this role. As this is way more usable and practical than nuclear deterrence it plays a critical role in dissuading other powers from crossing Russia.
    One slide from the military: http://oi65.tinypic.com/v42kiw.jpg

    Of course nations do commit dumb and destructive blunders sometimes, so one cannot discount that possibility. But the Great Game is not for the faint of heart. At this point the Russian intervention is a definite success. Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn't want. The Kurdish region is a consolation prize, which is of no great importance to Russia and furthermore might be quite troublesome for the US as it is a landlocked area with hostile neighbours. One could (and should) see this Russian victory as a significant milestone in the end of the Post-Cold War period of the overwhelming US dominance. In a conflict out in the open (that is not in the very neighbourhood of a major power) the main terms have been dictated against the will of the hegemony.

    Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn’t want.

    It’s a question how much they’ll accept it. As you write, there’s still the chance of an open-ended military confrontation with Russia if they don’t.

    I think one reason for the deranged anti-Russian propaganda-campaign that is going on (and which has been going on for quite some time, especially since 2014) is that it is preparing the population for a major war with Russia. With one caveat – they don’t actually plan to wage such a war, but if the population seems to be accepting it and even wholeheartedly supporting such a war, then this puts pressure on the Russians. Because otherwise any military threats aimed at Russia would be discarded as empty words. So in order to credibly threaten Russia with military action (which is needed to give them the upper hand in negotiations), they need the constant propaganda campaign. That’s not the sole reason for it, but it surely contributes to it.

    The problem is, such propaganda campaigns are difficult to turn off, it tends to take on life of its own. For example after 1991 Saddam was still seen as Hitler, and people didn’t understand why G. H. W. Bush left him in place. In retrospect, it would’ve been better for him if Bush the Elder didn’t encourage and participate in the propaganda campaign against Saddam.

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    to credibly threaten Russia with military action (which is needed to give them the upper hand in negotiations), they need the constant propaganda campaign
     
    Agree. It answers a question I have been struggling with, why the propaganda campaign of this magnitude, and why continually escalate it?

    But it is not a good situation for anyone: pumping up tensions cannot be done endlessly and it is at this point hard to turn off (as you point out). So we might be f..ed.

    I known that the neo-cons (or whoever) think that who rules Syria, or who controls the invaluable coal resources of Donbass, or whether the fat boy in Korea sleeps well - all of those things are of enormous importance to them. But what we have so far are a lot of dead people, a lot of destroyed countries, and a population in the West so dumbed down that what comes next cannot be much worse.

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  26. Well that’s pessimistic and I disagree. The Russian intervention has certainly been a success.

    And as has already been mentioned 1. Assad controls 80% of the population and 2. Russia’s long-range cruise missiles are a deterrent, I can agree with Martyanov on that. The US won’t be able to stop those strikes.

    A partition of some kind was totally inevitable. The current situation is pretty much the best realistic outcome.

    “One could (and should) see this Russian victory as a significant milestone in the end of the Post-Cold War period of the overwhelming US dominance. In a conflict out in the open (that is not in the very neighbourhood of a major power) the main terms have been dictated against the will of the hegemony.”

    This.

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  27. Not sure if you are trolling your readers here or just adopting the “blackpill” extreme on Syria in the hope of being encouraged by counter arguments.

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    They have already achieved victory, in that the government remains in place, and the position of the government is now secure in a way it was not and looked as though it might never be just a few years ago.

    They have not yet achieved total victory, and might never do so, but in the end a draw would be an impressive achievement given the odds the Syrian government was up against, imo. Few credible observers would have gone on the record back in 2013 to say that Assad would still be alive, let alone in office and in power (in the vast majority of the important parts of country) in five years time.

    The threat you refer to at the end of your piece, of all out war by the US and its regional proxies and allies that could sweep away the Syria government and any Russian forces daring to resist it, has been ever-present for 5 years now, and there’s no apparent reason to see it as increased by the latest developments. The US has always had escalation superiority in Syria and has always so far chosen to step back from that brink in view of the rather dramatic costs and risks involved.

    You repeatedly assume the worst, and then wring your hands about how bad the situation is. In reality, the Turkish and US positions in Syria are themselves very unstable and vulnerable. There’s really no reason to suppose they will be able to stay the course as things heat up around them. In particular, the seeming US/Turkish settlement requires that the fighting between Turkish backed forces and Kurds does not significantly expand to the east as the Turks take casualties and drive out Kurds in Afrin. Not sure I can see that being sustainable. Not sure that I can see the Turkish position in Idlib being sustainable either if the Syrian army does, as expected, return to addressing that province directly once it has finished dealing with pockets elsewhere. At the end of the day it is clearly illegal for the Turks to be there, and the Turks will probably have to actually fight the Syrian army directly with Russian backing to defend it. Not sure they will be willing or able to do that, there.

    On the other hand, the Syrians could just choose to leave the Turks and US where they are, while continuing to support ongoing Kurdish resistance, effectively write off Idlib and the Kurdish and NE regions for the moment, and do some rebuilding with heavy Iranian and hopefully Russian support based upon good relations with Lebanon and Iraq. It wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s perfectly doable if the Iranians step up (and there’s no reason for them not to do so – it’s a no-brainer for them to support Syria against Israeli/US aggression, and we now know – if we ever really doubted – that all the bullshit about Iranians getting restive about their country’s foreign policy in the recent minor unrest in Iran was the usual US/Israeli black propaganda, which some fell for rather too easily).

    There are plenty of good aspects to the situation as well as bad, things can go well as well as badly from here, and although the situation is far from perfect overall, Syria is looking infinitely better than it was a few years ago on almost every front.

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  28. @reiner Tor
    You make a number of valid points, but I think Anatoly's pessimism is based on a few factors:

    1) The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia (Andrei Martyanov will disagree, and you might as well, but I think it's always better to be pessimistic, because people, including myself, have a tendency to believe what they'd like to be true, and so it's conservative to err on the side of pessimism)

    2) For the Empire a perpetual chaos would be victory - they can easily afford throwing a couple billions of dollars at Syria on a monthly basis well into the future (it'd still be cheaper than Afghanistan, I guess), and they never really aimed for anything stable; the notion that they wanted a "democratic Syria," or even a "stable jihadist Syrian government" is laughable. They must have known that jihadists (or any other kinds of rebels, including the various militias in the FSA) will be at each other's throats the moment Assad falls. I mean, after Libya, how could they believe this time there'll be a stable government (democratic or otherwise) in Syria after Assad's fall?

    3) On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians need a more or less decisive victory and a stable government. They (especially the Iranians) don't have the resources to keep propping up Assad's regime indefinitely into the future. At the very least, spending this kind of resources causes more problems for them than for the Americans.

    Therefore, it's a tall chance to win at such a lopsided game against the Americans. I agree that there are some grounds for cautious optimism, but the emphasis is on the "cautious" part.

    I agree with point 1, but it’s certainly nothing new to the situation.

    As for points 2 and 3 I don’t agree that Iran can’t afford to keep supporting Syria. On the contrary the costs of doing so are not all that significant for a country as oil and manpower rich as Iran. So long as popular support for that foreign policy commitment remains strong in Iran (and contrary to recent US/Israeli propaganda that appears to be the case for the moment), the Iranians can go on indefinitely with the present level of support, and as security improves (it can hardly get worse than it was over the past few years) Iran and Iraq can even benefit from support given to Syria.

    The Syrian government for now is relatively stable, and there’s no obvious reason why a decisive total victory is required to move forwards. The areas outside Syrian government control are not and never have been vital, especially if oil revenue is replaced by external loans from Iran and Russia (trivial for those countries to do).

    Meanwhile US/Israeli/Turkish interference has ongoing and probably increasing costs for those countries, that are greater the more open the interference, and it’s by no means clear those are all sustainable long term.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    So long as popular support for that foreign policy commitment remains strong in Iran
     
    The US can keep the support even if it became unpopular. Because a billion a month is really peanuts for them.

    Meanwhile US/Israeli/Turkish interference has ongoing and probably increasing costs for those countries
     
    Maybe for Turkey, I'm unsure. Israeli costs can easily be picked up by the US taxpayers, and for the US, the whole cost is far more sustainable even in the absence of any popular support than for any other player (perhaps excepting China). A billion a month or so is something which they can pay out of rounding errors in their military budget, without US taxpayers or voters even noticing much. And to the extent anyone notices, it will be explained by foreign policy wonks on TV that it's the most wonderful thing since sliced bread.
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  29. Seems to be a big push in the media to claim that the US killed 100s of Russian soldiers, I don’t think they killed any. I guess you need to grasp at anything when things are moving against you.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It appears that multiple Russian sources have also confirmed it, for example the Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.

    In any event, as I wrote above, pessimism is likely more realistic, if only because I’d like it to be untrue.
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  30. As usual, credulous and weakwitted defeatist nonsense from AK. Any move by US against Syrian-controlled territory, Tel Aviv gets it from Hezbollah …

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Hezbollah is also tied up in Syria, so that seems unlikely.
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  31. American strategic thinking is disgracefully poor.

    We have no interests in Syria of any kind. Our operations there represent a pure cost on the national balance sheet, and it creates needless risk owing to provoking Russia.

    Imagine if we employed the same military might against Mexico. We could overrun Baja California and all of the sparsely populated but highly industrialized Mexican border states. We could then expel the Mexican population and build [b]THE WALL[/b], which would be shorter and more affordable.

    The military operations would only take a few days. The ethnic cleansing a few weeks.

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    • Replies: @Kurt van Ghoye
    Your scenario presupposes that American foreign policy be carried out in the interests of the geographical entity and polity of America, and not in behalf of a small foreign nation that has captured the machinery of the state and the minds, possibly the souls, of its people. The project of recapturing our thwarted destiny and exposing and neutralizing the fifth column must precede adventures near our pretend border. Only once that work is done--and it will be a job for heroes and generations--should the merits of expanding the buffer between the border states and the Aztec heartland be debated. It is tempting to wish for the Mexican leadership to suffer a harsh comeuppance, but I have a distinct feeling that they will be far less willing to provoke us once our house is in order and Americans are back in charge of America
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  32. @reiner Tor
    You make a number of valid points, but I think Anatoly's pessimism is based on a few factors:

    1) The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia (Andrei Martyanov will disagree, and you might as well, but I think it's always better to be pessimistic, because people, including myself, have a tendency to believe what they'd like to be true, and so it's conservative to err on the side of pessimism)

    2) For the Empire a perpetual chaos would be victory - they can easily afford throwing a couple billions of dollars at Syria on a monthly basis well into the future (it'd still be cheaper than Afghanistan, I guess), and they never really aimed for anything stable; the notion that they wanted a "democratic Syria," or even a "stable jihadist Syrian government" is laughable. They must have known that jihadists (or any other kinds of rebels, including the various militias in the FSA) will be at each other's throats the moment Assad falls. I mean, after Libya, how could they believe this time there'll be a stable government (democratic or otherwise) in Syria after Assad's fall?

    3) On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians need a more or less decisive victory and a stable government. They (especially the Iranians) don't have the resources to keep propping up Assad's regime indefinitely into the future. At the very least, spending this kind of resources causes more problems for them than for the Americans.

    Therefore, it's a tall chance to win at such a lopsided game against the Americans. I agree that there are some grounds for cautious optimism, but the emphasis is on the "cautious" part.

    No doubt -The West really is (for the moment) much stronger than Russia and it was for most of the last 40 yrs For some reason it has not been able to take out NK or attacked Iran and remove Assad or prevent US inspired supported and nurtured ISIS ‘s defeat /scatterings . Neither it has been able to mediate to its advantage the Qatar -S Arab disputes . In other fronts Egypt is not ganging up against Iran but against Turkey and Egypt is making military deals with Russia . India is making deals with Iran . Iran is making deals with China . Iran Russia India and Afghanistan are on board for a lot of projects that was an absolute -NO- in 2006 when same ideas were floated .

    May be US is understanding that it can’t fight on the ground anymore . Its airfare has the capacity to destroy anything under. The dilemma for US how to assert and maintain economic exploitative superiority and distribute some that to the allies . US has not found one formula yet . This reality is not lost on other countries . They openly won’t challenge US but will exactly do that US doesn’t want . It means the power US thinks it has is pure imagination in current world . US’s only hope of domination is strife ridden Afvrivcan sub shara who will sell their bodies for US cosmetics and ultra rich oligarchs . Oligarchs will not be bale to do it in Russia Turkey India China but still a good lever of American power projection in Latin America .

    So America is not going to win . Its only hope status quo and that status quo is being slowly eroded .
    Its a slow death . Add to that the misery unhappiness and economic situation of the 80%b Americans with debt and drugs . It is abyss you are looking at.

    So for the sake of arguments, there is one Kurdish nation in N E of Syria . It is land locked . It can’t do business unless it makes concession to Turkey or Iraq or Syria . EWE now what the concessions will be .
    Uncle Sam can flout the air embargo put by surrounding countries . But what will it achieve by flying few planes despite objection of Syria or Iraq ?

    So the argument that this nation could survive is dream gone wrong . Neither US can make it survive .

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  33. On February 7, the Americans destroyed a Syrian column moving in the direction of the Coneco oil fields with artillery, wiping up the rest with helicopters.

    This incident is strange and confusing. It does seem that for some reason, the SAA column did not anticipate being attacked by US forces. According to an official statement by the SAA’s (Russian-trained) ISIS Hunters, the US “sucker punch” attack occurred after a small group of ISIS fighters had attacked SAA positions from SDF territory, been defeated by the Hunters, and retreated towards the oil field. Possibly the SAA were pursuing the retreating ISIS fighters, although the statement doesn’t mention that. The SAA account does seem more plausible than the US version, given that a column of 500 troops (all marching close together to present an easy target, and apparently not equipped with any defenses against close air support) is both too small for a serious attempt to seize the oil field, and too large for a probing expedition.

    Turkey and TFSA continue making incremental progress into Afrin, incurring casualties larger than they likely expected, but nothing they can’t handle.

    Presumably Afrin’s Kurds would prefer to be governed by Assad than ethnically cleansed by Turks. So it’s possible that before they lose all of Afrin, the Kurds will see the writing on the wall and decide to hand it over to the SAA, in which case the end result of the Turkish invasion would be a net gain of territory for Assad. The Kurds are pretty dumb though, so it’s more likely they’ll keep fighting until it’s too late.

    The Turks have also established observation outposts within the current borders of the area controlled by the Idlib rebels, well to the east of the M5 motorway that was supposed to delineate Russian/Turkish zones of influence as per the Astana accords.

    The SAA had been advancing rapidly in rebel Greater Idlib, reducing its territory by a third in only a few weeks, before they suddenly halted their campaign. Which does look like a stupid squandering of momentum, and capitulation to the Turks, even though those observation posts weren’t any real obstacle to a continued SAA advance. However, there is a report this morning that the elite Tiger Forces are being transferred from Idlib to the rebel pocket in East Ghouta (earlier reports said they were being transferred to the large ISIS pocket in eastern Syria) which understandably might be a higher priority for the Syrian government than Idlib, since East Ghouta is within shelling range of Damascus.

    A case could be made that Syria would be better off without all of Idlib, as that is a heavily anti-government region which doesn’t contribute much to the economy. But the SAA should at least secure the M5 highway and lift the siege on the two Shiite towns.

    Not exactly a secret that Israel supports the southern rebels, including medical care in Israeli hospitals, and artillery and air support that have forestalled any Syrian attempts to clean out this area.

    The SAA has already retaken some territory from the Israel-backed rebels, and is probably capable of retaking all of the Israeli Zone, were it ever to make that front its priority.

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    Not total victory in the sense of Assad reclaiming every inch of Syria, at least not in the near term.

    But the Russian intervention has been far more successful than virtually anyone predicted when it began. Assad has gone from a position where he controlled less than 25% of Syria, and was on the defensive on every front, to controlling 60% of Syria, including every major city, and 75% of the population. He isn’t likely to lose any of his current territory, and instead the question is how much more he can gain.

    The current situation is the anti-Assad coalition’s Plan C. Plan A was to overthrow Assad, and that has completely failed. Plan B was to partition Syria in such a way that Iran would not have a direct land route to Syrian government territory. That has also failed.

    Islamic State might have been beaten, but there is a difference between Toyota-riding bearded yahoos and serious military Powers like the US, Turkey, and Israel. The latter cannot be dislodged, and they have now effectively partitioned Syria.

    For now. But I don’t know that they can never be dislodged. If the SAA ever retakes the entire East Ghouta, that will free up something like 20,000 troops for potential use in the Israeli or Turkish Zones.

    The US occupation of the east will probably last at least as long as Mattis is SecDef. But the southern half of that territory is majority-Arab, and there may be the potential for an anti-US insurgency there (many of the pro-government fighters killed in the Feb 7 attack were members of a local Arab tribe). The US public probably wouldn’t support US troops dying, just to deny the Syrian government its oilfields.

    By the end of the year, if the military configuration looks something like on this map, they will hold Syria’s fate in their hands. The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements.

    How? Even if they cut the land route from Abu Kamal, Iran can still send reinforcements the same ways it did for the entire war before the Abu Kamal route was opened.

    Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides

    Aleppo isn’t in any real danger. If the Turkey-backed rebels couldn’t take Aleppo when the SAA was in far worse shape, and lacked Russian air support, they can’t take it now.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  34. @LondonBob
    Seems to be a big push in the media to claim that the US killed 100s of Russian soldiers, I don't think they killed any. I guess you need to grasp at anything when things are moving against you.

    It appears that multiple Russian sources have also confirmed it, for example the Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.

    In any event, as I wrote above, pessimism is likely more realistic, if only because I’d like it to be untrue.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.
     
    Russian search engine "Yandex" too know next to nothing about them.
    https://yandex.ru/search/?text=%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%80%20%D1%84%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%20%D0%B8%20%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80%20%D0%B8%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%20&lr=2
    That is Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov are very very doubtful sources.
    , @LondonBob
    Elijah Magnier says no Russian casualties, he is my go to guy on Syria.
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  35. @5371
    As usual, credulous and weakwitted defeatist nonsense from AK. Any move by US against Syrian-controlled territory, Tel Aviv gets it from Hezbollah ...

    Hezbollah is also tied up in Syria, so that seems unlikely.

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    • Replies: @5371
    It's true though, and the US knows it, which is why they won't do shit.
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  36. @reiner Tor
    Hezbollah is also tied up in Syria, so that seems unlikely.

    It’s true though, and the US knows it, which is why they won’t do shit.

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  37. I always figured if a world war happened, it’ll start from the ME.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Armageddon

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Bible, Armageddon (/ˌɑːrməˈɡɛdən/, from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn,[1][2] Late Latin: Armagedōn,[3] from Hebrew: הר מגידו‬ Har Megiddo) is the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location.
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  38. @reiner Tor
    It appears that multiple Russian sources have also confirmed it, for example the Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.

    In any event, as I wrote above, pessimism is likely more realistic, if only because I’d like it to be untrue.

    Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.

    Russian search engine “Yandex” too know next to nothing about them.

    https://yandex.ru/search/?text=%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%80%20%D1%84%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%20%D0%B8%20%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80%20%D0%B8%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%20&lr=2

    That is Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov are very very doubtful sources.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thanks, that's good to know.
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  39. @Mr. XYZ
    Question--isn't the American zone run by relatively progressive (albeit low IQ) Kurds? If so, what exactly would be the harm if the Syrian Kurds--as opposed to the jihadists in Idlib--overthrow Assad?

    Kurds aren’t interested in fighting Assad. They are happy that they got their own district.

    Things aren’t that bad as Anatoly makes it look like. If this is how Syria is partitioned it would actually be a reasonable victory for Syria-Russia-Iran.

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  40. @Bukephalos
    I'm growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don't doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They're mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this 'entity'. I'm not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD's internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey's advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov't and Iran under Turkey's nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don't. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player's game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey's clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let's recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don't believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    This seems to contradict it.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    That is what Israel believes. It is not verified.
    , @Bukephalos
    A prime example of what was I saying about West-aligned sources. Most people who know a thing or two about Syrian air defenses, many mobile, a lot well hidden, laughed this claim off. This would take a lot more than the short sorties they engaged in, https://twitter.com/aarondmiller2/status/962801713722920960

    Another example of how over the top Israeli misinformation can be is a short video that was published by the IDF twitter account. I could actually see it before it was deleted. A simple infography purported to show the flying path of the f-16 over a map of Syria and then described it safely landing in Israel. This unusually amateurish propaganda effort was soon taken down as the photographic evidence of the crash and official admission came in.

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  41. @Anatoly Karlin
    Those hardcore jihadists are getting consolidated into a Turkish version of the LDNR; while Islamic State was beatable, that is not, unless the Turks decide to leave of their own accord.

    You’re way too negative. Look at the bright side: Turkey is using these TFSA rebels to fight the Kurds, weakening both. Assad is letting Kurdish fighters from US zone pass to Afrin, where hundreds of them are being “utilized” alongside the anti-Assad rebels. This serves to weaken American project in NE Syria, because Americans will need lots of boots on the ground to control all the territory they claim as their occupation zone. Airstrikes won’t be enough.

    It will get even better if Erdogan makes good on his threats and attacks Manbij. We could potentially have a grand anti-Kurd coalition involving Russia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, forcing American invaders to run for the hills.

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  42. @melanf

    Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.
     
    Russian search engine "Yandex" too know next to nothing about them.
    https://yandex.ru/search/?text=%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%80%20%D1%84%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%20%D0%B8%20%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80%20%D0%B8%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%20&lr=2
    That is Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov are very very doubtful sources.

    Thanks, that’s good to know.

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  43. what exactly is Putin’s endgame in Syria? The Assad regime has been saved and ISIS has been defeated. Why not just declare victory and go home?

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I think he believes in ladies first, then he'll follow suit.

    So in this case, Americans can leave first.

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  44. @Greasy William
    what exactly is Putin's endgame in Syria? The Assad regime has been saved and ISIS has been defeated. Why not just declare victory and go home?

    I think he believes in ladies first, then he’ll follow suit.

    So in this case, Americans can leave first.

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  45. @Anonymous

    How? By bombing Iranian convoys that pass through Abu-Kamal? Iranians will surely retaliate. They have the means to hit American assets in Syria and Iraq, and Americans know it.
     
    That would give the perfect pretext for the US to hit Iran. If that happened, Trump would slaughter the Iranians.

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one. The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.

    Just imagine what losing a couple of thousands of American servicemen will do to US morale and Trump’s approval rating. He will be utterly disgraced, and Congress will probably use this opportunity to impeach him.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one.
     
    No it can't. You don't live in America. The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.
     
    No, no and 1000 times no. Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people. They peaked in like 400 BC and their entire history since then is them losing wars. They couldn't even beat Saddam and they certainly aren't going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    If the US wanted to destroy Iran, it could be done entirely from the air. The US won't bother doing so because the US doesn't care enough about Iran to bother.
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  46. Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Yes. Is it possible to make hundreds of nonexistent casualties appear as real in today's age ? Yes.

    We live in a world where truth has become a multiple choice selection.

    , @Thorfinnsson
    Might not be possible to hide them, but it's perfectly possible to memory hole them.

    Facts don't matter, only the narrative does.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?
     
    1. So called "information age" instead of educating people produced an avalanche, in fact, total informational overload. It made many people into zombies or (social) media junkies. Warhol's prediction came fully true.

    2. Anything, even the fact that some transgender boy fvcked himself and conceived and gave a birth to a child WILL become the news, especially through social media. At least for a short time. That is enough for completely dumbfounded public to get an effect.

    3. Overwhelming majority of people are not equipped with necessary mechanisms for sorting, filtering and analyzing this overwhelming stream of so called information. They get overwhelmed and completely disoriented. Nowhere this sad state of affairs manifests itself more than in military field. This it is military affairs which become a fertile soil for propaganda, disinformation and subversion.

    4. There is NO such profession as journalist--it is nothing more than glorified English (Russian, German, Chinese etc.) language majors who, for some absolutely unexplained reasons, pretend to know shit, while remaining completely ignorant on subjects they try to express their opinions, instead of honest reporting. This phenomenon of honest reporting is no more.

    5. As per your poignant question: impossible but not just because of a social media. In fact, as this particular case shows--very often despite those media. Saker wrote a superb piece on Russian counter-propaganda.

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  47. @reiner Tor
    Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?

    Yes. Is it possible to make hundreds of nonexistent casualties appear as real in today’s age ? Yes.

    We live in a world where truth has become a multiple choice selection.

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  48. @reiner Tor
    Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?

    Might not be possible to hide them, but it’s perfectly possible to memory hole them.

    Facts don’t matter, only the narrative does.

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  49. “On February 7, the Americans destroyed a Syrian column moving in the direction of the Coneco oil fields with artillery, wiping up the rest with helicopters. There were at least 100 deaths in the SAA”

    That was the single most shameful military action ever carried out by the United States military.

    The defenders of Deir Ezzor provided a refuge for the Christians of eastern Syria when the rest of eastern Syria was overrun by ISIS. The only reason any Christians are alive today in eastern Syria is because of the heroism of the defenders of Deir Ezzor.

    Mattis murdered them (the technological imbalance justifies the use of the term “murder”), despite having no authorization from congress to do so.

    Mattis also declared that he, in his capacity as Secretary of Defense, will unilaterally nullify America’s immigration laws, to reward the illegal immigrants who served as mercenaries for Israel and Saudi Arabia in the US military.

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    • Replies: @bunga
    "According to French intelligence, the LIFG made several assassination attempts on Gadaffi in the 1990s – bank-rolled by British intelligence. In March 2011, France, Britain and the US seized the opportunity of a “humanitarian intervention” and attacked Libya. They were joined by Nato under cover of a UN resolution to “protect civilians”.
    Last September, a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry concluded that then Prime Minister David Cameron had taken the country to war against Gaddafi on a series of “erroneous assumptions” and that the attack “had led to the rise of Islamic State in North Africa”.
    "
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/31/terror-in-britain-what-did-the-prime-minister-know/

    The tendency to believe American/ British 's positions on terrorism is the blind spot well nurtured by the rest of the visual field.

    Kill moslem Christina, kill whites, blacks, yellow - the epmire is truly impartial color blind secular force

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  50. Enjoys an informal, if not overt, “understanding” with the US (rumors that the US is providing AWACS support).

    Facepalm.

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  51. @Bukephalos
    I'm growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don't doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They're mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this 'entity'. I'm not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD's internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey's advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov't and Iran under Turkey's nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don't. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player's game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey's clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let's recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don't believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

    I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources

    He wouldn’t know the difference if he would be positioned directly into operation room in Russia’s MO or CENTCOM. At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with “Kremlins”. I think, “Kremlins” may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that “hurts” Kremlins. Even if it is BS, which it is most of the time.

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    • Replies: @utu

    At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with “Kremlins”. I think, “Kremlins” may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that “hurts” Kremlins.
     
    Interesting. I thought that at this stage of the big game if you care for the future of Russia regardless of your political sympathies for present regime in Kremlin one should support it. If it was not for Russia Syria would have been where Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya are which were destroyed when Russia slept over the switch.
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  52. @Felix Keverich
    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one. The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.

    Just imagine what losing a couple of thousands of American servicemen will do to US morale and Trump's approval rating. He will be utterly disgraced, and Congress will probably use this opportunity to impeach him.

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one.

    No it can’t. You don’t live in America. The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.

    No, no and 1000 times no. Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people. They peaked in like 400 BC and their entire history since then is them losing wars. They couldn’t even beat Saddam and they certainly aren’t going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    If the US wanted to destroy Iran, it could be done entirely from the air. The US won’t bother doing so because the US doesn’t care enough about Iran to bother.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    No it can’t
     
    Yes it can.

    You don’t live in America
     
    I do, and Washington really doesn't care about what American people tolerate or not.

    Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people.
     
    I wouldn't express your opinion on subjects you have no clue about.


    They couldn’t even beat Saddam and they certainly aren’t going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.
     
    You really really need to update yourself on Iraq-Iran War in which it was namely Saddam armed and supplied by half of the world who couldn't defeat the nation which was still in turmoil from Islamic Revolution and was effectively boycotted. As per "most powerful military in human history"--LOL.
    , @reiner Tor

    The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.
     
    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.
    , @John Gruskos
    Iranian resistance to the Sunni Ottoman Empire helped Europeans defend themselves from Ottoman invasions.

    For instance, while John Smith, future leader of Jamestown, was serving the Prince of Transylvania against the Ottomans, thus earning his coat of arms consisting of three Turkish heads commemorating his battlefield achievements, (and later escaping from Crimean Tatar captivity with help from the Russians), another Englishman was helping to defend Europe against Sunni invasion by helping to modernize the Persian army:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Shirley

    The brilliant victories of various Iranians from Abbas the Great to Nadir Shah drained the strength of the Ottoman Empire and helped Europe recover from the Ottoman invasion.

    Aligning with Hungary, Russia and Iran against the Sunni would-be invaders of European Christian civilization is still the wisest foreign policy for Anglo-Saxons to pursue, just as it was in the days of John Smith and Robert Shirley.

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  53. @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources
     
    He wouldn't know the difference if he would be positioned directly into operation room in Russia's MO or CENTCOM. At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with "Kremlins". I think, "Kremlins" may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that "hurts" Kremlins. Even if it is BS, which it is most of the time.

    At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with “Kremlins”. I think, “Kremlins” may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that “hurts” Kremlins.

    Interesting. I thought that at this stage of the big game if you care for the future of Russia regardless of your political sympathies for present regime in Kremlin one should support it. If it was not for Russia Syria would have been where Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya are which were destroyed when Russia slept over the switch.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    If it was addressed to me--you missed, if your post was related to Karlin--you are spot on. He doesn't care about Russia, since he is a classic representative of what in Russia is known as office plankton. Considering who he associates himself with in Russia--no surprises.

    If it was not for Russia Syria would have been where Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya are which were destroyed when Russia slept over the switch.
     
    Agree.
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  54. @Greasy William

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one.
     
    No it can't. You don't live in America. The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.
     
    No, no and 1000 times no. Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people. They peaked in like 400 BC and their entire history since then is them losing wars. They couldn't even beat Saddam and they certainly aren't going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    If the US wanted to destroy Iran, it could be done entirely from the air. The US won't bother doing so because the US doesn't care enough about Iran to bother.

    No it can’t

    Yes it can.

    You don’t live in America

    I do, and Washington really doesn’t care about what American people tolerate or not.

    Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people.

    I wouldn’t express your opinion on subjects you have no clue about.

    They couldn’t even beat Saddam and they certainly aren’t going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    You really really need to update yourself on Iraq-Iran War in which it was namely Saddam armed and supplied by half of the world who couldn’t defeat the nation which was still in turmoil from Islamic Revolution and was effectively boycotted. As per “most powerful military in human history”–LOL.

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  55. @Greasy William

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one.
     
    No it can't. You don't live in America. The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.
     
    No, no and 1000 times no. Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people. They peaked in like 400 BC and their entire history since then is them losing wars. They couldn't even beat Saddam and they certainly aren't going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    If the US wanted to destroy Iran, it could be done entirely from the air. The US won't bother doing so because the US doesn't care enough about Iran to bother.

    The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.
     
    No it can't. Obama already tried to start a full fledged ground war in Syria to remove Assad and the US public said, "no way".

    Here are a few things about US middle east policy you can be 100% certain of:

    1. The US will never, ever, ever, in 10 billion years launch any type of attack on Iran. Not only will the US never attack Iran with ground troops, they would ever launch an air strike either. Even a small one.

    2. The US will never deploy large numbers of troops to Syria. Yes they will continue to arm the Syrian rebels, do supporting air strikes and even provide a small amount of special ops support, but they aren't going to put in any meaningful amount of ground troops.

    3. The US will never make a concerted effort to remove Assad. The official US position is that Assad must go, but the US isn't doing anything to make that a reality nor will it. US support for the rebels is just to allow the rebels to hold their ground.


    I get that people want Assad to have all of Syria back and are mad at the US for preventing it, but that doesn't mean the US has any interest in expanding it's involvement in the war beyond what it currently is. And again, I see a lot of non American's who don't appreciate how anti war the US public is in 2018. US public opinion simply will not tolerate regime change in Syria, even if that is what the US government wants.
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  56. @utu

    At this stage he merely spreads rumors since he is in a war with “Kremlins”. I think, “Kremlins” may sleep well knowing what kind of opposition they face. He relies on anything that “hurts” Kremlins.
     
    Interesting. I thought that at this stage of the big game if you care for the future of Russia regardless of your political sympathies for present regime in Kremlin one should support it. If it was not for Russia Syria would have been where Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya are which were destroyed when Russia slept over the switch.

    If it was addressed to me–you missed, if your post was related to Karlin–you are spot on. He doesn’t care about Russia, since he is a classic representative of what in Russia is known as office plankton. Considering who he associates himself with in Russia–no surprises.

    If it was not for Russia Syria would have been where Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya are which were destroyed when Russia slept over the switch.

    Agree.

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  57. @Greasy William

    Americans do not need an actual pretext to attack Iran, since Jewish media in the US can easily manufacture a one.
     
    No it can't. You don't live in America. The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.

    The truth is Americans are too chickenshit to do anything about Iran, because Iran has the ability to hit them back.
     
    No, no and 1000 times no. Iranians are a very primitive a stupid people. They peaked in like 400 BC and their entire history since then is them losing wars. They couldn't even beat Saddam and they certainly aren't going to hurt the most powerful military in human history.

    If the US wanted to destroy Iran, it could be done entirely from the air. The US won't bother doing so because the US doesn't care enough about Iran to bother.

    Iranian resistance to the Sunni Ottoman Empire helped Europeans defend themselves from Ottoman invasions.

    For instance, while John Smith, future leader of Jamestown, was serving the Prince of Transylvania against the Ottomans, thus earning his coat of arms consisting of three Turkish heads commemorating his battlefield achievements, (and later escaping from Crimean Tatar captivity with help from the Russians), another Englishman was helping to defend Europe against Sunni invasion by helping to modernize the Persian army:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Shirley

    The brilliant victories of various Iranians from Abbas the Great to Nadir Shah drained the strength of the Ottoman Empire and helped Europe recover from the Ottoman invasion.

    Aligning with Hungary, Russia and Iran against the Sunni would-be invaders of European Christian civilization is still the wisest foreign policy for Anglo-Saxons to pursue, just as it was in the days of John Smith and Robert Shirley.

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  58. @reiner Tor

    Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn’t want.
     
    It's a question how much they'll accept it. As you write, there's still the chance of an open-ended military confrontation with Russia if they don't.

    I think one reason for the deranged anti-Russian propaganda-campaign that is going on (and which has been going on for quite some time, especially since 2014) is that it is preparing the population for a major war with Russia. With one caveat - they don't actually plan to wage such a war, but if the population seems to be accepting it and even wholeheartedly supporting such a war, then this puts pressure on the Russians. Because otherwise any military threats aimed at Russia would be discarded as empty words. So in order to credibly threaten Russia with military action (which is needed to give them the upper hand in negotiations), they need the constant propaganda campaign. That's not the sole reason for it, but it surely contributes to it.

    The problem is, such propaganda campaigns are difficult to turn off, it tends to take on life of its own. For example after 1991 Saddam was still seen as Hitler, and people didn't understand why G. H. W. Bush left him in place. In retrospect, it would've been better for him if Bush the Elder didn't encourage and participate in the propaganda campaign against Saddam.

    to credibly threaten Russia with military action (which is needed to give them the upper hand in negotiations), they need the constant propaganda campaign

    Agree. It answers a question I have been struggling with, why the propaganda campaign of this magnitude, and why continually escalate it?

    But it is not a good situation for anyone: pumping up tensions cannot be done endlessly and it is at this point hard to turn off (as you point out). So we might be f..ed.

    I known that the neo-cons (or whoever) think that who rules Syria, or who controls the invaluable coal resources of Donbass, or whether the fat boy in Korea sleeps well – all of those things are of enormous importance to them. But what we have so far are a lot of dead people, a lot of destroyed countries, and a population in the West so dumbed down that what comes next cannot be much worse.

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  59. @John Gruskos
    "On February 7, the Americans destroyed a Syrian column moving in the direction of the Coneco oil fields with artillery, wiping up the rest with helicopters. There were at least 100 deaths in the SAA"

    That was the single most shameful military action ever carried out by the United States military.

    The defenders of Deir Ezzor provided a refuge for the Christians of eastern Syria when the rest of eastern Syria was overrun by ISIS. The only reason any Christians are alive today in eastern Syria is because of the heroism of the defenders of Deir Ezzor.

    Mattis murdered them (the technological imbalance justifies the use of the term "murder"), despite having no authorization from congress to do so.

    Mattis also declared that he, in his capacity as Secretary of Defense, will unilaterally nullify America's immigration laws, to reward the illegal immigrants who served as mercenaries for Israel and Saudi Arabia in the US military.

    “According to French intelligence, the LIFG made several assassination attempts on Gadaffi in the 1990s – bank-rolled by British intelligence. In March 2011, France, Britain and the US seized the opportunity of a “humanitarian intervention” and attacked Libya. They were joined by Nato under cover of a UN resolution to “protect civilians”.
    Last September, a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry concluded that then Prime Minister David Cameron had taken the country to war against Gaddafi on a series of “erroneous assumptions” and that the attack “had led to the rise of Islamic State in North Africa”.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/31/terror-in-britain-what-did-the-prime-minister-know/

    The tendency to believe American/ British ‘s positions on terrorism is the blind spot well nurtured by the rest of the visual field.

    Kill moslem Christina, kill whites, blacks, yellow – the epmire is truly impartial color blind secular force

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  60. @Epicurus
    There is a tremendous threshold for the US to use force against the Russian contingent. It would take an extreme situation for them to go there. It might appear a significant threat, because the US has such an upperhand in terms of forces in the area and as it would so devastatingly cut down any Russian credibility as a counterpart to the US in the region or anywhere in the world. It might seem tempting as an opportunity for the US to show everyone who's the boss and how useless Russia is as an ally. After Russia has gained so much geopolitical momentum in the Middle East in the last years, US could burst that bubble with one swift blow.

    However, open-ended hostilities with a power with the military capabilities Russia has is a nightmarish situation and the juicy fruit that appears to be ripe for picking is quite poisoned. With Kh-101 cruise missiles (4000km range) Russia holds all of Middle East under a threat from inside Russian national airspace. All the massive number of US military bases are legitimate targets at that point and there is little the US could do other than to play defense, because stopping those strikes would at minimum require taking out a number of very high value targets inside Russia, which is easier said than done and in any case at that point a massive war is way too plausible for anybody's comfort.

    It is mistaken to think of the Russian forces in Syria as detached from the larger Russian military deterrent. If you have been paying attention to the public statements from the MoD you have noticed that the idea of a conventional deterrence has became a high priority. The conventional deterrence comes from the ability to strike pinpoint targets at great distances. Currently the Russian military lists the cruise missile version of Iskander-M, Kalibr from ships and submarines and Kh-101 from Bears and Blackjacks for this role. As this is way more usable and practical than nuclear deterrence it plays a critical role in dissuading other powers from crossing Russia.
    One slide from the military: http://oi65.tinypic.com/v42kiw.jpg

    Of course nations do commit dumb and destructive blunders sometimes, so one cannot discount that possibility. But the Great Game is not for the faint of heart. At this point the Russian intervention is a definite success. Russia has forced the regional powers and the United States to accept an outcome they didn't want. The Kurdish region is a consolation prize, which is of no great importance to Russia and furthermore might be quite troublesome for the US as it is a landlocked area with hostile neighbours. One could (and should) see this Russian victory as a significant milestone in the end of the Post-Cold War period of the overwhelming US dominance. In a conflict out in the open (that is not in the very neighbourhood of a major power) the main terms have been dictated against the will of the hegemony.

    Didn’t I write the whole piece about that about 5 months ago?;-)

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/

    However, open-ended hostilities with a power with the military capabilities Russia has

    Even in case of attack on Russia’s contingent in Syria (granted there is another S-400 there now) the response on ME CENTCOM assets will be under attack very fast.

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  61. I wouldn’t express your opinion on subjects you have no clue about.

    Anybody who think Iran is militarily or technologically impressive should not accuse others of not know what they are talking about.

    Iran has failed over the course of decades to make a nuclear weapon. This 1940s technology is beyond the abilities of the primitive Iranian mind. Iran has failed to reverse engineer the F-5, which is 1950s technology. Iran has been unable to prevent it’s closest ally, Syria, from being permanently dismembered. Iran has not lifted a finger to help the Shia being ethnically cleansed in Bahrain. They are scared of frickin’ Bahrain.

    Israel has assasinated Iranian scientists and generals with impunity for years, and yet Iran doesn’t respond. When Israel assasinated Kuntar, no response from Iran. Israel has been bombing Iranian installations in Syria for years as well and Iran has never responded. In 2008, 2012 and 2014 Iran publicly promised that it would respond if Israel attacked Gaza. We are still waiting on the response that Iran promised would come.

    I know what your response is gonna be: Iran letting themselves get blown up is just 4d chess. Iran’s inability to figure out 1940s nuclear technology despite having help from Russia and Pakistan is just because Iranians are so brilliant that they have decided to skip over nukes and are instead developing some secret Iranian neutron death ray. I’ve heard it all before.

    But nothing changes the fact that Iranians and Syrians keep getting killed and both countries continue to do nothing about it. The only reason Syria even still exists at all is because Russia, not Iran, stepped in and saved Assad.

    So keep saying that losing is actually winning. It isn’t gonna change the facts on the ground.

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  62. @melanf

    “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.
     
    Пишут:
    https://vz.ru/society/2018/2/12/907936.html
    "В конце концов украинские СМИ приписали американскому министру обороны Джеймсу Мэттису фразу, которой он вообще никогда не произносил. Красивая формулировка «русские говорят, что «их там нет», значит, «вас там не будет» на поверку оказалась плодом творчества известного украинского «военного эксперта» Юрия Бутусова. Генерал Мэттис почти наверняка не обладает способностью так оперировать временными и эмфатическими категориями славянских языков и уж точно не знает контекста мемов, которые используют украинские блогеры и российская либеральная общественность (в данном случае речь идет о хештеге #ихтамнет, который эта категория лиц использует в информационной войне вот уже года два).
    В реальности из сумбурного выступления Мэттиса вытекало только то, что он толком ничего не знает и не понимает. Но дословно он сказал следующее: «Я не думаю, что у русских были какие-то потери». Исчерпывающий ответ прославленного американского морпеха.
    "

    Vzglyad has some ‘splaining to do. They helped to spread this New Year attack BS by this moron Saponkov (this was called BS immediately by a number of people) by merely referencing rumors from Kommersant (source–Saponkov)–a “reputable” source for military info, LOL. Now they helped to propagate this BS about “hundreds” of supposedly Vagner members. They are right now in a full damage control mode, since there is a shitstorm in comments and if this continues Vzglyad may lose a lot of audience, if not already. Accidentally, even this self-proclaimed military “reporter” Saponkov immediately called this whole thing a BS–I guess burning his ass ones was a good lesson. Not that it is going to help him.

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    • Replies: @Gigi
    It seems that we are (slowly) converging to the truth:

    "According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the reason for the incident in the province of Deir ez Zor in the north of the country was an attempt by local "big businessmen currently supporting Bashar Assad" to seize oil and gas fields controlled by the Kurds, the US allies." ...

    ... "The interlocutor of Kommersant affirms that the Russian command in Syria did not authorize an offensive operation on oil fields, which was perceived as a "dangerous initiative"." ...

    ... "Data on losses vary greatly. According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the number of dead Russians on February 7 was 11 people." ...

    ..."Publications about the "hundreds of dead" are classical misinformation, which Western mass media are engaged in, Russian Foreign Ministry source said to Kommersant" ...


    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3548170

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  63. @reiner Tor

    The American people will never tolerate another war in the middle east.
     
    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.

    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.

    No it can’t. Obama already tried to start a full fledged ground war in Syria to remove Assad and the US public said, “no way”.

    Here are a few things about US middle east policy you can be 100% certain of:

    1. The US will never, ever, ever, in 10 billion years launch any type of attack on Iran. Not only will the US never attack Iran with ground troops, they would ever launch an air strike either. Even a small one.

    2. The US will never deploy large numbers of troops to Syria. Yes they will continue to arm the Syrian rebels, do supporting air strikes and even provide a small amount of special ops support, but they aren’t going to put in any meaningful amount of ground troops.

    3. The US will never make a concerted effort to remove Assad. The official US position is that Assad must go, but the US isn’t doing anything to make that a reality nor will it. US support for the rebels is just to allow the rebels to hold their ground.

    I get that people want Assad to have all of Syria back and are mad at the US for preventing it, but that doesn’t mean the US has any interest in expanding it’s involvement in the war beyond what it currently is. And again, I see a lot of non American’s who don’t appreciate how anti war the US public is in 2018. US public opinion simply will not tolerate regime change in Syria, even if that is what the US government wants.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Change your medicine . Try something different ASAP
    , @LondonBob
    Obama was stopped on Syria thanks to Dempsey saying no way, and after Republicans were bombarded by phonecalls from constituents and Ed Miliband instructed his Labour party to vote against war, aided by rebel MPs from other parties. Obama was stopped, it was not his choice, despite his claims now.
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  64. @reiner Tor
    Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?

    Is it possible to hide hundreds of casualties in the age of social media?

    1. So called “information age” instead of educating people produced an avalanche, in fact, total informational overload. It made many people into zombies or (social) media junkies. Warhol’s prediction came fully true.

    2. Anything, even the fact that some transgender boy fvcked himself and conceived and gave a birth to a child WILL become the news, especially through social media. At least for a short time. That is enough for completely dumbfounded public to get an effect.

    3. Overwhelming majority of people are not equipped with necessary mechanisms for sorting, filtering and analyzing this overwhelming stream of so called information. They get overwhelmed and completely disoriented. Nowhere this sad state of affairs manifests itself more than in military field. This it is military affairs which become a fertile soil for propaganda, disinformation and subversion.

    4. There is NO such profession as journalist–it is nothing more than glorified English (Russian, German, Chinese etc.) language majors who, for some absolutely unexplained reasons, pretend to know shit, while remaining completely ignorant on subjects they try to express their opinions, instead of honest reporting. This phenomenon of honest reporting is no more.

    5. As per your poignant question: impossible but not just because of a social media. In fact, as this particular case shows–very often despite those media. Saker wrote a superb piece on Russian counter-propaganda.

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  65. @Greasy William

    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.
     
    No it can't. Obama already tried to start a full fledged ground war in Syria to remove Assad and the US public said, "no way".

    Here are a few things about US middle east policy you can be 100% certain of:

    1. The US will never, ever, ever, in 10 billion years launch any type of attack on Iran. Not only will the US never attack Iran with ground troops, they would ever launch an air strike either. Even a small one.

    2. The US will never deploy large numbers of troops to Syria. Yes they will continue to arm the Syrian rebels, do supporting air strikes and even provide a small amount of special ops support, but they aren't going to put in any meaningful amount of ground troops.

    3. The US will never make a concerted effort to remove Assad. The official US position is that Assad must go, but the US isn't doing anything to make that a reality nor will it. US support for the rebels is just to allow the rebels to hold their ground.


    I get that people want Assad to have all of Syria back and are mad at the US for preventing it, but that doesn't mean the US has any interest in expanding it's involvement in the war beyond what it currently is. And again, I see a lot of non American's who don't appreciate how anti war the US public is in 2018. US public opinion simply will not tolerate regime change in Syria, even if that is what the US government wants.

    Change your medicine . Try something different ASAP

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  66. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I guess things are not done anymore in usual ways

    “March 2003: Zelikow and 9/11 Commission Consultant Complete Outline of Final Report before Staff Start Writing It

    9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow and Ernest May, a long-time associate of Zelikow and consultant to the commission, complete an outline of the commission’s final report, although the commission has barely began its work and will not report for another 16 months. The outline is detailed and contains chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings. The outline anticipates a 16-chapter report (note: the final report only has 13) that starts with a history of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the US. There will then be chapters on US counterterrorism policy, threat reporting leading up to 9/11, and the attacks themselves will be in chapter seven (in the final report, the day of 9/11 chapter is moved to the start).
    “Blinding Effects of Hindsight” – Zelikow and May even have a chapter ten entitled “Problems of Foresight—And Hindsight,” with a sub-chapter on “the blinding effects of hindsight,” (actually chapter 11 in the final report, slightly renamed “Foresight—And Hindsight;” the “blinding effects” sub-heading does not appear in the final version, but the chapter starts with a meditation on the value of hindsight).
    Kept Secret – Zelikow shows the report to Commission Chairman Tom Kean and Vice-chairman Lee Hamilton and they like it, but think it could be seen as evidence that they have pre-determined the outcome. Therefore, they all decide it should be kept secret from the commission’s staff. According to May it is “treated as if it were the most classified document the commission possessed.” Zelikow comes up with his own internal classification system, labeling it “Commission Sensitive,” a phrase that appears on the top and bottom of each page.
    Staff Alarmed – When the staff find out about it and are given copies over a year later, they are alarmed. They realize that the sections of the report about the Bush administration’s failings will be in the middle of the report, and the reader will have to wade past chapters on al-Qaeda’s history to get to them. Author Philip Shenon will comment: “Many assumed the worst when they saw that Zelikow had proposed a portion of the report entitled ‘The Blinding Effects of Hindsight.’ What ‘blinding hindsight’? They assumed Zelikow was trying to dismiss the value of hindsight regarding the Bush administration’s pre-9/11 performance.” In addition, some staffers begin circulating a parody entitled “The Warren Commission Report—Preemptive Outline.” One of the parody’s chapter headings is “Single Bullet: We Haven’t Seen the Evidence Yet. But Really. We’re Sure.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004; SHENON, 2008, PP. 388-389]
    Entity Tags: Lee Hamilton, Ernest May, Thomas Kean, 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow
    Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

    http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a0303outline#a0303outline

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  67. @reiner Tor

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.
     
    This seems to contradict it.

    That is what Israel believes. It is not verified.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    That is what Israel believes. It is not verified.
     
    Highly suspect.

    Worth bearing in mind that Israel will have had contingency plans in place for the inevitable eventual loss of a plane in one of its regular aggressions against Syria, and those plans will certainly have included media management.

    The only way to get some guidance as to who is telling the truth will be seeing what happens over the next few weeks. Does Israel resume its former pattern of routine acts of aggression, or not. If it does, does Syria shoot at it effectively again, or not. (Supposedly, Syria regularly shoots at Israel's aggressor planes, but the key point is that it never usually hits them.)
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  68. @reiner Tor
    It appears that multiple Russian sources have also confirmed it, for example the Bloomberg article mentioned Vladimir Frolov and Alexander Ionov. Are they unreliable sources? I know next to nothing about them.

    In any event, as I wrote above, pessimism is likely more realistic, if only because I’d like it to be untrue.

    Elijah Magnier says no Russian casualties, he is my go to guy on Syria.

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  69. @Greasy William

    There is already a new ground war involving some US ground troops there, in Syria. Not yet a fully fledged one, but could easily become one.
     
    No it can't. Obama already tried to start a full fledged ground war in Syria to remove Assad and the US public said, "no way".

    Here are a few things about US middle east policy you can be 100% certain of:

    1. The US will never, ever, ever, in 10 billion years launch any type of attack on Iran. Not only will the US never attack Iran with ground troops, they would ever launch an air strike either. Even a small one.

    2. The US will never deploy large numbers of troops to Syria. Yes they will continue to arm the Syrian rebels, do supporting air strikes and even provide a small amount of special ops support, but they aren't going to put in any meaningful amount of ground troops.

    3. The US will never make a concerted effort to remove Assad. The official US position is that Assad must go, but the US isn't doing anything to make that a reality nor will it. US support for the rebels is just to allow the rebels to hold their ground.


    I get that people want Assad to have all of Syria back and are mad at the US for preventing it, but that doesn't mean the US has any interest in expanding it's involvement in the war beyond what it currently is. And again, I see a lot of non American's who don't appreciate how anti war the US public is in 2018. US public opinion simply will not tolerate regime change in Syria, even if that is what the US government wants.

    Obama was stopped on Syria thanks to Dempsey saying no way, and after Republicans were bombarded by phonecalls from constituents and Ed Miliband instructed his Labour party to vote against war, aided by rebel MPs from other parties. Obama was stopped, it was not his choice, despite his claims now.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    You also forgot this "small" fact of Russia brokering elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons, which were used as pretext for the war. Thus casus belli was denied. Obama didn't forget this to Russians and "re-payed" with Ukraine. Talk about petulant children inside the Beltway.
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  70. @LondonBob
    Obama was stopped on Syria thanks to Dempsey saying no way, and after Republicans were bombarded by phonecalls from constituents and Ed Miliband instructed his Labour party to vote against war, aided by rebel MPs from other parties. Obama was stopped, it was not his choice, despite his claims now.

    You also forgot this “small” fact of Russia brokering elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons, which were used as pretext for the war. Thus casus belli was denied. Obama didn’t forget this to Russians and “re-payed” with Ukraine. Talk about petulant children inside the Beltway.

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  71. Obama was stopped on Syria thanks to Dempsey saying no way, and after Republicans were bombarded by phonecalls from constituents and Ed Miliband instructed his Labour party to vote against war, aided by rebel MPs from other parties. Obama was stopped, it was not his choice, despite his claims now.

    That’s what I said. The American people don’t want war and won’t tolerate an invasion of Syria. Special ops, airstrikes and arms for rebels? Sure. But no way the US invades. The US public would mutiny.

    If even Obama couldn’t pull it off, Trump definitely couldn’t pull it off. The protests would shake the country to it’s core.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    I hope you're right about the degree of anti-war sentiment in the USA.

    I voted for Trump, and I'd be out there in the street protesting a US war on Syria, too.
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  72. The primary goal was to destroy and/or weaken Syria.
    At least since General Wesley Clark comment of 7 nations.

    The secondary goals are:
    a)Remove Assad, put in puppet
    or
    b)Keep presence in Syria and partition it.

    I imagine the partitioning, is to please Zio-Neocon and Imperialist ambitions.
    Now the Turks, Syrians-Russians-Iran, US-Israel will have their chunks of land.
    Create a lebenraum for the Jews.

    This will require destabilizing (via immigration, wars) countries like:
    Palestine, Lebabon, parts of Syria, Jordan, Iraq.

    Read More
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  73. @Thorfinnsson
    American strategic thinking is disgracefully poor.

    We have no interests in Syria of any kind. Our operations there represent a pure cost on the national balance sheet, and it creates needless risk owing to provoking Russia.

    Imagine if we employed the same military might against Mexico. We could overrun Baja California and all of the sparsely populated but highly industrialized Mexican border states. We could then expel the Mexican population and build [b]THE WALL[/b], which would be shorter and more affordable.

    The military operations would only take a few days. The ethnic cleansing a few weeks.

    Your scenario presupposes that American foreign policy be carried out in the interests of the geographical entity and polity of America, and not in behalf of a small foreign nation that has captured the machinery of the state and the minds, possibly the souls, of its people. The project of recapturing our thwarted destiny and exposing and neutralizing the fifth column must precede adventures near our pretend border. Only once that work is done–and it will be a job for heroes and generations–should the merits of expanding the buffer between the border states and the Aztec heartland be debated. It is tempting to wish for the Mexican leadership to suffer a harsh comeuppance, but I have a distinct feeling that they will be far less willing to provoke us once our house is in order and Americans are back in charge of America

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    There's more to this than simply Israel.

    US foreign policy has pursued irrational objectives since at least the late 1930s.

    Prior to that time US foreign policy mostly pursued commercial and territorial expansion, with the aberration of the cack-brained President Wilson's crusade for democracy (and there was at least the justification of keeping Wall Street in the black here--though I imagine a gov't bailout in the event of an Entente default would've been considerably cheaper than the war).

    After that, the US pursued irrational objectives based on "security" (silly great power games as opposed to real security), ideology, and of course Zionism.

    An early example is that FDR refused to do much about Mexico's expropriation of foreign oil interests (primarily American). Why? Because he was more concerned with gaining Mexico's support for his antifascist foreign policy than in protecting America's interests.

    This appalling tendency became institutionalized with the Lend-Lease program, in which Britain (and later the Soviet Union) received weapons for free even before we were in the war. Couldn't he at least have requested that the UK transfer Bermuda and the British West Indies to us?

    Now it's been so long that no one in Washington has any memory whatsoever of what a rational foreign policy looks like, even though they could simply look across the Pacific for some ideas.

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  74. OT

    Nobody’s interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?
     
    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
    I haven't really been paying attention to those Olympics, anything interesting happening so far (politically, I don't care about the sports)?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Nork cheerleader battalion
     
    I don't give a damn about Olympics but that "battalion" got me going--it is amusing and weird to the utmost degree. I started to worry about my mental health after watching couple of their videos on U-Tube. Lai-lai-lai-la-la-la- God damn.
    , @Anonymous

    Nobody’s interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?
     
    OMG, that Nork cheerleader group. I would so love to sneak into their Olympic village hotel and do some unification with all of ‘em. Talk about white man’s heaven! And as for Kim Yo Jong, ah dude, I would so do her it’s not funny. I don’t blame Pence for not shaking her hand because if he has a penis and eyes he’s gonna have some serious lust in his heart.
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  75. So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    Don’t say.

    The latter cannot be dislodged, and they have now effectively partitioned Syria.

    Yup.

    Having said that I feel you are bit harsh here

    ….explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria – or worse, getting themselves wiped off the face of the earth in a futile attempt to fight back – will be orders of magnitude harder.

    Neither is much possible, overrunning and wiping. Especially the later.

    Agree with:

    There’s the camp that thinks Turkey is working with Rus/SAA/Iran, and there’s the camp that thinks it’s doing its own thing and can turn against them as suddenly as it opened up to them after the coup attempt against Erdogan.
    I suspect it’s more the latter.

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  76. @reiner Tor
    OT

    Nobody's interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
    I haven’t really been paying attention to those Olympics, anything interesting happening so far (politically, I don’t care about the sports)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I thought he rated Iranian qts as 8/10. Perhaps he might also be able to help Mr. Karlin with a headpiece for the next Afrotriumphialism post by posting some African qts?

    https://hiiraan.com/images/2014/Aug/PK-daughter660.jpg

    Perhaps Africa is not sending their best women.
    , @Talha

    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
     
    Don't know why this is the case; he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    Peace.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    I don’t care about the sports)
     
    The real sports starts in June 14 2018, with Russia opening trashing by Saudi Arabia in a front of 80 000 naive spectators at Luzhniki Stadium. LOL. After that it should be enjoyable: Argentina-Croatia should be a good game. Germany-Sweden could be a good contest if Swedes bring their balls as it was couple of years ago when they came back from 4-0 to tie it. Portugal-Spain should be good too.
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  77. @German_reader

    Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?
     
    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
    I haven't really been paying attention to those Olympics, anything interesting happening so far (politically, I don't care about the sports)?

    I thought he rated Iranian qts as 8/10. Perhaps he might also be able to help Mr. Karlin with a headpiece for the next Afrotriumphialism post by posting some African qts?

    Perhaps Africa is not sending their best women.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Wow, Paul Kagame's daughter is really tall, striking. She also looks clearly East African. I can remember how the pc line always was that the ethnic differences in Rwanda just were made up by evil European colonialists...lol.
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  78. @Daniel Chieh
    I thought he rated Iranian qts as 8/10. Perhaps he might also be able to help Mr. Karlin with a headpiece for the next Afrotriumphialism post by posting some African qts?

    https://hiiraan.com/images/2014/Aug/PK-daughter660.jpg

    Perhaps Africa is not sending their best women.

    Wow, Paul Kagame’s daughter is really tall, striking. She also looks clearly East African. I can remember how the pc line always was that the ethnic differences in Rwanda just were made up by evil European colonialists…lol.

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  79. @German_reader

    Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?
     
    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
    I haven't really been paying attention to those Olympics, anything interesting happening so far (politically, I don't care about the sports)?

    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.

    Don’t know why this is the case; he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    We knew that after same sex marriage, bestiality would be next. :)
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  80. @Mitleser
    That is what Israel believes. It is not verified.

    That is what Israel believes. It is not verified.

    Highly suspect.

    Worth bearing in mind that Israel will have had contingency plans in place for the inevitable eventual loss of a plane in one of its regular aggressions against Syria, and those plans will certainly have included media management.

    The only way to get some guidance as to who is telling the truth will be seeing what happens over the next few weeks. Does Israel resume its former pattern of routine acts of aggression, or not. If it does, does Syria shoot at it effectively again, or not. (Supposedly, Syria regularly shoots at Israel’s aggressor planes, but the key point is that it never usually hits them.)

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  81. @reiner Tor
    OT

    Nobody's interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    Nork cheerleader battalion

    I don’t give a damn about Olympics but that “battalion” got me going–it is amusing and weird to the utmost degree. I started to worry about my mental health after watching couple of their videos on U-Tube. Lai-lai-lai-la-la-la- God damn.

    Read More
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  82. @Kurt van Ghoye
    Your scenario presupposes that American foreign policy be carried out in the interests of the geographical entity and polity of America, and not in behalf of a small foreign nation that has captured the machinery of the state and the minds, possibly the souls, of its people. The project of recapturing our thwarted destiny and exposing and neutralizing the fifth column must precede adventures near our pretend border. Only once that work is done--and it will be a job for heroes and generations--should the merits of expanding the buffer between the border states and the Aztec heartland be debated. It is tempting to wish for the Mexican leadership to suffer a harsh comeuppance, but I have a distinct feeling that they will be far less willing to provoke us once our house is in order and Americans are back in charge of America

    There’s more to this than simply Israel.

    US foreign policy has pursued irrational objectives since at least the late 1930s.

    Prior to that time US foreign policy mostly pursued commercial and territorial expansion, with the aberration of the cack-brained President Wilson’s crusade for democracy (and there was at least the justification of keeping Wall Street in the black here–though I imagine a gov’t bailout in the event of an Entente default would’ve been considerably cheaper than the war).

    After that, the US pursued irrational objectives based on “security” (silly great power games as opposed to real security), ideology, and of course Zionism.

    An early example is that FDR refused to do much about Mexico’s expropriation of foreign oil interests (primarily American). Why? Because he was more concerned with gaining Mexico’s support for his antifascist foreign policy than in protecting America’s interests.

    This appalling tendency became institutionalized with the Lend-Lease program, in which Britain (and later the Soviet Union) received weapons for free even before we were in the war. Couldn’t he at least have requested that the UK transfer Bermuda and the British West Indies to us?

    Now it’s been so long that no one in Washington has any memory whatsoever of what a rational foreign policy looks like, even though they could simply look across the Pacific for some ideas.

    Read More
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  83. @German_reader

    Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?
     
    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
    I haven't really been paying attention to those Olympics, anything interesting happening so far (politically, I don't care about the sports)?

    I don’t care about the sports)

    The real sports starts in June 14 2018, with Russia opening trashing by Saudi Arabia in a front of 80 000 naive spectators at Luzhniki Stadium. LOL. After that it should be enjoyable: Argentina-Croatia should be a good game. Germany-Sweden could be a good contest if Swedes bring their balls as it was couple of years ago when they came back from 4-0 to tie it. Portugal-Spain should be good too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I don't care much for football either tbh, and I'm not really for the German team...they're doing all sort of multiculti propaganda, if they win anything, it will be presented as another success for Merkel's wise leadership...
    Good luck to the Russian team though, would be great if they could beat Saudi-Arabia.
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  84. @Andrei Martyanov
    Vzglyad has some 'splaining to do. They helped to spread this New Year attack BS by this moron Saponkov (this was called BS immediately by a number of people) by merely referencing rumors from Kommersant (source--Saponkov)--a "reputable" source for military info, LOL. Now they helped to propagate this BS about "hundreds" of supposedly Vagner members. They are right now in a full damage control mode, since there is a shitstorm in comments and if this continues Vzglyad may lose a lot of audience, if not already. Accidentally, even this self-proclaimed military "reporter" Saponkov immediately called this whole thing a BS--I guess burning his ass ones was a good lesson. Not that it is going to help him.

    It seems that we are (slowly) converging to the truth:

    “According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the reason for the incident in the province of Deir ez Zor in the north of the country was an attempt by local “big businessmen currently supporting Bashar Assad” to seize oil and gas fields controlled by the Kurds, the US allies.” …

    … “The interlocutor of Kommersant affirms that the Russian command in Syria did not authorize an offensive operation on oil fields, which was perceived as a “dangerous initiative”.” …

    … “Data on losses vary greatly. According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the number of dead Russians on February 7 was 11 people.” …

    …”Publications about the “hundreds of dead” are classical misinformation, which Western mass media are engaged in, Russian Foreign Ministry source said to Kommersant” …

    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3548170

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    …”Publications about the “hundreds of dead” are classical misinformation, which Western mass media are engaged in, Russian Foreign Ministry said to Kommersant” …
     
    It originated in Ukraine it seems (the logical extension follows, wink-wink), which is understandable, as Senator Inhoffe may testify to this, LOL. As per Kommersant "military sources"-this is a whole other song altogether. But as I stated--a classic BS propagation which nowadays is a popular tool for all kinds Western "Russia experts". Most likely, however, there were no real Russian casualties and the "vbros" was done with one single objective--to tie together Russia's Ministry of Defense and its operations with some, largely fictional, Russian private military company. Plus, of course, galvanize all passionate fighters against Putin's bloody regime and his Kremlins as we can see it in Karlin's post. In fact, such desperate and crude attempts on propaganda testify to a not very bright perspectives for US and its "democratic" head-chopping Syrian forces in a face of Coats Report which admits that this opposition can not overthrow Assad. And I quote:

    The conflict in Syria has shifted in favor of President Bashar Assad, enabling Russia and Iran to further entrench themselves in the country. The Syrian opposition’s seven-year insurgency isn’t capable of overthrowing him.
     
    http://cbs4indy.com/2018/02/13/intel-director-dan-coats-says-intelligence-agencies-expect-russian-meddling-in-midterms/

    Ta-da!
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  85. @Andrei Martyanov

    I don’t care about the sports)
     
    The real sports starts in June 14 2018, with Russia opening trashing by Saudi Arabia in a front of 80 000 naive spectators at Luzhniki Stadium. LOL. After that it should be enjoyable: Argentina-Croatia should be a good game. Germany-Sweden could be a good contest if Swedes bring their balls as it was couple of years ago when they came back from 4-0 to tie it. Portugal-Spain should be good too.

    I don’t care much for football either tbh, and I’m not really for the German team…they’re doing all sort of multiculti propaganda, if they win anything, it will be presented as another success for Merkel’s wise leadership…
    Good luck to the Russian team though, would be great if they could beat Saudi-Arabia.

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think anyone can beat Saudi Arabia, except maybe Hungary, but then again, we couldn’t beat Andorra either.
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  86. @Gigi
    It seems that we are (slowly) converging to the truth:

    "According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the reason for the incident in the province of Deir ez Zor in the north of the country was an attempt by local "big businessmen currently supporting Bashar Assad" to seize oil and gas fields controlled by the Kurds, the US allies." ...

    ... "The interlocutor of Kommersant affirms that the Russian command in Syria did not authorize an offensive operation on oil fields, which was perceived as a "dangerous initiative"." ...

    ... "Data on losses vary greatly. According to the [Kommersant] Russian military source, the number of dead Russians on February 7 was 11 people." ...

    ..."Publications about the "hundreds of dead" are classical misinformation, which Western mass media are engaged in, Russian Foreign Ministry source said to Kommersant" ...


    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3548170

    …”Publications about the “hundreds of dead” are classical misinformation, which Western mass media are engaged in, Russian Foreign Ministry said to Kommersant” …

    It originated in Ukraine it seems (the logical extension follows, wink-wink), which is understandable, as Senator Inhoffe may testify to this, LOL. As per Kommersant “military sources”-this is a whole other song altogether. But as I stated–a classic BS propagation which nowadays is a popular tool for all kinds Western “Russia experts”. Most likely, however, there were no real Russian casualties and the “vbros” was done with one single objective–to tie together Russia’s Ministry of Defense and its operations with some, largely fictional, Russian private military company. Plus, of course, galvanize all passionate fighters against Putin’s bloody regime and his Kremlins as we can see it in Karlin’s post. In fact, such desperate and crude attempts on propaganda testify to a not very bright perspectives for US and its “democratic” head-chopping Syrian forces in a face of Coats Report which admits that this opposition can not overthrow Assad. And I quote:

    The conflict in Syria has shifted in favor of President Bashar Assad, enabling Russia and Iran to further entrench themselves in the country. The Syrian opposition’s seven-year insurgency isn’t capable of overthrowing him.

    http://cbs4indy.com/2018/02/13/intel-director-dan-coats-says-intelligence-agencies-expect-russian-meddling-in-midterms/

    Ta-da!

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  87. @German_reader
    I don't care much for football either tbh, and I'm not really for the German team...they're doing all sort of multiculti propaganda, if they win anything, it will be presented as another success for Merkel's wise leadership...
    Good luck to the Russian team though, would be great if they could beat Saudi-Arabia.

    I think anyone can beat Saudi Arabia, except maybe Hungary, but then again, we couldn’t beat Andorra either.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    If they don’t have mercenary Pakistanis working for them, you could beat them. But it depends on the turf - if you try to fight them in their deserts, you’ll be wanting to go home before first engagement. In Europe? You got this.

    A few generations ago, I’d have said otherwise.

    Peace.
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  88. While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments, just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    What's the average profile of those "mercenaries"? From the Washington post article one could get the impression they're fairly heterogenous in background (one of the dead supposedly being from a "far left" party, another from a "conservative Cossack group"; another, still alive, being described as an "anti-globalization activist"), and more into it for ideological reasons than just for financial gain. And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments
     
    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really--why don't you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with--office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let's be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.
    , @Chuck

    just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.
     
    OHH NOES!!! A CONSPIRACY THEORY!!! EVERYBODY TURN OFF YOUR BRAIN!
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  89. @Anatoly Karlin
    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments, just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.

    https://twitter.com/davidfilipov/status/963504626124447744

    What’s the average profile of those “mercenaries”? From the Washington post article one could get the impression they’re fairly heterogenous in background (one of the dead supposedly being from a “far left” party, another from a “conservative Cossack group”; another, still alive, being described as an “anti-globalization activist”), and more into it for ideological reasons than just for financial gain. And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Now, this

    And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?
     
    could initiate an interesting conversation lasting for a bit and (with compulsory name calling) then abruptly stopping.
    *Waiting*....

    Just to initiate it....anyone imagining US merce...I mean contractors, working for Donbass?
    Or for Assad?
    So........
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn't join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA's) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That's a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: "As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] - go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass."

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the "the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers." And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. ...

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. "Our citizens are in many countries." [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]
     
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  90. @Greasy William

    Obama was stopped on Syria thanks to Dempsey saying no way, and after Republicans were bombarded by phonecalls from constituents and Ed Miliband instructed his Labour party to vote against war, aided by rebel MPs from other parties. Obama was stopped, it was not his choice, despite his claims now.
     
    That's what I said. The American people don't want war and won't tolerate an invasion of Syria. Special ops, airstrikes and arms for rebels? Sure. But no way the US invades. The US public would mutiny.

    If even Obama couldn't pull it off, Trump definitely couldn't pull it off. The protests would shake the country to it's core.

    I hope you’re right about the degree of anti-war sentiment in the USA.

    I voted for Trump, and I’d be out there in the street protesting a US war on Syria, too.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don't agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly's comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it's will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don't care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.
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  91. @Bukephalos
    I'm growing uneasy with your analyses and opinions. As some commenters sometimes note, your over-reliance on western sources and further, at times, a strange unwarranted belief in excessive western might. I don't doubt there is also quite a lot of bullshit to sift through if you lean on anti-western accounts of events but you seem truly wedded to several pro-US narratives here

    - you omit to mention the downing of the Israeli jet, a landmark in this war after years of Israeli intervention- which Israelis admit is their worse setback in air war for decades. While it can be dismissed as a limited loss, that it was achieved with a)vintage anti-air defense, nominally Syrian b)over Israeli territory is a huge symbolic defeat. The so-called Israeli technological edge as well as Israeli air supremacy were thrown out of the window in just one demonstration. Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.

    - For the Deir-ez-Zor clash you entirely rely on the US account. Syrian sources reported 25 KIA, another ~60. They're mentioned to be mostly loyalist tribal fighters dwelling in the area. A sustained US presence there depends on several factors all of them overly fragile: using the Incirlik base and Turkish land borders, having the acquiescence of the Iraqi government and militias, while continuing to be a hostile occupying power at war with the central government all along the rest of the long demarcation of this 'entity'. I'm not mentioning the local Arab-Kurdish feuds and PYD's internal fault line from seeing their comrades thrown to the wolves by their protector in Afrin. In short if you want to bet on the future of this glass house, go ahead

    - Turkey's advances in Afrin are very limited, but there are still some gains. At the same time the region is still supplied in arms, fighters, medical aid, basic necessities, by the central gov't and Iran under Turkey's nose. YPG fighters, pro-Iranian militias and Iranian-made equipment are pouring in. This region will never be stable and under the Turkish thumb in these conditions, and probably never fully taken. If Turkey is serious about its claims, if they want a re-run of Northern Cyprus, they know they will have to cut these roads that are all at small arms range, yet they don't. Doing so means a much larger war with the Syrian camp with all its implications. When they commit to it, call me back.

    Thus we see a lot of holes in every invading player's game plan, including the rich mine field of US and Turkey's clashing agendas and Kurdish internal contradictions. In fact, after all these years of proxy fighting and undeclared operations, acting in the open brings a lot of opportunities. For example, let's recall the various Iraqi militias and their rich record at targeting US troops. Don't believe for a second US presence in Syria will be anymore sacrosanct. They will suffer exactly the same, due to start when enough fronts get cleared elsewhere.

    Anatoly’s been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start. As a Russian nationalist, he must be angry at Putin for prioritizing Arabs in Syria over ethnic Russians in Novorossiya. To be sure, this is understandable and, at any rate, totally predictable. If I were a Russian, I might feel the same way. But I think he lets it color his judgement a bit too much on what’s actually happening in Syria. On an issue like this, I would put more trust in a ‘Putin lapdog’ like The Saker.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Anatoly’s been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start.
     
    I don't think that is correct. I was and remain moderately supportive.
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  92. @German_reader
    What's the average profile of those "mercenaries"? From the Washington post article one could get the impression they're fairly heterogenous in background (one of the dead supposedly being from a "far left" party, another from a "conservative Cossack group"; another, still alive, being described as an "anti-globalization activist"), and more into it for ideological reasons than just for financial gain. And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?

    Now, this

    And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?

    could initiate an interesting conversation lasting for a bit and (with compulsory name calling) then abruptly stopping.
    *Waiting*….

    Just to initiate it….anyone imagining US merce…I mean contractors, working for Donbass?
    Or for Assad?
    So……..

    Read More
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  93. @reiner Tor

    Israel should have immediately reacted by launching a sustained air campaign, wider than anything they have done over the years, as a punitive and corrective move. Instead they went to the Russians and deescalated the following day.
     
    This seems to contradict it.

    A prime example of what was I saying about West-aligned sources. Most people who know a thing or two about Syrian air defenses, many mobile, a lot well hidden, laughed this claim off. This would take a lot more than the short sorties they engaged in, https://twitter.com/aarondmiller2/status/962801713722920960

    Another example of how over the top Israeli misinformation can be is a short video that was published by the IDF twitter account. I could actually see it before it was deleted. A simple infography purported to show the flying path of the f-16 over a map of Syria and then described it safely landing in Israel. This unusually amateurish propaganda effort was soon taken down as the photographic evidence of the crash and official admission came in.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn’t think the Israeli source proved that they had destroyed half the Syrian air defenses. But it did prove that there was a large number of retaliatory raids.
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  94. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor
    OT

    Nobody's interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    Nobody’s interested in the Nork cheerleader battalion, or Kim Yo Jong? Will we die without ever learning if Greasy would bang her?

    OMG, that Nork cheerleader group. I would so love to sneak into their Olympic village hotel and do some unification with all of ‘em. Talk about white man’s heaven! And as for Kim Yo Jong, ah dude, I would so do her it’s not funny. I don’t blame Pence for not shaking her hand because if he has a penis and eyes he’s gonna have some serious lust in his heart.

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  95. @Bukephalos
    A prime example of what was I saying about West-aligned sources. Most people who know a thing or two about Syrian air defenses, many mobile, a lot well hidden, laughed this claim off. This would take a lot more than the short sorties they engaged in, https://twitter.com/aarondmiller2/status/962801713722920960

    Another example of how over the top Israeli misinformation can be is a short video that was published by the IDF twitter account. I could actually see it before it was deleted. A simple infography purported to show the flying path of the f-16 over a map of Syria and then described it safely landing in Israel. This unusually amateurish propaganda effort was soon taken down as the photographic evidence of the crash and official admission came in.

    I didn’t think the Israeli source proved that they had destroyed half the Syrian air defenses. But it did prove that there was a large number of retaliatory raids.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bukephalos
    a real meaningful Israeli air campaign against Syria will be measured in weeks not hours. And when/if it is triggered, the seriousness of the situation means the south Lebanese front would come to be activated and retaliatory missiles and rockets would start to rain down from both countries. Israel ducked out of it
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  96. @reiner Tor
    I didn’t think the Israeli source proved that they had destroyed half the Syrian air defenses. But it did prove that there was a large number of retaliatory raids.

    a real meaningful Israeli air campaign against Syria will be measured in weeks not hours. And when/if it is triggered, the seriousness of the situation means the south Lebanese front would come to be activated and retaliatory missiles and rockets would start to rain down from both countries. Israel ducked out of it

    Read More
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  97. By the way I agree about your other posts that the US is just acting as a spoiler in Syria, not being decisive but just making sure Syria’s stabilization and an end to the conflict in Syria, Russia and Iran’s favor keeps being postponed.

    The combined strength of the US if we put the financial, cultural and institutional influence into consideration beyond simple military matters: yes, it’s still unmatched and by far. But if we focus on so-called hard power, I seem vindicated contra you and others that extremely resource poor North Korea is achieving its fait accompli and that the US is forced to observe its diplomatic parade and attempts at normalization passively. Its leadership will possibly even be accepted back in the “international community” at some later point, (we’re are taking a big step in this direction seeing Yo Jong next to Pence). I’ll keep grinning at those who believe US military power will ever be applied to reverse this

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Kim Yo Jong's invitation to Pyongyang was actually rejected by the South Korean president.

    I don't discount the possibility of North Korea becoming a fully fledged nuclear power and returning to the international community, but this Olympic diplomacy has yet to bear fruits.
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  98. @Anatoly Karlin
    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments, just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.

    https://twitter.com/davidfilipov/status/963504626124447744

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments

    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really–why don’t you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with–office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let’s be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    please move back to Russia
    , @Felix Keverich
    You really should be embarassed of yourself: resorting to cheap insults like this just because Karlin dared criticise your beloved Tsar Putin. You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin! I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It's a relic of Russia's slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin's foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required "background" to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.
    , @Yevardian

    Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber?

     

    *of the caliber* - The word cannot be used as a noun in this sense.

    Anyway, quite the classroom food-fight we have here.

    Your tone is rather surprisingly vicious considering that you've been posting on AK's articles for over a year under Smoothie. If you've always considered his credentials worthless, then why lash-out at this particular moment? It's not like the Internet or this site's comment sections in particular has any shortage of jackasses authoritatively pontificating on subjects they know virtually nothing about.

    Akarlin still strikes me as much less amateurish and agenda-driver than say, TheSaker or Phillip Giraldi. Also, for someone with your alleged high military backround, it is odd that you do not live in Russia, where presumably you could live quite comfortably.

    I and many others would love to hear more specific criticisms, but throwing around personal insults just makes you look sad.

    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.
     
    Frankly, if you don't work in a field that is somehow directly connected to these matters, asserting to hold 'expertise' in a subject is great way to set yourself up for future mockery.

    Notice how the more constructive regular commenters here such as Glossy, German_Reader or reiner tor don't claim to be 'experts' on anything and generally limit their comments to observations on their geographic area.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    ... avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation?
     
    Sure, now why don't you go dispel my disinformation to the wife of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries. I am sure she will be overjoyed that news of her husband's demise was a hallucination.

    The National Bolsheviks might also be quite pleased to know that comrade Kirill Ananyev is in fact safe and sound.

    So back in the real world, my assessment that "at least a few of the deaths" were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of "Incontrovertibly True." Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again. As is typical of ideologues.

    ... with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov?
     
    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.

    Incidentally, he is also one of the more pro-Russian journalists in the West out there (e.g. his piece on the Sochi Olympics).
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  99. How do I have high standards? Cause I criticized one plain Jane Russian girl (in a post where I gave the thumbs up to all the other Russian girls posted) and said no to that psycho Asian girl who has a crush on Anatoly?

    I definitely don’t have high standards.

    As for Kim Yo Jong: 5/10. Would not bang.

    If we are talking about Asian girls I am definitely into the jailbait US snowboarder, although you can also tell just from looking at her that she is the world’s biggest bitch. The asian US figure skater is hot too.

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  100. @Andrei Martyanov

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments
     
    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really--why don't you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with--office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let's be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.

    please move back to Russia

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    please move back to Russia
     
    You do understand, that Russia has internet and that even if I move to Lesotho I still will be able to post and write? Do you? LOL.
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  101. @Greasy William
    please move back to Russia

    please move back to Russia

    You do understand, that Russia has internet and that even if I move to Lesotho I still will be able to post and write? Do you? LOL.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don't belong in America.
    , @iffen
    Lesotho has internet?
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  102. @RadicalCenter
    I hope you're right about the degree of anti-war sentiment in the USA.

    I voted for Trump, and I'd be out there in the street protesting a US war on Syria, too.

    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don’t agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly’s comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it’s will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don’t care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.
     
    Umm, somehow I remember that differently...what exactly do you mean by "Europe" in this context (it's not like "Europe" exists as a political entity)?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.
     
    Are you sure we live with you on the same planet? Somehow Clinton's Secretary of the State name comes to mind... can you remind us all here? I'll help.

    http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,24446,00.html
    , @RadicalCenter
    Yes, I voted for Trump and likely will do so again in the 2020 general election, given the likely alternatives. We live in L.A.

    I'm not as sure as you are that the American people wouldn't put up with another US intervention in the middle east, once the media drumbeat gets going. Some tear-jerking photos of children and babies allegedly murdered by Iran or whoever the latest target is, could go a long way. False allegations of chemical attacks or a false-flag chemical attack wouldn't hurt, either.

    As for ISIS, doesn't it seem that the USA intentionally missed chances to destroy large numbers of known visible ISIS fighters, including this recent episode?

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-us-allowed-isis-fighters-escape-raqqa-sdf-deal/
    , @RadicalCenter
    The US certainly "had a choice" about interfering in Libya. We should have stayed out.
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  103. @Andrei Martyanov

    please move back to Russia
     
    You do understand, that Russia has internet and that even if I move to Lesotho I still will be able to post and write? Do you? LOL.

    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don’t belong in America.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don’t belong in America.
     
    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn't in America? It, of course, doesn't work like this but never mind.
    , @RadicalCenter
    I'd take Andrei and the like over many millions of immigrants we've actually let in in recent decades.
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  104. @Greasy William
    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don't agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly's comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it's will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don't care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.

    Umm, somehow I remember that differently…what exactly do you mean by “Europe” in this context (it’s not like “Europe” exists as a political entity)?

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    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @inertial
    No, that's correct. Throughout his first term Clinton tried to stay out of Yugoslavia (because he got badly burned in Somalia.) The official line back then was, "it's an European issue and Europe will have to solve it." I think this changed after Mitterand was out and Chirac was in.
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  105. @Greasy William
    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don't belong in America.

    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don’t belong in America.

    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn’t in America? It, of course, doesn’t work like this but never mind.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    You (and I) have to g0 back.
    , @Greasy William

    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn’t in America?
     
    That is correct, yes.
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  106. @Andrei Martyanov

    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don’t belong in America.
     
    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn't in America? It, of course, doesn't work like this but never mind.

    You (and I) have to g0 back.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    You (and I) have to g0 back.
     
    Yep, looks like.
    , @iffen
    Nancy Pelosi says y'all can stay and also bring all your cousins.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Just you, not Andrei ;)
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  107. @Andrei Martyanov

    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don’t belong in America.
     
    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn't in America? It, of course, doesn't work like this but never mind.

    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn’t in America?

    That is correct, yes.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    That is correct, yes.
     
    Have you tried running for Congress? Just for warmup, of course. I am sure it will take some years before you can ascend to the throne, but it has to start somewhere, right? ;-)
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  108. @Greasy William
    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don't agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly's comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it's will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don't care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.

    Are you sure we live with you on the same planet? Somehow Clinton’s Secretary of the State name comes to mind… can you remind us all here? I’ll help.

    http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,24446,00.html

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    are you trying to say that Albright dragged Clinton into the war? Clinton was her boss. She wasn't some puppeteer pulling his strings.

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in. Yes or no?
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  109. @Greasy William

    So, it is you who decides who belongs and who doesn’t in America?
     
    That is correct, yes.

    That is correct, yes.

    Have you tried running for Congress? Just for warmup, of course. I am sure it will take some years before you can ascend to the throne, but it has to start somewhere, right? ;-)

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    when/if I do, can I count on your vote?
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  110. @Talha
    You (and I) have to g0 back.

    You (and I) have to g0 back.

    Yep, looks like.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.
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  111. @Andrei Martyanov

    That is correct, yes.
     
    Have you tried running for Congress? Just for warmup, of course. I am sure it will take some years before you can ascend to the throne, but it has to start somewhere, right? ;-)

    when/if I do, can I count on your vote?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    This IS the winning platform:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJFWoAVJz4

    Don’t be a loser, give them everything...

    Peace.
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  112. @reiner Tor
    I think anyone can beat Saudi Arabia, except maybe Hungary, but then again, we couldn’t beat Andorra either.

    If they don’t have mercenary Pakistanis working for them, you could beat them. But it depends on the turf – if you try to fight them in their deserts, you’ll be wanting to go home before first engagement. In Europe? You got this.

    A few generations ago, I’d have said otherwise.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Eh, you do understand that we're talking about football and the upcoming world championship? We're not proposing war against Saudi-Arabia...
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  113. @Andrei Martyanov

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.
     
    Are you sure we live with you on the same planet? Somehow Clinton's Secretary of the State name comes to mind... can you remind us all here? I'll help.

    http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,24446,00.html

    are you trying to say that Albright dragged Clinton into the war? Clinton was her boss. She wasn’t some puppeteer pulling his strings.

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in. Yes or no?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in.
     
    I don't remember it like that, Germany didn't push for a bombing campaign, and the French were kind of friendly towards the Serbs. I guess that asshole Blair was all for it. But the Clinton administration wanted to do that, they designed demands the Serbs were likely to reject...even Kissinger called it a pretext to start bombing iirc.
    Granted, you're correct about Libya though.
    , @iffen
    She wasn’t some (((puppeteer))) pulling his strings.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Boy, it's a good thing "we" stepped in and bombed the Hell out of the Serbs. It's better to have the Serbs driven out than the Albanians / Kosovars driven out, because ... just because.
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  114. @Greasy William
    are you trying to say that Albright dragged Clinton into the war? Clinton was her boss. She wasn't some puppeteer pulling his strings.

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in. Yes or no?

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in.

    I don’t remember it like that, Germany didn’t push for a bombing campaign, and the French were kind of friendly towards the Serbs. I guess that asshole Blair was all for it. But the Clinton administration wanted to do that, they designed demands the Serbs were likely to reject…even Kissinger called it a pretext to start bombing iirc.
    Granted, you’re correct about Libya though.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Granted, you’re correct about Libya though.
     
    He actually is.
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  115. @Andrei Martyanov

    You (and I) have to g0 back.
     
    Yep, looks like.

    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.
     
    LOL. As long as they serve Jack and a good cigar.Albeit "bulk-rate" sounds intimidating.
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  116. @Talha
    If they don’t have mercenary Pakistanis working for them, you could beat them. But it depends on the turf - if you try to fight them in their deserts, you’ll be wanting to go home before first engagement. In Europe? You got this.

    A few generations ago, I’d have said otherwise.

    Peace.

    Eh, you do understand that we’re talking about football and the upcoming world championship? We’re not proposing war against Saudi-Arabia…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Whooooops!!!! Ironically, I think my points still stand!!!
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  117. @Talha
    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.

    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.

    LOL. As long as they serve Jack and a good cigar.Albeit “bulk-rate” sounds intimidating.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    I read that Baku has a surprisingly diverse and excellent restaurant scene.
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  118. @German_reader

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in.
     
    I don't remember it like that, Germany didn't push for a bombing campaign, and the French were kind of friendly towards the Serbs. I guess that asshole Blair was all for it. But the Clinton administration wanted to do that, they designed demands the Serbs were likely to reject...even Kissinger called it a pretext to start bombing iirc.
    Granted, you're correct about Libya though.

    Granted, you’re correct about Libya though.

    He actually is.

    Read More
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  119. @Greasy William
    when/if I do, can I count on your vote?

    This IS the winning platform:

    Don’t be a loser, give them everything…

    Peace.

    Read More
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  120. @German_reader
    Eh, you do understand that we're talking about football and the upcoming world championship? We're not proposing war against Saudi-Arabia...

    Whooooops!!!! Ironically, I think my points still stand!!!

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  121. @German_reader

    It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out.
     
    Umm, somehow I remember that differently...what exactly do you mean by "Europe" in this context (it's not like "Europe" exists as a political entity)?

    No, that’s correct. Throughout his first term Clinton tried to stay out of Yugoslavia (because he got badly burned in Somalia.) The official line back then was, “it’s an European issue and Europe will have to solve it.” I think this changed after Mitterand was out and Chirac was in.

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  122. @Anatoly Karlin
    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments, just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.

    https://twitter.com/davidfilipov/status/963504626124447744

    just a quick note that denial of Russian mercenary deaths on Feb 7 is moving into the realm of conspiracy theory.

    OHH NOES!!! A CONSPIRACY THEORY!!! EVERYBODY TURN OFF YOUR BRAIN!

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  123. My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was “in it to win it”, only then did the US step in.

    If you are asking me to find public declarations from Europeans governments demanding that the US stop the Serbs, I don’t have that, but it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

    We remember from the 2nd Iraq war that western Europe is not shy at all about making clear their opposition to US military adventures when they are against them. The US never had any strategic interest in Serbia or any of the Balkans but then out of nowhere they step in and western Europe does not make a peep of protest and even offers public support (the exact opposite of how they acted in the 2nd Iraq war).

    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei. I don’t know about France because Chirac was such a Guallist that he may very well have opposed the operation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians
     
    There was no large-scale ethnic cleansing in Kosovo before NATO started its bombing campaign...there was an insurgency by Albanian paramilitaries, and the Serb security services used rather harsh methods in repressing it (no doubt including some atrocities). But no mass murder or large-scale ethnic cleansing. The supposed plans for that presented as justification for NATO's campaign later turned out to be fake.
    And the US had been involved in those Balkans issues for years, US advisers played an important role in the preparation of the Croatian offensive that took Krajina in 1995, so it wasn't some sudden change.
    It's of course true that the official justification for US intervention was the Europeans' failure to end the violence in their own backyard.
    , @peterAUS

    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was “in it to win it”, only then did the US step in
     

    ... it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

     


    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei
     
    Very good post.
    Quite educational. One of reasons one should read Internet forums/message boards.

    See....in spite of all the facts about all that being available, and in minute detail, you have no idea whatsoever what happened there.
    None.

    Now...if people who actually are sort of interested in such events, as apparently you are, have no clue....what can be expected from an average citizen/voter?

    And then we talk about media brainwashing, manipulation etc.
    Bullshit.

    Willful ignorance is the king of the current paradigm.

    Ah, yes, before deciding to argue with me please spend a week or so going through Hague documents about Kosovo.
    Just Milosevic case, Kosovo part.
    Yeah...I know....won't happen.

    Impressive, really.
    , @Niccolo Salo
    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole (if you can call it shaking hands with due to his paralysis). During a discussion with one of his aides, we were informed that the USA considered Kosovo as good as gone for the Serbs in that plans were already in motion to detach it from Serbia for military/strategic/geopolitical reasons. Croatia and Bosnia weren't even in the calculus at the time as Dole represented the Reaganite, pro-Croatian faction in the GOP while Bush the Elder and Eagleburger preferred to work with Milosevic.

    The idea that the USA was just minding its own business and stepped in to 'stop ethnic cleansing of Albanians from Kosovo' is fairy tale thinking, the product of PR firms, and is what Boobus Americanus believed then and much more often than not, believes to this day.
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  124. @Greasy William
    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was "in it to win it", only then did the US step in.

    If you are asking me to find public declarations from Europeans governments demanding that the US stop the Serbs, I don't have that, but it's pretty obvious that's what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

    We remember from the 2nd Iraq war that western Europe is not shy at all about making clear their opposition to US military adventures when they are against them. The US never had any strategic interest in Serbia or any of the Balkans but then out of nowhere they step in and western Europe does not make a peep of protest and even offers public support (the exact opposite of how they acted in the 2nd Iraq war).

    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei. I don't know about France because Chirac was such a Guallist that he may very well have opposed the operation.

    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians

    There was no large-scale ethnic cleansing in Kosovo before NATO started its bombing campaign…there was an insurgency by Albanian paramilitaries, and the Serb security services used rather harsh methods in repressing it (no doubt including some atrocities). But no mass murder or large-scale ethnic cleansing. The supposed plans for that presented as justification for NATO’s campaign later turned out to be fake.
    And the US had been involved in those Balkans issues for years, US advisers played an important role in the preparation of the Croatian offensive that took Krajina in 1995, so it wasn’t some sudden change.
    It’s of course true that the official justification for US intervention was the Europeans’ failure to end the violence in their own backyard.

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  125. @Andrei Martyanov

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments
     
    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really--why don't you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with--office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let's be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.

    You really should be embarassed of yourself: resorting to cheap insults like this just because Karlin dared criticise your beloved Tsar Putin. You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin! I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.
     
    Very well written, IMHO.
    A bit harsh, but, well....there is something there.
    Here in particular:

    .....a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority...
     
    Personally, I think it's a bit more complicated than

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.
     
    Big topic I guess....
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Here again comes Russian DNA bs. Are you and Clapper actually related? Also, i do remember on numerous occassions Andrei stated he was not Putin fan. Regarding Anatolii. He is critical of all things Russian both Soviet and current period but is painting extremely rosy and false pictures of pre 1917 Russia. I have zero doubt he would be critical of that Russia as well were he to live then , glorifying Kievan Rus instead or whatever.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so,
     
    No, he is allowed but can not do it, as in not able, and he will be called out on his BS, which you construe as "insults". He will also get pointed out to now obvious fact that he should limit his "opinions" on anything military to the appearances of uniforms and weapons. He certainly should stay away from any operational issues.

    You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin!
     
    You are not very observant--I don't actually like the guy, but I approach him from a very different angle.

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.
     
    Why don't you dig further in history and maybe, with some luck, you will be able to establish connection to Scythian DNA. Now to a subject matter--where are the "hundreds" of "Russians" blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts:

    Russian news reports Tuesday described just such a scenario, with an unknown number of Russian military contractors killed in a ferocious U.S. counterattack last week. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other U.S. officials said they had no such information on casualties, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths. U.S. officials also said the Russian government had lodged no complaint about its citizens being killed..... Mattis, speaking to reporters Tuesday while traveling in Europe, was adamant he knew of no Russian contractors killed in the fighting, which he attributed to a surprising assault in light of obvious U.S. advantages, including overwhelming air power.
    “I don’t have any reporting” about Russians being among the casualties, Mattis said. “I can’t give you anything on that. We have not received that word” at key U.S. military headquarters, including the Pentagon.
     
    https://apnews.com/299ec81e53da4589b5d82135e1fb3439/Reports-of-Russian-deaths-underscore-dangers-of-Syria's-war

    And while we at it, did you check flight radar since 7 Feb.? How many IL-76s flew from Khmeimim? Do you know?
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  126. @Greasy William
    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was "in it to win it", only then did the US step in.

    If you are asking me to find public declarations from Europeans governments demanding that the US stop the Serbs, I don't have that, but it's pretty obvious that's what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

    We remember from the 2nd Iraq war that western Europe is not shy at all about making clear their opposition to US military adventures when they are against them. The US never had any strategic interest in Serbia or any of the Balkans but then out of nowhere they step in and western Europe does not make a peep of protest and even offers public support (the exact opposite of how they acted in the 2nd Iraq war).

    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei. I don't know about France because Chirac was such a Guallist that he may very well have opposed the operation.

    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was “in it to win it”, only then did the US step in

    … it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei

    Very good post.
    Quite educational. One of reasons one should read Internet forums/message boards.

    See….in spite of all the facts about all that being available, and in minute detail, you have no idea whatsoever what happened there.
    None.

    Now…if people who actually are sort of interested in such events, as apparently you are, have no clue….what can be expected from an average citizen/voter?

    And then we talk about media brainwashing, manipulation etc.
    Bullshit.

    Willful ignorance is the king of the current paradigm.

    Ah, yes, before deciding to argue with me please spend a week or so going through Hague documents about Kosovo.
    Just Milosevic case, Kosovo part.
    Yeah…I know….won’t happen.

    Impressive, really.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Nonsense. My recollection was that the exodus of Kosovar Albanians to Macedonia and Albania was orchestrated by radical Kosovar organizations to create media imagery providing justifications for the intervention. And Serbs could do nothing about it because it was not them behind the Kosovar exodus. The objective was to turn Serbs into the ethnic cleansers.

    From what we know now how the deep states of different countries are interweaved and how their intelligence services are interconnected talking about whether it was American or British or French who where responsible the most on the basis of what we saw in media because Clinton did this or that is simplistic and naive. The operation was prepared many months ahead and Kosovo freedom fighters in brand new uniforms were being trained at NATO bases. Milosevic could do nothing to avert it. By letting the UN observers in (who he naively believe would be neutral and impartial) he made it only worse for himself because it tied his hands.

    The UN observers helped Milosevic as much as the UN WMD inspectors helped Saddam Hussein in 2002/2003. Both Milosevic and Hussein acted in good faith by letting them in into their countries.
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  127. Ah, yes, before deciding to argue with me please spend a week or so going through Hague documents about Kosovo.

    1. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath on that one.
    2. You are being unnecessarily rude.
    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.
    4. I don’t know what exactly what the Serbs were or weren’t doing in Kosovo in the mid 90s but I do know that whatever it was, Western Europe didn’t like it.

    If Germany and the UK didn’t want the US to destroy Serbia then they would have at least protested. They didn’t. If Clinton decided on his own to intervene in Kosovo without external pressure, that would certainly be a surprise to me as he spent all of his first term avoiding getting involved. But maybe this is one of those exceedingly rare cases where I am mistaken.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Well...well...a retort without name calling and analyzing my sick psyche.

    O.K.

    1. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath on that one.
     
    Well, if you really want to know what happened there Hague is a very good source. Or...have somebody who was there in certain capacity.
    All the rest is, well, BS for public consumption.

    2. You are being unnecessarily rude.
     
    Probably.
    Admit, I do have a short fuse about that episode. Long story.

    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.
     
    Well, I sort of did.
    Hague documents......

    4. I don’t know what exactly what the Serbs were or weren’t doing in Kosovo in the mid 90s but I do know that whatever it was, Western Europe didn’t like it.
     
    Good to hear that. Then, I apologize for being unnecessary rude.

    If Germany and the UK didn’t want the US to destroy Serbia then they would have at least protested. They didn’t. If Clinton decided on his own to intervene in Kosovo without external pressure, that would certainly be a surprise to me as he spent all of his first term avoiding getting involved. But maybe this is one of those exceedingly rare cases where I am mistaken.
     
    Well, you are mistaken.
    Firstly, "Clinton" got involved much earlier there. In Balkans I mean. Much earlier.1993 to be precise.
    US was supplying weapons and other war kit to Bosnian Muslims against UN and EU wishes. Air drops. Going so far to endanger UNPROFOR forces in Bosnia at the time. Not informing General commanding the UN forces there, and, to add insult to injury, it was a British General.

    Secondly, US provided intelligence and certain training to Croat forces in preparations for the Operation Storm. US even participated in that operation, again, by providing intelligence and jamming/destroying Serb CiC system there and then.

    The same thing with spilling of that operation in Bosnia proper, from Croatia.......jamming etc.

    So....even when Europeans did NOT want US involvement there US got involved. In '93 actually.....
    Saudi money...Iranian contacts.....and US help in arming Bosnian Muslims.

    Kosovo itself:
    Selection and training of KLA. Shipping volunteers from Western Europe and US itself...oh my. CIA. A year before that "ethnic cleansing" of Albanians by Serbs.

    I could go but you got a drift I hope.
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  128. @Felix Keverich
    You really should be embarassed of yourself: resorting to cheap insults like this just because Karlin dared criticise your beloved Tsar Putin. You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin! I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It's a relic of Russia's slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin's foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required "background" to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.

    I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.

    Very well written, IMHO.
    A bit harsh, but, well….there is something there.
    Here in particular:

    …..a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority…

    Personally, I think it’s a bit more complicated than

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.

    Big topic I guess….

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous
    But fortunately, a Chechen like you wouldn't have any difficulties with things like loyalty, right?
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I have also a theory about Western DNA defect regarding predispososition to believe in Russian genetical predisposition towards slavery. While Russian slavish DNA theory has been numerous proven wrong by researches suffering in the process of their theory disapproval, it looks like my theory of western genetical defect is right. Looks like new researcher from the west is trying to test same old disapproved theory. Might end in tears again.
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  129. @peterAUS

    I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.
     
    Very well written, IMHO.
    A bit harsh, but, well....there is something there.
    Here in particular:

    .....a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority...
     
    Personally, I think it's a bit more complicated than

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.
     
    Big topic I guess....

    But fortunately, a Chechen like you wouldn’t have any difficulties with things like loyalty, right?

    Read More
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  130. @peterAUS

    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was “in it to win it”, only then did the US step in
     

    ... it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

     


    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei
     
    Very good post.
    Quite educational. One of reasons one should read Internet forums/message boards.

    See....in spite of all the facts about all that being available, and in minute detail, you have no idea whatsoever what happened there.
    None.

    Now...if people who actually are sort of interested in such events, as apparently you are, have no clue....what can be expected from an average citizen/voter?

    And then we talk about media brainwashing, manipulation etc.
    Bullshit.

    Willful ignorance is the king of the current paradigm.

    Ah, yes, before deciding to argue with me please spend a week or so going through Hague documents about Kosovo.
    Just Milosevic case, Kosovo part.
    Yeah...I know....won't happen.

    Impressive, really.

    Nonsense. My recollection was that the exodus of Kosovar Albanians to Macedonia and Albania was orchestrated by radical Kosovar organizations to create media imagery providing justifications for the intervention. And Serbs could do nothing about it because it was not them behind the Kosovar exodus. The objective was to turn Serbs into the ethnic cleansers.

    From what we know now how the deep states of different countries are interweaved and how their intelligence services are interconnected talking about whether it was American or British or French who where responsible the most on the basis of what we saw in media because Clinton did this or that is simplistic and naive. The operation was prepared many months ahead and Kosovo freedom fighters in brand new uniforms were being trained at NATO bases. Milosevic could do nothing to avert it. By letting the UN observers in (who he naively believe would be neutral and impartial) he made it only worse for himself because it tied his hands.

    The UN observers helped Milosevic as much as the UN WMD inspectors helped Saddam Hussein in 2002/2003. Both Milosevic and Hussein acted in good faith by letting them in into their countries.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Not bad.
    Take a look at my reply to "Greasy".

    If you want to talk about that conflict we can, up to a point.
    Just no point of hijacking the thread and the topic.

    If you are really interested in the topic and can't go through Hague docs, well, the next best thing is "find a native speaker and go through plenty of Youtube videos". Serb native speaker in particular. You'll get a bottle of plum brandy too with the translation:).
    The best would be a guy who was then and there at the time.

    I'd recommend material from the Colonel then, retired General now, Bozidar Delic.
    He has a very good insight about Kosovo operations and he was a defense expert for Milosevic in the court.
    Quite interesting on several levels.

    If you are interested that is.
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  131. @Greasy William

    Ah, yes, before deciding to argue with me please spend a week or so going through Hague documents about Kosovo.
     
    1. You probably shouldn't hold your breath on that one.
    2. You are being unnecessarily rude.
    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.
    4. I don't know what exactly what the Serbs were or weren't doing in Kosovo in the mid 90s but I do know that whatever it was, Western Europe didn't like it.

    If Germany and the UK didn't want the US to destroy Serbia then they would have at least protested. They didn't. If Clinton decided on his own to intervene in Kosovo without external pressure, that would certainly be a surprise to me as he spent all of his first term avoiding getting involved. But maybe this is one of those exceedingly rare cases where I am mistaken.

    Well…well…a retort without name calling and analyzing my sick psyche.

    O.K.

    1. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath on that one.

    Well, if you really want to know what happened there Hague is a very good source. Or…have somebody who was there in certain capacity.
    All the rest is, well, BS for public consumption.

    2. You are being unnecessarily rude.

    Probably.
    Admit, I do have a short fuse about that episode. Long story.

    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.

    Well, I sort of did.
    Hague documents……

    4. I don’t know what exactly what the Serbs were or weren’t doing in Kosovo in the mid 90s but I do know that whatever it was, Western Europe didn’t like it.

    Good to hear that. Then, I apologize for being unnecessary rude.

    If Germany and the UK didn’t want the US to destroy Serbia then they would have at least protested. They didn’t. If Clinton decided on his own to intervene in Kosovo without external pressure, that would certainly be a surprise to me as he spent all of his first term avoiding getting involved. But maybe this is one of those exceedingly rare cases where I am mistaken.

    Well, you are mistaken.
    Firstly, “Clinton” got involved much earlier there. In Balkans I mean. Much earlier.1993 to be precise.
    US was supplying weapons and other war kit to Bosnian Muslims against UN and EU wishes. Air drops. Going so far to endanger UNPROFOR forces in Bosnia at the time. Not informing General commanding the UN forces there, and, to add insult to injury, it was a British General.

    Secondly, US provided intelligence and certain training to Croat forces in preparations for the Operation Storm. US even participated in that operation, again, by providing intelligence and jamming/destroying Serb CiC system there and then.

    The same thing with spilling of that operation in Bosnia proper, from Croatia…….jamming etc.

    So….even when Europeans did NOT want US involvement there US got involved. In ’93 actually…..
    Saudi money…Iranian contacts…..and US help in arming Bosnian Muslims.

    Kosovo itself:
    Selection and training of KLA. Shipping volunteers from Western Europe and US itself…oh my. CIA. A year before that “ethnic cleansing” of Albanians by Serbs.

    I could go but you got a drift I hope.

    Read More
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  132. @utu
    Nonsense. My recollection was that the exodus of Kosovar Albanians to Macedonia and Albania was orchestrated by radical Kosovar organizations to create media imagery providing justifications for the intervention. And Serbs could do nothing about it because it was not them behind the Kosovar exodus. The objective was to turn Serbs into the ethnic cleansers.

    From what we know now how the deep states of different countries are interweaved and how their intelligence services are interconnected talking about whether it was American or British or French who where responsible the most on the basis of what we saw in media because Clinton did this or that is simplistic and naive. The operation was prepared many months ahead and Kosovo freedom fighters in brand new uniforms were being trained at NATO bases. Milosevic could do nothing to avert it. By letting the UN observers in (who he naively believe would be neutral and impartial) he made it only worse for himself because it tied his hands.

    The UN observers helped Milosevic as much as the UN WMD inspectors helped Saddam Hussein in 2002/2003. Both Milosevic and Hussein acted in good faith by letting them in into their countries.

    Not bad.
    Take a look at my reply to “Greasy”.

    If you want to talk about that conflict we can, up to a point.
    Just no point of hijacking the thread and the topic.

    If you are really interested in the topic and can’t go through Hague docs, well, the next best thing is “find a native speaker and go through plenty of Youtube videos”. Serb native speaker in particular. You’ll get a bottle of plum brandy too with the translation:).
    The best would be a guy who was then and there at the time.

    I’d recommend material from the Colonel then, retired General now, Bozidar Delic.
    He has a very good insight about Kosovo operations and he was a defense expert for Milosevic in the court.
    Quite interesting on several levels.

    If you are interested that is.

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  133. KLA initiated hostilities in Kosovo, one should add that the Albanians there were pretty recent newcomers. KLA was backed/supported by various western powers.

    Serbian response was less atrocity laden then Maidan response to Anti-Maidan (partly because Serbian armed forces were considerably more professional and motivated), which is why it was fairly successfull. It should be noted that Serbs were fighting the KLA, they were not fighting all Kosovars, before western intervention. Plenty of Kosovars werent particularly supportive of the KLA, and generally speaking preferred to not have a civil war. However, they didnt have guns so their preferences didnt count much.

    Serbian atrocities started after/during the bombings. C&C networks were degraded, so there was a loss of command and an empowerment of local militias etc. There were also vengeance dynamics at play, and obviously Kosovars were increasingly seen as traitors who ally with a foreign power to kill serbs.
    There was also the dynamic that ethnic cleansing is a policy that quite often works (Serbs had just been on the receiving end of it in Krajina, in addition, the only part of war-Yugoslavia were the Serbs actually did ethnic cleansing themselfs, Bosnia, is also the only part were they didnt get ethnically cleansed) and if you are “punished” for “doing it” you may as well actually do it for real.

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    • Replies: @Niccolo Salo
    "KLA initiated hostilities in Kosovo, one should add that the Albanians there were pretty recent newcomers. KLA was backed/supported by various western powers. "

    This is also wrong. Albanians have been in Kosovo for a very, very long time. They were even north of Kosovo in Serbia proper up until the late 19th century when they got expelled from places like Toplica.

    PROTIP: just because Western intervention is shit does not mean that the victims of such intervention, like the Serbs, are correct in everything that they say.

    Serbs got robbed of Kosovo, the cradle of their medieval kingdom, the location of their greatest monasteries, but they were moving out of Kosovo for centuries for many reasons, not just fear.
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  134. @Greasy William
    My recollection of events was that Serbia was ethnically cleansing the Albanians and that western Europe was going nuts and kept demanding that the Serbs stop. When it was clear that Milosevic was "in it to win it", only then did the US step in.

    If you are asking me to find public declarations from Europeans governments demanding that the US stop the Serbs, I don't have that, but it's pretty obvious that's what happened. Why else would the US have gotten involved?

    We remember from the 2nd Iraq war that western Europe is not shy at all about making clear their opposition to US military adventures when they are against them. The US never had any strategic interest in Serbia or any of the Balkans but then out of nowhere they step in and western Europe does not make a peep of protest and even offers public support (the exact opposite of how they acted in the 2nd Iraq war).

    Behind the scenes Germany and the UK must have gone to the US and asked them to put a stop to the Serbs making Kosovo Albanianfrei. I don't know about France because Chirac was such a Guallist that he may very well have opposed the operation.

    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole (if you can call it shaking hands with due to his paralysis). During a discussion with one of his aides, we were informed that the USA considered Kosovo as good as gone for the Serbs in that plans were already in motion to detach it from Serbia for military/strategic/geopolitical reasons. Croatia and Bosnia weren’t even in the calculus at the time as Dole represented the Reaganite, pro-Croatian faction in the GOP while Bush the Elder and Eagleburger preferred to work with Milosevic.

    The idea that the USA was just minding its own business and stepped in to ‘stop ethnic cleansing of Albanians from Kosovo’ is fairy tale thinking, the product of PR firms, and is what Boobus Americanus believed then and much more often than not, believes to this day.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole
     
    It appears you were quite deep in Croatian independence movement at the time.

    A question if I may:
    Was the intention to ethnically cleanse Serb minority from Croatia known to you guys marching there...or....you did not know about that little detail at the time?
    And while we are on the topic, carving of Bosnia and Herzegovina and making a "bigger" Croatia?

    Just curious.
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  135. @Mightypeon
    KLA initiated hostilities in Kosovo, one should add that the Albanians there were pretty recent newcomers. KLA was backed/supported by various western powers.

    Serbian response was less atrocity laden then Maidan response to Anti-Maidan (partly because Serbian armed forces were considerably more professional and motivated), which is why it was fairly successfull. It should be noted that Serbs were fighting the KLA, they were not fighting all Kosovars, before western intervention. Plenty of Kosovars werent particularly supportive of the KLA, and generally speaking preferred to not have a civil war. However, they didnt have guns so their preferences didnt count much.

    Serbian atrocities started after/during the bombings. C&C networks were degraded, so there was a loss of command and an empowerment of local militias etc. There were also vengeance dynamics at play, and obviously Kosovars were increasingly seen as traitors who ally with a foreign power to kill serbs.
    There was also the dynamic that ethnic cleansing is a policy that quite often works (Serbs had just been on the receiving end of it in Krajina, in addition, the only part of war-Yugoslavia were the Serbs actually did ethnic cleansing themselfs, Bosnia, is also the only part were they didnt get ethnically cleansed) and if you are "punished" for "doing it" you may as well actually do it for real.

    “KLA initiated hostilities in Kosovo, one should add that the Albanians there were pretty recent newcomers. KLA was backed/supported by various western powers. ”

    This is also wrong. Albanians have been in Kosovo for a very, very long time. They were even north of Kosovo in Serbia proper up until the late 19th century when they got expelled from places like Toplica.

    PROTIP: just because Western intervention is shit does not mean that the victims of such intervention, like the Serbs, are correct in everything that they say.

    Serbs got robbed of Kosovo, the cradle of their medieval kingdom, the location of their greatest monasteries, but they were moving out of Kosovo for centuries for many reasons, not just fear.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    That's my position as well.
    Putting ideology aside, the fact of the matter is the area has been overwhelmingly Albanian for decades if not centuries. The manner in which it was detached from Serbia/rump-Yugoslavia was underhanded, but mustering up sympathy for a state Milosevic's mainly from 'the enemy of my enemy' logic seems irrational.
    Bringing up the 'sanctity of the sovereignty' arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world's utopian expectations of 'International Law' to supplant 'balance of power' politics in the first place.
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  136. Do not forget that a crushing and humiliating defeat of the Russians and Iranians in Syria is part of the script for the ‘Armageddon war’, the so-called prophecy of Ezekiel (the ‘template’ for the Greater Israel plan) of Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj, in Mahomedan lingo, against whom the pious Muslims are allied with Israel, both waiting for their respective Messias – actually the same). Gog and Magog are the Russians and Iranians.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Mr. Karlin's comment section is the best.
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  137. @Seraphim
    Do not forget that a crushing and humiliating defeat of the Russians and Iranians in Syria is part of the script for the 'Armageddon war', the so-called prophecy of Ezekiel (the 'template' for the Greater Israel plan) of Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj, in Mahomedan lingo, against whom the pious Muslims are allied with Israel, both waiting for their respective Messias - actually the same). Gog and Magog are the Russians and Iranians.

    Mr. Karlin’s comment section is the best.

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    • Agree: Talha, for-the-record
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  138. @Andrei Martyanov

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments
     
    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really--why don't you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with--office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let's be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.

    Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber?

    *of the caliber* – The word cannot be used as a noun in this sense.

    Anyway, quite the classroom food-fight we have here.

    Your tone is rather surprisingly vicious considering that you’ve been posting on AK’s articles for over a year under Smoothie. If you’ve always considered his credentials worthless, then why lash-out at this particular moment? It’s not like the Internet or this site’s comment sections in particular has any shortage of jackasses authoritatively pontificating on subjects they know virtually nothing about.

    Akarlin still strikes me as much less amateurish and agenda-driver than say, TheSaker or Phillip Giraldi. Also, for someone with your alleged high military backround, it is odd that you do not live in Russia, where presumably you could live quite comfortably.

    I and many others would love to hear more specific criticisms, but throwing around personal insults just makes you look sad.

    3. My areas of expertise are the Middle East strategic balance, US domestic politics, Israeli domestic politics and Iranian domestic politics. I make mistakes about matters that are outside of those scopes all the time but I always acknowledge it when corrected, which you have decidedly not done.

    Frankly, if you don’t work in a field that is somehow directly connected to these matters, asserting to hold ‘expertise’ in a subject is great way to set yourself up for future mockery.

    Notice how the more constructive regular commenters here such as Glossy, German_Reader or reiner tor don’t claim to be ‘experts’ on anything and generally limit their comments to observations on their geographic area.

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  139. Lenta quotes a Russian military source that puts the Russian death toll to 11 in the US bombing raid in Deir ez Zor

    https://lenta.ru/news/2018/02/14/vagner/

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  140. @Niccolo Salo
    "KLA initiated hostilities in Kosovo, one should add that the Albanians there were pretty recent newcomers. KLA was backed/supported by various western powers. "

    This is also wrong. Albanians have been in Kosovo for a very, very long time. They were even north of Kosovo in Serbia proper up until the late 19th century when they got expelled from places like Toplica.

    PROTIP: just because Western intervention is shit does not mean that the victims of such intervention, like the Serbs, are correct in everything that they say.

    Serbs got robbed of Kosovo, the cradle of their medieval kingdom, the location of their greatest monasteries, but they were moving out of Kosovo for centuries for many reasons, not just fear.

    That’s my position as well.
    Putting ideology aside, the fact of the matter is the area has been overwhelmingly Albanian for decades if not centuries. The manner in which it was detached from Serbia/rump-Yugoslavia was underhanded, but mustering up sympathy for a state Milosevic’s mainly from ‘the enemy of my enemy’ logic seems irrational.
    Bringing up the ‘sanctity of the sovereignty’ arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world’s utopian expectations of ‘International Law’ to supplant ‘balance of power’ politics in the first place.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Bringing up the ‘sanctity of the sovereignty’ arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world’s utopian expectations of ‘International Law’ to supplant ‘balance of power’ politics in the first place.
     
    The US breaking its own laws is, indeed, ironic.
    , @Niccolo Salo
    Dobrica Cosic, Serbian author, historian and nationalist, proposed that Serbia partition Kosovo with the Albanians to preserve Serbian population centres and the monasteries. Croatia's President Tudjman agreed with him on this as why would Serbia want 2 million Albanians (with a very high birthrate at that time) in their borders, tipping election results, threatening security and so on?
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  141. For me, as a supporter of Russia, it is highly frustrating to see things like this happen again and again.

    This bombing raid might not have killed official Russian servicemen, but it did kill Russian citizens. It should not have happened. Russia should not have allowed this to happen.

    And Russia should make the perpetrators pay the price for killing its citizens. But it won’t happen. The ones who killed Russians (whether in Ukraine or in Syria) will be left unpunished. No retaliation is to follow.

    And in the future the Russians will continue to die in Syria while the Americans won’t suffer any casualties. Why? Because nobody dares to mess with the US. They are feared and respected. Russia is not.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @gT
    In war, people die, its a entirely normal part of war. Russia understands this better than any country in the West, having lost far more people during WW2 than all the other combatants in the Western theatre.

    Soldiers especially die during war, Russian soldiers are expected to die rather than being captured since Stalin's time, look how that Russian pilot blew himself up recently rather than being captured. Russian soldiers know that they are expendable. And Russia is winning in Syria. All this talk about partitioning Syria, previously the ISIS partition was the biggest in Syria, now ISIS barely exists in Syria. The American, Israeli and Turkish partitions are next in line for the slow, grinding process.

    The longer the battle lasts the stronger the Syrians get, especially with regards to their anti aircraft and accurate long range munitions capability. Before long America and Israel will have run out of their irregular forces and will have to commit regular forces, and they are hesitant to put their regular forces on the front line. The Israeli and American regular forces are not expendable, only their irregular forces are.

    The Americans are in an especially bad situation because their irregulars, the Kurds, are on top of the Turkish hit list. The American partition is decreasing in size because of Turkish activity.

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.

    And if only Russia would retake all the Stan's to her East, all of them traditionally belonging to the Russian empire. Then Russia would have millions more expendables who could be "volunteered" to Syria and Donbass and there would be no noise about casualties.
    , @utu

    And Russia should make the perpetrators pay the price for killing its citizens.
     
    Did Russia do anything after the killing of the Russian general Valery Asapov?
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  142. @Yevardian
    That's my position as well.
    Putting ideology aside, the fact of the matter is the area has been overwhelmingly Albanian for decades if not centuries. The manner in which it was detached from Serbia/rump-Yugoslavia was underhanded, but mustering up sympathy for a state Milosevic's mainly from 'the enemy of my enemy' logic seems irrational.
    Bringing up the 'sanctity of the sovereignty' arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world's utopian expectations of 'International Law' to supplant 'balance of power' politics in the first place.

    Bringing up the ‘sanctity of the sovereignty’ arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world’s utopian expectations of ‘International Law’ to supplant ‘balance of power’ politics in the first place.

    The US breaking its own laws is, indeed, ironic.

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  143. There is a story in Russiafeed (I cannot post the link because the firewall of the company that I work in blocks Russiafeed) where a Ukrainian soldier who fought in Donbass in one of the volunteer battalions came to public. He said that rich westerners paid to go to Donbass for “human hunting”. They were given a free reign to shoot and kill Donbass people (civilians, not soldiers) in the Kiev regime occupied areas. And they paid good money for this to Kiev.

    I don’t know whether this story is true or false. But if true, then it is another sign of the weakness of the current Russian statehood. Ethnic Russians are/were being hunted down like animals in a few kilometers outside of the Russian borders. It is no different from what happened in the Belgian Congo a hundred years who where Belgians hunted Congo people for fun.

    Whatever went wrong with Russia?

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    • Replies: @Niccolo Salo
    How gullible are you?
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  144. @Andrei Martyanov

    While the usual suspects foam at the mouth in the comments
     
    I doubt that you will be able to communicate with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov? Really--why don't you start drawing your data and opinions from Kavkaz Center or Censor, which by now will not surprise me? Can you understand that you are simply not a caliber? You have no background in anything military-intelligence related as are most people you shuffle with--office plankton, hipsters and the likes. I understand your ego being larger than cathedral but can you, please, avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation? And let's be frank, most of what you write about Russia, let alone military affairs, is rubbish. But I guess being a product of West Coast Ed. embarrassment and shame are not things you understand in life.

    … avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation?

    Sure, now why don’t you go dispel my disinformation to the wife of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries. I am sure she will be overjoyed that news of her husband’s demise was a hallucination.

    The National Bolsheviks might also be quite pleased to know that comrade Kirill Ananyev is in fact safe and sound.

    So back in the real world, my assessment that “at least a few of the deaths” were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of “Incontrovertibly True.” Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again. As is typical of ideologues.

    … with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov?

    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.

    Incidentally, he is also one of the more pro-Russian journalists in the West out there (e.g. his piece on the Sochi Olympics).

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/963109824170004480?s=20

    Elijah Magnier still denying, but who knows, maybe even he doesn't.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries.
     
    Don't sleaze your way out of it--you will see why in the end of my post. You started to spread BS, not me--the issue is not few Russian mercenaries who fight in Syria, the issue is about "hundreds" of them. "One of" and "hundreds"--do you feel the difference? I don't need to dispel anything from you--it was already dispelled by both Russian and American sides. Unless Mattis is a Russian spy and unless there were at least 15-20 IL-76 flying from Khmeimim with 200s and 300s, which there was not, it is YOU not me who have to answer for a propaganda BS you spread. You can read Mattis' statements in my response to your sycophant Krechevich.

    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.
     
    You have NO access to places in Russian internet which matter in this case--can we settle on that? If, however, by Russian internet you mean a dumpster of incompetent rumors, echo-chambers and an avalanche of mostly liberal and self-proclaimed right "analysts", sorry--I am not your relative to teach you what to "consume". You want to deal in trash--your choice but you will be called out. As per WaPo, NYT, Newsweek--main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS--try harder to impress with your sources. Moreover, NO, none of them Flilpov included, or whoever else, can have and don't have any serious sources inside Russia's military. Why it is so is a separate issue. Their sources is the same Moscow liberal and other disgruntled hipster tusovka and all of them are eager to propagate all kinds of rumors. Using American main-stream media as any source of anything related to Russia is really a bad taste--they have a stellar record of lying and inspiring confusion, you joyfully joined with them. But to be very specific on your "Wagner" claim:


    What’s worse, at least a few of the deaths were incurred by members of Wagner, a Russian PMC staffed mainly by Donbass vets and overly “passionary” Russians (though rumors speak of a much larger catastrophe, with “Cargo 200″ running into the hundreds; I am skeptical about these claims, for the same reason that I am skeptical of Kremlin propaganda claims about RuAF destroying hundreds of jihadists in a day’s work, but a few dozen Russian casualties are credible). “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.
     
    There is nothing "worse" in it. Mercenaries fight and die in Syria every day, such as here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4947600/ISIS-parade-two-Russian-mercenaries-captured-Syria.html

    If, however, you do not understand WHY this BS was originated--well, just proves my previous points. I'll help you: the main purpose of this whole "operation" was a desperate attempt to tie together Russian Armed Forces with Russian mercenaries, despite obvious absurdity of such action. Apart from a well-concerted effort to propagate ridiculous numbers of KIAs the idea was to create impression that it was a huge crisis--it was not. If you do not understand what mercenaries are--I am not here to teach you, but private military companies' losses are NEVER included in any combat statistics anywhere, be it USA, Russia, France etc. US lost thousands mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan--they are NOT included in any Pentagon's statistics. I know what I am talking about since I was asked, not for once, to "join", how and why--doesn't matter.

    with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again.
     
    If you didn't notice and sorry to bring it to your attention--it is you who is most of time sitting in the puddle with your military and geopolitical "analysis". It is cute when it is done once in a very long while but constantly grasping for the straw such as with this convoluted excuse:

    So back in the real world, my assessment that “at least a few of the deaths” were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of “Incontrovertibly True.” Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths,
     
    Cannot hide, and I quote YOU, this:

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.
     
    This is why this whole post was written by you. Pretty much a complete detachment from military (and political) realities on the ground in Syria. Which your post demonstrates vividly. So, your attempt at being "objective" failed miserably. It is up to you if you want to continue with your obvious geopolitical nonsense but prepare to be called out. And yes, you have an acute case of Putin (Kremlins) derangement syndrome, you just cannot admit it to yourself. Very simple.

    P.S. Can you explain how Mattis "trolled with smirk"? How can anyone with even rudimentary situational awareness can arrive to such a conclusion?
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  145. @German_reader
    What's the average profile of those "mercenaries"? From the Washington post article one could get the impression they're fairly heterogenous in background (one of the dead supposedly being from a "far left" party, another from a "conservative Cossack group"; another, still alive, being described as an "anti-globalization activist"), and more into it for ideological reasons than just for financial gain. And do they maintain close connections to the Russian military, or are they rather acting on their own?

    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn’t join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA’s) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That’s a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: “As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] – go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass.”

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the “the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers.” And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. …

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. “Our citizens are in many countries.” [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In January 1991, Gorbachev sent in the "ghost division" of the KGB to Vilnius to break the Lithuanian separatists. But there was no clear plan and no clear political support, so after killing a few people, they were ordered to leave. An officer died (usually it's accepted that it was friendly fire, though Russians dispute it), and though he was given a military funeral and a posthumous medal, Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership feigned ignorance as to how weapons were used (or blamed counter-revolutionaries). In any event, the troops were withdrawn, and there was a lot of grumbling for sending them into a dangerous situation and then not going all in and withdrawing political support. I.e. a soldier died needlessly.

    A few months later, the KGB units sent to arrest Yeltsin at first requested a written order (so as to avoid the problems they got a few months before) and then sided with him instead, because he promised them hefty raises and the KGB units didn't receive the written order. I think there is a lesson here.

    If the Russian leadership didn't know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it's a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn't prevent it, it's a deliberate crime. If they couldn't prevent it, then... again, how did it come to a situation where they can't control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I'm sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.
    , @Talha
    Sounds like “plausible deniability”...I mean, you want a militia that’s in fighting shape, but some can get too good. That can be a liability if they return to a sensitive war zone and don’t necessarily follow your command. Just speculation...
    , @AP
    I support the Russian side in Syria, but if this action removes some future Ukrainian-killers then this is a silver lining.
    , @peterAUS

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn’t join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA’s) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold.
     
    This caught my eye but wasn't keen on commenting then.
    I'll give it a shot now.

    Doesn't' make much of a sense.

    I believe they were/are in Syria because of money, first and foremost, and then to help overall effort there.
    What is actually important is that, by being in Syria, they do NOT help Donbass.

    Keeping sharp their own expertise...nahh...not a good reason. Different theater, different all of it. Skills mostly not transferable.
    For them, personally, it would've been much better to stay in Donbass and properly train there.
    And even that isn't important.

    What is important is to use that "on hold" in fighting to make Donbass stronger. The opposition is doing it as we speak.
    They, mercs, could've simply work on improving the defense lines there (patrolling, reconnaissance etc on which improvements could be made).
    Or they could've gone through courses, either leadership or new weapons, tactics, whatever.

    The most important, though, would've been using their experience and expertise to train, and ORGANIZE, properly, Donbass armed forces.

    I ...suspect......something isn't quite right there. For little people of Donbass that is.

    Expending them in Syria simply is not good.
    Well...not good depending on who you are and what you want. I am sure that for some players that's a very good idea.

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  146. @Seamus Padraig
    Anatoly's been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start. As a Russian nationalist, he must be angry at Putin for prioritizing Arabs in Syria over ethnic Russians in Novorossiya. To be sure, this is understandable and, at any rate, totally predictable. If I were a Russian, I might feel the same way. But I think he lets it color his judgement a bit too much on what's actually happening in Syria. On an issue like this, I would put more trust in a 'Putin lapdog' like The Saker.

    Anatoly’s been totally down on the Syrian intervention since the start.

    I don’t think that is correct. I was and remain moderately supportive.

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  147. @Yevardian
    That's my position as well.
    Putting ideology aside, the fact of the matter is the area has been overwhelmingly Albanian for decades if not centuries. The manner in which it was detached from Serbia/rump-Yugoslavia was underhanded, but mustering up sympathy for a state Milosevic's mainly from 'the enemy of my enemy' logic seems irrational.
    Bringing up the 'sanctity of the sovereignty' arguments is a little ironic, considering that it was largely America that set-up the framework for the world's utopian expectations of 'International Law' to supplant 'balance of power' politics in the first place.

    Dobrica Cosic, Serbian author, historian and nationalist, proposed that Serbia partition Kosovo with the Albanians to preserve Serbian population centres and the monasteries. Croatia’s President Tudjman agreed with him on this as why would Serbia want 2 million Albanians (with a very high birthrate at that time) in their borders, tipping election results, threatening security and so on?

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    That seems eminently sensible. Though I notice the Wikipedia (yet I know, but without a library on hand that's the most convenient source available) on Cosic was fired by Milosevic quite early in the Yugoslav Wars.
    I have only read a couple a books on the topic (Misha Glenny, mostly) but it seems that virtually all serious Serbian nationalists despised Milosevic as typical post-Communist scum who was only interested in saving his own skin. Armenia was moderately lucky with its leaders in this regard.

    On topic, what do people think the future of Rojava will be, especially regarding its relations with Turkey and Assad's Syria? America (and ME states generally) has a long history of dumping the Kurds whenever they become inconvenient.
    I can't imagine the US considering supporting them for much longer at the risk of further alienating every state in the region except Israel. Perhaps Assad will reluctantly offer the Kurds (non PKK) autonomy to ward off Turkish occupation of the area when the US pulls out? Thoughts?


    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime. If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.
     
    Good point. I'll be curious to see how Martyanov or Saker put a silver-lining on this.
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  148. @karl1haushofer
    There is a story in Russiafeed (I cannot post the link because the firewall of the company that I work in blocks Russiafeed) where a Ukrainian soldier who fought in Donbass in one of the volunteer battalions came to public. He said that rich westerners paid to go to Donbass for "human hunting". They were given a free reign to shoot and kill Donbass people (civilians, not soldiers) in the Kiev regime occupied areas. And they paid good money for this to Kiev.

    I don't know whether this story is true or false. But if true, then it is another sign of the weakness of the current Russian statehood. Ethnic Russians are/were being hunted down like animals in a few kilometers outside of the Russian borders. It is no different from what happened in the Belgian Congo a hundred years who where Belgians hunted Congo people for fun.

    Whatever went wrong with Russia?

    How gullible are you?

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    • Replies: @karl1haushofer
    The Ukrainian soldier who told the story about "human hunt" in Donbass was put to enemies list of Ukrainian state and he had to flee Ukraine. He received no personal gain, whether what he said was true or not.
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  149. If you wanted to harm the US having them occupying NE Syria expensively fighting an insurgency is one way.

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    • Replies: @karl1haushofer
    Russia harming US by insurgency? What world are you living in?

    For the people in the Kremlin the US is a "partner". The fact that the US just killed at least 11 (more likely dozens) of Russian citizens in Syria is irrelevant.

    Russia will continue to "cooperate" with the US while the US continues to humiliate Russia. Just get used to it.
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  150. @LondonBob
    If you wanted to harm the US having them occupying NE Syria expensively fighting an insurgency is one way.

    Russia harming US by insurgency? What world are you living in?

    For the people in the Kremlin the US is a “partner”. The fact that the US just killed at least 11 (more likely dozens) of Russian citizens in Syria is irrelevant.

    Russia will continue to “cooperate” with the US while the US continues to humiliate Russia. Just get used to it.

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  151. @Niccolo Salo
    How gullible are you?

    The Ukrainian soldier who told the story about “human hunt” in Donbass was put to enemies list of Ukrainian state and he had to flee Ukraine. He received no personal gain, whether what he said was true or not.

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  152. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation?
     
    Sure, now why don't you go dispel my disinformation to the wife of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries. I am sure she will be overjoyed that news of her husband's demise was a hallucination.

    The National Bolsheviks might also be quite pleased to know that comrade Kirill Ananyev is in fact safe and sound.

    So back in the real world, my assessment that "at least a few of the deaths" were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of "Incontrovertibly True." Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again. As is typical of ideologues.

    ... with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov?
     
    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.

    Incidentally, he is also one of the more pro-Russian journalists in the West out there (e.g. his piece on the Sochi Olympics).

    Elijah Magnier still denying, but who knows, maybe even he doesn’t.

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  153. @Anatoly Karlin
    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn't join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA's) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That's a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: "As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] - go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass."

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the "the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers." And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. ...

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. "Our citizens are in many countries." [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]
     

    In January 1991, Gorbachev sent in the “ghost division” of the KGB to Vilnius to break the Lithuanian separatists. But there was no clear plan and no clear political support, so after killing a few people, they were ordered to leave. An officer died (usually it’s accepted that it was friendly fire, though Russians dispute it), and though he was given a military funeral and a posthumous medal, Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership feigned ignorance as to how weapons were used (or blamed counter-revolutionaries). In any event, the troops were withdrawn, and there was a lot of grumbling for sending them into a dangerous situation and then not going all in and withdrawing political support. I.e. a soldier died needlessly.

    A few months later, the KGB units sent to arrest Yeltsin at first requested a written order (so as to avoid the problems they got a few months before) and then sided with him instead, because he promised them hefty raises and the KGB units didn’t receive the written order. I think there is a lesson here.

    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime. If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I find it hard to buy the version that it was oligarchs who launched the attack to try to grab the oil wells - too overly neo-feudalistic, even by Russian standards. I think Jon0815's explanation makes more sense.

    This incident is strange and confusing. It does seem that for some reason, the SAA column did not anticipate being attacked by US forces. According to an official statement by the SAA’s (Russian-trained) ISIS Hunters, the US “sucker punch” attack occurred after a small group of ISIS fighters had attacked SAA positions from SDF territory, been defeated by the Hunters, and retreated towards the oil field. Possibly the SAA were pursuing the retreating ISIS fighters, although the statement doesn’t mention that. The SAA account does seem more plausible than the US version, given that a column of 500 troops (all marching close together to present an easy target, and apparently not equipped with any defenses against close air support) is both too small for a serious attempt to seize the oil field, and too large for a probing expedition.
     
    , @peterAUS

    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence.
     
    Actually, it is not.
    Although certain elements of Russian state have strong connection to those groups they do not control them at the level the "ordinary" military, police, or any state organization is controlled. That's simply how the world of mercenaries works.
    They work for those who pay them. In this case they were/are paid by certain Syrian. He wanted something and they, being paid for it, tried to do it.
    Life of mercenary is very, very cheap. Id keep that in mind when discussing that topic.

    If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime.
     
    No, it is not.
    Again, do not confuse the world of mercenaries and of "ordinary" military, special forces or not. Simply two different worlds. The very reason the mercenaries were introduced in modern conflicts.
    Two concepts: plausible deniability; expendable assets

    If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria?
     
    They can not control them. Simple as that.
    They can control, of course, for which side they work; actual work....no.

    And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.
     
    No.
    Their loyalty has nothing to do with that error in judgement and casualties. That's what one accepts when enters that world. Again....expendable asset. High risk, high reward. Etc.
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  154. @Niccolo Salo
    Dobrica Cosic, Serbian author, historian and nationalist, proposed that Serbia partition Kosovo with the Albanians to preserve Serbian population centres and the monasteries. Croatia's President Tudjman agreed with him on this as why would Serbia want 2 million Albanians (with a very high birthrate at that time) in their borders, tipping election results, threatening security and so on?

    That seems eminently sensible. Though I notice the Wikipedia (yet I know, but without a library on hand that’s the most convenient source available) on Cosic was fired by Milosevic quite early in the Yugoslav Wars.
    I have only read a couple a books on the topic (Misha Glenny, mostly) but it seems that virtually all serious Serbian nationalists despised Milosevic as typical post-Communist scum who was only interested in saving his own skin. Armenia was moderately lucky with its leaders in this regard.

    On topic, what do people think the future of Rojava will be, especially regarding its relations with Turkey and Assad’s Syria? America (and ME states generally) has a long history of dumping the Kurds whenever they become inconvenient.
    I can’t imagine the US considering supporting them for much longer at the risk of further alienating every state in the region except Israel. Perhaps Assad will reluctantly offer the Kurds (non PKK) autonomy to ward off Turkish occupation of the area when the US pulls out? Thoughts?

    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime. If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.

    Good point. I’ll be curious to see how Martyanov or Saker put a silver-lining on this.

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  155. @Anatoly Karlin
    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn't join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA's) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That's a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: "As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] - go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass."

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the "the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers." And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. ...

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. "Our citizens are in many countries." [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]
     

    Sounds like “plausible deniability”…I mean, you want a militia that’s in fighting shape, but some can get too good. That can be a liability if they return to a sensitive war zone and don’t necessarily follow your command. Just speculation…

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    If they cannot control them, they should be disciplined or in extreme cases thrown into jail. You don’t whack your own soldiers using the enemy, that’s criminal.

    There must be a chain of command even for contractors. It should be under firm control.

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  156. @Talha
    Sounds like “plausible deniability”...I mean, you want a militia that’s in fighting shape, but some can get too good. That can be a liability if they return to a sensitive war zone and don’t necessarily follow your command. Just speculation...

    If they cannot control them, they should be disciplined or in extreme cases thrown into jail. You don’t whack your own soldiers using the enemy, that’s criminal.

    There must be a chain of command even for contractors. It should be under firm control.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    I get what you are saying from a principled perspective; governments don’t operate that way usually. It’s politically easier to get rid of uncontrollable elements by putting them in a bad situation after they have ended their usefulness. Putting them in prison begs more questions and presents more issues. Trust me, this kind of thing happens to jihadis all the time.

    Peace.
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  157. @reiner Tor
    In January 1991, Gorbachev sent in the "ghost division" of the KGB to Vilnius to break the Lithuanian separatists. But there was no clear plan and no clear political support, so after killing a few people, they were ordered to leave. An officer died (usually it's accepted that it was friendly fire, though Russians dispute it), and though he was given a military funeral and a posthumous medal, Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership feigned ignorance as to how weapons were used (or blamed counter-revolutionaries). In any event, the troops were withdrawn, and there was a lot of grumbling for sending them into a dangerous situation and then not going all in and withdrawing political support. I.e. a soldier died needlessly.

    A few months later, the KGB units sent to arrest Yeltsin at first requested a written order (so as to avoid the problems they got a few months before) and then sided with him instead, because he promised them hefty raises and the KGB units didn't receive the written order. I think there is a lesson here.

    If the Russian leadership didn't know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it's a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn't prevent it, it's a deliberate crime. If they couldn't prevent it, then... again, how did it come to a situation where they can't control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I'm sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.

    I find it hard to buy the version that it was oligarchs who launched the attack to try to grab the oil wells – too overly neo-feudalistic, even by Russian standards. I think Jon0815′s explanation makes more sense.

    This incident is strange and confusing. It does seem that for some reason, the SAA column did not anticipate being attacked by US forces. According to an official statement by the SAA’s (Russian-trained) ISIS Hunters, the US “sucker punch” attack occurred after a small group of ISIS fighters had attacked SAA positions from SDF territory, been defeated by the Hunters, and retreated towards the oil field. Possibly the SAA were pursuing the retreating ISIS fighters, although the statement doesn’t mention that. The SAA account does seem more plausible than the US version, given that a column of 500 troops (all marching close together to present an easy target, and apparently not equipped with any defenses against close air support) is both too small for a serious attempt to seize the oil field, and too large for a probing expedition.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In which case the Russian government should be angry with the incident and publicize everything it has on it. Because the way it is, the contractors probably feel quite a bit betrayed. Even if it's not the fault of the Russian government, and even if it will be followed up by some kind of hard retaliation. People are not robots, and public disavowal can and does hurt a lot.

    But at least the Americans say they were constantly in contact with the Russian military command and didn't suspect there were Russians among them. In other words, somehow the Russian command failed to tell the Americans that they will be majestically pissed off if anything happens to the column. But maybe it's untrue.

    Anyway, the Americans killed a number of Russian contractors, and the Russian government publicly disavowed them. It looks like a major screwup by the Russian government, and doesn't bode well for the future if and when they need the contractors again.
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  158. @Felix Keverich
    You really should be embarassed of yourself: resorting to cheap insults like this just because Karlin dared criticise your beloved Tsar Putin. You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin! I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It's a relic of Russia's slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin's foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required "background" to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.

    Here again comes Russian DNA bs. Are you and Clapper actually related? Also, i do remember on numerous occassions Andrei stated he was not Putin fan. Regarding Anatolii. He is critical of all things Russian both Soviet and current period but is painting extremely rosy and false pictures of pre 1917 Russia. I have zero doubt he would be critical of that Russia as well were he to live then , glorifying Kievan Rus instead or whatever.

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  159. @Anatoly Karlin
    I find it hard to buy the version that it was oligarchs who launched the attack to try to grab the oil wells - too overly neo-feudalistic, even by Russian standards. I think Jon0815's explanation makes more sense.

    This incident is strange and confusing. It does seem that for some reason, the SAA column did not anticipate being attacked by US forces. According to an official statement by the SAA’s (Russian-trained) ISIS Hunters, the US “sucker punch” attack occurred after a small group of ISIS fighters had attacked SAA positions from SDF territory, been defeated by the Hunters, and retreated towards the oil field. Possibly the SAA were pursuing the retreating ISIS fighters, although the statement doesn’t mention that. The SAA account does seem more plausible than the US version, given that a column of 500 troops (all marching close together to present an easy target, and apparently not equipped with any defenses against close air support) is both too small for a serious attempt to seize the oil field, and too large for a probing expedition.
     

    In which case the Russian government should be angry with the incident and publicize everything it has on it. Because the way it is, the contractors probably feel quite a bit betrayed. Even if it’s not the fault of the Russian government, and even if it will be followed up by some kind of hard retaliation. People are not robots, and public disavowal can and does hurt a lot.

    But at least the Americans say they were constantly in contact with the Russian military command and didn’t suspect there were Russians among them. In other words, somehow the Russian command failed to tell the Americans that they will be majestically pissed off if anything happens to the column. But maybe it’s untrue.

    Anyway, the Americans killed a number of Russian contractors, and the Russian government publicly disavowed them. It looks like a major screwup by the Russian government, and doesn’t bode well for the future if and when they need the contractors again.

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  160. @Randal
    I agree with point 1, but it's certainly nothing new to the situation.

    As for points 2 and 3 I don't agree that Iran can't afford to keep supporting Syria. On the contrary the costs of doing so are not all that significant for a country as oil and manpower rich as Iran. So long as popular support for that foreign policy commitment remains strong in Iran (and contrary to recent US/Israeli propaganda that appears to be the case for the moment), the Iranians can go on indefinitely with the present level of support, and as security improves (it can hardly get worse than it was over the past few years) Iran and Iraq can even benefit from support given to Syria.

    The Syrian government for now is relatively stable, and there's no obvious reason why a decisive total victory is required to move forwards. The areas outside Syrian government control are not and never have been vital, especially if oil revenue is replaced by external loans from Iran and Russia (trivial for those countries to do).

    Meanwhile US/Israeli/Turkish interference has ongoing and probably increasing costs for those countries, that are greater the more open the interference, and it's by no means clear those are all sustainable long term.

    So long as popular support for that foreign policy commitment remains strong in Iran

    The US can keep the support even if it became unpopular. Because a billion a month is really peanuts for them.

    Meanwhile US/Israeli/Turkish interference has ongoing and probably increasing costs for those countries

    Maybe for Turkey, I’m unsure. Israeli costs can easily be picked up by the US taxpayers, and for the US, the whole cost is far more sustainable even in the absence of any popular support than for any other player (perhaps excepting China). A billion a month or so is something which they can pay out of rounding errors in their military budget, without US taxpayers or voters even noticing much. And to the extent anyone notices, it will be explained by foreign policy wonks on TV that it’s the most wonderful thing since sliced bread.

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  161. @Bukephalos
    By the way I agree about your other posts that the US is just acting as a spoiler in Syria, not being decisive but just making sure Syria's stabilization and an end to the conflict in Syria, Russia and Iran's favor keeps being postponed.

    The combined strength of the US if we put the financial, cultural and institutional influence into consideration beyond simple military matters: yes, it's still unmatched and by far. But if we focus on so-called hard power, I seem vindicated contra you and others that extremely resource poor North Korea is achieving its fait accompli and that the US is forced to observe its diplomatic parade and attempts at normalization passively. Its leadership will possibly even be accepted back in the "international community" at some later point, (we're are taking a big step in this direction seeing Yo Jong next to Pence). I'll keep grinning at those who believe US military power will ever be applied to reverse this

    Kim Yo Jong’s invitation to Pyongyang was actually rejected by the South Korean president.

    I don’t discount the possibility of North Korea becoming a fully fledged nuclear power and returning to the international community, but this Olympic diplomacy has yet to bear fruits.

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  162. Like many of the commenters, I am not very well informed on the subject, but I would put my money on the IDF backed by the Goliath option.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    the Goliath option.
     
    Did you mean Samson Option?
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  163. There’s this, that emerged a couple of months ago: “A 47-page contract between Evro Polis & Syria’s state-owned General Petroleum Corp. says the Russian company will receive 25 percent of the proceeds from oil and gas production at fields its contractors capture and secure from Islamic State militants.”

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4326734-EvroPolisContract.html

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  164. @peterAUS

    I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.
     
    Very well written, IMHO.
    A bit harsh, but, well....there is something there.
    Here in particular:

    .....a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority...
     
    Personally, I think it's a bit more complicated than

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.
     
    Big topic I guess....

    I have also a theory about Western DNA defect regarding predispososition to believe in Russian genetical predisposition towards slavery. While Russian slavish DNA theory has been numerous proven wrong by researches suffering in the process of their theory disapproval, it looks like my theory of western genetical defect is right. Looks like new researcher from the west is trying to test same old disapproved theory. Might end in tears again.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Fair point.
    Sheeple are sheeple everywhere.

    I'd suggest skipping "DNA stuff" and focus on:

    .....a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority...
     
    Is it correct, regarding majority of people there?
    If yes, why? Geography and history? A culture shaped by a certain, mostly unpleasant, past?

    You are probably aware of plenty of material written about the topic.

    One of elements the Reformation (or lack of it) etc.

    Interesting topic anyway, and, too big and deep for UNZ, or any "Internet blabbing" for that matter.
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  165. @reiner Tor
    If they cannot control them, they should be disciplined or in extreme cases thrown into jail. You don’t whack your own soldiers using the enemy, that’s criminal.

    There must be a chain of command even for contractors. It should be under firm control.

    I get what you are saying from a principled perspective; governments don’t operate that way usually. It’s politically easier to get rid of uncontrollable elements by putting them in a bad situation after they have ended their usefulness. Putting them in prison begs more questions and presents more issues. Trust me, this kind of thing happens to jihadis all the time.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Didn't Israel do something like this with that Australian-Jew that got duped, Ben Zygier?
    Not sure if anyone remembers, but he supposedly hung himself under suspicious circumstances, with rumours of him being disgraced whilst working for Mossad.

    On the other hand, those Blackwater mercenaries that went on an embarassing shooting spree didn't mysteriously vanish, which presumably would have been very easy to engineer in the chaotic environment at the time.
    There's also the USS Liberty Incident, but I digress.


    Now to a subject matter–where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts
     
    In fairness, Akarlin is supposing the truth to be somewhere between the extremes of 'zero' and 'dozens'.
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  166. @Felix Keverich
    You really should be embarassed of yourself: resorting to cheap insults like this just because Karlin dared criticise your beloved Tsar Putin. You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin! I find it hillarious, but also kinda sad at the same time, because your attitude does reflect a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority, no matter how stupid and corrupt. It's a relic of Russia's slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA. It is also a shitty attitude to have for someone living in the 21st century.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin's foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required "background" to do so, but a failed KGB spy is good enough to run the country for 18+ years, and he must never be questioned, let alone replaced, cause the country might fall apart without him, amiright? Sad.

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so,

    No, he is allowed but can not do it, as in not able, and he will be called out on his BS, which you construe as “insults”. He will also get pointed out to now obvious fact that he should limit his “opinions” on anything military to the appearances of uniforms and weapons. He certainly should stay away from any operational issues.

    You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin!

    You are not very observant–I don’t actually like the guy, but I approach him from a very different angle.

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.

    Why don’t you dig further in history and maybe, with some luck, you will be able to establish connection to Scythian DNA. Now to a subject matter–where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts:

    Russian news reports Tuesday described just such a scenario, with an unknown number of Russian military contractors killed in a ferocious U.S. counterattack last week. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other U.S. officials said they had no such information on casualties, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths. U.S. officials also said the Russian government had lodged no complaint about its citizens being killed….. Mattis, speaking to reporters Tuesday while traveling in Europe, was adamant he knew of no Russian contractors killed in the fighting, which he attributed to a surprising assault in light of obvious U.S. advantages, including overwhelming air power.
    “I don’t have any reporting” about Russians being among the casualties, Mattis said. “I can’t give you anything on that. We have not received that word” at key U.S. military headquarters, including the Pentagon.

    https://apnews.com/299ec81e53da4589b5d82135e1fb3439/Reports-of-Russian-deaths-underscore-dangers-of-Syria’s-war

    And while we at it, did you check flight radar since 7 Feb.? How many IL-76s flew from Khmeimim? Do you know?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria?
     
    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.
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  167. @Andrei Martyanov

    So Karlin is not allowed to judge Putin’s foreign policy because apparently he lacks the required “background” to do so,
     
    No, he is allowed but can not do it, as in not able, and he will be called out on his BS, which you construe as "insults". He will also get pointed out to now obvious fact that he should limit his "opinions" on anything military to the appearances of uniforms and weapons. He certainly should stay away from any operational issues.

    You always react this way when people are badmouthing Putin!
     
    You are not very observant--I don't actually like the guy, but I approach him from a very different angle.

    It’s a relic of Russia’s slaveholding past, a part of Russian peasant DNA.
     
    Why don't you dig further in history and maybe, with some luck, you will be able to establish connection to Scythian DNA. Now to a subject matter--where are the "hundreds" of "Russians" blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts:

    Russian news reports Tuesday described just such a scenario, with an unknown number of Russian military contractors killed in a ferocious U.S. counterattack last week. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other U.S. officials said they had no such information on casualties, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths. U.S. officials also said the Russian government had lodged no complaint about its citizens being killed..... Mattis, speaking to reporters Tuesday while traveling in Europe, was adamant he knew of no Russian contractors killed in the fighting, which he attributed to a surprising assault in light of obvious U.S. advantages, including overwhelming air power.
    “I don’t have any reporting” about Russians being among the casualties, Mattis said. “I can’t give you anything on that. We have not received that word” at key U.S. military headquarters, including the Pentagon.
     
    https://apnews.com/299ec81e53da4589b5d82135e1fb3439/Reports-of-Russian-deaths-underscore-dangers-of-Syria's-war

    And while we at it, did you check flight radar since 7 Feb.? How many IL-76s flew from Khmeimim? Do you know?

    where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria?

    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.
     
    Karlin wrote this post for this:

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.
     
    He was called out, not by me only. The rest, including propagating all kinds of Western media BS, was just a part of the framework for his post. In the end, I didn't post this crap, he did:

    Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks, false flag or otherwise (admittedly, controlling for false flags is hard). Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There”
     

    You call that an "analysis"? The guy has an acute case of bile expulsion and can not even hide it. Read attentively what he writes which is in bold in his quote--the whole post is a cringe-worthy experience for anyone who has even rudimentary understanding of military issues. So, if you have good reading comprehension, it is clear what he implies directly here.
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  168. @Talha
    I get what you are saying from a principled perspective; governments don’t operate that way usually. It’s politically easier to get rid of uncontrollable elements by putting them in a bad situation after they have ended their usefulness. Putting them in prison begs more questions and presents more issues. Trust me, this kind of thing happens to jihadis all the time.

    Peace.

    Didn’t Israel do something like this with that Australian-Jew that got duped, Ben Zygier?
    Not sure if anyone remembers, but he supposedly hung himself under suspicious circumstances, with rumours of him being disgraced whilst working for Mossad.

    On the other hand, those Blackwater mercenaries that went on an embarassing shooting spree didn’t mysteriously vanish, which presumably would have been very easy to engineer in the chaotic environment at the time.
    There’s also the USS Liberty Incident, but I digress.

    Now to a subject matter–where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts

    In fairness, Akarlin is supposing the truth to be somewhere between the extremes of ‘zero’ and ‘dozens’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Yeah, I definitely don’t know what went down, just stating that governments do this sort of thing.

    Peace.
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  169. @Daniel Chieh
    I always figured if a world war happened, it'll start from the ME.

    Armageddon

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Bible, Armageddon (/ˌɑːrməˈɡɛdən/, from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn,[1][2] Late Latin: Armagedōn,[3] from Hebrew: הר מגידו‬ Har Megiddo) is the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location.

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  170. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... avoid spreading a deliberate disinformation?
     
    Sure, now why don't you go dispel my disinformation to the wife of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries. I am sure she will be overjoyed that news of her husband's demise was a hallucination.

    The National Bolsheviks might also be quite pleased to know that comrade Kirill Ananyev is in fact safe and sound.

    So back in the real world, my assessment that "at least a few of the deaths" were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of "Incontrovertibly True." Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again. As is typical of ideologues.

    ... with any serious military professional and using WaPo Filipov?
     
    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.

    Incidentally, he is also one of the more pro-Russian journalists in the West out there (e.g. his piece on the Sochi Olympics).

    of one of the killed Wagner mercenaries.

    Don’t sleaze your way out of it–you will see why in the end of my post. You started to spread BS, not me–the issue is not few Russian mercenaries who fight in Syria, the issue is about “hundreds” of them. “One of” and “hundreds”–do you feel the difference? I don’t need to dispel anything from you–it was already dispelled by both Russian and American sides. Unless Mattis is a Russian spy and unless there were at least 15-20 IL-76 flying from Khmeimim with 200s and 300s, which there was not, it is YOU not me who have to answer for a propaganda BS you spread. You can read Mattis’ statements in my response to your sycophant Krechevich.

    His article is a fair and accurate summary of what has become widely known on the Russian Internet in the past 48 hours.

    You have NO access to places in Russian internet which matter in this case–can we settle on that? If, however, by Russian internet you mean a dumpster of incompetent rumors, echo-chambers and an avalanche of mostly liberal and self-proclaimed right “analysts”, sorry–I am not your relative to teach you what to “consume”. You want to deal in trash–your choice but you will be called out. As per WaPo, NYT, Newsweek–main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS–try harder to impress with your sources. Moreover, NO, none of them Flilpov included, or whoever else, can have and don’t have any serious sources inside Russia’s military. Why it is so is a separate issue. Their sources is the same Moscow liberal and other disgruntled hipster tusovka and all of them are eager to propagate all kinds of rumors. Using American main-stream media as any source of anything related to Russia is really a bad taste–they have a stellar record of lying and inspiring confusion, you joyfully joined with them. But to be very specific on your “Wagner” claim:

    What’s worse, at least a few of the deaths were incurred by members of Wagner, a Russian PMC staffed mainly by Donbass vets and overly “passionary” Russians (though rumors speak of a much larger catastrophe, with “Cargo 200″ running into the hundreds; I am skeptical about these claims, for the same reason that I am skeptical of Kremlin propaganda claims about RuAF destroying hundreds of jihadists in a day’s work, but a few dozen Russian casualties are credible). “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.

    There is nothing “worse” in it. Mercenaries fight and die in Syria every day, such as here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4947600/ISIS-parade-two-Russian-mercenaries-captured-Syria.html

    If, however, you do not understand WHY this BS was originated–well, just proves my previous points. I’ll help you: the main purpose of this whole “operation” was a desperate attempt to tie together Russian Armed Forces with Russian mercenaries, despite obvious absurdity of such action. Apart from a well-concerted effort to propagate ridiculous numbers of KIAs the idea was to create impression that it was a huge crisis–it was not. If you do not understand what mercenaries are–I am not here to teach you, but private military companies’ losses are NEVER included in any combat statistics anywhere, be it USA, Russia, France etc. US lost thousands mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan–they are NOT included in any Pentagon’s statistics. I know what I am talking about since I was asked, not for once, to “join”, how and why–doesn’t matter.

    with their claims of hundreds of deaths, are sitting in a puddle again.

    If you didn’t notice and sorry to bring it to your attention–it is you who is most of time sitting in the puddle with your military and geopolitical “analysis”. It is cute when it is done once in a very long while but constantly grasping for the straw such as with this convoluted excuse:

    So back in the real world, my assessment that “at least a few of the deaths” were incurred by Wagner are approaching the status of “Incontrovertibly True.” Meanwhile, foaming at the mouth vatniks and Putin lickers, with their claims of zero deaths, and hysterical Putin Derangement Syndrome sufferers (e.g. Strelkov/El Murid, svidomy Ukrainians) with their claims of hundreds of deaths,

    Cannot hide, and I quote YOU, this:

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    This is why this whole post was written by you. Pretty much a complete detachment from military (and political) realities on the ground in Syria. Which your post demonstrates vividly. So, your attempt at being “objective” failed miserably. It is up to you if you want to continue with your obvious geopolitical nonsense but prepare to be called out. And yes, you have an acute case of Putin (Kremlins) derangement syndrome, you just cannot admit it to yourself. Very simple.

    P.S. Can you explain how Mattis “trolled with smirk”? How can anyone with even rudimentary situational awareness can arrive to such a conclusion?

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  171. @Talha

    Given his impossibly high standards that seems rather unlikely.
     
    Don't know why this is the case; he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    Peace.

    he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    We knew that after same sex marriage, bestiality would be next. :)

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Greasy is a trailblazer! So proud...tears...of...joy...

    Speaking of legalities, have you seen this?
    The state of Delaware is poised to adopt what is known as “Regulation 225.” Approved both by the Delaware State Education Association and Gov. John Carney, Regulation 225 would safeguard children’s “protected characteristics,” such as gender, age, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Section 7.4(1) of 225’s Prohibition of Discrimination Code states, “All students enrolled in a Delaware public school may self-identify gender or race, which is maintained in the school.”

    http://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-delaware-students-can-now-choose-their-own-race-this-should-end-well

    Ha ha!!! I dub thee a black man and dub myself a white woman*. Tomorrow I might be a Black woman so, just saying...

    Peace.

    *Only valid in Delaware, terms and restrictions may apply.
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  172. @Anatoly Karlin
    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn't join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA's) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That's a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: "As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] - go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass."

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the "the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers." And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. ...

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. "Our citizens are in many countries." [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]
     

    I support the Russian side in Syria, but if this action removes some future Ukrainian-killers then this is a silver lining.

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  173. @Andrei Martyanov

    please move back to Russia
     
    You do understand, that Russia has internet and that even if I move to Lesotho I still will be able to post and write? Do you? LOL.

    Lesotho has internet?

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Evidently she does.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Lesotho
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  174. @Talha
    You (and I) have to g0 back.

    Nancy Pelosi says y’all can stay and also bring all your cousins.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    All of them??!!
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  175. @reiner Tor

    where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria?
     
    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.

    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.

    Karlin wrote this post for this:

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    He was called out, not by me only. The rest, including propagating all kinds of Western media BS, was just a part of the framework for his post. In the end, I didn’t post this crap, he did:

    Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks, false flag or otherwise (admittedly, controlling for false flags is hard). Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There”

    You call that an “analysis”? The guy has an acute case of bile expulsion and can not even hide it. Read attentively what he writes which is in bold in his quote–the whole post is a cringe-worthy experience for anyone who has even rudimentary understanding of military issues. So, if you have good reading comprehension, it is clear what he implies directly here.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    It doesn't really change the overall impression: the Russia cannot or refuses to protect the people who are willing to fight and die for her, and in fact, seems willing to shit on them. What a country to be loyal to.
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  176. @iffen
    Lesotho has internet?
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  177. @Greasy William
    are you trying to say that Albright dragged Clinton into the war? Clinton was her boss. She wasn't some puppeteer pulling his strings.

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in. Yes or no?

    She wasn’t some (((puppeteer))) pulling his strings.

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  178. @iffen
    he considers Iranian women to be hot while simultaneously holding the view that they are sub-human.

    We knew that after same sex marriage, bestiality would be next. :)

    Greasy is a trailblazer! So proud…tears…of…joy…

    Speaking of legalities, have you seen this?
    The state of Delaware is poised to adopt what is known as “Regulation 225.” Approved both by the Delaware State Education Association and Gov. John Carney, Regulation 225 would safeguard children’s “protected characteristics,” such as gender, age, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Section 7.4(1) of 225’s Prohibition of Discrimination Code states, “All students enrolled in a Delaware public school may self-identify gender or race, which is maintained in the school.”

    http://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-delaware-students-can-now-choose-their-own-race-this-should-end-well

    Ha ha!!! I dub thee a black man and dub myself a white woman*. Tomorrow I might be a Black woman so, just saying…

    Peace.

    *Only valid in Delaware, terms and restrictions may apply.

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  179. @iffen
    Like many of the commenters, I am not very well informed on the subject, but I would put my money on the IDF backed by the Goliath option.

    the Goliath option.

    Did you mean Samson Option?

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Did you mean Samson Option?

    The US is Goliath and we back Israel.
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  180. @iffen
    Nancy Pelosi says y'all can stay and also bring all your cousins.

    All of them??!!

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  181. @Yevardian
    Didn't Israel do something like this with that Australian-Jew that got duped, Ben Zygier?
    Not sure if anyone remembers, but he supposedly hung himself under suspicious circumstances, with rumours of him being disgraced whilst working for Mossad.

    On the other hand, those Blackwater mercenaries that went on an embarassing shooting spree didn't mysteriously vanish, which presumably would have been very easy to engineer in the chaotic environment at the time.
    There's also the USS Liberty Incident, but I digress.


    Now to a subject matter–where are the “hundreds” of “Russians” blown out by USAF in Syria? Just to help you to collect your thoughts
     
    In fairness, Akarlin is supposing the truth to be somewhere between the extremes of 'zero' and 'dozens'.

    Yeah, I definitely don’t know what went down, just stating that governments do this sort of thing.

    Peace.

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  182. @Andrei Martyanov

    the Goliath option.
     
    Did you mean Samson Option?

    Did you mean Samson Option?

    The US is Goliath and we back Israel.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Lol. Russia got a sling
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  183. @Andrei Martyanov

    But no one here was arguing for it. We’re talking about the possibility of a dozen or so Russians killed.
     
    Karlin wrote this post for this:

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.
     
    He was called out, not by me only. The rest, including propagating all kinds of Western media BS, was just a part of the framework for his post. In the end, I didn't post this crap, he did:

    Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks, false flag or otherwise (admittedly, controlling for false flags is hard). Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There”
     

    You call that an "analysis"? The guy has an acute case of bile expulsion and can not even hide it. Read attentively what he writes which is in bold in his quote--the whole post is a cringe-worthy experience for anyone who has even rudimentary understanding of military issues. So, if you have good reading comprehension, it is clear what he implies directly here.

    It doesn’t really change the overall impression: the Russia cannot or refuses to protect the people who are willing to fight and die for her, and in fact, seems willing to shit on them. What a country to be loyal to.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    It doesn’t really change the overall impression: the Russia cannot or refuses to protect the people who are willing to fight and die for her
     
    How about we start with the fact that there was no any indication that Russia "refused" anything. Impression is not a substitution for knowledge and understanding. Secondly, as was a case with Roman Zabolotnyi, from the get go all levers were engaged--from NGOs to State Duma and Foreign Ministry--to "buy" him and his friend out.

    http://ifvremya.ru/roman-zabolotnyiy-popal-v-plen-k-igil-video/

    That doesn't sound to me as "refusal" , to put it mildly. Now, if you think, that it is a good practice the moment any mercenary is killed or captured to start screaming about all over global media--you got it all wrong. Any issues related to release or POWs of body transfers are solved behind the scenes and any publicity may play a horrible role. And yes, people, especially mercenaries die at war. So, your impressions are very wrong.
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  184. @iffen
    Did you mean Samson Option?

    The US is Goliath and we back Israel.

    Lol. Russia got a sling

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  185. @anonymous
    It doesn't really change the overall impression: the Russia cannot or refuses to protect the people who are willing to fight and die for her, and in fact, seems willing to shit on them. What a country to be loyal to.

    It doesn’t really change the overall impression: the Russia cannot or refuses to protect the people who are willing to fight and die for her

    How about we start with the fact that there was no any indication that Russia “refused” anything. Impression is not a substitution for knowledge and understanding. Secondly, as was a case with Roman Zabolotnyi, from the get go all levers were engaged–from NGOs to State Duma and Foreign Ministry–to “buy” him and his friend out.

    http://ifvremya.ru/roman-zabolotnyiy-popal-v-plen-k-igil-video/

    That doesn’t sound to me as “refusal” , to put it mildly. Now, if you think, that it is a good practice the moment any mercenary is killed or captured to start screaming about all over global media–you got it all wrong. Any issues related to release or POWs of body transfers are solved behind the scenes and any publicity may play a horrible role. And yes, people, especially mercenaries die at war. So, your impressions are very wrong.

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  186. One interesting thing that nobody is talking about is that it appears that the Kurds are pushing feminism and secularism on the Arabs, and Turkey is using that as part of justification for their war.

    This may be the first humanitarian intervention ever undertaken in order to free a people from feminism.

    The local civil government is modeled on principles of the Kurdish separatist leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Turkey: enforced equality for women in civil and military life, moderate socialism, and radical environmentalism.

    The Turks’ view is that the Kurds have imposed a system of governance in Manbij at odds with the area’s conservative, traditional society. The American military, however, says that the Kurds and their allies have managed to bring stability. “There are a lot of people that do equate them with the P.K.K., but I have not seen any indication of that in my dealings with them throughout our relationship,” General Jarrard said.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/world/middleeast/us-turkey-manbij-kurds.html?mtrref=www.google.com

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    • Replies: @iffen
    it appears that the Kurds are pushing feminism and secularism

    Playing to their benefactors.
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  187. @Jeremy Cooper
    One interesting thing that nobody is talking about is that it appears that the Kurds are pushing feminism and secularism on the Arabs, and Turkey is using that as part of justification for their war.

    This may be the first humanitarian intervention ever undertaken in order to free a people from feminism.

    The local civil government is modeled on principles of the Kurdish separatist leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Turkey: enforced equality for women in civil and military life, moderate socialism, and radical environmentalism.

    The Turks’ view is that the Kurds have imposed a system of governance in Manbij at odds with the area’s conservative, traditional society. The American military, however, says that the Kurds and their allies have managed to bring stability. “There are a lot of people that do equate them with the P.K.K., but I have not seen any indication of that in my dealings with them throughout our relationship,” General Jarrard said.
     
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/world/middleeast/us-turkey-manbij-kurds.html?mtrref=www.google.com

    it appears that the Kurds are pushing feminism and secularism

    Playing to their benefactors.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Gotta promote the franchise for brand recognition and more sponsors.
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  188. Most likely, however, there were no real Russian casualties and the “vbros” was done with one single objective–to tie together Russia’s Ministry of Defense and its operations with some, largely fictional, Russian private military company.

    Martyanov: No “real” (whatever that means) Russian casualties, Wagner “largely fictional” (again, whatever that means; either it is fictional, the thousands of articles written about it in both Russian and English being the product of a mass hallucination, or it is not).

    Reality: Meanwhile, in just the last few hours, names continue trickling in: “Vladimir“, Alexey Shikhov, Alexey Ladygin. But I guess all Russian social media accounts and regional news sites are controlled by “WaPo, NYT, Newsweek–main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS”, right?

    Don’t sleaze your way out of it–you will see why in the end of my post. You started to spread BS, not me–the issue is not few Russian mercenaries who fight in Syria, the issue is about “hundreds” of them. “One of” and “hundreds”–do you feel the difference?

    Well, it’s a good thing, then, that I never talked about “hundreds” (I guess reading comprehension is not your strong suite).

    If, however, by Russian internet you mean a dumpster of incompetent rumors, echo-chambers and an avalanche of mostly liberal and self-proclaimed right “analysts”, sorry–I am not your relative to teach you what to “consume”.

    As I said, I’m not the one you should be convincing. There are many people who have a much more urgent need for your good news.

    I am not here to teach you, but private military companies’ losses are NEVER included in any combat statistics anywhere, be it USA, Russia, France etc.

    Correct, you are not here to teach me, since what you say here is banally well-known, and completely irrelevant to what I actually wrote (as opposed to the strawmen you love constructing and fighting).

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Martyanov: No “real” (whatever that means) Russian casualties, Wagner “largely fictional” (again, whatever that means; either it is fictional, the thousands of articles written about it in both Russian and English being the product of a mass hallucination, or it is not).
     
    Wagner is largely fictional since it does not exist as legitimate organization and if you have been more attentive--the issue was brought up by none other than Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at his press-conference on 15 January 2018 in response to some people inquiring in what to do with legitimization and regulation of Private Security Companies. So, there is no officially any structure as Wagner since it can not exist as a legitimate "Yuridicheskoye Litso" and when will it come into existence--is a whole other story. When it will appear--I will inform you. Now, how former military professionals interact and organize--that is a whole other matter. Most of what you (and others) peddle here about Wagner has its origins in all kinds of tabloids and Ukrainian BS bullhorns.

    Reality: Meanwhile, in just the last few hours, names continue trickling in: “Vladimir“, Alexey Shikhov, Alexey Ladygin. But I guess all Russian social media accounts and regional news sites are controlled by “WaPo, NYT, Newsweek–main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS”, right?
     
    Right. until there is a confirmation from such sources as Prilepin, as an example, who knew Kosoturov personally, the rest remains for now a BS. If you are talking about "social media" of Saponkov, Rozhin and other collection of amateurs pretending to know what they are talking about--yes, it is better to wait. I will repeat again a simple truth which you don't get because you are lacking--NO serious (emphasis on serious) currently serving or contracted military professional has any accounts in social media. Some of the names are going back to CIT and yes, most of US media drink from the same source of BS, such as your incompetent posts. I will remind you about thousands of Russian troops "dying" in Ukraine in 2014-15, and their hundreds of "relatives" "confirming" their deaths.

    Correct, you are not here to teach me, since what you say here is banally well-known, and completely irrelevant to what I actually wrote (as opposed to the strawmen you love constructing and fighting).
     
    Let me give you snippets of what you wrote.

    “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.
     

    for the same reason that I am skeptical of Kremlin propaganda claims about RuAF destroying hundreds of jihadists in a day’s work, but a few dozen Russian casualties are credible).
     

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.
     

    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements. Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides. And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.
     

    Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks
     

    Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There” mercenaries, explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria – or worse, getting themselves wiped off the face of the earth in a futile attempt to fight back – will be orders of magnitude harder.
     
    These are points of a frustrated, still amateur, hack who has no idea what he writes about and that is why you will continue to avoid any substantive discussion. As you are doing here--again. You continue to miss a simple fact that you cannot bring to this table anything of value or tangible since you are... well, largely a social-media junkie with life and academic experience of an office plankton. I posted some of snippets from your disgruntled delirium and I would love to read from you substantive explanation of your "analysis". Especially in justification part not some BS platitudes for which you are becoming increasingly known. If you need any "help" in gaining at least partial awareness--I may suggest Colonel Lang's blog, Colonel, a combat veteran and Arabist, veteran of DIA has collected a superb collection of posters there, including current combat and intelligence people who are on several orders of magnitude more informed about the events on the ground in Syria than you are. That could be a good primer. Can you answer to any of your snippets--no BS, no platitudes? How about you start with elaborations on this:

    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements. Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides. And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.
     
    I am all ears, or, rather, eyes. Tick-tock-tick-tock
     
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  189. @Anatoly Karlin

    Most likely, however, there were no real Russian casualties and the “vbros” was done with one single objective–to tie together Russia’s Ministry of Defense and its operations with some, largely fictional, Russian private military company.
     
    Martyanov: No "real" (whatever that means) Russian casualties, Wagner "largely fictional" (again, whatever that means; either it is fictional, the thousands of articles written about it in both Russian and English being the product of a mass hallucination, or it is not).

    Reality: Meanwhile, in just the last few hours, names continue trickling in: "Vladimir", Alexey Shikhov, Alexey Ladygin. But I guess all Russian social media accounts and regional news sites are controlled by "WaPo, NYT, Newsweek–main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS", right?

    Don’t sleaze your way out of it–you will see why in the end of my post. You started to spread BS, not me–the issue is not few Russian mercenaries who fight in Syria, the issue is about “hundreds” of them. “One of” and “hundreds”–do you feel the difference?
     
    Well, it's a good thing, then, that I never talked about "hundreds" (I guess reading comprehension is not your strong suite).

    If, however, by Russian internet you mean a dumpster of incompetent rumors, echo-chambers and an avalanche of mostly liberal and self-proclaimed right “analysts”, sorry–I am not your relative to teach you what to “consume”.
     
    As I said, I'm not the one you should be convincing. There are many people who have a much more urgent need for your good news.

    I am not here to teach you, but private military companies’ losses are NEVER included in any combat statistics anywhere, be it USA, Russia, France etc.
     
    Correct, you are not here to teach me, since what you say here is banally well-known, and completely irrelevant to what I actually wrote (as opposed to the strawmen you love constructing and fighting).

    Martyanov: No “real” (whatever that means) Russian casualties, Wagner “largely fictional” (again, whatever that means; either it is fictional, the thousands of articles written about it in both Russian and English being the product of a mass hallucination, or it is not).

    Wagner is largely fictional since it does not exist as legitimate organization and if you have been more attentive–the issue was brought up by none other than Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at his press-conference on 15 January 2018 in response to some people inquiring in what to do with legitimization and regulation of Private Security Companies. So, there is no officially any structure as Wagner since it can not exist as a legitimate “Yuridicheskoye Litso” and when will it come into existence–is a whole other story. When it will appear–I will inform you. Now, how former military professionals interact and organize–that is a whole other matter. Most of what you (and others) peddle here about Wagner has its origins in all kinds of tabloids and Ukrainian BS bullhorns.

    Reality: Meanwhile, in just the last few hours, names continue trickling in: “Vladimir“, Alexey Shikhov, Alexey Ladygin. But I guess all Russian social media accounts and regional news sites are controlled by “WaPo, NYT, Newsweek–main engines behind the anti-Russian insanity and main disseminators of propaganda and BS”, right?

    Right. until there is a confirmation from such sources as Prilepin, as an example, who knew Kosoturov personally, the rest remains for now a BS. If you are talking about “social media” of Saponkov, Rozhin and other collection of amateurs pretending to know what they are talking about–yes, it is better to wait. I will repeat again a simple truth which you don’t get because you are lacking–NO serious (emphasis on serious) currently serving or contracted military professional has any accounts in social media. Some of the names are going back to CIT and yes, most of US media drink from the same source of BS, such as your incompetent posts. I will remind you about thousands of Russian troops “dying” in Ukraine in 2014-15, and their hundreds of “relatives” “confirming” their deaths.

    Correct, you are not here to teach me, since what you say here is banally well-known, and completely irrelevant to what I actually wrote (as opposed to the strawmen you love constructing and fighting).

    Let me give you snippets of what you wrote.

    “They weren’t there,” Mattis as good as smirked, trolling the kremlins with their own propaganda.

    for the same reason that I am skeptical of Kremlin propaganda claims about RuAF destroying hundreds of jihadists in a day’s work, but a few dozen Russian casualties are credible).

    So, no, Assad/Russia/Iran are NOT moving towards any sort of “victory” in Syria.

    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements. Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides. And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.

    Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks

    Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There” mercenaries, explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria – or worse, getting themselves wiped off the face of the earth in a futile attempt to fight back – will be orders of magnitude harder.

    These are points of a frustrated, still amateur, hack who has no idea what he writes about and that is why you will continue to avoid any substantive discussion. As you are doing here–again. You continue to miss a simple fact that you cannot bring to this table anything of value or tangible since you are… well, largely a social-media junkie with life and academic experience of an office plankton. I posted some of snippets from your disgruntled delirium and I would love to read from you substantive explanation of your “analysis”. Especially in justification part not some BS platitudes for which you are becoming increasingly known. If you need any “help” in gaining at least partial awareness–I may suggest Colonel Lang’s blog, Colonel, a combat veteran and Arabist, veteran of DIA has collected a superb collection of posters there, including current combat and intelligence people who are on several orders of magnitude more informed about the events on the ground in Syria than you are. That could be a good primer. Can you answer to any of your snippets–no BS, no platitudes? How about you start with elaborations on this:

    The Americans will find it trivial to cut off Iranian reinforcements. Aleppo is highly vulnerable, surrounded on almost all sides. And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.

    I am all ears, or, rather, eyes. Tick-tock-tick-tock

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    • Replies: @Mikel
    You are moving the goal posts while clearly trying to change the subject.

    As it turns out, Anatoly's initial assessment of the Russian contractors' deaths is proving to be very accurate, viz:

    at least a few of the deaths were incurred by members of Wagner, a Russian PMC .../... (though rumors speak of a much larger catastrophe, with “Cargo 200″ running into the hundreds; I am skeptical about these claims

    In summary, a bunch of Russian soldiers fighting in Syria (all of them off-duty, let's hope) was massacred by the Americans, Russia did nothing and the whole world is learning about this fact. Nasty images/videos might even surface eventually.

    Your initial suggestion that this wasn't true is now untenable and your subsequent attempt to play it down reflects bad on you. If you don't understand how bad this is for Russia's international reputation it is your ability to engage in geopolitical discussions what must be put into question.

    Russia decided to intervene in Syria. She largely succeeded but if the Americans decide to kill a bunch of Russians when they venture off limits, they just go ahead and do it with impunity (99%+ of the world's population does not know of or care in the slightest about the PMCs' rules of engagement). When was the last time that American private soldiers were massacred by Russian forces *and* the whole world learned about it?

    If anything, Russia is lucking out on this one because the Western media is distracted by other things.

    If at least you weren't so petulant and bragged so much about your superior knowledge/credentials...
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  190. @iffen
    it appears that the Kurds are pushing feminism and secularism

    Playing to their benefactors.

    Gotta promote the franchise for brand recognition and more sponsors.

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  191. @reiner Tor
    In January 1991, Gorbachev sent in the "ghost division" of the KGB to Vilnius to break the Lithuanian separatists. But there was no clear plan and no clear political support, so after killing a few people, they were ordered to leave. An officer died (usually it's accepted that it was friendly fire, though Russians dispute it), and though he was given a military funeral and a posthumous medal, Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership feigned ignorance as to how weapons were used (or blamed counter-revolutionaries). In any event, the troops were withdrawn, and there was a lot of grumbling for sending them into a dangerous situation and then not going all in and withdrawing political support. I.e. a soldier died needlessly.

    A few months later, the KGB units sent to arrest Yeltsin at first requested a written order (so as to avoid the problems they got a few months before) and then sided with him instead, because he promised them hefty raises and the KGB units didn't receive the written order. I think there is a lesson here.

    If the Russian leadership didn't know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it's a case of criminal negligence. If they knew and didn't prevent it, it's a deliberate crime. If they couldn't prevent it, then... again, how did it come to a situation where they can't control the contractors in Syria? And whatever is the truth, I'm sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.

    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence.

    Actually, it is not.
    Although certain elements of Russian state have strong connection to those groups they do not control them at the level the “ordinary” military, police, or any state organization is controlled. That’s simply how the world of mercenaries works.
    They work for those who pay them. In this case they were/are paid by certain Syrian. He wanted something and they, being paid for it, tried to do it.
    Life of mercenary is very, very cheap. Id keep that in mind when discussing that topic.

    If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime.

    No, it is not.
    Again, do not confuse the world of mercenaries and of “ordinary” military, special forces or not. Simply two different worlds. The very reason the mercenaries were introduced in modern conflicts.
    Two concepts: plausible deniability; expendable assets

    If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria?

    They can not control them. Simple as that.
    They can control, of course, for which side they work; actual work….no.

    And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.

    No.
    Their loyalty has nothing to do with that error in judgement and casualties. That’s what one accepts when enters that world. Again….expendable asset. High risk, high reward. Etc.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Maybe you are correct. Talha was also arguing for something like this.

    We’ll see, said the blind guy.
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  192. @peterAUS

    If the Russian leadership didn’t know that some of its loyalist troops were being used by oligarchs or Assad or whoever in a manner not approved of by the Russian leadership, then it’s a case of criminal negligence.
     
    Actually, it is not.
    Although certain elements of Russian state have strong connection to those groups they do not control them at the level the "ordinary" military, police, or any state organization is controlled. That's simply how the world of mercenaries works.
    They work for those who pay them. In this case they were/are paid by certain Syrian. He wanted something and they, being paid for it, tried to do it.
    Life of mercenary is very, very cheap. Id keep that in mind when discussing that topic.

    If they knew and didn’t prevent it, it’s a deliberate crime.
     
    No, it is not.
    Again, do not confuse the world of mercenaries and of "ordinary" military, special forces or not. Simply two different worlds. The very reason the mercenaries were introduced in modern conflicts.
    Two concepts: plausible deniability; expendable assets

    If they couldn’t prevent it, then… again, how did it come to a situation where they can’t control the contractors in Syria?
     
    They can not control them. Simple as that.
    They can control, of course, for which side they work; actual work....no.

    And whatever is the truth, I’m sure the loyalty of the contractors to Putin and his regime suffered greatly.
     
    No.
    Their loyalty has nothing to do with that error in judgement and casualties. That's what one accepts when enters that world. Again....expendable asset. High risk, high reward. Etc.

    Maybe you are correct. Talha was also arguing for something like this.

    We’ll see, said the blind guy.

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  193. @Niccolo Salo
    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole (if you can call it shaking hands with due to his paralysis). During a discussion with one of his aides, we were informed that the USA considered Kosovo as good as gone for the Serbs in that plans were already in motion to detach it from Serbia for military/strategic/geopolitical reasons. Croatia and Bosnia weren't even in the calculus at the time as Dole represented the Reaganite, pro-Croatian faction in the GOP while Bush the Elder and Eagleburger preferred to work with Milosevic.

    The idea that the USA was just minding its own business and stepped in to 'stop ethnic cleansing of Albanians from Kosovo' is fairy tale thinking, the product of PR firms, and is what Boobus Americanus believed then and much more often than not, believes to this day.

    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole

    It appears you were quite deep in Croatian independence movement at the time.

    A question if I may:
    Was the intention to ethnically cleanse Serb minority from Croatia known to you guys marching there…or….you did not know about that little detail at the time?
    And while we are on the topic, carving of Bosnia and Herzegovina and making a “bigger” Croatia?

    Just curious.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay. But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion. Of course, some innocents were inevitably caught up in this (even assuming separatism itself was a crime, but not for Croats while being separatist from Yugoslavia, only for Serbs being separatists from Croatia...), but so were innocent Croats caught up in this when the Serbs cleansed them.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.
    , @Niccolo Salo
    You're just upset that I took your tractor.
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  194. @peterAUS

    Back in 1991 I went to Washington DC to march on Capitol Hill in favour of Croatian independence and for US recognition. I was part of a youth group that got to meet and shake hands with Bob Dole
     
    It appears you were quite deep in Croatian independence movement at the time.

    A question if I may:
    Was the intention to ethnically cleanse Serb minority from Croatia known to you guys marching there...or....you did not know about that little detail at the time?
    And while we are on the topic, carving of Bosnia and Herzegovina and making a "bigger" Croatia?

    Just curious.

    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay. But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion. Of course, some innocents were inevitably caught up in this (even assuming separatism itself was a crime, but not for Croats while being separatist from Yugoslavia, only for Serbs being separatists from Croatia…), but so were innocent Croats caught up in this when the Serbs cleansed them.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Thread derail post. Skip, preferably.

    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay.
     
    You think so?
    Curious again: what do you base your thinking on?

    But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion.
     
    Can't argue that. Eminently logical flow of events.
    Now....out of curiosity: what if Croats started to ..ahm...say...initiate ...certain...unpleasantness.....reminding those Serbs of the previous round (WW2 stuff there), so they simply grabbed those weapons in order not to repeat that exercise.
    Just a thought.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.
     
    Of course. When things stated to roll bye bye fine points of debating.

    Still....the original question stays:
    Did those enthusiasts in Washington shaking hands with Dole know about those intentions?
    Was that the part of the calculus?
    Or it was an oversight? People do make those mistakes. Focus on good things in future, don't be negative. Especially youngsters.
    Or it was a bit of naivety? Youngsters also tend to be of that type.

    A fair question I feel.
    , @Ivan K.
    What you obviously do not know, is that there were filmed and audio records of the Croatian top leadership calling for war under any cost, and explicitly mentioning slaughter of civilians to initiate it. Those records were released in 1991. Then their veracity was contested. After the war, their veracity was confirmed directly by public statements of people in that circle. The view of the Croatian president himself was that war is necessary in order to create bad blood and thus win over the gravitational pull between Serbs and Croats which he feared greatly.

    It's absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are. It's something of a Mitteleuropean trait. Not the worst one imaginable.
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  195. @karl1haushofer
    For me, as a supporter of Russia, it is highly frustrating to see things like this happen again and again.

    This bombing raid might not have killed official Russian servicemen, but it did kill Russian citizens. It should not have happened. Russia should not have allowed this to happen.

    And Russia should make the perpetrators pay the price for killing its citizens. But it won't happen. The ones who killed Russians (whether in Ukraine or in Syria) will be left unpunished. No retaliation is to follow.

    And in the future the Russians will continue to die in Syria while the Americans won't suffer any casualties. Why? Because nobody dares to mess with the US. They are feared and respected. Russia is not.

    In war, people die, its a entirely normal part of war. Russia understands this better than any country in the West, having lost far more people during WW2 than all the other combatants in the Western theatre.

    Soldiers especially die during war, Russian soldiers are expected to die rather than being captured since Stalin’s time, look how that Russian pilot blew himself up recently rather than being captured. Russian soldiers know that they are expendable. And Russia is winning in Syria. All this talk about partitioning Syria, previously the ISIS partition was the biggest in Syria, now ISIS barely exists in Syria. The American, Israeli and Turkish partitions are next in line for the slow, grinding process.

    The longer the battle lasts the stronger the Syrians get, especially with regards to their anti aircraft and accurate long range munitions capability. Before long America and Israel will have run out of their irregular forces and will have to commit regular forces, and they are hesitant to put their regular forces on the front line. The Israeli and American regular forces are not expendable, only their irregular forces are.

    The Americans are in an especially bad situation because their irregulars, the Kurds, are on top of the Turkish hit list. The American partition is decreasing in size because of Turkish activity.

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.

    And if only Russia would retake all the Stan’s to her East, all of them traditionally belonging to the Russian empire. Then Russia would have millions more expendables who could be “volunteered” to Syria and Donbass and there would be no noise about casualties.

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    • Replies: @utu

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.
     
    No question about it. Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya. The Yinon and PNAC plan has been stopped. But it is not over. The US and Israel will act as spoilers and will be putting various pressures on Syria and Russia wherever they can. No understanding nor help can be expected from them. They will always be bad faith actors. It helps Russia that Turkey has different ideas than the US and Israel with respect to Kurds.

    I think that the conflict will be stopped only when China decides to move in with large infrastructure rebuilding program for Syria and Iraq. But after having to evacuate 30,000 Chinese workers from Libya it is understandable that China may have a serious case of cold feet.
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  196. concurring reports of a concentration of SAA troops gathering near Mayadeen, according to pro and anti-government sources. Some SAA connected sources confirm the intent is indeed to attack SDF as a retaliation for the events of last week.

    We’ll soon see who has the last word in this confrontation, it seems. We have seen a similar stand-off before (al-Tanf) and how it ended.

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  197. @reiner Tor
    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay. But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion. Of course, some innocents were inevitably caught up in this (even assuming separatism itself was a crime, but not for Croats while being separatist from Yugoslavia, only for Serbs being separatists from Croatia...), but so were innocent Croats caught up in this when the Serbs cleansed them.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.

    Thread derail post. Skip, preferably.

    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay.

    You think so?
    Curious again: what do you base your thinking on?

    But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion.

    Can’t argue that. Eminently logical flow of events.
    Now….out of curiosity: what if Croats started to ..ahm…say…initiate …certain…unpleasantness…..reminding those Serbs of the previous round (WW2 stuff there), so they simply grabbed those weapons in order not to repeat that exercise.
    Just a thought.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.

    Of course. When things stated to roll bye bye fine points of debating.

    Still….the original question stays:
    Did those enthusiasts in Washington shaking hands with Dole know about those intentions?
    Was that the part of the calculus?
    Or it was an oversight? People do make those mistakes. Focus on good things in future, don’t be negative. Especially youngsters.
    Or it was a bit of naivety? Youngsters also tend to be of that type.

    A fair question I feel.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    what do you base your thinking on?
     
    I've talked to a number of Croatians, I think maybe a dozen or so. Not a big sample, but bigger than just a handful of people. I've never talked to Serbs (at least, not about this). (Actually, I've talked to some Serbian women, but in a place where there were some Croatian and even Macedonian Albanian women. They expressed positive opinions of each other, and even of each other's countries, but they were colleagues at work, working in Western Europe, and they were obviously on good terms with each other, in large part thanks to the common Serbo-Croatian language, which even the Albanians spoke well. So it could have been just women being cuddly with each other.)

    By the way, I recently talked to a couple of Croats who expressed some positive opinions on the Serbs. (So, my sample size of two over the past half dozen or so years seems to be positive about the Serbs. One caveat: they both live in Western Europe, where they are still often lumped together by others as "Yugoslavs," so they are probably more accepting of Serbs than actual Croats in Croatia.) But even they thought it was mostly the Serbs who started the, as you write, unpleasantness. But they were willing to put it behind them, especially since they (correctly) perceived that they have won, so that they didn't need to ruminate much on old grievances. I'm sure now that Serbs and Croats aren't forced to share a country, they will slowly forget those grievances, and will be pulled closer together. Due to the similar language, they are poised to be natural allies and friends. Unless they repeat the folly of creating a common country. It was a bad marriage, but they can be friends after the divorce.

    In any event, I don't think many Croats would have supported the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs, had there been no war. But since there was a war, and since initially the Serbs were advancing in that war (occupying much of Croatia), and since they did ethnically cleanse all Croats from those areas, it quickly became unavoidable that there would be Croatian atrocities as well. That's how humans work. I don't think it makes a lot of sense to blame either side now. Just as it would be equally senseless to paint either of them the innocent victim. Because innocent victims they were not. Both sides committed atrocities.
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  198. @reiner Tor
    I think the thinking was something like: if the Serbs cause no problems, they can stay. But if they grab weapons and start taking the territory for themselves (this usually implied ethnic cleansing of Croats), then they would be fair game for expulsion. Of course, some innocents were inevitably caught up in this (even assuming separatism itself was a crime, but not for Croats while being separatist from Yugoslavia, only for Serbs being separatists from Croatia...), but so were innocent Croats caught up in this when the Serbs cleansed them.

    In other words, it was an either us or them situation, and Croats chose their own side, unsurprisingly.

    What you obviously do not know, is that there were filmed and audio records of the Croatian top leadership calling for war under any cost, and explicitly mentioning slaughter of civilians to initiate it. Those records were released in 1991. Then their veracity was contested. After the war, their veracity was confirmed directly by public statements of people in that circle. The view of the Croatian president himself was that war is necessary in order to create bad blood and thus win over the gravitational pull between Serbs and Croats which he feared greatly.

    It’s absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are. It’s something of a Mitteleuropean trait. Not the worst one imaginable.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @German_reader

    It’s absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are.
     
    I've never claimed to understand the intricacies of Balkan conflicts. Not my business.
    , @reiner Tor

    What you obviously do not know
     
    I still don’t know it. You forgot to include the links.
    , @reiner Tor
    By the way I didn’t write about the thinking of the leadership. I wrote about the thinking of the ordinary people.

    It’s absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are.
     
    It’s a topic about which I have some knowledge. You know, I have seen some Croats in my life, and even talked to them. (I didn’t talk much to Serbs, at least not about the war or what they thought of Croats or Yugoslavia.) All the caveats about anecdotes apply.
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  199. @Ivan K.
    What you obviously do not know, is that there were filmed and audio records of the Croatian top leadership calling for war under any cost, and explicitly mentioning slaughter of civilians to initiate it. Those records were released in 1991. Then their veracity was contested. After the war, their veracity was confirmed directly by public statements of people in that circle. The view of the Croatian president himself was that war is necessary in order to create bad blood and thus win over the gravitational pull between Serbs and Croats which he feared greatly.

    It's absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are. It's something of a Mitteleuropean trait. Not the worst one imaginable.

    It’s absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are.

    I’ve never claimed to understand the intricacies of Balkan conflicts. Not my business.

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  200. @Sergey Krieger
    I have also a theory about Western DNA defect regarding predispososition to believe in Russian genetical predisposition towards slavery. While Russian slavish DNA theory has been numerous proven wrong by researches suffering in the process of their theory disapproval, it looks like my theory of western genetical defect is right. Looks like new researcher from the west is trying to test same old disapproved theory. Might end in tears again.

    Fair point.
    Sheeple are sheeple everywhere.

    I’d suggest skipping “DNA stuff” and focus on:

    …..a certain strand in Russian collective psyche: blind deference and outright worship of authority…

    Is it correct, regarding majority of people there?
    If yes, why? Geography and history? A culture shaped by a certain, mostly unpleasant, past?

    You are probably aware of plenty of material written about the topic.

    One of elements the Reformation (or lack of it) etc.

    Interesting topic anyway, and, too big and deep for UNZ, or any “Internet blabbing” for that matter.

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  201. @Anatoly Karlin
    Wikipedia has as good summary as any of what is known about Wagner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn't join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA's) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold. And this is a pretty important moment. I think Egor Kholmogorov successfully voices the frustrations of many Russian nationalists in this affair (Google Translate with minor adjustments).

    No one promised anything to the Wagner.

    That's a lie. They were promised.

    The core of Wagner are veterans of the struggle for Novorossiya. And they were promised a perfectly understandable thing: "As long as there is a calm [in Donbass] - go to us, you will not lose your combat experience, you will get better, you will get money, and then you will return to fight in Donbass."

    Instead, they were killed by Americans far away, while on the ground where they wanted to fight [in Donbass], there are now discussions about the "the introduction of Swedish and Brazilian peacekeepers." And, probably, their murder is another way to break Moscow, so that it would agree to such a development. ...

    And unlike Roman [the killed Russian fighter pilot], they even removed their right to honor. "Our citizens are in many countries." [how Putin spokesman Peskov reacted to media inquires]
     

    I have little to add to that, apart from the fact that a large percentage of them are Donbass vets, many of whom didn’t join so much for the money (though by all accounts it is very good, though it comes with extremely strict NDA’s) as to continue fighting while the Donbass conflict remains on hold.

    This caught my eye but wasn’t keen on commenting then.
    I’ll give it a shot now.

    Doesn’t’ make much of a sense.

    I believe they were/are in Syria because of money, first and foremost, and then to help overall effort there.
    What is actually important is that, by being in Syria, they do NOT help Donbass.

    Keeping sharp their own expertise…nahh…not a good reason. Different theater, different all of it. Skills mostly not transferable.
    For them, personally, it would’ve been much better to stay in Donbass and properly train there.
    And even that isn’t important.

    What is important is to use that “on hold” in fighting to make Donbass stronger. The opposition is doing it as we speak.
    They, mercs, could’ve simply work on improving the defense lines there (patrolling, reconnaissance etc on which improvements could be made).
    Or they could’ve gone through courses, either leadership or new weapons, tactics, whatever.

    The most important, though, would’ve been using their experience and expertise to train, and ORGANIZE, properly, Donbass armed forces.

    I …suspect……something isn’t quite right there. For little people of Donbass that is.

    Expending them in Syria simply is not good.
    Well…not good depending on who you are and what you want. I am sure that for some players that’s a very good idea.

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  202. @karl1haushofer
    For me, as a supporter of Russia, it is highly frustrating to see things like this happen again and again.

    This bombing raid might not have killed official Russian servicemen, but it did kill Russian citizens. It should not have happened. Russia should not have allowed this to happen.

    And Russia should make the perpetrators pay the price for killing its citizens. But it won't happen. The ones who killed Russians (whether in Ukraine or in Syria) will be left unpunished. No retaliation is to follow.

    And in the future the Russians will continue to die in Syria while the Americans won't suffer any casualties. Why? Because nobody dares to mess with the US. They are feared and respected. Russia is not.

    And Russia should make the perpetrators pay the price for killing its citizens.

    Did Russia do anything after the killing of the Russian general Valery Asapov?

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  203. @Ivan K.
    What you obviously do not know, is that there were filmed and audio records of the Croatian top leadership calling for war under any cost, and explicitly mentioning slaughter of civilians to initiate it. Those records were released in 1991. Then their veracity was contested. After the war, their veracity was confirmed directly by public statements of people in that circle. The view of the Croatian president himself was that war is necessary in order to create bad blood and thus win over the gravitational pull between Serbs and Croats which he feared greatly.

    It's absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are. It's something of a Mitteleuropean trait. Not the worst one imaginable.

    What you obviously do not know

    I still don’t know it. You forgot to include the links.

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  204. @gT
    In war, people die, its a entirely normal part of war. Russia understands this better than any country in the West, having lost far more people during WW2 than all the other combatants in the Western theatre.

    Soldiers especially die during war, Russian soldiers are expected to die rather than being captured since Stalin's time, look how that Russian pilot blew himself up recently rather than being captured. Russian soldiers know that they are expendable. And Russia is winning in Syria. All this talk about partitioning Syria, previously the ISIS partition was the biggest in Syria, now ISIS barely exists in Syria. The American, Israeli and Turkish partitions are next in line for the slow, grinding process.

    The longer the battle lasts the stronger the Syrians get, especially with regards to their anti aircraft and accurate long range munitions capability. Before long America and Israel will have run out of their irregular forces and will have to commit regular forces, and they are hesitant to put their regular forces on the front line. The Israeli and American regular forces are not expendable, only their irregular forces are.

    The Americans are in an especially bad situation because their irregulars, the Kurds, are on top of the Turkish hit list. The American partition is decreasing in size because of Turkish activity.

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.

    And if only Russia would retake all the Stan's to her East, all of them traditionally belonging to the Russian empire. Then Russia would have millions more expendables who could be "volunteered" to Syria and Donbass and there would be no noise about casualties.

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.

    No question about it. Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya. The Yinon and PNAC plan has been stopped. But it is not over. The US and Israel will act as spoilers and will be putting various pressures on Syria and Russia wherever they can. No understanding nor help can be expected from them. They will always be bad faith actors. It helps Russia that Turkey has different ideas than the US and Israel with respect to Kurds.

    I think that the conflict will be stopped only when China decides to move in with large infrastructure rebuilding program for Syria and Iraq. But after having to evacuate 30,000 Chinese workers from Libya it is understandable that China may have a serious case of cold feet.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya.
     
    Oh my.

    Impressive.
    Just impressive.
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  205. @Ivan K.
    What you obviously do not know, is that there were filmed and audio records of the Croatian top leadership calling for war under any cost, and explicitly mentioning slaughter of civilians to initiate it. Those records were released in 1991. Then their veracity was contested. After the war, their veracity was confirmed directly by public statements of people in that circle. The view of the Croatian president himself was that war is necessary in order to create bad blood and thus win over the gravitational pull between Serbs and Croats which he feared greatly.

    It's absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are. It's something of a Mitteleuropean trait. Not the worst one imaginable.

    By the way I didn’t write about the thinking of the leadership. I wrote about the thinking of the ordinary people.

    It’s absolutely remarkable how you reiner Tor and German_reader are constantly ready to assert your opinions on just about everything under the sky, as well as the worlds above it, regardless of how informed you are.

    It’s a topic about which I have some knowledge. You know, I have seen some Croats in my life, and even talked to them. (I didn’t talk much to Serbs, at least not about the war or what they thought of Croats or Yugoslavia.) All the caveats about anecdotes apply.

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  206. @utu

    So yes, the biggest partition has been eliminated, some other partitions still to go.
     
    No question about it. Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya. The Yinon and PNAC plan has been stopped. But it is not over. The US and Israel will act as spoilers and will be putting various pressures on Syria and Russia wherever they can. No understanding nor help can be expected from them. They will always be bad faith actors. It helps Russia that Turkey has different ideas than the US and Israel with respect to Kurds.

    I think that the conflict will be stopped only when China decides to move in with large infrastructure rebuilding program for Syria and Iraq. But after having to evacuate 30,000 Chinese workers from Libya it is understandable that China may have a serious case of cold feet.

    Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya.

    Oh my.

    Impressive.
    Just impressive.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    It's fucking insane, isn't it? They always think that they are winning.

    Assad permanently losing 20% of his country is a great victory to these people.

    False allegations of chemical attacks or a false-flag chemical attack wouldn’t hurt, either.
     
    The American public's apathy about the reports of atrocities coming out of Syria have already become legendary. This isn't 1990. Obama tried to intervene after the chemical attack incident in 2013 and the American public said no way.
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  207. @Greasy William
    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don't agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly's comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it's will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don't care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.

    Yes, I voted for Trump and likely will do so again in the 2020 general election, given the likely alternatives. We live in L.A.

    I’m not as sure as you are that the American people wouldn’t put up with another US intervention in the middle east, once the media drumbeat gets going. Some tear-jerking photos of children and babies allegedly murdered by Iran or whoever the latest target is, could go a long way. False allegations of chemical attacks or a false-flag chemical attack wouldn’t hurt, either.

    As for ISIS, doesn’t it seem that the USA intentionally missed chances to destroy large numbers of known visible ISIS fighters, including this recent episode?

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-us-allowed-isis-fighters-escape-raqqa-sdf-deal/

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  208. @Greasy William
    you say you voted for Trump. Are you currently living in the US? If so, you don't agree that the US public would never tolerate another war in the middle east?

    Anatoly's comment section is anti US central, but the fact that people here continue to overlook is that the US was dragged into Libya against it's will. Obama did everything he could to stay out of it. It was Sarkozy who got involved which left Obama with no choice but to bail France out when it was clear that Gaddafi was going to win anyway. It was Europe that insisted on US intervention on Kosovo when Clinton tried to stay out. But the people here don't care, they just want to bash the US.

    If the US was so determined to take out Assad, then why did Trump do so much to squash ISIS? If not for the US arming and providing support to both the Kurds and the Iraqi government, ISIS would still be going strong. There is so much else the US could do against Assad if they really wanted to.

    The US certainly “had a choice” about interfering in Libya. We should have stayed out.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    If the US hadn't intervened, Sarkozy would have been humiliated.
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  209. @Greasy William
    Oh no you can post and write whatever you want, you just don't belong in America.

    I’d take Andrei and the like over many millions of immigrants we’ve actually let in in recent decades.

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  210. a foundational fact here is that when forced to choose between Turkey and Kurdistan the US will always choose Turkey – cos Turkey is more vital globally.

    so the internal logic says Kurds should switch sides to Russia as Kurdistan and the resultant partition of Turkey would suit Russia

    which ironically is more in Israel’s long-term interests than the partition of Syria imo

    plus MIBA

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  211. @Talha
    You (and I) have to g0 back.

    Just you, not Andrei ;)

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    • Replies: @Talha
    No problem - still waiting for my federal notice with the presidential seal.

    Peace.
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  212. @Greasy William
    are you trying to say that Albright dragged Clinton into the war? Clinton was her boss. She wasn't some puppeteer pulling his strings.

    When it was clear that Serbia was going to ethnically cleanse the Albanians from Kosovo, western Europe demanded the US step in. Yes or no?

    Boy, it’s a good thing “we” stepped in and bombed the Hell out of the Serbs. It’s better to have the Serbs driven out than the Albanians / Kosovars driven out, because … just because.

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  213. @Andrei Martyanov

    Maybe we can group resources to get cheaper bulk-rate tickets; one way to Baku and part ways from there.
     
    LOL. As long as they serve Jack and a good cigar.Albeit "bulk-rate" sounds intimidating.

    I read that Baku has a surprisingly diverse and excellent restaurant scene.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I read that Baku has a surprisingly diverse and excellent restaurant scene.
     
    Azeri cuisine is out of this world, be that meats or bakery (especially bakery), Baku is also stunningly beautiful city. Sadly, my Baku died in 1990, in reality even earlier-1988. Some of the places today simply do not exist anymore--at least a place where I was born survived. My naval academy is still there--today it is some combined arms military school. In any case--worth visiting.
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  214. @peterAUS

    Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the empire in Syria and its plan to turn Syria into the land of chaos of never ending sectarian fighting like Iraq and Libya.
     
    Oh my.

    Impressive.
    Just impressive.

    It’s fucking insane, isn’t it? They always think that they are winning.

    Assad permanently losing 20% of his country is a great victory to these people.

    False allegations of chemical attacks or a false-flag chemical attack wouldn’t hurt, either.

    The American public’s apathy about the reports of atrocities coming out of Syria have already become legendary. This isn’t 1990. Obama tried to intervene after the chemical attack incident in 2013 and the American public said no way.

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  215. @RadicalCenter
    I read that Baku has a surprisingly diverse and excellent restaurant scene.

    I read that Baku has a surprisingly diverse and excellent restaurant scene.

    Azeri cuisine is out of this world, be that meats or bakery (especially bakery), Baku is also stunningly beautiful city. Sadly, my Baku died in 1990, in reality even earlier-1988. Some of the places today simply do not exist anymore–at least a place where I was born survived. My naval academy is still there–today it is some combined arms military school. In any case–worth visiting.

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