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The Most Anticipated Showdown in Recent History or a Load of Bullcrap?
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So now we have the ‘evidence’.

First, we have 4 grainy photos from an al-Nusra linked Twitter account:


Second, we have this confirmation from the White House via Zero Hedge:

Then earlier today we got the closest thing to a confirmation from the White House itself which confirmed that “it was closely monitoring reports that Russia is carrying out military operations in Syria, warning such actions, if confirmed, would be “destabilising and counter-productive.” Obama spokesman Joshn Earnest essentially confirmed Russia was already operating in Syria when he said that “we are aware of reports that Russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria, and we are monitoring those reports quite closely.”

I have a few questions about this “evidence”:

  1. Since when are ‘tweets’ from an al-Nusra linked account a credible source of information?
  2. Since when is the White House a credible source of information?
  3. How can you tell when/where the photos above were taken?
  4. What do you see on these photos – MiG-29, SU-27, SU-34s or MiG-31s?

As for the articles, they quote all these aircraft, but also Russian helicopters, Russian ships in Tartus, while the White House speaks of “military flights”. And on the basis of all that, Zero Hedge speaks of the “most anticipated showdown in recent history“.


Now I want to make something unambiguously clear: I am NOT, repeat, NOT affirming that there is no Russian military operation going on. It is *possible* that there is some kind of Russian military operation going on. But what I am saying is that there is a huge conceptual distance between “possible” and “likely” and that, at this point in time, there is exactly zero evidence for such an operation.

There is also the problem of Occam’s razor here. While the pseudo-evidence presented here could be interpreted as the sign of a Russian military operation, there is a much simpler explanation: Daesh is in trouble, the US and Israel are trying to muddy the waters and blame it all on Putin (what else is new?), these photos were taken somewhere in the Ukraine and as for the Russian military flights to Damascus, they are just the now routine military assistance which Russia has been providing for years. End of story.

Again, maybe tomorrow or in a week we will be shown some halfway credible proof of a Russian military operation and there will be some who will say that “haha, the Saker was wrong and we were right”. Okay, but I much rather be “wrong” because I refuse to accept pseudo-evidence from thoroughly discredited sources than to be “right” because I accepted such evidence. My “job” is to deal with the “right here, right now” – not make wild guesses and bask in self-congratulatory delight when once every now and then my wild guesses happen to be correct. I rather be wrong for the right reasons then be right for the wrong ones.

One more thing: on these photos I personally see what might be a MiG-29 and a SU-27 (both are almost useless for CAS, but nevermind that). I most definitely see no SU-34 or MiG-31. Not only that, but not a single article or photo ever mentions SU-24s and SU-25 which, in my humble opinions, would be much more logical choices.

At this point in time I am calling “the most anticipated showndown in history” a total load of bullcrap. And if tomorrow proves me wrong, at least it will be for the right reasons 😛

The Saker

PS: I just checked the Russian media and they say that 2 things might explain these rumors:

1) There is Russian military personnel currently in Tartus unloading military equipment for delivery to the Syrian Army. Some Syrians might have mistaken this military personnel for a expeditionary force.
2) The Israelis are angry at Russia over Iran and they are retaliating by spreading these rumors.

Makes sense to me.

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

    “Then earlier today we got the closest thing to a confirmation from the White House itself which confirmed that “it was closely monitoring reports that Russia is carrying out military operations in Syria, warning such actions, if confirmed, would be “destabilising and counter-productive.””

    Hypocrite is thy name, chutzpah is thy game.

  2. Saker:

    You are the guy I trust regarding Russia. I have a question. Why not just let the Gulf States have their fucking pipe line. Or would it also be necessary to allow Israel to annex Lebanon to appease the Empire. Thank you.

    • Replies: @The Saker
  3. That’s a sharp reaction ignoring a wider view of Moscow’s recent media explicative (as opposed to overture) in regards to Syria:

    So, “Russian media” is the Saker’s source for explanations of ‘rumors.’ All open source analysis is based more or less in ‘rumors’ .. its a matter of which rumor players have been the more reliable source and have made more sense in focusing a picture. And Russian media is no example of sainthood per putting forward unbiased information (however not nearly so disgusting as western mainstream.) Open source assembly of the information is an art and the Saker is no god in this regard.

    Perhaps Saker should have a look at a wider picture and admit to himself (as Putin undoubtedly will soon have to, if he hasn’t already) there never has been, is not now and never will be any good faith on the part of his western ‘partners’ in rolling up Islamic State, and the fact is, his western ‘partners’ are lunatics, particularly the ‘Christian millennials’ running the Pentagon. So, this is the source of Russian timidity to now, in regards to Syria? Cowardice in the face of idiots, morons, lunatics and fanatics with arms capable of initiating and carrying through the literal Armageddon the generals at the Pentagon embrace as a matter of personal faith? Or is it wisdom to stand down in the face of the unfolding, unlimited, unending aggression represented in the western democracies addiction to regime change and gaming via proxies? Either avenue, fear to confront or turning the other cheek, is a loser. As things stand, everyone loses. For myself, I don’t doubt the resolve of the man, only where to expect he (Putin) will draw the line, is what one should look for.

    The case Zero Hedge puts forward for Syria makes sense and they’ve been spot on before.

  4. The Saker says: • Website

    Hi WorkingClass,

    I don’t think that pipelines are crucial to the issue, at least not at this point in time. What is taking place is a US attempt to reshape the Middle-East and crush the “Shia crescent”. Iran is, and always was, the real target. As for Lebanon, may I recommend this really good article I posted yesterday:

    Also, to get a sense of the rampage the Saudis are engaged in, check out this CrossTalk show:

    It is against this backdrop that Russia has to act in careful coordination with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah on one hand, and China on the other. The biggest issue now is what to do about Daesh (aka “ISIS”). Here, again, Russia will have to act with the local countries, even those generally hostile to Russia or those who, like the Saudis and the USA, who have unleashed Daesh.

    It is dangerous, subtle and complex game which does not allow for one simple solution, but which requires a combination of carefully crafted mid-to-long term policies.

    As for Israel, as long as Hezbollah exists it will never be capable of over running Lebanon. They tried and they suffered one of the worst military defeats in modern history. Hezbollah is one of the mosts capable military organizations on the planet and they have the full support of Iran. Neither Israel nor the Saudis will be capable of removing it.


    The Saker

  5. @The Saker

    It is dangerous, subtle and complex game which does not allow for one simple solution, but which requires a combination of carefully crafted mid-to-long term policies

    This is the fault-line in much of geo-strategic thinking. There is nothing subtle about what is going on, its a dirty game more than it is complex, there’s no rocket science required to sort the players and respective goals. The greatest danger is a refusal to confront reality; this business of shaking hands and doing business with people prepared to stab one in the back is worse than foolish, it simply has not, does not and never will work.

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
  6. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Washington should be very pleased that Russia is joining in against Isis – seeing as Washington is hostile to Isis (and isn’t supporting them against Assad like those naughty people on the internet say).

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  7. @anon

    Perhaps you should read what the Defense Intelligence Agency had to say about (predicting) ISIS coming into existence precisely because the ‘western powers’ wished this as a tool to isolate Assad:


    • Replies: @5371
  8. 5371 says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Check your sarcasm detector ASAP.

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  9. tom says:

    Thank you for replying to the comments Saker.

    A couple of more viewpoints; it’s clear that Russia needs supportive States outside its direct boundaries. That might sound like that states are used as pawns in the game of battling a hegemony, but I’m sure that Putin and other Russian leaders think the same.

    Included in that is Russia’s image as a reliable supporter and part protector of its Allied states. Without that confidence and image, that could be a big problem for Russia going forward, especially when you’re a smaller State fighting the empire, its allies or its proxies. And if that means more direct military action by Russia, then so be it.
    With Syria battling the Wests and Mideast tyrannies terrorist proxies, Assad has lost half his army and now his enemies are partially on the edge of Damascus. As it looks like the Western terrorists are building to directly attack themselves. If there is the time for more direct support, it’s now or very soon.

    In terms of Hezbollah, I agree with you that they are a terrific fighting force, but, they are very small in numbers comparably, and could never last long againt a strong and long siege against larger state armies, Or do much themselves to be able to stop constant attacks.

  10. @5371

    Too many literal minds suck that stuff up like gospel, gotta keep it clear 😉

    Here’s sarcasm in black & white:


  11. tom says:

    @ Saker

    One more thing about the future of Hezbollah, you said Israel and the Saudis cannot defeat Hezbollah, but how about if you include the Turks, the U.S, and/or other small Sunni tyrannies surrounding Lebanon wanting to attack it.

    If you also include aggressive EU states, as well as in a possible future, a Syrians State with a Assads government gone and aggressive Sunnis in power, what chance does has Hezbollah have to survive ? None I say, Which is obviously the plan of the Evil US Empire that I just spelt out, with the future plan of Iran being next.

    Which is why it’s crucial, if we’re talking battling the Empire from Russias perspective as well as China’s, to get more involved. To draw a line in the sand and say fuck no. But I’m afraid that could lead to WW3. All because the US Empire that is shrinking, and wants to lash out militarily to keep its domination.

  12. @The Saker

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have been reading that the whole shit storm in Syria is about the potentially competing Arab pipeline. It seems to me much more is at stake. Assad is at the forefront of resistance against the global ambitions of the Anglo/Zio Empire. The recent back and forth in the alternative media regarding the extent of Putin’s commitment to Assad has been puzzling to me. Why would Putin risk a confrontation with American military over a pipe line. He does not seem worried about Iranian competition.

    Thank you for all that you do Saker. I have been reading you for some time and I am convinced that you labor in the service of truth.

    • Replies: @The Saker
  13. @Ronald Thomas West


    Psychopaths stop being psychopaths only after they die.

  14. Kiza says:

    I have this image in my head, of Israel behind a cash register, and whatever and whenever something happens in the Middle East, Israel hits the charge button on the register, the bell dingles and Israel says to the US tax-payer: “This is gonna add another two trillion dollars to your bill with me.”

    No sarcasm.

  15. The Saker says: • Website

    @WorkingClass: thank you for your kind words, which I will strive to deserve.

  16. I only know what I see on the internet which means I don’t know jack about what’s really going on here. As far as my hopes are concerned, for the sake of the Russians, I hope they don’t intervene. If they do intervene, I hope they win against Da’esh and whatever players are supporting Da’esh. I don’t think they’ll win, but I hope they win.

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