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Week Twenty-one of the Russian Military Intervention in Syria: The Calm Before the Storm?

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The ceasefire in Syria (which is not really a ceasefire, but rather a “focusing of combat operations”) is holding surprisingly well. This is primarily due to the brilliant tactic of forcing each fighting group in Syria to define itself either as a “good moderate”, and be guaranteed safety, or as as en “evil terrorist” and become an indisputably legitimate target which anybody can engage. De jure, the only ones who can legally engage anybody in Syria are only the Russians and the Syrians, everybody else, including the US-led coalition, is present there in total illegality, but de facto the latest agreement also acknowledges the right of all parties to engage the “evil terrorists”. By forcing each group to self-define itself the Russians have completely taken away any credibility from the rather ludicrous accusation that they were bombing the “good terrorists”, the latter category having basically disappeared from the conflict. And to be really honest and blunt about it, the US has been forced to accept the Russian definition of a terrorist as “anybody who fights against the Syrian government”. Oh, I know, they never agreed to such a wording, but since those who until now fought were categorized into “good” and “bad” opposition to the Syrian government and since now the “good opposition” accepts the truce/ceasefire, that means that all those who fight against the government are ipso facto “bad”. Thus anybody taking up arms against the Syrian government is “bad” and a legitimate target for total elimination. QED.

The worst part for the Americans must have been that they waltzed into this conceptual trap with their eyes absolutely open, but that they could do nothing about it. They knew that their only chance to avoid a humiliating military defeat on the ground was to transmogrify it into a “ceasefire” followed by some kind of vague “transition”. So yeah, they hate this outcome, but the other one was even worse. Besides, some officials no doubt realized that the American policy in Syria was totally insane, bordering on a kind of dissociative identity disorder in which various agencies were not aware of what the others were doing and, in some cases, were even literally fighting each other on the ground. To persist on such an absolutely crazy course was bringing the risk of a major war with Russia, something neither the Europeans nor a big part of the (non-Neocon) US deep state really wanted. So while we can legitimately pour scorn on the imbecility of the Obama Administration’s policy in Syria, let us always also remember that it could have been worse (just imagine Hillary in the White House!). By stepping back from the brink the USA did the right thing.

And it’s not like we should choke up on gratitude either. First, the USA created his mess to begin with and, second, it’s not like right now they have fully recovered their sanity either. Not only is the US seething at its humiliation by Russia but now some die-hard Neocons want to try Assad, Russia, Iran for ‘war crimes’ in Syria! That nonsense is the direct result from this uniquely American mix of delusion and impotent rage about Russia and, really, the entire world. Something like a child breaking a toy he was told he could not have. While I would never discount the possibility of the USA doing something really reckless, the main danger today, as before, comes not from the USA but from the toxic and explosive Turkey+Saudi combo.

Ankara and Riyadh are giving all the signs of being up to no good. Not only does their rethoric remain bellicose, they are also playing all sorts of very dangerous military games: in a display of total irresponsibility and recklessness Saudi Arabia has reportedly engaged 150,000 troops in what the Saudis describe as “the 2nd largest military gathering since Desert Storm”. Other sources (here and here) speak of 350,000 troops (20 countries are now officially participating in these exercises). The Saudis have also moved 4 F-15S to the Incirlik air base in Turkey. This is not much, but this could be just a “tripwire force” which, if attacked, could justify the engagement of a much larger and reasonably modern Saudi Air Force (roughly 300 combat aircraft, 5 AWACS and 5 aerial refueling aircraft). Add in the Turkish Air Force (roughly 250 combat aircraft, 4 AWACS and 7 aerial refueling aircraft) and you will see that the threat to the tiny Russian Aerospace task force (50 combat aircraft) is very real, even if the Russian pilots and their aircraft are quite superior to anything the Turks or Saudis have. The Iranians also feel threatened and are warning against an invasion of Syria.

So how big is this Saudi-Turkish threat really?

It really depends on your assumptions.

If you assume that the Turks and the Saudis are rational actors, then the threat is not that big. For one thing, even if this “Wahabi coalition” brings in a lot of airpower, their ground forces, while large, are far away from the conflict zone and do not have what it takes to take on the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah forces on the ground. And since airpower alone cannot win a war, the only ground force the Turks and Saudis could count on would be Daesh. Not a good option at all, not militarily not politically. However,

If you assume that the Turks and the Saudis have “lost it” and are leashing out in frustration over their failure to overthrow Assad and take control over Syria, then they most definitely can bring about a direct conflict which Russia: since the tiny Russian force in Syria cannot protect itself against such a large adversary, Russia would have no other option than to bring her long range strike capabilities (Aerospace Forces, cruise and ballistic missiles) into the fight. Even more relevantly, Russia would have to strike at the Turks and the Saudis who would be operating from air bases shared with the US (CENTCOM) and NATO in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Also, in case of such a brazen Saudi-Turkish attack on Russian Forces I would fully expect Russian MiG-31s (possibly operating from Iran) to engage enemy aircraft. At the end of the day, neither Iran nor Russia will allow the Wahabis to overrun Syria and thus the Turks and Saudis need to ask themselves if they really want a war against Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, especially a war in which both Russia and Iran can, and probably will, strike at their domestically deployed military forces and their support infrastructure?

A more likely scenario is that the US, Turkey and the Saudis are trying to find some way to rescue Daesh and to carve up some “Syrian Wahabistan” which could be used to keep Syria weak and bleeding for the foreseeable future. This is clearly the options the Israelis also favor: to break up Syria into a de facto Syrian Kurdistan in the north, a Wahabistan in the east and a secular Syrian republic along the Mediterranean coast. The fact that all this is in total contradiction with the decisions of the UN Security Council apparently does not bother those who are now contemplating such options.

It appears that we are in the proverbial “calm before the storm” and that the war in Syria will soon re-ignite with a possibility even bigger intensity than so far.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Syria

70 Comments to "Week Twenty-one of the Russian Military Intervention in Syria: The Calm Before the Storm?"

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  1. How about when we’re passing out blame we pass out blame to everyone that has it coming. This constant drumbeat reeks of Russian propaganda.

    America = Bad
    Russia = Good

    The geopolitical dynamics at play here are far more complex than this simplistic nonsense.

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  2. The problem from the lobby point of view is the amount of resources that were spent pushing forth this sort of a resolution by the actors that need it. U.S. does not need an entanglement but the partners it has want and need a ‘success’ story no matter the cost because they do not bear it.

    There is a disassociation in Turkey and Saudi Arabia from any consequences that come after because the loss of “investment” is tantamount to the greatest loss of all. Perception of earned aegis from the U.S. that is a given permeates almost all rhetoric put forth.

    If one looks deeper there is a chaeobol of interests that is pushing the actors to behave so aggressively. Some of it has to do with oil and gas, but a lot of it has to do with internal positioning of the actors themselves. If there is no expansion of their internal desires outward the political ideology on which they stand looses weight from top down and it is very hard to keep the polity stable if there is a vacum of standing down. There is no Plan B in relation to internal ramifications. It is at this point far more important what Turkey and Saudi Arabia have going on internally than what U.S. and Russia do to politically regulate the situation.

    My three cents
    http://www.lushfun.com

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  3. Saudis got cash. Militarily it is zero.

    Turks matter. But even nutty Erdo must realize he’s playing with serious fire.

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  4. The worst part for the Americans must have been that they waltzed into this conceptual trap with their eyes absolutely open, but that they could do nothing about it. They knew that their only chance to avoid a humiliating military defeat on the ground was to transmogrify it into a “ceasefire” followed by some kind of vague “transition”.

    So the brilliant Russians are on the role and winning and in order to save Americans from total defeat they agree to a ceasefire. Does that qualify as another victory for the Russians?

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  5. I agree with the Saker that as of this time Russia and Assad are winning big, with the arrangement of the ceasefire being quite masterful.

    That said, a couple points on the scenario where the losing players decide to just knock over the entire chessboard:

    For one thing, even if this “Wahabi coalition” brings in a lot of airpower, their ground forces, while large, are far away from the conflict zone and do not have what it takes to take on the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah forces on the ground. And since airpower alone cannot win a war, the only ground force the Turks and Saudis could count on would be Daesh.

    I am still waiting for an explanation of how 50 fighters (highest estimate I’ve seen, and even so less than half of them actual air superiority fighters) at Khmeimim have any chance whatsoever against even just the Turkish air armada. Even accounting for one S-300 battery and the Moskva.

    Or what those Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah forces – the former ones regrettably but undeniably incompetent, the latter two in very limited numbers – can do against just the 120,000 strong (that’s the equivalent of the entire active SAA at this point) and highly mechanized Turkish 2nd Army.

    A more likely scenario is that the US, Turkey and the Saudis are trying to find some way to rescue Daesh and to carve up some “Syrian Wahabistan” which could be used to keep Syria weak and bleeding for the foreseeable future. This is clearly the options the Israelis also favor: to break up Syria into a de facto Syrian Kurdistan in the north, a Wahabistan in the east and a secular Syrian republic along the Mediterranean coast. The fact that all this is in total contradiction with the decisions of the UN Security Council apparently does not bother those who are now contemplating such options.

    To the contrary I strongly suspect the fact there has been no drastic escalation means that they have resigned themselves to the eventual reunification of Syria. The banal fact is that none of the main foreign sponsors of the anti-Assad insurgency actually want a formal division of Syria. Turkey does not want an independent Kurdish state in northern Syria. Jordan does not want myriads of independent Islamist warlords running about on their northern borders. They will be stuck with the shittiest most backwards and destroyed areas of Syria which will not be an asset but a massive disability. For them all of Syria is best, but nothing beats something.

    If reunification does however occur that will not make the fissures between the Coast and Desert disappear by magic, and a new civil war can be stoked up again in another 10 or 20 years for a new attempt to seize all of Syria.

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  6. Turkish government is not very secure in its existence as it managed to split the country right in the middle. It can not count full support in a war against Russia as bulk of population is against any war. I suspect if a war really breaks out it will be a disaster for Turkey as it might trigger a full scale civil war, not only with Kurds but also with secularist opposition splitting especially the army. I somehow believe eventually something will happen in Turkey to bring back sanity and rule of law. It’s hard to believe an entire nation committing suicide because of one man who might not be sane.

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  7. As one who doesn’t usually give much credit to The Saker I was glad to read what seemed to me a well reasoned piece even if he beat up the possibility of a Turkish and Saudi attack on the Russians beyond any real likelihood before he did in the end back down and suggest a more plausible scenario.

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  8. The US-Israel-Saudi Arabia supported anti-government rebels have been losing territory rapidly under an intensified campaign by Assad’s troops backed by Hizbullah fighters, Iranian military advisers and Russian air strikes in recent weeks, allowing Kurdish forces to seize more territory.

    It’s no secret that ISIS like the so-called Arab Spring is a US-Israel creation. Its Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (born Elliot Shimon) is French Jew and was trained by Israeli Mossad.

    It’s not the first time the US and UK have tried to stage a pro-West regime change in Syria. Professor Douglas Little (Clark University) notes that CIA backed a pro-West coup in Syria in 1949 after Western creation of Zionist entity in 1948.

    In 1957, pro-Israel Gen. Eisenhower and Howard Macmillan planned invasion of Syria.

    In 1982, Oded Yinon, a prominent Israeli journalist formerly attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry authored a book, Zionist Plan for Middle East, expressly calling for the break up of Syria. “All the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units,” Yinon said.

    On February 15, 2016, former British ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, Peter Ford, told BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’, hosted by Nicky Campbell: “Assad is not going to be overthrown. This becomes more clear with every day passes. Western analysts have been indulging in wishful thinking for five years; it’s time to get real, we owe it to Syrian people to be much more realistic and hard headed about this. The West has to stop propping the so-called moderate opposition, which is not moderate at all by the way, and it has to allow Syrian Army backed possibly by the Russian to deal with ISIS.”

    https://rehmat1.com/2016/03/06/ex-uk-ambassador-no-regime-change-in-syria/

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  9. The ziocons’ rage over the destroyed (postponed?) Yinon Plan could conceivably lead to Israel’s total annihilation due to a self-inflicted major war in the Middle East. The Saudis and Turkey cockiness re Syria is due of course to the US long-term encouragement.

    Perhaps, the greatest problem for the world today is the institutionalized incompetence and unprofessionalism among the US “deciders.” When a low-life like Douglas Feith and such were allowed to weed out the well-known professionals – military advisors and others specialists in the government – which did not conform with the ziocons’ plan for the Middle East, that resulted in the increase in global danger. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/05/12/selective-intelligence
    “They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal—a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community.”

    https://lobelog.com/as-iraq-anniversary-fades-strategic-narcissism-stands-out/

    “Asked by Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, a neo-conservative close to Abrams, whether it was true he [Colonel Lang] knew Arabs well and that he spoke Arabic fluently, Lang replied affirmatively. “That’s too bad,” Lang quoted Feith as telling him. “And that was the end of the interview.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-06/why-our-government-and-deep-state-so-incompetent

    https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/228447-arab-spring-ukraine-turmoil/

    “More often, the ideological, the neo-conservative, as we call them in this country now – they are not conservatives by any stretch, they’re radicals – more often their voices or voices like them are listened to.”

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  10. War talk often centers around the hard assets of the belligerents, capital ships and war planes. But there are a lot of soft targets in the area as well. A quick kick to the gonads would force the Saudis to assume a defensive posture (or lose their nads).

    Think Houthis, oil installations, oil tankers, refineries, power grid, etc.

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  11. “..the losing players decide to just knock over the entire chessboard…”
    God save us all from the arrogant scum that avoids any accountability

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  12. The US Government, with their regime change operations, covert action, bombing runs, and outright invasions, not to mention economic sanctions, have killed or ruined the lives of more people around the world since WW II than any other group or government.

    Get over it. It’s a fact.

    Other governments and groups have lacked the opportunity to be so globally meddlesome.

    As far as Syria goes (and Iraq), Russia didn’t destroy those countries. The US sure helped.

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
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  13. “‘Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (born Elliot Shimon) is a French Jew”
    Is this really true?

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/09/08/will-the-real-al-baghdadi-of-isis-please-stand-up/

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/08/04/french-report-isil-leader-mossad/

    https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Abu_Bakr_al-Baghdadi

    http://americanfreepress.net/is-is-a-cia-mossad-creation/

    If the revelations are factual then this is too much!

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  14. {The banal fact is that none of the main foreign sponsors of the anti-Assad insurgency actually want a formal division of Syria. Turkey does not want an independent Kurdish state in northern Syria.}

    Karlin, apparently you have been out of Russia too long, and have lost the innate Russian understanding of Turks and Turk character. Turks have been coveting more Syrian territory for a very long time. Look up the theft Syrian Alexandretta by Turks.

    Since the cursed day nomad Turks “arrived” in Asia Minor, they have been looting and stealing. Most recent is theft of 40% of Cyprus about 40 years ago.

    As to the Kurdish “state” in Syria: Turks would love for Kurds in Syria to separate from the Syrian state, because then Turkey can invade and occupy that area on some pretext. Without the umbrella of a legitimate Syrian government, which can e.g. call in the Russian AF, Kurds by themselves cannot withstand the mechanized army of a large state, such as Turkey. Turks will ethnically cleanse the Syrian Kurds, and annex the land. SOP for invadonomad Turks.

    As to all others involved in the attempted breakup of Syria: none of your reasoning stopped the Neocon criminals from breaking up Iraq and Libya.
    Israel wants the Syrian state fragmented and gone, so that there will be no UN state legitimately claiming Syrian Golan.
    Saudi Wahhabists are terrified of an anti-Sunni Syria-Iran-Iraq arc from solidifying.
    Jordan is a bit player, following orders from Washington: they’ll do what they are told, or US will bring “liberty and democracy” to King Abdulahh’s palace, and his majesty knows it.

    Others meddling in Syria – US, France, UK, Germany, etc – have their own reasons.

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  15. Screw the neocons. These stupid people have created half of our problems. I favor Trump because I think he will put them in their place. We need to purge the GOP of neocons once and for all.

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  16. “I am still waiting for an explanation of how 50 fighters (highest estimate I’ve seen, and even so less than half of them actual air superiority fighters) at Khmeimim have any chance whatsoever against even just the Turkish air armada. Even accounting for one S-300 battery and the Moskva.”
    —————————–

    Khmeimim is guarded by S-400 and several short-range Pantsyr AD complexes. RKR Moskva carries navalized version of S-300. Any Turkey’s attempt at Khmeimim may result:

    1. In sinking of the Turkish Navy.
    2. Last time I checked Ivanovo and Pskov divisions were in a top shape.
    3. Other options are also available, including, as was stated in Saker’s piece, deployment of MiG-31BMs–those are very bad news for any Air Force.

    This is an escalation but Russia will not allow Turkey or anyone else to threaten military-political gains in Syria.

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  17. Hey Homer,

    You’re a pretty smart guy. I see you studied history at the same Pakistani institution you studied nuclear engineering.

    I especially like the part about how “pro-Israel General Eisenhower” planned an invasion of Syria in 1957.

    In 1957 Eisenhower was the president, not a general. Also, Eisenhower was hardly “pro-Israel”. In fact, Eisenhower was arguably the least pro-Israel president ever.

    Good analysis Homer! I see why Pakistani universities are so highly respected!

    Sherm

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  18. Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to present yourself as a total ass in public?

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  19. “Does that qualify as another victory for the Russians?”

    The American proxies were most likely facing defeat. The US, being morally bankrupt, will just try another form of aggression.

    What Russia wins is a little advantage in a chess match.

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  20. Let’s see:

    In the last thirty years the USA has invaded, overthrown a legitimate government, or destabilized a legitimate government, or started a proxy civil war in over ten countries by my count, and over half of these are on Russia’s borders or well within Russia’s traditional sphere of influence or even nineteenth century borders. The USA has also deliberately annoyed Russia to no good purpose and with obvious dangers to US interests by adding a string of countries on Russia’s borders to the NATO alliance; an alliance whose raison d’etre — the Warsaw Pact — no longer exists. [George Kennon characterized this latter bellicose blunder by the Clintons as one of the greatest diplomatic mistakes f the 20th century. That's a reasonable but still pretty awe-inspiring assertion!!]

    In the course of doing this the USA has: (1) killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians; (2) destroyed a greater percentage of existing infrastructure than Timurlane and Genghis Khan combined; (3) introduced a level of chaos into Africa, the Levant and the Near East that exceeds anything yet experienced in any of those regions; and (4) has done this for no discernible rational purpose except perhaps to make Eretz Yisroel the only stable nation in the region. And that’s stretching the meaning of “rational” to Pickwickian extremes! The Russian response has been temperate to the point of self-abnegation, And you are claiming that the Saker is promoting Russian propaganda for pointing out obvious facts?!!

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  21. All this makes sense but is true in spades for Israel. Zionists in the USA openly brag about how their money and control over the media, entertainment industries, and much of the political, governmental and administrative apparatus give them absolute control over any American policy that affects Israel’s perceived interests — or should I say the perceived interests of Israel’s current governing party. Until Zionist influence in the USA is significantly reduced, abated levels of violence in North Africa, the Levant and the Near East are a pipe dream.

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  22. Factions – Smactions:

    H. Clinton (Clinton-2), Trump, The other lesser actors, -eh!

    The American electoral circus is at Madison Square Garden, and too many Rubes are buying tickets.

    Hollywood Obomber is at the ticket counter. He is scheduled to star, in 2017, with Arnold Swarzeneggar, in a remake of “Predator”.

    The hopeful analysis of Imperialist Terrorist (bad terrorist-moderate terrorist), where the ‘moderate terrorists’ actually engage with Russia’s leaders and (as with Mighty Mouse), arrive in time to “Save the Day,” is just a rerun of the old brainwashing appeal of “Vote Democrat, and not for the War Mongering Republican.” Did I actually read from a comment on this forum, that Trump is somehow the Great Hope? That Trump will cooperate with Russia in some fashion?

    America’s Presidents (post November 22, 1963), do not exist in a Constitutional Republic. They are for show, advertisement; they are for the Rubes (college students, their Professors, and for many on this forum). American Presidents are not real. Hollywood Obomber has portrayed the fictional Bin Laden, and the even more fictional Obomber (from Kenya). He is Not Real. The next ‘President’ will have no more protein substance than Sauron.

    The next ‘President’ will be a Hologram. By falling for this Professional wrestling Scam, we, The People, risk losing our physical identity and fading into the land of the Dead, but Undead. “We The People” are, currently, no more than Holograms. We faded, half a century ago (in Dallas), when we failed to defend our Republic.

    At home, on this peninsula (not the Crimea), the Dem gangers are preparing to support Clinton-2, as their Favorite, Zionist Militarist Socialist Imperialist, Sanders, (after performing-playing his role of rousing the Dem ganger Party rank-&-file), is dutifully, fading into obscurity.

    Yes, there are a few Americans who would cooperate with Russia, and all other nations, in peacefully developing this beautiful planet, and respecting all its Peoples, and building upon Wilson’s “14 Points,” Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms,” and all other American documents of freedom, but all 25 of us – Do Not Hold Power!

    Hold to your illusions!

    I have a date with Sheryl Crow tonight.

    For the Democratic Republics, the ones we will rescue, and the ones we will forge!

    Durruti

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  23. March 3rd, 2016 Deutsche Bank positive on Russian ruble

    Despite facing sanctions, falling oil prices and recession, the Russian ruble is the most undervalued currency in developing Europe according to Deutsche Bank.

    https://www.rt.com/business/334393-deutsche-bank-ruble-undervalued/

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  24. The MSM and PNAC ideologists have created a plague of mis-information that is difficult to deal with, considering the state of the US educational and broadcasting systems. Today, the US MSM is owned by a few corporations (oligarchs) that are not shy to create their own reality a la Rove.
    In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by fifty companies; in 2012, 90% is controlled by just six companies. http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6?IR=T

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  25. Having top end hardware doesn’t matter much when your army is basically incompetent and have no morale. Just look at how badly the Saudis are doing in Yemen against a bunch of goat farmers.
    Turkey is a different matter, but if NATO does not get involved they don’t stand a chance against Russia, Iran and Hezbollah on the same team. Heck, even China are lurking in their corner.

    There doesn’t even have to be full out war between them. Turkey as a nation is not that stable and what happened in Syria could easily happen there. Lets see how fun Erdogan thinks it is when cash, weapons and mercenaries floods in to anyone who wanna fight him. Picture several hundred thousand Kurds with high-end Russian weapons and manpads. Get the popcorn ready!

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  26. (4) has done this for no discernible rational purpose except perhaps to make Eretz Yisroel the only stable nation in the region.

    “perhaps”? You mustn’t have read PNAC’s “A Clean Break” or the Oded Yinon Plan, yet?

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  27. I earlier responded in detail to this inquiry about how the Russian forces could defeat the Turkish military in case of a Turkish invasion of Syria:

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/week-seventeen-of-the-russian-intervention-in-syria-does-erdogan-want-war-with-russia/#comment-1320496

    Other issues:
    (1) As for your comment about the S-300 battery in Syria, it is actually a S-400 battery of eight launchers or 32 missiles. Add another 16 S-300 missiles on the Moskva and a few more on the missile destroyer;
    (2) You failed to mention the missile corvettes and submarines and their cruise missiles in the Med;
    (3) More recently Russia has deployed significant forces in Armenia on the Turkish border
    http://www.pravdareport.com/news/russia/25-02-2016/133640-armenia-0/ ;
    (4) Attacking forces must have a 2-4x force advantage when attacking fortified positions and Turkey does not have that big of an army;
    (5) Turkey must hold back forces at the Iranian, Armenian and, yes ,Greek borders. You will recall that Turkey has about 300 Leopard tanks and a portion of their air force that are facing the Greek Army.
    (5) You must recognize that the Russian planes (see earlier post) can each shoot down multiple Turkish planes before being taken down, due to longer range air-to-air missiles and space command battlespace systems.
    (6) Turkish airbases can be neutralized by cratering the runways.

    Enough of this war-porn. The bottom line is that Turkey would be destroyed militarily and economically in a war with Russia, Iran and Syria. In addition, American soldiers would be killed in the hundreds at Turkish air bases, which is why the US would veto any Turkish attack.

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  28. Deutsche Bank should know these things that is why Deutsche Bank owns $25 trillion in OTC swaps with the Central banks and other major banks. There is nothing more valuable than an opinion from the experts at Deutsche Bank.

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  29. {We need to purge the GOP of neocons once and for all.}

    Neocons have infested both sides of the isle.
    Killary Rodham Clinton is one of the worst Neocon warmongers out there.
    Husband Bill got NATO involved in illegally attacking Yugoslavia.
    The Evil Witch – Marie Jana Korbelová Albright – is a Democratic party member, and was Sec State under Bill.

    Obama is clueless about foreign affairs, so the evil women in his admin have been warmongering on his behalf.

    It never ends…..

    • Agree: geokat62
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  30. Indeed, as if Russia has no more aircraft to deploy.

    Forget about the small numbers of Russian aircraft in Syria at the moment.

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  31. I know you’re Jewish and every time I’ve met a Jew like you who’s virulently and pathologically anti-Israel they have some serious psychological disorder.

    I’m being serious here. I’m not exaggerating.

    What is your disorder? Depression? Bipolar? Schizophrenia?

    Do you share these posts with your therapist? Just wondering….

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  32. It does not look likely that Turkey is planning a big military operation – with or without the Saudis – any time soon: Turkish PM is visiting Iran with a big, top delegation to expand trade and diplomacy between the two countries now that sanctions against Iran have been lifted.
    Erdogan’s Turkey has at present a poor image internationally, and is struggling with mounting economic problems. Therefore his PM visits Iran to salvage what can be gained economically and save face politically now that Syria is experiencing some kind of holding ceasefire in 5 years of vicious war.

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  33. anonymous
    says:
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    Now that there’s a ceasefire what is taking place while it’s being observed? Are the various rebel groups digging in deeper? Are they smuggling in arms and ammo disguised as ‘humanitarian’ supplies? Are foreign fighters calling it quits and leaving or are more arriving? They’re supposed to be getting ready to negotiate. What’s there to negotiate? Will the rebels vacate the field? If negotiations go nowhere, which is likely, then how long before hostilities resume?
    Saudi Arabia and Turkey seem to be trying to suck the US into a ‘lets you and him fight’ situation, perhaps by forcing the US hand by arranging things so they get stuck and the US has to come in to rescue them. The amount of equipment SA has is more a reflection of their need to buy off the Americans and gain influence rather than that of assembling a military. Are those actually SA pilots flying those planes rather than hired foreigners? I sort of wonder what bullets we dodged by not having the deranged McCain or the reckless and incompetent Clinton become president back in ’08.

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  34. Yeah, Sherm, he’s a Jew who is fundamentally anti-Israel, but not because of some psychological disorder; he’s been infected with this horrible condition called humanism, which causes him to attack the blatantly anti-human actions of that shitty little state in the Levant. Then we have Jews like you, who in their excitement about their dysfunctional Zionist amusement park, a perpetual insurance plan against what you and yours perceive as the genetic anti-semitism of all gentiles cannot be expected to understand Renaissance and Enlightenment concepts like humanism. With the paranoia that comes with the belief that 7 billion plus humans harbor eternal hatred for your tribe of 15 million, isn’t attacking geokat62 as mentally unbalanced a case of the pot calling the stainless steel black?

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  35. The Turks and the Saudis don’t seem quite so sanguine about their ability to change the situation in Syria on their own. Every move they have made has been geared towards involving the US. If they feel capable of doing it on their own, there is no need for them to involve the US. There are some very good reasons for their misgivings. Their airfleets are mighty but dated. The 4+ “stealth generation” of aircraft was developed in response to defensive systems such as the S-300. The S-400 is even further ahead of the capabilities of 4th gen fighters such as F-15 and F-16. They are technologically overmatched by current generation of front-line fighters as well. The West and their allies have gotten a really cold shower with recent Russian displays of electronic warfare, cruise missile, and long-range precision bombing capabilities. There are probably not many Saudis or Turks who would want to bet against them without being under a US-provided umbrella.

    The Saudis must be quite concerned about the performance of their ground forces in Yemen, which is a much more favorable environment for them than Syria would be. If they ever came to blows with Russia, Saudi economic and infrastructure targets would be fair game. Big, big downside for the Saudis – and maybe a windfall for the US domestic oil industry.

    Turkey is barely managing to stay out of domestic chaos and getting mired in a costly, divisive war in Syria could push things past the tipping point.

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  36. Nobody even needs to ask what your disorder is.

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  37. Do you share these posts with your therapist? Just wondering….

    But, of course, I do, Sherm. That’s why I come here to Unz to visit my dear therapist, Dr. Sherman. Oh, before I forget, I’ve got one more to share with you, Doc:

    [MORE]

    The U.S. is at last facing the neocon captivity

    by Philip Weiss on May 19, 2015

    The best thing about this political moment in the U.S. (if not for the good people of Iraq) is that the rise of ISIS and the Republican candidates’ embrace of the Iraq war is posing that deep and permanent question to the American public, Why did we invade Iraq?

    Last night Chris Matthews asked that question again and David Corn said it was about the neoconservative desire to protect Israel. Both men deserve kudos for courage. Here’s part of the exchange:

    Matthews: Why were the people in the administration like [Paul] Wolfowitz and the others talking about going into Iraq from the very beginning, when they got into the white house long before there was a 911 long before there was WMD. It seemed like there was a deeper reason. I don’t get it. It seemed like WMD was a cover story.

    Corn: I can explain that. For years. Paul Wolfowitz and other members of the neocon movement had talked about getting rid of Iraq and there would be democracy throughout the region that would help Israel and they came to believe actually a very bizarre conspiracy theory that al Qaeda didn’t matter, that Saddam Hussein was behind all the acts of violence…

    Matthews: The reason I go back to that is there’s a consistent pattern: the people who wanted that war in the worst ways, neocons so called, Wolfowitz, certainly Cheney.. it’s the same crowd of people that want us to overthrow Bashar Assad, .. it’s the same group of people that don’t want to negotiate at all with the Iranians, don’t want any kind of rapprochement with the Iranians, they want to fight that war. They’re willing to go in there and bomb. They have a consistent impulsive desire to make war on Arab and Islamic states in a neverending campaign, almost like an Orwellian campaign they will never outlive, that’s why I have a problem with that thinking. … we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. Why did they take us to Iraq, because that’s the same reason they want to take us into Damascus and why they want to have permanent war with Iran.

    What a great exchange. And it shows up Paul Krugman, who mystifies this very issue in the New York Times. (“Errors and Lies,” which poses the same question that Matthews does but concludes that Bush and Cheney “wanted a war,” which is just a lie masquerading as a tautology.)

    Here are my two cents. We invaded Iraq because a powerful group of pro-Israel ideologues — the neoconservatives — who had mustered forces in Washington over the previous two decades and at last had come into the White House were able to sell a vision of transforming the Middle East that was pure wishful hokum but that they believed: that if Arab countries were converted by force into democracies, the people would embrace the change and would also accept Israel as a great neighbor. It’s a variation on a neocolonialist theory that pro-Israel ideologues have believed going back to the 1940s: that Palestinians would accept a Jewish state if you got rid of their corrupt leadership and allowed the people to share in Israel’s modern economic miracle.

    The evidence for this causation is at every hand.

    It is in the Clean Break plan written for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996 by leading neocons Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser — all of whom would go into the Bush administration — calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the export of the Palestinian political problem to Jordan.

    It is in the Project for a New American Century letters written to Clinton in 1998 telling him that Saddam’s WMD were a threat to Israel. (A letter surely regretted by Francis Fukuyama, who later accused the neocons of seeing everything through a pro-Israel lens.)

    It is in the PNAC letter written to George W. Bush early in 2002 urging him to “accelerate plans for removign Saddam Hussein from power” for the sake of Israel.

    “the United States and Israel share a common enemy. We are both targets of what you have correctly called an “Axis of Evil.” Israel is targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles — American principles — in a sea of tyranny, intolerance, and hatred.”

    It is in Netanyahu testifying to Congress in 2002 that he promised there would be “enormous positive reverberations” throughout the region if we only removed Saddam.

    It is in Wolfowitz saying that the road to peace in the Middle East runs through Baghdad. (Possibly the stupidest thing anyone has ever said in the history of the world, including Douglas Feith.)

    It is in all the neocon tracts, from Perle and Frum’s An End to Evil, to Kristol and Kaplan’s The War Over Saddam, to Berman’s Terror and Liberalism, saying that Saddam’s support for suicide bombers in Israel was a reason for the U.S. to topple him.

    It is in war-supporter Tom Friedman saying that we needed to invade Iraq because of suicide bombers in Tel Aviv— and the importance of conveying to Arabs they couldn’t get away with that.

    It is in the head of the 9/11 Commission, former Bush aide Philip Zelikow, saying Israel was the reason to take on Iraq back in 2002 even though Iraq was no threat to us:

    “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 – it’s the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002. “And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.”

    It is in Friedman saying that “elite” neoconservatives created the war in this interview with Ari Shavit back in 2003:

    It’s the war the neoconservatives wanted, Friedman says. It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite. Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

    It is in Tony Judt’s statement about the Israel interest in the war back in 2003:

    For many in the current US administration, a major strategic consideration was the need to destabilize and then reconfigure the Middle East in a manner thought favorable to Israel.

    And yes this goes back to rightwing Zionism. It goes back to Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol launching neoconservatism in the 1970s because they said that the dovish policies of the Democratic Party were a direct threat to Israel– an analysis continued in this day by Norman Braman, Marco Rubio’s leading supporter, who says that the U.S. must be a military and economic power in order to “sustain” Israel.

    An Economist blogger wrote several years ago that if you leave out the Zionism you won’t understand the Iraq war:

    Yes, it would be ridiculous, and anti-semitic, to cast the Iraq war as a conspiracy monocausally driven by a cabal of Jewish neocons and the Israeli government. But it’s entirely accurate to count neoconservative policy analyses as among the important causes of the war, to point out that the pro-Israeli sympathies of Jewish neoconservatives played a role in these analyses, and to note the support of the Israeli government and public for the invasion. In fact any analysis of the war’s causes that didn’t take these into account would be deficient.
    Many writers, including Joe Klein, Jacob Heilbrunn, and Alan Dershowitz, have said the obvious, that neoconservatism came out of the Jewish community. And I have long written that the Jewish community needs to come to terms with the degree to which it has harbored warmongering neoconservatives, for our own sake.

    But America needs to come to terms with the extent to which it allowed rightwing Zionists to dominate discussions of going to war. This matter is now at the heart of the Republican embrace of the war on Iran. There is simply no other constituency in our country for that war besides rightwing Zionists. They should be called out for this role, so that we don’t make that terrible mistake again. And yes: this issue is going to play out frankly in the 2016 campaign, thanks in good measure to Matthews.

    - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/facing-neocon-captivity/#sthash.LvF9G9j6.dpuf

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  38. Both parties and most of their established politicians are bought and paid for by Adelson, Saban, Soros, Zuckerberg, Slim, AIPAC, etc. The buyers aren’t ashamed to brag in public about the level of corruption they have unleashed in this country and their betrayal of this country and its citizens to Israel’s interests.

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  39. The cease fire is the first step to sell Assad by Putin. In return Obama will restrain Turkey so Russia can withdraw her forces from Syria nominally “undefeated”. It’s all about saving Putin’s face.

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  40. Don’t be such a clown. The simple fact is here, Russia is good and following the law, the USA is BAD and breaking every law known to man. I’m a white man too by the way, who converted to Islam as reality dawned and as far as your name goes, I do feel like white men at least from the Anglo-Zionist empire owe the world an apology.

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  41. The geopolitical dynamics at play here are far more complex than this simplistic nonsense.

    Umm Hmm…

    What specifically are these complex “geopolitical dynamics” you speak of Unapologetic White Man?

    Please elaborate?

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  42. So the brilliant Russians are on the role and winning and in order to save Americans from total defeat they agree to a ceasefire. Does that qualify as another victory for the Russians?

    Does it matter? Who ‘wins’ from this war in Syria and why? What does “winning” look like to you Regnum?

    Just wondering…

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  43. Yep, Philip Weiss is certainly the most accurate and objective and reputable source when it comes to Israel.

    Don’t forget to take your Prozac tonight. I have zero doubt you’re on it.

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  44. Yep, Philip Weiss is certainly the most accurate and objective and reputable source when it comes to Israel.

    I guess you stopped reading before reaching the section: The evidence for this causation is at every hand.

    Could you tell us which, if any, of the 12 references he cites you take issue with, Dr. Sherm?

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  45. And the Russian base at Tartus? They just walk away from that?

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  46. Maybe they will keep it if Israel (400 F-16 & F-15) and Turkey (200 F-16) allow it. Russia has 50-60 planes in Syria out of which about only 8 are real fighters (Su-30 and Su-35) that can match F-16 or F-15. The remaining are attack (Su-24 and Su-25) planes that usually are not equipped with air-to-air missiles. The launchers of surface-to-air defense systems S-300 and S-400 have 4 missiles each. How many of these launchers are in Syria? Ten, twenty? They can be overwhelmed by a massive attack of drones and decoys and the wave of incoming fighter jets. Anyway, Putin would not move to Syria w/o Israel’s permission. It’s hard to say what was Israel’s interest in having Russia interrupting the process of advanced demolition of Assad’s Syria. Perhaps, Israel likes to play with a mouse like a cat. There is only one outcome for the mouse. Perhaps Israel wanted to show Obama administration who is the real boss in the Middle East. Perhaps Israel wanted to set Russia on conflict course with Turkey. Russia despite of its posturing is very weak. Her only trump cards are the nuclear weapons that they do not want to use. Putin is being played. And our Saker is a fool.

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  47. Thank you for the excellent review.

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  48. I have the playbook you three troll personae are working from, and I identified you immediately at your first appearance. So whatever tortured, nonsensical drivel you spout, you do it with the agonising consciousness that I already have your number.

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  49. 5371, Saker is it you?

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  50. {Anyway, Putin would not move to Syria w/o Israel’s permission.}

    Yes, of course: President Putin asked for little-bully Israel’s “permission”.
    And to be sure His Magnificence Netanyahoo gave His consent, President Putin sent this short video, personally begging the Great One for His benevolent permission.

    [//// The Largest Nuclear Bomb //// Tsar Bomba]

    Homework for delusional Israelis:
    Estimate how many Tsar Bombas will President Putin need to get “permission” from Nutsoyahoo to turn the whole of Israel into a vast tempered glass panel.

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  51. Is there no understanding of the Israeli Mossad/Intelligence being involved behind the immediate scenes? Israeli Intelligence
    is always in the mix to keep different factions at each others
    throat!

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  52. Anatoly, you omitted one vital element in the above article .. the Russians have deployed S-400 missile defense systems with the capability of shooting down enemy aircraft, as well as missiles. They did this in response to the downing of a Russian SU-24 bomber located 4 miles inside Syrian airspace. Among the areas being protected by the S-400 systems is the Khmeimim airbase just outside the city of Latakia; therefore, any air assault by Turkey or any other enemy of Syria would be devastated by the S-400 systems.
    The only missile defense system superior to the S-400 is the S-500, which is currently deployed within Russia itself.

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  53. Simplistic? How so? Because you disagree with it? I’m sure we are all well aware there are no clean skins in this fight but the narratives we see in this article and elsewhere on this site with their clear consistent logic and historical context make a hell of a lot more sense than anything we read in the corporate propaganda sheets radio and TV here in Australia and other parts of the so called “Free World”

    Your turn mate.

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  54. The dismemberment of Syria is the Zionist goal. They actually planned this more than 100 years ago, before Israel existed. America is their beast of burden, like a stubborn mule that sometimes resists. But just as the mule works for food, the Americans ultimately work for the money. Read the “Hidden History of Zionism” by Ralph Schoenman, a scholarly work that lays it all out.

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  55. Week twenty-one of the Russian military intervention in Syria: the calm before the storm?
    says:
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    […] Written by TheSaker; Originally appeared at TheUnzReview […]

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  56. A lot of Putin supporters when confronted with reality get psychotic and start talking about Tsar Bombas… Fortunately Putin is not psychotic. Avery, you, like many others project your hopes in Putin and it upsets you when somebody points out that Putin may have different operation mechanism than you expect. BTW, I am not a supporter of Israel.

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  57. {Maybe they will keep it if Israel (400 F-16 & F-15) and Turkey (200 F-16) allow it. }
    {Anyway, Putin would not move to Syria w/o Israel’s permission}
    {It’s hard to say what was Israel’s interest in having Russia interrupting the process of advanced demolition of Assad’s Syria. }
    {Perhaps, Israel likes to play with a mouse like a cat.}
    { Perhaps Israel wanted to show Obama administration who is the real boss in the Middle East.}
    {Perhaps Israel wanted to set Russia on conflict course with Turkey. }

    Yep, you sure don’t sound like a supporter of Israel.
    And you obviously know exactly what President Putin is planning and how he thinks.

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  58. Stiri scurte: 07.03.2016 | George Valah Blog
    says:
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    […] Week Twenty-one of the Russian Military Intervention in Syria: The Calm Before the Storm? […]

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  59. Saptamana 21 de la inceputul campaniei militare rusesti in Siria, dar armistitiul e numai „linistea de dinaintea furtunii”? | Lupul Dacic
    says:
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    […] http://www.unz.com/tsaker/week-twenty-one-of-the-russian-military-intervention-in-syria-the-calm-bef… […]

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  60. This is clearly the options the Israelis also favor: to break up Syria into a de facto Syrian Kurdistan in the north, a Wahabistan in the east and a secular Syrian republic along the Mediterranean coast.

    The American people know nothing about this dangerous situation.

    This is another MSM Zionist Jew crime put on America.

    An October surprise in the making.

    Hmm – will we need a non-bellicose leader like Clinton?

    Hmm – will that loud mouth Trump start a world war – will he side with America’s enemy – Russia – against our old friends Turkey, Saudi, and Israel?

    Hmm – how will Obama handle this?

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  61. Please refer to post #27 and my link to an earlier post that had responded to Anatoly Karlin’s premise that Turkey could overrun Syria. The earlier link goes into more detail on other Russian military options.

    The system dynamics of the Middle East and Europe in relation to Russia is quite detailed. It takes many years of research to have basic knowledge and several lifetimes to understand the situation.

    I will not waste my time trying to explain the energy geopolitics or the environmental stressors that have led to the Middle East crisises…

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  62. Thanks. I looked up what you wrote. Clearly you have interest in weaponry. Unfortunately you do not come across as sound and reasonable person. All what you write is as if it was taken from some brochure or catalog for teenage boys with interest in weaponry with special emphasis on Russian weaponry. “Toys for boys” or “Toys for Russian boys”.

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  63. Wayne,

    A little bit of attention to what you write:

    ….They actually planned this more than 100 years ago, before Israel existed….

    The Ottoman Empire still existed in 1916.

    I’m flattered by your belief in Jewish genius.

    Nevertheless we could not foresee the Syrian Republic (founded in 1945) or the French mandate in 1924.

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  64. The American people is not supposed to know anything. Not that they want to know anything anyway.

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  65. Week twenty-one of the Russian military intervention in Syria: the calm before the storm? | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog
    says:
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    […] This article was written for the Unz Review […]

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  66. I don’t get that at all and krollchem has posted lots of info over time that makes me think it’s well reasoned, but I’m no expert. All of this chest thumping about who can whip who’s butt or war porn as krollchem put it seems to me a bit like boys guessing if a lion would win in a fight with a grizzly.

    Either way the damage is massive and it’s always the common folk who pay the bills and suffer the most.

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  67. For the admirers of Nathalie Jaresko, the “ethnic Ukrainian” and US-imposed fraudster in charge of Ukraine finances: “The number one punch against the Ukraine by the IMF was to impose austerity on the pretense that Ukraine could pay its foreign bondholders with income taxed out of its domestic economy. When this made things worse, the World Bank and USAID came in. The U.S.-appointed finance minister fingered the agricultural land, gas rights and other natural resources that Ukraine could sell off to American and European investors – but not to Russians.” http://michael-hudson.com/2016/02/the-commanding-heights/
    So patriotic of her!
    Michael Hudson: “So the idea was that separating Ukraine from Russia is the first step in trying to carve up Russia, and then to carve up China, breaking them into little pieces. The aim is to treat China and Russia like the Mideast, like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria – as smash-and-grab exercises to take their natural resources and enterprises.”

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  68. “All of this chest thumping about who can whip who’s butt or war porn as krollchem put it seems to me a bit like boys guessing if a lion would win in a fight with a grizzly.” – Exactly!

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  69. Michael Hudson: “So the idea was that separating Ukraine from Russia is the first step in trying to carve up Russia, and then to carve up China, breaking them into little pieces. The aim is to treat China and Russia like the Mideast, like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria – as smash-and-grab exercises to take their natural resources and enterprises.”

    Yup. A Sykes-Picot plan for the Russophone world.

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  70. Would you care to educate us with detailed analyses to educate the rest of us. We are here to learn…

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