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Finally Some Clarity About the Russian Plans in Syria

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A lot has happened in the last few hours. Putin spoke at the UN, the Russian Parliament has approved the use of Russian military forces in Syria and Sergei Ivanov has given the Russian media a detailed explanation for the reasons which made the Kremlin request such an authorization. The picture has finally become much clearer.

What will not happen:

There will be no “Most Anticipated Showdown in Recent History”: no Russian ground operation, no Russian imposition of a no-fly zone (especially not against the US or its allies!), no MiG-31s, no Russian Airborne Forces, no Russian tanks on the frontlines, no Russian SSBN (nuclear weapons carrying) submarines and probably no significant Russians military presence around Damascus. In fact, there will be no Russian unilateral military operation of any kind. All that nonsense can now finally be put to rest.

What will happen:

The Russian military operation will be legal on all levels: the Russians have received a formal request for military assistance from the Syrian government, the Russian Parliament has given its authorization, and Russia will seek a UN Security Council authorization. The Russian military operation will be officially limited to air operations including bombings and close air support. The main hub of the Russian operation will be in Latakia. Crucially, Russia will act as a part of a broad coalition.

It would be a mistake to focus primarily on what will happen next. I would argue that what has already happened is far more significant.

What has already happened:

Putin has basically forced the USA to accept the Russian plan. Kerry has told CNN that the US policy for Syria will be “adjusted” – in other words the US is giving up on the notion of ousting Assad, officially temporarily. NATO has declared that it would welcome a positive role for Russia in Syria. The Pentagon has followed the Israeli example and has decided to open a special communications channel to coordinate Russian and US operations. Considering the above, I suppose that the US will give its Bulgarian colony the order to stop closing its airspace to Russian aircraft.

Finally, I will make some guesses as to what might happen next.

What might also happen:

First, I would not be surprised if the Russians did declare that it was their standard operating procedure to protect their military installations with air defense systems. And then would finally bring in their S-300s (I am aware of rumors that the S-300s are already there, but I have seen no confirmation so far). I would expect the Israelis to feel particularly miserable about that, and I would not be surprised if the Russians offered guarantees that these systems would remain exclusively under Russian control. What is already certain is that Netanyahu did fly to Moscow to address issues at least of Russian-Israeli “non-interference,” if not “cooperation.” I would add here that Moscow has no hostile plans towards Israel whatsoever and that, by all accounts, the Russians and Israeli officials get along famously, if only because both sides are smart and pragmatists (they don’t need a love fest, they need responsible behavior).

Second, the official Russian military presence in Syria will give the Russians the perfect cover for all sorts of covert efforts including the delivery of equipment, joint intelligence operations and even direct action missions. I don’t think that this will be a major part of the Russian effort, but now the option is definitely here.

Third, and this is admittedly 100% my own speculations, I believe that the entire Russian military effort will be a cover for something else: a larger Iranian and Hezbollah involvement. Why? For one thing, there is only that much any air operation can achieve. There is no reason to assume that a very small Russian Air Force contingent will significantly change the course of the war. The total failure of the NATO airforces over Kosovo has proven that air operations are, by themselves, of very limited capability, and, unlike the NATO in Kosovo, Russia will send a rather small contingent of aircraft. However, the presence of the Russian Air Force in the Syrian skies could conveniently “explain away” any sudden military reversals for Daesh, especially if the real reason for such reversals would be a beefed up Iranian intervention. Again, I have absolutely no information confirming any of that, but I personally expect a sharp rise in the Iranian and Hezbollah efforts to push back Daesh.

Evaluation:

In purely military terms this is a rather minor development. Yes, the Syrian Air Force badly needs some modernization (the fact that they are using helicopter-dropped 500kg barrel bombs is a proof that they don’t have enough aircraft to deliver guided or even unguided 500kg aerial bombs) and the Russians will be bringing some very capable aircraft (SU-24s and SU-25s for sure, and in some specific cases they could even use Tu-22M3s and SU-34s). But this will not be a game changer. Politically, however, this marks yet another triumph for Vladimir Putin, who has forced the US Empire to renounce its plans to overthrow Assad. Because—and make no mistake here—the Russians are now there to stay: a limited Russian military presence will now turn into a major Russian political commitment. Furthermore, not only will Tartus continue to serve a fairly limited but not irrelevant role for the Russian Navy, the airbase in Latakia will become a hub of Russian military operations and, in effect, a forward operating base for the Black Sea Fleet.

Conclusion: a game changer after all?

Yes. But not because of some Russian military move. Consider this: for the United States the main purpose of Daesh was to overthrow Assad. Now that the US is declaring that they “don’t plan to arm the Syrian rebels at the moment” and that Assad will not be overthrown, the utility of Daesh to the AngloZionist Empire has just taken a major hit. If the Empire decides that Daesh has outlived its utility and that it has now turned into a liability, then the days of Daesh are numbered.

Of course, I am under no illusions about any real change of heart in the imperial “deep state”. What we see now is just a tactical adaptation to a situation which the US could not control, not a deep strategic shift. The rabid russophobes in the West are still out there (albeit some have left in disgust) and they will now have the chance to blame Russia for anything and everything in Syria, especially if something goes really wrong. Yes, Putin has just won another major victory against the Empire (where are those who claimed that Russia had “sold out” Syria?!), but now Russia will have to manage this potentially “dangerous victory”.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Syria

76 Comments to "Finally Some Clarity About the Russian Plans in Syria"

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  1. RUSSIA WIL DO THE CIVILIZED WORLD A FAVOR IN CONTAINING DAESH AND ITS MASTER—ISRAEL.

    Thanks for the interesting article, Sir. This is very helpful to know. I am glad Russia is getting involved in this matter to bring ISIS (Daesh) down. As mentioned before, ISIS is just a puppet of the world’s biggest axis of evil—Israel and its banana republic, USA (owned and operated by the Judaists, esp. the Jewish Oligarchs*), in Israel’s plan to topple Assad for the establishment of “Greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates.

    *Haaretz: “Meet the Jewish Billionaires Shaping the 2016 Presidential Election. A quick look at the list of top political donors for 2014 reveals a striking fact: At least a third of the most generous 50 mega-givers were Jewish” at:

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/1.658520#!

    Russia should attack ISIS with drones and other air power (or give them to Assad and Kurds for that purpose) and help Assad and Iran with more weapons, fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles, satellite intelligence, and maybe even nuclear weapons and short range ballistic missiles aimed at Israel, to achieve long lasting peace in the region.

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  2. Finally some clarity about the Russian plans about Syria | The Vineyard of the Saker
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    […] This column was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/finally-some-clarity-about-the-russian-plans-in-syria/ […]

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  3. I believe that the entire Russian military effort will be a cover for something else: a larger Iranian and Hezbollah involvement.

    That’s what I have long believed: That the Iranians would/should step up their ground game, if not in Syria, then at least in Iraq.

    But this will not be a game changer.

    Well if it didn’t change the game at all, I doubt Putin would see any use in intervening to begin with. Of course it will have some effect.

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  4. Putin is a Russian intervening in a civil war to protect a military base. And by extension, the ally who let Russia build the base, but I think Putin wants a base in Syria more than he wants Syria for a base. No one in the Russian military wants to be the guy who forgot how the Archangel intervention went for the Allies in the Russian Civil War.

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  5. Finally some clarity about the Russian plans about Syria, by the Saker | Arab Nyheter
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    […] This column was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/finally-some-clarity-about-the-russian-plans-in-syria/ […]

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  6. Russia believes it can quell jihad by supporting al Assad while inserting itself trying to take over but that has always been the error of Russia military strategy. ISIS is the strategy by which Islamists have used through the centuries. When Islam left the Peninsula, the slash and burn terror of Umayyad control subjugated the natives (Tamazigh, Turk, Christian, etc) until they took over and the subjugated became mawali and took it upon themselves, now that their culture has been destroyed, to become the feared by adopting false Arab traits and that is their destiny. Russia shows up 500 years later trying to get rid of this behavior. Good luck to them!

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  7. Hopefully, the US Army got out their Special Forces personnel before the Russian air strikes!

    Ditto for the CIA and MI6 black ops bastards!

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  8. Russian air support coordinated with Hezbollah offensives can be decisive in the coastal zone – Hezbollah almost certainly won’t go ‘out of area’. Air support for SAA offensives will have some but lesser impact more broadly – it probably means the Syrian government will not lose further territory, but seems unlikely to destroy Daesh in its heartlands. Essentially similar to US air support for the YPJ/G. No one wants to deploy the sort of ground army necessary to actually conquer the ‘Islamic State’; Turkey wants to at minimum keep Daesh around indefinitely.

    Iran may have the manpower to conquer, but the USA and Turkey won’t tolerate them using it. Iran isn’t going to want to risk losing an actual army to a Turkish attack, which is what would probably happen.

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  9. I am repeating myself, but at the top strategic level this is a fight between problem-makers (Israel-US-EU-Turkey-Saudi) versus problem-solvers (Russia-China-etc). The problem-makers are those who turn to shit whatever they touch, only because they are exceptional. The problem-solvers are those who do not churn out empty, lying rhetoric, but do make peace happen.

    The problem-makers blew up ISIS into much more than it really was to justify bombing the Syrian Government forces, their real enemies (oops, we missed ISIS and hit Government troops and civilians).

    Second, the Saker’s statement about Quds Force and Hezbollah being the ground troops under Russian air-cover are a kind of obvious and a no-brainer.

    Finally, the problem makers will keep resisting the Russian involvement, because the problem-solvers are deeply hated by the problem-makers. They are the real enemy, even more than the Syrian Government. So far Israel has been getting away with bombing Syrian Government with impunity, when will the Russians say enough is enough and start shooting them down. One cannot have sex and remain a virgin. The same for war – how are the Russians saving Syria if they are letting Israel continue destroying Syria? Dear Saker, forget about rationality and pragmatism of both sides – the clash between Russia and Israel is unavoidable unless one side changes course.

    The Israeli media keep repeating their totally worn out, endless BS mantra of Hezbollah supplying weapons to Lebanon.

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  10. I have noticed that the Western MSM are now saying (and quoting sources who say) that Russian air strikes have killed civilians.

    It would be easy for an ordinary lay person reading such a statement to form a negative impression of the Russian strikes. Until you reflect that ALL terrorists are civilians! More specifically, all members of Daesh and Al-Qaeda are civilians.

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  11. Russia and Israel are on a sharp collision course in Syria, as discernible from the recent Israeli attacks on Kuneitra. Israel has been aware of Iranian general Saeed Azadi’s arrival in Damascus from the moment his feet left the soil of Iran. He is very likely a target, albeit a difficult one; but Israel has neutralised terror threats emanating in the shape of Iranian generals in Syria in the past. Moshe Ya’alon and Bibi will keep hitting with Tamuz artillery every Syrian position they choose in Golan and other strategic areas. Mr. Putin is playing a careful verbal duel with Bibi, because while he most certainly wishes the continuance of the Assad regime (despite his personal dislike of Assad), he knows that at some point the U.S. will get involved. This is therefore a really dangerous balancing act for Vlad.

    • Agree: geokat62, unit472
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  12. August Storm 1945, a much better example of how well Russia can mount an offensive and consolidate a victory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria ).
    It would be better if the American generalship could remember how poorly their invasions at Archangel and Vladivostok went, as have so many other of their “missions to civilize and democratize the heathens.”

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  13. Anonymous
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    Moshe and co have form on that for sure. Though they didn’t stop at military.

    However, a military deployed like this

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940708000649

    smacks of inefficiency to say the least.

    Although it does marginally gain in PR – shooting 18year old unarmed girls – as happened several days ago – at forced-to-kneel point-blank range is an ‘exceptionalism’ beyond even the spin-range of the Likud loon brigade.

    And that pesky BDS business just keeps growing like topsy.

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  14. Anonymous
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    To wit:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3245438/Dramatic-moment-Israeli-soldier-points-rifle-veiled-teenage-Palestinian-student-shot-dead-moments-later-attempting-stab-West-Bank-checkpoint-guard.html

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  15. I am not entirely sure what your purpose was, in conflating the events at Al Aqsa with the present situation in the North, other than a general swipe at a commenter who you axiomatically assume to be supportive of Israeli actions in the Gaza and WB. If so, do save yourself the effort, for I am not. Yet I am wholly clear of mind to estimate the potential flammability in the Golan-Syrian theatre on account of Iran’s involvement in Damascus, directly and through its proxies, notably Hizballah.

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  16. Anonymous
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    Yeah, the problem-makers were once good at controlling the people through misdirected and empty moral outrage and/or misguided and mindless patriotism. But I can see that changing, especially with the latter. Free Republic used to be a perfect example of the latter and easily manipulable by the hasbara. But there seems to be more push back, or at least questioning these days.

    The problem-makers’ tactics are getting to be ridiculous and pathetic. Like the news release today, HHS Boosting Nation’s Stockpile of Burn Treatments in Case of Nuclear Attack. So, we’re willing to go to nuclear war over our efforts to bolster jihadism in Syria to weaken the Shia alliance??

    Col. Patrick Lang (USA, Ret.), who was ME expert at DIA and instructor at USMA, has some awesome analysis on all this at his blog.

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  17. When will Israel sign the NPT?

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  18. You know it as well as anyone, that they are not about to. An interesting question might be, “who is Israel likely to proliferate nuclear capability to?’

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  19. I agree that there is more here than simply trying to prop up Assad’s regime. The Russian force is too small to do that and 20 planes and 10 attack helicopters will do nothing to dislodge Daesh from eastern Syria. The US and its allies have conducted several thousand sorties and Daesh is still able to take and hold territory.

    The danger is that Assad’s army continues to crumble. Russia might be able to preserve its Alawite province in a partitioned Syria and hang on to their bases in Tartus and Latakia but such an outcome would be anathema to Turkey and a major blow to Iranian ambitions. Obviously Iran is going to seek to prevent a collapse of the Syrian Army but doing that risks drawing Israel into the war.

    Those Israeli air strikes on Syrian Army targets a few days ago shows Israel is not overawed by the Russian military presence. The reality is that Israeli military power is dominant in the region with only Turkey and Egypt having forces of sufficient size and proximity to confront the Israelis directly. Something to think about should Iran want to escalate.

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  20. Wouldn’t they be classified as enemy combatants?

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  21. AndrewR, “enemy combatant” is a technical term with several meanings. Traditionally, in time of war people were either uniformed combatants (members of armed forces) or civilians. Until 9/11, an “enemy combatant” meant an enemy (in time of war) who was either uniformed or civilian. A civilian who fought or spied without being a uniformed member of the armed forces of his nation was deemed an “unlawful combatant” and could be shot, hanged or otherwise punished under the laws of war.

    After 9/11, the Bush administration unilaterally invented a new legal category of “enemy combatant”. This category was inconsistent with all national and international law, and its only purpose appeared to be to allow the indefinite detention of such people when they were neither uniformed combatants nor (supposedly) entitled to the same legal protection as civilians. This legal fiction was abandoned by the Obama administration (see Wikipedia, etc).

    It is true that, in a perfect world, it would be possible to distinguish reliably between combatant civilians (terrorists) and noncombatant civilians. Only the former would then be bombed. I regret to say that I can see no sign of this ever coming about, though.

    Right now, matters are further complicated by the fact that the USA does not deem itself to be formally at war with any nation, although since 1945 it has committed acts of war against at least 50 nations. Hence, from the US government’s point of view at least, no one can be a combatant (of any kind) against the USA.

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  22. in other words, gods chosen people don’t need to sign that piece of shit.

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  23. Will the USA and Turkey go to war with Iran, Russia and China over Syria? I hope not. We’re talking nuclear winter here son.

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  24. Putin is a Russian intervening in a civil war to protect a military base.

    This ceased to be a “civil war” a few years back, to the extent that it ever was. Most of these terrorist groups–ISIS, Al Nusra Front, Ahrar al Sham, etc.–are now overwhelmingly made up of foreigners; many of them, in fact, aren’t even Arabs, but Uighurs, Chechens, Somalis and even second-generation Brit-Pakis.

    No, this is basically a terrorist invasion now.

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  25. Zero Hedge is a better bet…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-30/how-russia-handles-terrorists-moscow-releases-video-syria-strikes

    &

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-01/mid-east-coup-russia-pounds-militant-targets-iran-readies-ground-invasions-while-sau

    …where The Saker typically hedges … additionally noting Iraq is joining the Russia/Iran/Syria axis and the western powers banquet table is in process of being flipped by Putin in a very big way

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  26. A comparison to the 1945 attack on a skeleton Japanese force in Manchuria is ridiculous.

    There is no way Russia is going to invade Syria with massive paratroops & infantry.

    Stop fighting WWII.

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  27. China will stay out of it.

    China has a huge domestic economic collapse that they are dealing with now, and with the accompanying capital flight, war is something they will consider only if it threatens Chinese direct interests in its geographic vicinity. Furthermore the Renminbi’s reserve currency status at the WB and IMF also hangs in the balance. China is much more about its economic interests than anything else

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-25/china-capital-outflows-hit-record-in-august-on-yuan-weakness

    Putin is trying to play a low cost skirmish and should Israel enter the fray in full earnest, Putin will very likely swap an Assad retirement in Moscow or Teheran for U.S. (semi) neutrality. Right now Bibi does not enjoy much sympathy from State or POTUS, which therefore limits his uni-lateral manoeuvrability. So both Russia and Bibi are trying to assess their potential costs and benefits. My conjecture is that Putin might even have to make certain concessions over the proposed Iraq-Syria-Iran gas pipeline. Russian bonds are tanking in the International markets, and his foreign currency reserves can only let him stay the course for at most another 2 years, at current crude prices around $45. Putin, like all politicians wants to survive in his seat first, and a rapidly deteriorating budget, for a non-reserve currency is not a recipe to start major wars.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-30/russia-at-last-frontier-with-oil-tax-as-kudrin-warns-on-budget

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/bearish-ruble-bets-increase-as-currency-slides-on-crude-economy

    Iran can be a wildcard in this context.

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  28. No the interesting question is why the rest of the world allows Israel to get away with not signing the NPT?

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  29. You are not alone in your arguments and they are legitimate in my humble opinion but not decisively so. Others disagree. Here is a link to a ZH piece as an example. I happen to believe that the Russia/China alliance is real. Given Washington’s undisguised intention to rule the world by force of arms, Russia and China have decided to resist rather than capitulate.

    That said – I confess that I am merely another bar stool Napoleon. Thank you for your reply.

    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/us-ropes-china-join-russian-military-syria/ri9996#

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  30. I confess that I am merely another bar stool Napoleon. Thank you for your reply.

    there is no need for that, he is one also till he proves other wise.

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  31. “skeleton Japanese force in Manchuria”

    From Wiki:
    Japan
    714,000 troops
    5,360 artillery pieces
    1,155 tanks
    1,800 aircraft
    1,215 armored vehicles

    Manchukuo
    170,000 troops

    Mengjiang
    44,000 troops

    Not exactly skeleton, eh?

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  32. I hope Russia kicks BBC out of the country . It has become a neocon Zio propaganda . BBC spent entire coverage on Syria accusing Russia of targeting non IS rebel like FSA
    Free Syrian Army is aparently is in control of large swath of Syria . That is news ! FSA doesn’t control anything . Any part not in control by government is in control by IS and Israel ( Golan Ht)
    .

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  33. …“who is Israel likely to proliferate nuclear capability to?’

    Now that Apartheid South Africa is no more, I suppose the answer is no one.

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  34. I certainly don’t claim any exclusive information, just my own assessments, and honestly, like all people I do approach matters according to the area I am most familiar with.

    I do think that the U.S. approach has been rather muddled and the Russian intervention will likely force greater coherence. The over-riding point in my thinking is that the temperature vis-a-vis Israeli reaction has been raised a few degrees with explicit Russian and Iranian entry.

    Having said that, I am very familiar with the Golan and there is not a chance that Israel will sit back and witness an enemy asset build up in the heights.

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  35. The gratuitous labeling notwithstanding, the truth of the matter peeks out, does it not? Iran on the other hand could very well proliferate to Hezbollah, Syria, Qatar etc.

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  36. Not entirely sure if the plural was chosen accidentally or deliberately, however as an aside one might note that it was the ancient Hebrews who chose their G’d among the many on offer back then!

    Now, as to your scatologic characterisation of the treaty, I should simply point out that were it thusly defined, G’d would indeed expect his people to honour it more in it’s breach than in it’s observance.

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  37. Great question, Sam. Funny you should ask it. Do you recall the name of Sibel Edmunds? You know, the woman that was hired as a translator by the FBI right after 9/11 and subsequently fired for trying to sound the alarm? Here’s what she had to say about Israel’s involvement in nuclear proliferation:

    A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

    “What I found was damning,” she said. “While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.”

    The Turks and Israelis had planted “moles” in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” she said.

    They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official [Marc Grossman] who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

    The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

    It is likely that the nuclear secrets stolen from the United States would have been sold to a number of rogue states by Khan.

    Edmonds says packages containing nuclear secrets were delivered by Turkish operatives, using their cover as members of the diplomatic and military community, to contacts at the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

    Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents.

    “The people provided lists of potential moles from Pentagon-related institutions who had access to databases concerning this information,” she said.

    “The handlers, who were part of the diplomatic community, would then try to recruit those people to become moles for the network. The lists contained all their ‘hooking points’, which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to.”

    One of the Pentagon figures under investigation was Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, who was jailed in 2006 for passing US defence information to lobbyists and sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat.

    “He was one of the top people providing information and packages during 2000 and 2001,” she said.

    Once acquired, the nuclear secrets could have gone anywhere. The FBI monitored Turkish diplomats who were selling copies of the information to the highest bidder.

    Edmonds said: “Certain greedy Turkish operators would make copies of the material and look around for buyers. They had agents who would find potential buyers.”

    In summer 2000, Edmonds says the FBI monitored one of the agents as he met two Saudi Arabian businessmen in Detroit to sell nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama. She overheard the agent saying: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000.”

    …. One of the CIA sources confirmed that the Turks had acquired nuclear secrets from the United States and shared the information with Pakistan and Israel. “We have no indication that Turkey has its own nuclear ambitions. But the Turks are traders. To my knowledge they became big players in the late 1990s,” the source said.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080109045435/http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3137695.ece

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  38. Question for the Russophiles. A few months ago Alexis Tsipras went on a begging trip to Moscow. He was looking for some help as he was broke and if Greece were to leave the Euro their biggest problem would be how to get oil for drachmas. Putin, evidently didn’t offer Tsipras much because he had to come back and knuckle under to the Troika’s terms.

    Now we have Putin offering Assad military aid that, if it is to mean anything, will cost a lot more than supplying Greece with oil and, perhaps, peeling an EU/NATO member away from the West. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me anyway. It’s true Putin couldn’t come up with $80 billion or anything like that but a few billion dollars worth of oil on ‘credit’ might have bought some real influence in Athens or even gotten Tsipras to ditch the Euro.

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  39. Sam Shama:

    China may stay out but it has nothing to do with your imaginary “economic collapse”.
    There is no huge domestic economic collapse in China at all, despite the lies of the presstitutes of the Western Ministries of Propaganda.

    “Iran on the other hand could very well proliferate to Hezbollah, Syria, Qatar etc.”

    No, it could not bc it does NOT have a nuclear weapons program nor is Iran seeking to develop one.
    All 16 US intel agencies agree on that, stop lying already.

    You talk about the Golan, that is stolen Syrian territory. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. “Israel’s action(anexation) was not recognised internationally[103] and United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 which declared the Golan Heights Israeli-occupied territory continues to apply.”

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  40. , sam sham

    The fact of the matter is that your beloved israeli heroes could not even defeat Hamas in 2014, as Uri Avnery conceded.
    In 2006, your heroes locked horns with some very tough guys; Hezbollah. They were utterly defeated. They could not even secure the border villages!

    Even more painful was the fact the fighting was done by only some 3-5000 hezb, mostly second tier fighters, the more elite elements kept as reserve. Hezbollah did not even feel the need to call up its reserves. This, despite the fact the Israelis had a huge numerical and even greater firepower advantage over Hezbollah.
    An in-depth piece on the 06 war was written by ex-brit intel analyst Alastair Crook and investigative jornalist M.Perry, they summed it up;

    But by any accounting – whether in rockets, armored vehicles or numbers of dead and wounded – Hezbollah’s fight against Israel must be accorded a decisive military and political victory. Even if it were otherwise (and it is clearly not), the full impact of Hezbollah’s war with Israel over a period of 34 days in July and August has caused a political earthquake in the region.

    Hezbollah’s military defeat of Israel was decisive, but its political defeat of the United States – which unquestioningly sided with Israel during the conflict and refused to bring it to an end – was catastrophic and has had a lasting impact on US prestige in the region.

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets), had this to say of the idf;

    [...]
    It must be said that they have typically been lucky in their enemies and that if they had faced more serious enemies, they would have had a much different experience than the ones they had. In the Golan Heights the Syrians gave them a very difficult time in 1973.[...]
    They can also be justly said to have been been fortunate in their enemies. The Jordanians gave them a run for their money in 1948-49. Hizbullah delivered a hint of the inherent limits in such a socio-military system in 2006 and now we are seeing whatever it is that we will see at Gaza.

    But Ken O’Keefe, a former US Marine, who was deported from Israel after surviving the Mavi Marmara massacre, said it best;

    “All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns”

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  41. Finally some clarity about the Russian plans about Syria | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog
    says:
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    […] This column was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/finally-some-clarity-about-the-russian-plans-in-syria/ […]

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  42. http://fpif.org/the-middle-easts-new-nakba/

    Will Russia and Iran help Assad win fast and put an end to the ‘new nakba’?

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  43. Obviously, if the highly overrated zionist military was as good as gullible people think it is, they would fight their wars by themselves.
    Instead, they do their best to find some idiots to do it for them.
    It’s usually the zamericans… Think Iraq, which was absolutely a war for Israel.
    This war in Syria is also largely a war for Israel, fought by Waahabi mercenaries from all over the world – more than 90 countries – as proxy soldiers in an attempt to destroy Syria.
    All these other countries, Turkey, KSA, Jordan, France, ZUK, are only at it bc they have had ZUSA to back them up.
    And the people who control US foreign policy, specially in the Middle East, is the zionist 5th column in America.

    As a German blogger put it:

    “Since Israel lost the 2006 war against Hizbullah the U.S. and Israel plotted to overthrow the Syrian government which they accuse of facilitating Hizbullah’s military supplies. The U.S. planned, prepared and financed a “color revolution” scheme and an exile opposition. The failing Iraq war and the emergence of a Shia dominated Iraqi government also led to an alliance between Israel, the U.S. and Sunni dominated Gulf states which planned, organized and financed radical Sunni guerrilla forces to attack Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. As Seymour Hersh reported in 2007:

    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

    In 2013, israeli media reported, re Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, lifting any doubts about who really wants Assad to go:

    “The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.
    This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida.

    “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” he said, adding that this designation did not apply to everyone in the Syrian opposition. “Still, the greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria. With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go.”

    http://www.jpost.com/Syria-Crisis/Oren-Jerusalem-has-wanted-Assad-ousted-since-the-outbreak-of-the-Syrian-civil-war-326328

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  44. “Instead, they do their best to find some idiots to do it for them.”

    Quite true, but it is not hard to do. The US is full of bootlickers for Israel

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  45. Russia evidently concluded that Tsipras was just flirting to make the Euros jealous and had no intention of breaking with them. And the way Tsipras behaved in the end indicates that was the right conclusion to draw.

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  46. ahah, you caught onto his tactics. it is all about misdirection, like a magic trick :)

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  47. I wonder if Hegel were shown the door to please Israel’s protege -Rice,Clinton,ad Power?
    Hegel was detested by neocons because he favored engagement

    Gary Leupp has written on Syrian Hegel angle

    “Hagel’s Syria Memo”

    link to counterpunch.org

    and ‘The Emergency Committee for Israel’

    “HAGEL ON SYRIA” from Hegel’s website

    link to chuckhagel.com

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  48. Question for the Russophiles. A few months ago Alexis Tsipras went on a begging trip to Moscow. He was looking for some help as he was broke and if Greece were to leave the Euro their biggest problem would be how to get oil for drachmas. Putin, evidently didn’t offer Tsipras much because he had to come back and knuckle under to the Troika’s terms.

    Russophile here! Maybe I can help.

    The Russians have no reason to hand Greece (or anybody else) free money, just so they can turn around and pay it all to the western banksters. If Tsipras had seriously been planning to leave EU/NATO, or even had a credible plan to grexit, Russia might have responded differently. But there was never any public evidence that Tsipras wanted to do that, and now his ex-Finance Minister, Varoufakis, has confirmed that Tsipras privately shot down his grexit proposal. Basically, all Tsipras was interested in was using Russia to try and scare Germany into offering Greece somewhat better terms of surrender, and being the clown that he is, he failed miserably. Putin could easily see that this guy wasn’t serious, so he did the smart thing: he smiled, politely shook Tsipras’ hand, and sent him on his merry little self-destructive way.

    Whenever a people show a real determination to stand up for themselves though, Russia has often shown itself more than willing to oblige. That makes Syria and Donbass very different from Greece. Those people still have pride and self-respect; they refuse simply to surrender to their enemy and beg for mercy.

    All clear now?

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  49. “We understand that they are pretty bad guys”

    Pot calling the kettle black. Evil$cum, each and everyone of them.

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  50. Let’s not play a stupid games of oneupmanship, based on personal assertions. In case you thought a Chinese domestic economic stress is something that I wish for, then you would be sorely mistaken. My motivation is always to assess the unadulterated, objective economic truth. It is precisely with that motive in mind, I state that China is in no position to engage in International clashes, quite far away from home and not directly related to its economic agenda.

    Talking about adulteration, there has been for the longest time, a scepticism surrounding Chinese measures of economic activity. Some of it coming from overseas Chinese analysts and more importantly investors and international bodies with huge direct investment stakes in the region. So, not entities such as yourself, commenting anonymously without cost.

    Read Martin Wolf and the FT

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/486bc716-5af0-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2.html#axzz3nPoN2IMy

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/723a8d8e-5c53-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2.html#axzz3nPoN2IMy

    A number of you, it is clear, are involved in groupthink and conjuring up a global economy that suits your particular worldview, rejecting as heretical objective data and analysis. Just to test your own conviction, why don’t you consider investing your funds in China today and see how far you get. Of the $3.5 tr in reserve currency stock they have (mostly USD , EUR and some JPY), just in the last quarter $300 b or so got moved out via many routes (a great deal from Macau) by private Chinese citizens and other investors. China will do its utmost to prevent this from happening, most importantly through the currency markets and stricter controls, and try to light up growth yet again, and my own prediction is that within a year, it will massively devalue its own currency for maximal impact (contrarian move to its official signals).

    If you believe that a Russia which is swooning from an oil price rout, rapidly declining reserves, can summon the Chinese, themselves in the grip of a huge economic mess, to somehow play a prolonged game in the ME, fuelled principally by “noble motives” (far from reality), you are sorely mistaken. The most likely case is that Russia has an agreement with the US to clear out the ISIL to the extent required to secure Assad’s safety while ascertaining none of the heavy hardware falls in the hands of Hezbollah and then come back to the negotiating table. Its nothing like a major shift in geopolitical balances.

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  51. “there is only that much any air operation can achieve” is wrong. The destruction of command posts, ammunitions depots, vehicles and alike, clean the way for the advance of the Syrian Army on the ground. If you read carefully the military maps of the current situation, it is clear that some encirclements will be possible, or at least squeezing Daesh to fight in two fronts.

    Which leads us to another of your assertions: “forced the US Empire to renounce its plans to overthrow Assad”. Those plans were already in a halt because of the inability of the US-backed organizations to beat the Syrian Army. Now, with the Russian help, the overthrow of the president became obviously impossible. That’s the reason of the situation you mentioned in the penultimate paragraph (not to arm, retreat, use in other places, etc.).

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  52. “Israel wanted Assad gone since start of Syria civil war”? Israel wanted Assad gone since the first aggression of Lebanon! It was another Assad, true, but even…

    Who wants Assad gone is the USA, and this since he refused the IMF “offer” to “help”. Remember that? IMF, the World Bank and their subsidiaries wanted to “grant” money to “help” the Syrian economy which it, Assad said, didn’t need at all. That was the beginning of it all. Only afterwards the chemical bombing hoax and everything else, the missile destroyed in flight to Damascus, and so on.

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  53. Economics is worthless bullshit. For a little humor each month watch any of the cable finance channels just before the release of monthly jobs report. A number of ‘genius’ economists make wild-ass guesses at the number. Economists are never right about anything.
    If you are taking a sophomore chemistry class and you answer the question; what do you get when you react the elements sodium and chlorine, squirrel shit parfait…..you should be an economist.

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  54. Let’s be clear; It’s not the Syrian “regime”, a msm propaganda term used to discredit the legitimate Syrian government.
    It’s not Assad’s army, another ridiculous msm propaganda term, it’s the Syrian armed forces, the syrian army, the syrian paramilitaries, etc.

    The syrian military is NOT an alawite force, this is not only a LIE, it is a stupid lie.
    If only the alawites were serving in the military, the Syrian State would long have been destroyed.
    FACT: More than half of the Syrian armed forces and paramilitaries are made up by SUNNIS.
    Even Robert Fisk, no friend of Assad or Syria, has admitted most of the military, including the officer corps is sunni.
    The same is true for the Syrian Government.
    Here is the Syrian government:

    [MORE]

    Dr. Bashar Al-Assad – a secular Alawi.

    Asmaa` Al-Akras-Al-Assad, First Lady – SUNNI

    Dr. Najaah Al-‘Attaar – Vice President – SUNNI

    Waleed Al-Mu’allim – Foreign Minister – SUNNI

    Dr. Faysal Miqdaad – Deputy Foreign Minister – SUNNI

    Maj. Gen. Muhammad Ibraaheem Al-Sha’aar – Interior Minister and heads 3 security services – SUNNI

    Lt. General Fahd Jaassim Al-Furayj – Defense Minister – SUNNI

    Lt. General Talaal Tlaas – Deputy Defense Minister – SUNNI

    Dr. Waa’il Naadir Al-Halaqi – Prime Minister – SUNNI

    ‘Abdullah Al-Ahmar – Deputy Secretary of the Ba’ath Party Pan Arab Command – SUNNI

    Lt. General ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Ayyoob – Chief of the Syrian General Staff – ALAWI

    ‘Umraan Al-Zu’bi – Minister of Information – SUNNI

    Dr. Bashshaar Al-Ja’afari – Syrian Permanent Delegate to the U.N. – SUNNI

    Muhammad Jihaad Al-Lahhaam – Speak of the Parliament – SUNNI

    Maj. General Muhammad Mahalla – Director of Military Intelligence – SUNNI

    Maj. General Nazeeh Hassoon – Director of Political Security – SUNNI

    Lt. Gen. Ali Mamlook – Special National Security Adviser to the President – SUNNI

    Dr. Buthayna Sha’baan – Special Advisor to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Palace spokeswoman – ALAWI

    Enough with the idiotic zio-american-”western” propaganda already.

    As for the Syrian “civil war”. There never was one, not ever. More than ninety policemen and soldiers were killed by “peaceful protesters”( in fact takfiri insurgents) in the very first month of that “peaceful” revolution alone”

    http://www.uweness.eu/maerchen-ueber-syrien.html

    Here, take a look at some vids that the presstitutes never show us in the West;
    Syrian riot police shot at by “protesters”;

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  55. Well fine. Do keep thinking like a nitwit, and economists will laugh all the way to the……

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  56. I have always wondered at the effort to measure the value of economic success . Oligarch in Russia, Rober Baron in US ,and the appearances of a few billionaires in Pakistan,Bnagladesh,Inida and china could not have happened obviously without new opportunities introduced by economic liberalization .But only those with connections to power and access to information denied to other managed to move up in the top .0001%

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  57. Nothing he said was incorrect, con artists also laugh all the way to the bank, that however does not take away the fact that they are still charlatans.

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  58. anonymous
    says:
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    The American military has put Obama on notice, they will not be fighting and dying for Israel and the Jews any more. The Israelis are on their own from here on out.

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  59. Scam Shameful might take that personally.

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  60. won’t you let me indulge in a bit of banter with these characters at Saker’s?

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  61. lol

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  62. All they way to the what? The fact that these morons are given the status they are is a big reason why we lurch from crisis to crisis and bailout to bailout. Nobody should have any respect for anything these people say. If the government stopped listening to these people and went back to basic common sense conservative principals there would be less problems. However we allow these charlatans to tell us their blackboard theories can manage everything and get higher than normal growth while avoiding the busts that come with it.

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  63. Certainly no more than an awkward four digit number which regularly waxes on about the child pornography, bondage and other deviant behaviour.

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  64. All they way to the what? ….[ ...]

    However we allow these charlatans to tell us their blackboard theories

    All the way to Shang-ri-la. And why do “we ” allow it? Doesn’t that make “we” a wee bit stupid?

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  65. Its never denied to anyone. “Seek and ye shall find”

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  66. A few months ago Alexis Tsipras went on a begging trip to Moscow.

    As was pointed out by others, the Greek PM was trying to play the EU by talking to the Russians. The last time that happened, Ukraine had a coup and a civil war. Maybe Putin didn’t want the same thing to happen to Greece.

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  67. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on the USA over American demands concerning Syria:

    “Old habits die hard. Parting with one’s sense of global dominion is not easy and this process is going to be long and painful”

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-9bd2-Syria-US-tells-Russia-to-end-its-bombing#.Vg-m2nvPZFV

    I think it’s pretty clear, come what may, Putin has drawn a firm line in the sand in Syria; let’s see The Saker’s habit of hedging help him wiggle his way out of this one … meanwhile, for the persons who wish to stay more accurately informed, there’s always http://www.zerohedge.com/

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  68. Nobody should have any respect for anything these people say. If the government stopped listening to these people and went back to basic common sense conservative principals there would be less problems.

    You’ve got it backwards, I’m afraid. Today’s economists merely tell us what the government, the banks and corporations want them to say; not the other way around. It’s the only way to get tenure, a job with the Treasury Dept., or a sinecure at a think-tank. Neo-liberalism and globalization is what the big fish want, so that’s why most economists nowadays dream up and spread ‘theories’ to justify them.

    • Agree: Bill
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  69. Neo-liberalism and globalization is what the big fish want, so that’s why most economists nowadays dream up and spread ‘theories’ to justify them.

    Agree completely.

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  70. Finalmente, alguma luz sobre os planos russos na Síria | Radical Democracia
    says:
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    […] The Saker, Unz Review | Tradução Vila […]

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  71. Yawn. A ranking Israeli politician having an opinion over who he feels is a threat to Israel…and a long time enemy at that…I have no love for Jews or Israel but this is just lazy.

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  72. The interesting thing in the entire matter is that the current U.S. Policy by an inept President with unclear strategies in the Middle East is fueling the Russian intervention. If we would stop playing pitty pat with our enemies and get to business, we wouldn’t have the Russian intervention. Also thing of this the Russian intervention fuels further chaos for the US. Why because these radials will flee into neighboring Iraq and into further conflict with US Troops. Geez why could our strategies see this coming. The Russians would love nothing more then to see the US enter into another Viet Nam. Call it revenge for Afghanistan.

    Russian intervention with Syria is not surprising since they have history with the Assad regime going back 50 years. Duh for those younger generation that does not study History. Or our present President that just does not get it when it comes to world politics.

    I love the US however, until we return to standards of our predecessors of the 1900 century we are doomed. See the US was a nation the stood for what is Right. Now because of political correctness we stand on doing the right thing. There is a difference my friend which means doing the right thing is in conflict with what is RIGHT. Doing what is Right does not always coincide with Doing the Right Thing. America what the Nation Under GOD! Not ruled by a minority of the secular left Alinsky doctrine of question everything even unto GOD. Why because we create Chaos by believing in everything and then again nothing. We stand for nothing and do not do what if Right. This is why our friends no longer trust us (America) nor do our own people of the US trust our Government.

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  73. Sean “the Neon Caucasian”;

    Yawnn to your very, very ignorant comment, pal.
    Oren is not just some high ranking israeli with an opinion. What he says to israeli media is israeli policy.
    When the false flag chemical attack was launched and Obama said he was gonna bomb Syria, no lobby put as much pressure on the US government and congress to do so as the Israeli lobby did.
    That is FACT.
    The israelis have already launched several ILLEGAL and highly provocative airstrikes and artillery strikes against the Syrian army in support of Al-Ciada, they are even treating al-ciadas WIA in israeli military hospitals. This has also been reported by israeli media.
    You r the lazy one, poorly researched and unable to connect obvious dots.

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  74. Please, what are the sources which tell us about this optimistic development?

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  75. unit 472 said: The US and its allies have conducted several thousand sorties and Daesh is still able to take and hold territory.

    Hunsdon said: You presuppose that the US air strikes are actually intended as anything other than security theater. That is a presupposition with which I am not entirely in agreement. I think the US looks at Syria and sees ISIS only as a complication in its plans to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.

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  76. A bit off-topic, I spotted that video about Russia involvement in the Middle-East.

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