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Very Dangerous Escalation in Syria
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By now many of you must have heard the news: a Russian Lieutenant-General, Valery Asapov, and two Colonels have been killed in what appears to be a very precisely targeted mortar attack. Just as in the case of the Russian military police unit recently attacked near Deir ez-Zor, the Russians are accusing the Americans of being behind this attack. To make things even worse, the Russians are now also officially accusing the Americans of actively collaborating with ISIS:

US Special Operations Forces units enable US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces units to smoothly advance through the ISIS formations. Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir-ez-Zor. The aerial photos made on September 8-12 over the ISIS locations recorded a large number of American Hummer vehicles, which are in service with the America’s SOF. The shots clearly show the US SOF units located at strongholds that had been equipped by the ISIS terrorists. Though there is no evidence of assault, struggle or any US-led coalition airstrikes to drive out the militants. Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them. This suggests that the US troops feel safe in terrorist controlled regions.

These are the maps and aerial photos provided by the Russians (for higher resolution, click here)

What this all seems to point to is that the Pentagon has now apparently decided to attack Russian forces directly, albeit unofficially. From the Pentagon’s point of view, this (almost) makes sense.

First, by now it is pretty darn clear that the “good terrorists” and the “bad terrorists” have lost the civil war in Syria. Simply put, the USA has been defeated, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the Israelis are now freaking out.

Second, the American plan to use the Kurds as foot-soldiers/canon-fodder has failed. The Kurds are clearly too smart to be pulled in such a losing proposition.

Third, the American plan-B option, the partition of Syria, is now itself directly threatened by the Syrian military successes.

Last and not least, the Americans by now are deeply humiliated and enraged at the Russian success in Syria.

Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov
Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov

Hence they have now apparently taken the decision to directly target Russian military personnel and they are using their considerable reconnaissance capabilities combined with US Special Forces on the ground, working side by side with “good” and “bad” terrorists, to target and attack Russian military personnel.

This is not the first time, by the way. There is pretty good evidence that a Russian hospital near Aleppo was targeted using means not available to the local Daesh franchise. This time, however, the Americans are not even trying to hide. The message seems to be this all-time American favorite “watcha gonna do about it?“.

There is a lot the Russians could do about it, in fact. I wrote about this in my article “Using plausible deniability against a systematically lying adversary“. If the folks at CENTCOM really believe that their generals are all safe and out of reach they are deeply mistaken. Unlike the Russians and, even more so, the Iranians, US Generals are mostly risk averse and hard to get to in Syria. But who said that Russia would have to retaliate in Syria? Or, for that matter, that Russia would have to use Russian forces to retaliate. Yes, Russia does have special units trained in the assassination of high-value targets in hostile countries, but that does not at all mean that they would decide to use them. Accidents can happen anywhere and the roads are notoriously dangerous in the Middle-East. Why do I mention that? To illustrate that Russia does have options short of overtly going to war.

Of course, the Russians could simply fire a volley of Kalibr cruise missile at any of the ISIS positions shown in the photos above and then go “oops, you had personnel embedded with these al-Qaeda types? Really? We had no idea, no idea at all“. Syria also have a pretty solid arsenal of tactical ballistic missiles. The Syrians could mistakenly hit any such ISIS+US positions and express consternation at the presence of US military personnel in the midst of terrorists. There is also Hezbollah who, in the past, has even seized Israelis soldiers in raids across the border and who could decide to capture themselves some US SOF types. And let’s not forget the Iranians who have not had such an golden opportunity to finally get their hands on US military personnel since many years.

The three key weakness of the US force posture in Syria are: first, their own force in Syria is too small to make a difference, but big enough to represent a lucrative target and, second, all the boots on the ground which matter are against them (Syrians, Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah and the Russians). Finally, the only two real US allies in the region are too afraid to put boots on the ground: Israel and the Saudis.

The bottom line is that if the Americans think that the Russians and their allies don’t have options they are deeply mistaken. They also should seriously consider the consequence of having US SOF operating in forward positions. The Syrians are closing the distance fast and this might not be the best time to hunt Russian military personnel.

So far the Russians have only limited themselves to protests and expressions of disgust. This has clearly not been an effective strategy. The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more the complain, the less credible their warnings sound. This is not a sustainable approach and the Russians will so “have to do something about it”, to use the American expression.

Things might become very dangerous, very fast and very soon.

(Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Trump will slaughter the Russians in Syria.

    • Troll: Cloak And Dagger
    • Replies: @El Dato
  2. Kirt says:

    The US government, military and CIA, arming and collaborating with jihadists to kill Russians. Seems like an old and familiar story. They even made a movie about it starring Tom Hanks.

    • Replies: @Alden
  3. peterAUS says:

    Plot thickens.

    Not only a Lieutenant General but two Colonels as well.
    Well….well…..in one “hit”.
    Interesting.

    So, so far, from “RT”:

    Official figures from the Defense Ministry stated in August that 34 Russian servicemen had been killed in Syria since the start of the Russian military campaign there in 2015.

    In early September, the Defense Ministry announced the death of two more Russian servicemen in IS shelling in Syria. Together with Asapov, that brings the overall death toll of Russian servicemen in Syria to 37.

    Le’t set aside HOW EXACTLY this happened. I believe I have a pretty decent theory, but we’ll probably never know
    It stinks to heavens, still.
    On several levels, neither flattering for Russians.
    Anyway…..

    But, agree with Saker here. This IS an escalation. Expected, long in waiting, but, here we are now.

    Sooner or later some Western SF guys will get killed.

    My take on that: nothing will happen unless US domestic politics requires it.
    Now, because that politics is a mess, true, it could create a problem. Maybe even a massive problem.
    Last time Trump launched.

    Next time……….!?

    In any case the guys on the ground there, from both sides, just REALLY started earning their pay.

  4. Phibbs says: • Website

    Nobody in America hears about this.

    • Agree: Grandpa Charlie
    • Replies: @longfisher
  5. Dan Hayes says:

    Regarding some possible Russian actions you have proposed to counteract targeting of their personnel:

    From your lips to God’s ears.

  6. Isramerica and its pets – Kurds, Sunni terrorists, ISIS – will now do what they want in eastern Syria: ‘Murkan airpower in or near-theatre exceeds Russia’s by a factor of 10 or more. Putin and Assad will have to settle for “Victory in the West”.

  7. The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more the complain, the less credible their warnings sound.

    So I guess you are saying that it is not possible ISIS knew where a Russian command post was and got lucky with a few mortar rounds.

    And to make sure the world looks up from the latest hurricane in the Caribbean, Trump’s troubles with the NFL, or our own navels the Russians should lob a couple 3M-54s at a US base in the Middle-East pushing the world closer to World War III in the name of credibility.

    Sounds like a good plan.

    My only question is: if the Russians are so smart, why “don’t” they “realize”?

    • Replies: @Bill
  8. Dingo says:

    Lets see if russian do anything about it . alot talk.saker but no action by the russians
    Look at all the help sadam got inhis air defense againstbthebcoalition forces in the iraqi war
    zilch.

  9. utu says:

    Escalation? Rather provocation in hope that Russia will do the escalation that will receive full media coverage unlike this provocation.

    • Agree: Kiza, Bill
  10. Kiza says:

    Great write up Saker, could not agree more. Here is my single favorite sentence:

    And let’s not forget the Iranians who have not had such an golden opportunity to finally get their hands on US military personnel since many years.

    I wrote just recently that with close to 1,000 military basis around the world, US resembles those tin turkeys in shooting galleries at country fairs, or a beautifully rich candy shop where one does not know which candy to eat first. That is, being everywhere is like being nowhere, just plenty of targets for plausibly deniable “accidents”.

    In other words, US gives the original meaning to the phrase throwing stones from glass-castles. Let us see what happens.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  11. I think US SOF will be just fine. Putin is not willing to get into a shooting war with the US over Syria unless there was a blatant attack by the US on one of their bases. Israel will likely get more involved once the dust settles and Iran tries to establish a foothold.

    • Replies: @Quartermaster
  12. By the way, just wondering, does anyone think that if the US gets bogged down in North Korea that Putin will seize the opportunity to invade the Baltics? Seems plausible to me…

  13. Most people (including politicians and generals etc.) just assume that because Cold War 1 didn’t result in a nuclear war, so naturally neither should Cold War 2. That assumption is exactly what makes a nuclear war more likely. (Of course, the chances are still very low, but we shouldn’t be complacent about it.)

  14. Erebus says:

    Hmm. This article leaves one waiting for the next course.
    We already know:
    That ISIS, SDF & USA act in concert.
    That the race for oil has subplanted the race to Raqqah.
    That the US is poking the Bear with poison-tipped stick.
    That this didn’t start last week, but months ago.

    So, given that the US can bring an order of magnitude more military assets to bear and overwhelm the Syrian theater, why don’t they? Why are they limiting themselves to penny-ante nuisance tactics – not even a real spoiler role? So far, this whole thing doesn’t add up for me.
    Or, is Andrei Martyanov’s suggestion in the previous thread actually close to the mark? Namely, that the Russians let it be known that if the US tries to do more than make a nuisance of itself, CENTCOM (Doha) goes boom and it’s Game On! If so, then the US is just probing how much naughtiness they can get away while learning lots about Russian operations and hoping something breaks their way. I’m sure the Russians will let them know when they’ve lost their sense of humour.

    I guess the danger lies in the Russians’ ability to gauge that moment accurately. It’s all fun ‘n games until someone loses their M.E. headquarters…

  15. Everything OK and under control, RF claims hypocrisy murdered one of THEIR Generals.
    They could have named the actual murderers but they didn’t, would’eve had negative impact on the bottom line on the ruling classes.
    Perhaps after unnamed hypocrites decimate their military leadership in Syria, sanctions may be eased?
    Profits and money above ALL, lives do not matter..

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  16. Realist says:

    It is impossible to overstate Trumps stupidity.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @Wally
  17. If previous events are a teacher of anything, Russia will do nothing.

    • Replies: @Ace
  18. Don’t wait for the headlines announcing the Russian blow-back for this action in Syria. It may take awhile, but it will be subtle and costly, probably financial where it really can hurt us.

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

  19. Russians do not seem to be too emotional on the General’s death. Russian TV kept it an item No.4 in the news. The General will be buried in far-away Ussuriysk. The Russian social networks do not refer much to it. Meanwhile it does not appear as important and as emotionally charged as it would be in the US or in Israel. Apparently Putin is not under pressure to act on this immediately.

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @Andrei Martyanov
  20. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    Dang it, you’re not supposed to think about the Pentagon being in bed with ISIS in Syria–and elsewhere–you’re supposed to be shaking your fist at those naughty NFL players who are getting uppity.

    Fill your mind with sports so that when the feces really hits the fan, you’ll be standing there dumbfounded with a “WTF?” look on your face.

  21. eah says:

    The Russian Ministry of Defence uses Facebook?!

    • Replies: @eah
  22. unit472 says:

    Back in 1983 Reagan had the battleship New Jersey use its 16 inch guns to bombard Hezbollah/Syrian positions in the Bekaa Valley. Hundreds of shells were fired but the inaccuracy of the bombardment was a big disappointment for fans of the battleships. Except one shell managed to find the entire command of the Syrian Armed Forces in Lebanon. They were wiped out!.

    Sometimes you just get lucky!

  23. …Just as in the case of the Russian military police unit recently attacked near Deir ez-Zor

    I thought this incident happened near Idlib, 400 km away from Deir ez-Zor? At least that is what the linked article says.

    This should probably be corrected so as not to give the impression of conflating two or more events, actions, and their consequences.

  24. The Russians seem convinced that this was an assassination and perception is reality. However, is it possible that ISIS just had a spotter, possibly mixed in with the civilian population who just phoned in the coordinates? All it takes is a cell phone.

    Russians would be high priority targets, so if the Gen. was with his troops, I’d like to know why this would be so far fetched.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  25. Putin is ever more bogged down in Syria. He can’t get out and the US can lower the boom on him at any time. This kind of high profile casualty is exactly the sort of thing to damage Putin at home. It’s also clear that Putin is scared silly of going one on one with US forces. Syria is turning into Putin’s Afghanistan!

    • Troll: Beefcake the Mighty
    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Ace
  26. Kiza says:
    @Israel Shamir

    That is perfect, the Ruusian leadership is managing the situation just right. They appear to blame “US hypocrisy” and “leakage” of information to ISIS, an obvious hint at US spies in SAA. But it is truly most important not to be forced to react to US provocations. “We will chose time and place” works like waiting for the second shoe to drop.
    1) it is much more important to win this war than a life of a general (with condolences to his family), because winning this war will be an immensely powerful symbol of the end of the rule of the global US terrorism,
    2) the correct time for payback, and not only for the life of this general then for the lives of the Russian SU24 pilot killed by the US coopted Turkish airforce general, the serviceman who got killed during the rescue of copilot, for the lives of the MH17 passengers taken by another lot of US proxies, for the lives of Russian diplomats killed in various US plots and so on.

    Win first, then payback if you still want to.

    Think of Russia as a boxer who can sustain many, many punches but delivers a knockout blow at the right moment and wins the match.

    • Replies: @Wally
  27. Kiza says:

    What happened to this Turkish airforce general who was the CIA tool for the shootdown of the Russian bomber over Syria? The last I heard was that he was being arrested by Erdogan for participating in the (US supported) coup. Did the Russians ask for an accident in jail as part of the Turkish Stream package? I am sure that Erdogan would have been most pleased to deliver. And where was the CIA to help its asset? Nah, the CIA assets are disposable after use.

    This would be a great case study of what awaits US and its proxy assasins of the Russian general. The hand of the Russian Justice is long but it eventually delivers.

  28. @Israel Shamir

    This morning Russian media quote Syrian (Counter-Intelligence) sources that it was an inside job. A traitor. It happened not for the first time there that ISIS has a decent targeting due to leaks.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Kiza
  29. @Realist

    It is impossible to overstate Trumps stupidity.

    Trump is not really in control of US military, his military troika, Mattis, McMaster, Kelly is, plus CIA is not controllable by anybody, its Director, Pompeo, is a graduate of West Point and is also military to the core. So, at this stage Trump is, indeed, a figurehead in terms of setting policy in anything “military”-related. What those US generals can have against Russia? Oh boy. It is the whole other story altogether.

    • Replies: @Realist
  30. @Phibbs

    I’m American in America.

    I heard about this…here on unz.com.

    • Replies: @Hrw-500
    , @Wally
  31. Jake says:

    An alliance of WASPs + Saudis + Israelis = an endless array of self-righteous posturing and lots of needlessly dead and dismembered and impoverished people.

  32. Joe Hide says:

    I’m an American and am deeply saddened by these events. Our country and military are in a survival crisis going on between horrific psychopaths, the still misinformed public. and the rest of us. The psychos are trying to create Russian- American conflict to distract energies away from revealing and stopping their real agendas. This article was very important. Don’t pay attention to the distractors in the comments. They do not represent most of us.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  33. @whyamihere

    Why would Putin invade the Baltics? I see him as playing defense against American neocons who want to see Putin out and their favorite oligarchs back in control of Russia.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  34. @Erebus

    Namely, that the Russians let it be known that if the US tries to do more than make a nuisance of itself, CENTCOM (Doha) goes boom and it’s Game On!

    Speak of the devil. Today. Tu-95s and X-101 in action. But even this demo has one huge subtext–all launches were done from the Iranian and Iraqi airspace although they could have done it without leaving Russia’s airspace. This speaks volumes and why it is important? Because this implies a much larger salvo by, say X-32s and that means US naval assets in the Persian Gulf. The game is on.

    https://vz.ru/news/2017/9/26/888609.html

    There is a famous Russian anecdote about young and old bull looking a the herd of cows from the hill;-)

    • Replies: @Erebus
    , @Sergey Krieger
  35. The Zionist controlled U.S. government has no legal right to be in Syria and had no legal right to destroy Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya but the Zionist neocons in the gov had the U.S. invade and destroy these countries for the real ruler of America ie Israel.

    Russia and Syria are going to kick the U.S. and Israel and Britain the hell out of Syria and that includes their proxy army ISIS aka AL CIADA, the hand writing is on the wall, and the monster that they created ie ISIS will be sent to hell.

    GOD BLESS RUSSIA AND SYRIA

  36. Mark Presco says: • Website

    I never quite understood why Congress and the Deep State have shown so much animosity toward Russia for the past few years, the sanctions bill etc.

    It also seems that they are trying to kill two birds with one stone by linking Trump with Russian hacking. All Jeff Sessions has done is roll over for Trumps enemies by appointing a special prosecutor for this; I have yet to hear of him seriously investigating any member of the Deep State.

    I have to conclude that the Deep State has been planning for this Syrian end game for a long time. They have done their preparation work well.

  37. anonymos says:

    If Russia is not going to support the integrity of Syria and act on it, then must GET OUT NOW. Muslim people have seen too many knives of their back by the racist west and their extension like Russia. Syrian integrity WILL NOT BE COMPROMISED, SO Iraq and any group that are cooperating with the evil empire are considered traitors and will be destroyed. Presence of American invaders is ILLEGAL IN SYRIA, thus THEY SHOULD GET LOST, if they don’t Russia must bomb their positions, otherwise Putin and Russia will go down the tube as Zionist like trump, in the pocket of Zionist bankers. We never trust Russia.

    Photos: US, Kurdish-led Forces Pass Through ISIS Territory with No Confrontation in Deir Ezzor

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/photos-us-kurdish-led-forces-pass-through-isis-territory-with-no-confrontation-in-deir-ezzor/5610564

    [The Russian Defense Ministry wrote on Facebook on Sunday that US special forces have escorted the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) across ISIS positions.

    “Without any resistance from the IS militants, the SDF units are moving further along left shore of the Euphrates River towards Deir Ezzor,” the defense authority said. “At the aero photo imaged, taken between September 8 and 12, 2017, at the positions of IS forces can been seen many US armored Hammer vehicles, used by the US special forces.”]

  38. Hrw-500 says:
    @longfisher

    I begin to ponder if the whole NFL kneeling might be a diversion for the Syrian situation as well as North Korea?

  39. Simply put, the USA has been defeated, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the Israelis are now freaking out.

    This is silly, but matches the sort of idiocy Saker likes to post. The Israelis have succinctly stated that they will attack any Iranians they detect within 80 miles of their borders. The Russians said they would tolerate a much smaller buffer, and when Israel did not back down, the Russians backed down.

    Second, the American plan to use the Kurds as foot-soldiers/canon-fodder has failed. The Kurds are clearly too smart to be pulled in such a losing proposition.

    The only place such a plan existed is in the fantasies of Saker. It is against the interest of the US to use the Kurds in such a wasteful fashion, and the Kurds are, as Saker gets right for once, smarter than that.

    If the folks at CENTCOM really believe that their generals are all safe and out of reach they are deeply mistaken.

    The US recently buried a General Officer killed in the ME. It’s really idiotic to make such a claim when such things have happened with then recent history of the US, much less over the military history of the US.

    Things might become very dangerous, very fast and very soon.

    Really? And they aren’t now? Ever been in a war zone Saker? The whole thing is a dangerous place to be. That includes Generals, come to think of it. If you really think that CENTCOM doesn’t realize they are targets in Doha, you are more ignorant than I thought.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  40. @Erebus

    That ISIS, SDF & USA act in concert.

    We know this? Really? Methinks your credulity is beginning to match Saker’s

  41. @Kiza

    I’d have thought given the grip that the bad guys have on US media, the worst possible option for Iran would be an Iranian proxy holding US special forces. There are loads of people who want to escalate, and very few are Russian/Syrian/Iranian.

    Also, what Joe Hide said. And Kiza.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  42. @whyamihere

    The Israelis have already stated clearly that they will attack Iranians within 80 miles of their borders. Russia blustered about this, then backed down when Israel did not back down.

  43. Realist says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Trump chose the generals…hence he is stupid.

  44. Bill says:
    @Johnny Rico

    So I guess you are saying that it is not possible ISIS knew where a Russian command post was and got lucky with a few mortar rounds.

    The question isn’t what’s possible. The question is what’s most likely.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  45. anonymos says:

    [The whole thing is a dangerous place to be. ]

    Then why the criminal Americans are there? Some people are so arrogant that refuse to understand that US PRESENCE IN SYRIA IS ILLIGALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL and Syrian military and Syrian government’s allies who have been invited to clear Syria from US terrorists like ISIS, HAVE A RIGHT TO SHOOT THEM if they refuse to fuck off from Syria.

    [The Israelis have already stated clearly that they will attack Iranians within 80 miles of their borders. ]

    No one listens to barking dogs except the criminal zionists. 80 miles of ‘their borders’ is in SYRIA. It is so laughable.

  46. @Realist

    Trump chose the generals…hence he is stupid.

    I’ll give you that. But Trump is not alone, in general American attitude to military cannot be called rational and that is a huge problem.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Realist
  47. MarkinLA says:

    Well supposing that Hezbollah or some other Syrian ally can actually capture US Special Forces personal, why isn’t this being planned? The best way to get people in the US to understand that we are not supporting the good guys is to capture US military and ISIS fighters together and put them on display for American TV. This might do more to get America out of the ME than anything else.

  48. Talha says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Actually it is quite rational when you look at what the purpose of it is; a money making scheme. Then all actions make perfect sense.

    Peace.

  49. pogohere says: • Website
    @whyamihere

    When I played this game I put hotels on Baltic and Mediterranean, but that never led to winning. The young tenants fled, looking for jobs elsewhere.

  50. pogohere says: • Website
    @Realist

    And since he chose them and they make all the decisions in theater, he gets to blame them when it all goes down the drain. That’s his MO.

    • Replies: @Realist
  51. @Bill

    The question isn’t what’s possible. The question is what’s most likely.

    Or how you interpret the answer to that question.

    The narrative here is that the United States murdered a Russian general.

    It could just as easily be said that Russian operational security is not as good as they would like the world to believe.

  52. peterAUS says:
    @Proud_Srbin

    Now….you could be onto something here.

    Russian operation in Syria does appear to be a “leaking ship”.

    Who is leaking and why is The Question.
    Knowing how all those power groups in Russia operate…well…even Lieutenant General can be a cannon fodder and extendable pawn

  53. peterAUS says:
    @Chris Chuba

    is it possible that ISIS just had a spotter, possibly mixed in with the civilian population who just phoned in the coordinates? All it takes is a cell phone.

    No.
    Forward command posts SHOULD be constructed in a way to withstand mortar attack.
    Even direct overhead hit with 107/120 mm shouldn’t inflict casualties in the post. Anything aside/back even less. The sole purpose of those command posts (and field fortifications in general) is to prevent loss of life/limb of personnel within.
    Take a look at some manuals; easily done in rural.
    In urban even much easier.

    Something ELSE happened here.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  54. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Most likely something like that (targeting as inside job).

    Still, doesn’t explain how a mortar “stonk” killed a VIP inside a Command Post.
    Not at all.

    Scenario:
    ISIS knew the target was on the spot; they had coordinates and all ballistic data for FIRST bomb hit (no corrections). Not hard, quite possible.
    Fired, what, 4….8 bombs. Caliber..what….medium/heavy..I’d go with heavy. So….the “stonk” gets onto the target. Most likely just ONE bomb hits the overhead cover. So what? Other bombs hit all around. So what?
    If….if…..the command post was done properly.
    If not, the General crew (or himself) should’ve seen it; one look is enough.

    If they were around the command post, yes…..but….bloody hell….that WAS stupid.

    Or…..or…..we are getting into area of laser guided mortar munitions.
    If….if…that happened……well…..well….next level.

    Or, the General and his team were simply assassinated and mortar “stonk” is a cover story.

    Personally, I can’t figure how this could’ve happened.
    Idiocy/incompetence (not easy to accept here) or…something else.

    Something just does not add here.

    • Replies: @AB_Anonymous
  55. peterAUS says:
    @Quartermaster

    Agree.
    And with your post below.

    Brace for “saturation fire” by Rusophiles/Anglo-haters around.

  56. Erebus says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “No, let’s walk down, and get them all.”

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  57. El Dato says:
    @Anonymous

    First he has to deal with the Knees at home.

  58. @Erebus

    “No, let’s walk down, and get them all.”

    You got it;-) BTW, it is also a great stratagem.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
  59. Kiza says:
    @Joe Hide

    The distractors

    are the Hasbara trolls who are paid by the Zionists to spill the usual bull on this fine zine, they are not American they are dual citizens at best. Unfortunately, their masters are your masters. There is no amount of US blood and treasure spilt for them that would sate them, till they rule the World.

    Please note how they refer to “Anglo-haters”, whilst both Saker and everybody else here talks most clearly about Anglo-Zionists, that is the Zionists and their servants and collaborators, a very distinct subset of Anglos (e.g. US Congress and President Swamp). Whatever is rotten in US and the World you can bet your bottom dollar that Zionists’ fingers are in it.

  60. The contradiction at the heart of the Saker’s analyses is something like this: he rightly points out that the USA is a crazy beast whose foreign policy in the Middle East is reckless, hypocritical and incoherent, he then contrasts that to Russia whose policy is supposedly Realist, rational, and transparent. He then argues that we are constantly on the brink of WW3 because Russia may respond with military force to the incoherent and reckless actions of the US. But if Russia is as rational as his initial contrast implies why in a million years would they precipitate WW3 (or even a mild regional version of WW3, which they would surely lose) by reckless reactions to the provocations of the crazy beast?

    I don’t mean this sarcastically. I genuinely don’t get it.

  61. Kiza says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Why would you assume that US are masters in plausible deniability (which they learned from the British) and Iranians are not? Then the Saker said – lay their hands on a US SOF (very close to SOB), not hold the piece of sh*t. Another gruesome death, like the four US “contractors” in Fallujah, but without a chance for a huge US war crime on the civilians of Fallujah. All done by some dissatisfied “moderate” US terrorist in Syria, just like the numerous green on blue deaths in Afghanistan.

    In fact, something like this may have happened already, yet another US training accident death.

    The Russians would have nothing to do with the whole affair, except for helping it happen.

  62. Kiza says:

    How dumb does one have to be not to understand that if one joins military in a Western country, one has signed his or her life away to the Zionist beast.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  63. Kiza says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    A Syrian Arab Army officer working for US and/or Israeli intelligence, another disposable CIA/Mossad asset. Possibly even the same one who helped destroy the Russian field hospital whilst it was helping the Aleppo civilians.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  64. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Realist

    Are you sure the generals did not chose Trump? Trump has connections with the military going back to school days. He was, surely, the natural choice to front a crypto military takeover of the United States of Aggression.

    • Replies: @Realist
  65. El Dato says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Don’t quit your dayjob as fairground announcer, and aren’t you usually at antiwar.com with the same talking points?

  66. Che Guava says:

    Good artiicle,

    It is sad that the USA military and strategy are to stooping so low.

    However, a correction on a lighter point.

    Recent slight popularity of ‘Whatcha gonna do about it.’ (started with a post from me) here is not American.

    I am getting it from studying an old demo. by the Sex Pistols, itself a cover of an older song, by some pre-hippy band in England, so not particularly a USA expression.

  67. peterAUS says:
    @blank-misgivings

    You make a good point here, IMHO.

    But, what is the regime in Moscow supposed to do?
    If they allow to be “provoked”, in fact pushed/bullied around their own credibility goes down.
    With that credibility goes their power base.
    If the power base goes down the regime change is next.
    Putin and his people can look forward for Milosevic/Hussein/Gaddafi treatment. Not likely. Those men aren’t joke.

    So, the problem here is WHAT to do about these pushes.

    Careful response is required.

    Saker and his fanboys are totally wrong, IMHO, about any big move (as these CENTCOM fantasies).

    But, careful targeting some…..”contractors”…on the ground in Syria is another matter.

    But, before they can do that it would be wise to clean up their own house first.
    Plug those holes in their leaking ship in Syria
    Good luck with that.

    All in all, professionals from both sides there are for some hard times ahead.

    That’s why they are supposed to be very good and well compensated.

    Death is just part of that play.

  68. @Kiza

    A Syrian Arab Army officer working for US and/or Israeli intelligence, another disposable CIA/Mossad asset.

    Very well could be, especially against well-established fact of SAA command still having various loyalties within R+6 thus creating some serious frictions which can (and did) have operational and even strategic ramifications. Moreover, SAA’s General Staff is known to be somewhat sensitive in terms of operational planning with participation of Russian officers–but that is a whole other story about Arab militaries. It is very well known fact that some there are not very happy with Russian military advisers getting (fully deserved) credit. So, all kinds of possibilities.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  69. eah says:
    @eah

    Oops — right hand, left hand.

  70. @blank-misgivings

    …I genuinely don’t get it.

    Good observations.  The Saker doesn’t get it either :)

    It is not as if the Russians are keeping a low profile:

    Russian military defies constant shelling to build bridge across Euphrates in Syria (VIDEO)
    RT News – 26 Sep, 2017

    And more information on Syrian clustereff:

    US Winds Down Its Land Grab in Southern Syria, Launches Another One in the East
    A pair of offensives kick up the US-Syrian race for eastern Syria into high gear
    By Marko Marjanovic – September 19, 2017

    The Saker has faith RT News and his other basically pro-Russian mainstream media sources are trustworthy and all others are not.

    Is Foreign Propaganda Even Effective?
    The Russians can dish it out, but don’t expect Americans to swallow everything.
    By LEON HADAR • September 25, 2017

  71. Cam says:

    The NFL thing is a pyscop. Red meat to rally the pro military crowd around yet another war this time in Syria and to shut down any dissent as against our boys and girls and transgendered in uniform. One sick country.

    • Replies: @Ximenes
  72. Alden says:
    @Kirt

    It was on TV yesterday. I wondered if it was part of a renewed propaganda effort to convince us to go save some good guys from some bad guys.

  73. @peterAUS

    If this footage from YouTube ( https://youtu.be/PkZRoZykiqw ) is genuine, then whatever weapon was used it was very likely laser-guided and powerful. There was no shelling. Two strong and precise
    explosions within about 10 sec. interval are clearly visible (unless the second one was a result of some
    kind internal detonation). Besides, whoever planned the attack of such caliber, would’ve hardly jeopardized its outcome by using some not guided munitions.
    So, assuming this all is true, the list of possible perpetrators should satisfy the combination of: a) “cui bono” (in the first place in terms of revenge and/or provocation – not necessarily coming from direct participants of war in Syria); b) geographical closeness (as far as a killer-drone can fly, perhaps); c) possession and proficiency in using such weapons.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @peterAUS
  74. Wally says:
    @longfisher

    You just confirmed Phibbs’ point.

  75. Wally says:
    @Realist

    The alternative was Hillary.

    I’ll take Trump any day.

    • Replies: @Realist
  76. Wally says:
    @Realist

    Trump won the election, hence Hillary is stupid.

    • Replies: @Realist
  77. Mikel says:
    @peterAUS

    Forward command posts SHOULD be constructed in a way to withstand mortar attack.
    …/…
    Something ELSE happened here.

    Well, perhaps that the FCP should have been but was not constructed in such a way.

    I’m very russophillic, actually, and would rather see Assad/Russia winning the war over any of the alternatives. But the Kursk submarine accident happened. So did the downing of MH17 in Donestk or the Volnovakha carnage.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  78. @blank-misgivings

    I don’t claim to know anymore than you do but being chess players it would seem that the Russians, and the Chinese too for that matter, better understand the concept of playing the long game. We all know the truism that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time and time must surely be running out for the cabal that has highjacked and fleeced the US.

    Everything that we know about the current ZUSA, from financial data, unemployment stats, exports and just about everything else has been forged, fudged and fucked over. Even militarily, or especially militarily, the F35 is just one more example and, this being The Unz Review, other commenters can add to the list far more ably than I.

    At some point either from within or without it will wobble and wobble badly, and then things will be far more advantageous for those with the prescience to wait, something about revenge being a dish best served cold. I caught flak the last time I wrote that LA is a racial tinderbox, but many other US cities are too. Rome was once considered invincible. Only Americans themselves can put the brakes on now but, sadly, I don’t see it happening.

    • Replies: @MarkSLR
  79. @Kiza

    Agreed. Those that “serve” are deluded that they serve their nations but in fact they do the very opposite and only serve the globalists. This is very painful for them to face up to, if they ever do.

  80. @Andrei Martyanov

    Young bull learns patience and that there is no need to waste oneself for trifles ;-)

  81. @Andrei Martyanov

    Andre, I wonder, larger salvo from Iranian, Iraqi space is due to faster rotation or larger payload because of shorter flight time? Does it imply that Iranian and Iraqi space will be protected in this case by Russian air defenses?
    Frankly, this cannot go on forever just like it cannot go on forever in NK. I am afraid it will blow sooner or later. It has not solely to Russian side patience. But sooner or later big bull gotta get from that hill and have all cows.

  82. utu says:
    @AB_Anonymous

    It’s fake. Video spliced with legit Russian broadcast. I would not touch anything that comes from peterAUS.

    • Replies: @AB_Anonymous
  83. Kiza says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Usually the simplest explanation is the best explanation: money!

  84. Realist says:
    @Wally

    No difference in outcome. The Deep State controls whoever is President.

  85. Realist says:
    @Wally

    Yes, Hillary is stupid as are Americans who think their vote makes a difference.

  86. Realist says:
    @CanSpeccy

    Could be. The Deep State controls our government.

  87. Realist says:
    @pogohere

    “And since he chose them and they make all the decisions in theater, he gets to blame them when it all goes down the drain. ”

    Not a chance that will work.

  88. Realist says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “…in general American attitude to military cannot be called rational …”

    And I have many times commented on the stupidity of many Americans. This country is pretty much done.

  89. peterAUS says:
    @AB_Anonymous

    Well, that was definitely NOT a mortar bomb (or two bombs).
    Hell NO!

    Haven’t done any digging about that video (and no intention to do that…) , but, I doubt it was the video of the actual event.

    So, if anyone can prove that was the moment/place where the General was killed this statement (in the same video)
    “As a result of a sudden mortar shelling by IS militants, Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov was fatally wounded by an exploding shell,” the MoD said.
    just doesn’t make any sense.
    Any sense whatsoever.

    Either the video is BS, or “mortar bomb/shell” story is BS.

  90. @utu

    Thanks ! And for advice too. :)

  91. peterAUS says:
    @Mikel

    Occam’s razor?

    How about this: The Geneneral’s team was “sold” out by an insider. In that type of conflict, and especially in ME, that is common.

    The General’s team were aware of that possibility (they weren’t/aren’t stupid or naive) and acted accordingly, within given PARAMETERS. The parameters were/are/will be the problem for Russians.

    The parameters are: highly unreliable and incompetent ally they have to support. The support is on all levels, from moral to high tech. From instilling confidence to delivering strategic intelligence. And everything in between.

    There is a way how to move a VIP around the battlefield. That way wasn’t adhered to because of that “moral” element. Instilling confidence in shitty ally. So, no protective gear (helmet, vest), no proper vehicles, speed…preplanned route…pre-recointered route, including inspections of objects on stopovers…blah…blah….. Imagine how US President moves around; the same principles apply to a VIP in combat zone. And this VIP was highly experienced soldier. His team too. True, there was that Russian bravado and toughness too, but not primary reason for this.

    So, he and his team got into already marked (sold out) spot; that spot was shitty done (by incompetent ally) and he wasn’t doing the move by the book (“see how I don’t care…it’s no problem…no need to be afraid of those”….blah…blah….). Discipline on the spot was shitty so no proper reaction to incoming. BANG. Dead.

    That’s my 2 cents based on available info.

  92. Ximenes says:
    @Cam

    “The NFL thing is a pyscop. Red meat to rally the pro military crowd around yet another war this time in Syria….”

    Work North Korea into that. A Pearl Harbor-like nuclear “sneak attack” could be said to have Russian cooperation. It wouldn’t be the first time rage against an Asian country led us to a war with fellow whites.

  93. MarkSLR says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    The Russians and Chinese have wanted (probably installed) a weak Trump-like figure in the US White House and have a small window to operate in until he is gone.
    The time is right to stretch America thin militarily and show the inability to control the commander in chief to drop the once proud country to low levels in world statesmanship.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  94. @MarkSLR

    Personally, I don’t see how the Russians or the Chinese had much, if anything, to do with installing Trump. Had the Dumbs gone with Bernie instead of the much hated Hillary and had the Repugs produced a better lineup of presidential contenders then Trump would not be President. Both parties have been serving Wall St and have been undermining the nation for decades so Trump has contributed very little to that end, so far.

    Americans don’t have to go overseas to find enemies as the worst of them are attacking from every direction and just about all from within. Non dare call it treason (a book by Gary Allen IIRC).

  95. Doesn’t this strike anyone else with a sense of Deja-Vu? Whatever happened at Dair-ez-zar just over a year ago, around 20 September 2016, the US/UK/ANZAC ‘accidental’ bombing of the Syrian Army and who knows how many Russian advisors, the smashing of the Lavrov-Kerry Aleppo cease fire, the deafening lack of chatter over the following week, only to be broken by Samantha Power’s psychotic rant at the UN about ‘Russian’ bombing of aid convoys. The other news that seeped out, some days later, from two solitary reports from Arabic Sputnik, and the FARS news agency, which reported a Kaliber barrage on the US/NATO/IDF secret base behind ISIL lines, sunk without a trace. I remember, seeing the reports, and then waiting for the story to spread slowly, then not so slowly as these things do. But there was nothing. Even the usual suspects were dead silent. Three or four days later, the Washington Post, posted a strange account of a fire-fight near the Jordanian border, with on US serviceman injured, was this the sanitised version? No way to know. Then on 3-4 October, Russia staged its massive civil defence exercise, and Putin emerged on 7 October, angrily telling the US to ‘иди на хрен’, giving them demands to fulfil in order to restore the relationship, the irony was blazingly obvious. Maybe it would have been rude, but no media, either Russian or Western, commented on Putin’s appearance, looking as if he hadn’t slept for days, perhaps he hadn’t.

    The general feeling was that Putin stared down Obama, and Obama lost.

    This time the allegations by Russia are more public, but there isn’t any real sense of tension like last year. I can’t see Putin and Trump getting close to butting heads over this, maybe Obama just needed to be put in his place. But what do I know, I’m just a guy with a computer.

  96. @Dan Hayes

    Think a little more “asymmetrical.” Russia has MK-Ultra-like assassins or old fashioned “dupes” who could very easily have done Las Vegas yesterday – they are here now in the U.S. Even if Russia didn’t do Las Vegas, no one believes that Stephen Paddock was the lone gun-man. Now ISIS is claiming blame for the attack. Well, ISIS is an American operation. The whole thing is more than likely a brilliant asymmetrical response by Russia to the U.S. targeting Russian military officers. They couldn’t possibly get away with it you think? Think again. A Polish intelligence officer wrote a book demonstrating that the Soviets were quite capable of assassinating targets in America, including Kennedy. Assassinating President Kennedy in response to the attempt on Nikita Khrushchev’s life in Minsk where “killer” Oswald spent his time in the USSR, was so “doable,” that the KGB sacrificed another mind-control pawn, Nosenko, in order to give the Americans an excuse to not point the finger at the Russians. Las Vegas yesterday was pay-back for the Russian officers no doubt about it.

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  97. @Ha'ashkee Ndaa'Ke'O'N'dee

    With the proper application of witchcraft, Russians can do anything.

  98. Ace says:
    @Captain Nemo

    I see Russia as having the ability to stay focused. Putin has not reacted to provocations and you can see the result of that polucy and their intervention. That intervention was a message loud and clear to America that outweighs anything America has done.

    The Russian sir defenses in Syria also send a clear message that there are limits to what Russians will tolerate, though their exact disposition may indicate only a limited concern for Russian assets.

    Our “Oh, look! A squirrel!” president can’t stay focused and immediately caved on his position that we should not engage in so much foreign adventure. Now he seems set on some kind of broken-off chunk of eastern Syria as “ours.”

    The Russians need only wait for our financial situation to worsen as we prove unwilling to close our borders and unable to deal with entitlements, spending, Afghanistan, competition with China, repatriating manufacturing, black hostility, and Anti-Fa and Democrat sedition.

    Sitting back seems like a winning strategy and there ARE the opportunities for unknown assassins and tragic accidents to even the score.

  99. Ace says:
    @Michael Kenny

    I think it’s more accurate to say that Afghanistan us our Afghanistan.

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