Small Wars Journal

Obama Claims His Critics Forced Him to Make a Mess of Syria

Obama Claims His Critics Forced Him to Make a Mess of Syria by Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

The administration let it be known it is scrapping what it never seriously pursued, namely training of anti-regime, nonjihadist rebels. In what surely is the most cringe-worthy excuse offered by a commander-in-chief, President Obama last week complained that his critics — whom he routinely ignored and scorned — forced him to make a mess of Syria. To say it is unbecoming of a president to whine that he was only following what critics told him to do, understates just how dishonest the president is and how morally repugnant is his approach to a war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, created millions of refugees and provided the Islamic State with a base of operations.

The New York Times reported, “Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment. The I-told-you-so argument, of course, assumes that the idea of training rebels itself was flawed and not that it was started too late and executed ineffectively, as critics maintain.” (Indeed editorial pages consistently criticized the president for belatedly, ineffectually, and halfheartedly acting or for shedding crocodile tears but taking no meaningful action to protect civilians, aid nonjihadi rebels and enforce the red line…

Read on.

Finger-Pointing, but Few Answers, After a Syria Solution Fails by Peter Baker, New York Times

By any measure, President Obama’s effort to train a Syrian opposition army to fight the Islamic State on the ground has been an abysmal failure. The military acknowledged this week that just four or five American-trained fighters are actually fighting.

But the White House says it is not to blame. The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place — a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At briefings this week after the disclosure of the paltry results, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, repeatedly noted that Mr. Obama always had been a skeptic of training Syrian rebels. The military was correct in concluding that “this was a more difficult endeavor than we assumed and that we need to make some changes to that program,” Mr. Earnest said. “But I think it’s also time for our critics to ‘fess up in this regard as well. They were wrong.”

In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment. The I-told-you-so argument, of course, assumes that the idea of training rebels itself was flawed and not that it was started too late and executed ineffectively, as critics maintain…

Read on.

Comments

The central underlying problem -- re: Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, etc., etc., etc. -- is that "regime decapitation," without a clear and viable plan (and, more importantly, a clear and viable capability) as to what to do "right after;" this such approach was and is madness.

The U.S./the West went down this road of working toward regime decapitations -- without a clear and viable plan and a clear and viable capability of what to do "right after" -- based on the idea that:

a. Everyone, everywhere

b. Liberated from their oppressive regimes would

c. Quickly, easily and mostly on their own

1. Throw off their old ways of life, their old ways of governance, their old values, attitudes and beliefs. And, in the place of these,

2. Adopt modern western ways.

Thus, what the U.S./the West essentially did was to:

a. Open Pandora's box

b. With an understanding that the evils contained therein would

c. Due to the "overwhelming appeal" of our way of life, our way of governance, etc.

d. Stand up, line up and march in unison to the tune of market-democracy.

When this did not happen (or when it became clear that this would not happen), the U.S./the West then had no idea (and no real capability, even if it had an idea) of what next to do.

Now steps in Putin -- pointing out the obvious (see all of the above) -- and suggesting that now:

a. We halt this "regime decapitation" madness and

b. Proceed along more sensible and more viable lines.

Given the current state of affairs in the world, why would his such suggestions not have appeal?

1. To many of the people in the region.

2. To many of the people in Europe

3. And, potentially, even to many of the people here at home?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11890352/Vla… (This: provided by Outlaw below.)

Thus, Russia to rescue?

a. Of the U.S./the West -- from itself and

b. The world at large -- from such irrational Western ideas and approaches as have been outlined above?

Outlaw 09

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 12:20pm

From the same Obama official that stated the Europeans were the ones that said for the US to do a Russian reset…………instead of accepting that Obama and his advice totally failed--they both "blamed someone else"--this time the Europeans.

You can almost feel the ground shifting in Washington. Fmr senior Obama aide calls for rethink of Syria policy http://politi.co/1MtPMQ7

So many holes in this piece arguing for deferring discussion of fate of Assad -- you have to love ex advisors who work for 2 years (2013-15) then jump ship for better jobs and more money----

ALL the while he never once in this article mentions the single truth that right now ground fighting successes have shifted to the anti Assad forces and Assad only control 15% of the country and the Assad Army can barely hold on---thus now Russia, Iran and Hezbollah enter to support him after years of support from Shia militia and IRGC--yet this ex advisor says nothing about that.

From Putin on CBS---"And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform," Putin added.

NOTICE Putin did not say for long Assad is to stay in power--the same Assad that has killed seven times more Syrians than IS has and who is largely responsible for the current refugee crisis.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 7:45am

Bill C---hope Obama, Kerry and the NSC have read this ----so what will their responses be--"well we must meet with Putin to see if there can be any progress"????---is Putin not signaling that he has no intentions on progress other that what he dictates that progress to be for his own agenda???

How many ways can Putin state/display his intentions to Obama and yet we seem to not get it?--remember HOPE is not a strategy.

Putin goes to UN, Putin scores meeting with Obama, Putin kicks UN out of Donbass and then...? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/25/world/europe/un-agencies-told-to-leav…

Is Russian action in Syria intended to preserve Assad? "You're right" Putin replies in CBS interview http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11890352/Vla…

Did not Obama and Kerry state over and over Assad must go and NOW?????

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 10:46am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--see the relationship between eastern Ukraine and Syria--it is all connected via non linear warfare--meaning just how does Putin move his agenda forward one step under full warfare and how does he keep the perception he is intent on war when he really is not.

Obama has committed the biggest blunder of his legacy as his moves or lack of moves in Syria will be the subject of discussions in the coming years especially by the next President--question is does he really "see and understand" it??

The core question will be can the next President even begin to repair the damage done without a "true war".

GRU operative from St. Pete, fighting in Donetsk (http://gruz200.net/?n=953 ), killed in Syria 9/22. The IRONY. http://vk.com/wall-3223620_1228475?reply=1228606

It is irresponsible to not fully understand Russian non linear warfare and have no UW strategy----and then blame others for one's on failues---

Re Putin - a senior US official says it would be 'irresponsible' for Obama not to test whether progress is possible on Syria, Ukraine

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 2:44pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

AND just how does a "thinker" handle this development.......will this development be "talked about" in DC during the Chinese visit???

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/...rive-in-syria/

Chinese Military Personnel Expected to Arrive in Syria 

By Leith Fadel on September 23, 2015

The recent arrival of the Russian Marines and Air Force to the Syrian port-city of Tartous has generated a significant amount of interest around the world, as the possibility of Russia’s direct military intervention becomes the focal point of the war on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham).

Should the Russians begin military operations in Syria, what role with the U.S. led “Anti-ISIS Coalition” play in combatting the terrorist group? Will they coordinate with one another? Will they avoid one another?

It seems both sides have their own strategy to combat ISIS, but the U.S. has had far more experience fighting the terrorist group, despite their minimal success in obstructing their growth and advance in Syria and Iraq.

Russia seems poised to take a similar approach to the U.S. led Coalition; however, they are not seeking the assistance of the neighboring Arab countries to combat the terrorist group.

Instead, the Russians appear to have a contingency that involves another world power that was absent from the U.S. led Anti-ISIS Coalition: China.

On Tuesday morning, a Chinese naval vessel reportedly traveled through Egypt’s Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea; its destination was not confirmed.

However, according to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that is stationed inside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks (6 weeks) to the port-city of Tartous – he could not provide anymore detail.

Russia has made it abundantly clear that they are taking an active role in this conflict, but the news of the Chinese military to Syria provides more insight into their contingency.

It appears that Russia is not going to combat ISIS alone: the plan is similar to the U.S.’ idea of a “coalition” of air forces, but far more involved on the ground; this is something the U.S. and their allies have avoided since the inception of their war against ISIS.

Despite all of this, Russia and the U.S. appear to be at it again; however, this is no space or arms race, they are actively flexing their muscles through their proxies (U.S.: rebels and Russia: Syrian Army).

A total of four Chinese naval vessels have transitioned via the Seuz Canal to Syrian waters ---one is a carrier.

Both had indicated naval exercises in the Med BUT certainly not Chinese Military presence on the ground in Syria as this alludes to if confimred to be true not just Syrian-Russian propaganda.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 2:02pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Bill C--see the linkage between a "legacy" vs the "ideologue"???

Quid pro quo so to say.

Russia supported the #IranDeal in tacit exchange for more leniency from US on other issues - Shevtsova (aka #Ukraine)

Obama is giving future poli sci students reams to do a thesis on ie the failure of US foreign policy in the Obama administration.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 1:58pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--you are reading far to much into a rather straight forward problem.

From the Putin perspective he is driving on three concepts--1. Russian religious nationalism, 2. anti Westernism--for whatever again perceived reasons and there are about six he states over and over, and 3.a trend towards singluar rule built on fasicism.

From the Obama perspective he feels that the US cannot lead for whatever reasons and he has three that he states over and over--THIS new US FP is being referred to as "leading from behind".

Obama is simply not a great thinker but rather a grand talker.

So we have a "doer" running smack into the "non doer ie talker."

The problem becomes for the US more convoluted when the "non doer ie talker" has far more concern for his "legacy" than he does for foreign policy---meaning he will "talk" a great line when the problem hits the front pages of the MSM--then he will do something ie anything until it disappears from MSM then it is business as usual with little to no follow up.

Simply put in Obamas entire presidential period REALLY just what is his "ideology"--see the problem? If he has one he defintely does not belive in it.

Forget the past politics and ideology this is the 21st century and the game is taking on a totally new form--meaning how can I bend someone to my will without the use of force reaching the level of war in order to achieve my defined end state.

Secondly--and this is the trap that has caught Obama and actually Merkel as well---when Putin ramped up his Ukrainian adventure everyone kept expecting him to "see reality" and adjust--he did not-- actually just the opposite he has been doubling down at every turn--WHY --simple he senses weakness in resolve from both.

Putin is constantly moving against his agenda and is adaptive enought to find his way out of the countless wet paperbags he has gotten himself into in the last year--WHICH one would expect from an ideologue.

Obama and Merkel have stated a number of times "the West needs to find an off ramp for Putin in order to save his face".

My question is WHY---because Putin fully understands this mindset and waits for any offer then he spinns it towards his oriignal three geo political goals and then resells it to Obama and Merkel as a way out--all the time actually without realizing it Obama and Merkel are being manuevered to what Putin actually wants as his end state.

Since Obama is not an ideologue but a talker he mentally bends towards a great argument if Putin presents it correctly. Remember an "ideologue" is willing to blackmail if needed because his idoelogy does not view it as blackmail.

Example---2014 Obama states in front of rolling TV cameras "we will judge Putin on his actions not his words".

WELL we have had a full 1.5 years of Putins actions and YET Obama still wants to talk. He contridictions even himmself.

THEN lets not even get into his famous Syrian "red line in the sand" statement.

THEN the blaming game comments when he gets caught out and many realize he has actaully done nothing.

THEN this--
Re Putin - a senior US official says it would be 'irresponsible' for Obama not to test whether progress is possible on Syria, Ukraine

"Irresponsible" is making stements that he will never in the end fulfill, "irresponsible" is to "lead from behind" with no strategy to speak of other than comments made during press conferences if at all, "irresponsible" is to state "we need to test whether progress is possible".

What the heck is that for a statement he has had a full year to "test for progress" and Putin has doubled down at every twist and turn.

Bill--"see and understand" it is a leadership problem from the side of the US vs an ideologue.

The "talker" will always come in second.

This has nothing to do with past foreign policy and everything to do with a personality conflict where one party truly wants to win the world and prove he is the superpower of the 21st century and the other wants his "leagacy" and it is the flood after me as I just have to make it to 2017 then I am in the history books with my "legacy".

Bill C.

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 11:31am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

The Russian narrative seems to read something like this:

The rise -- and root cause -- of much/most local, regional and international instability and chaos today,

This can be traced, directly, to:

a. Imprudent/irrational U.S./western financial practices and management. And

b. Imprudent/irrational U.S./western attempts (via regime change but with absolutely no idea what to do "right after") to transform other states and societies more along modern western political, economic and social lines.

The world in chaos today due, exactly, to "a" and "b" immediately above.

These such matters suggesting that it is time for new leadership in the world.

Russia, now, stepping in to provide such leadership.

Its (Russia's) mission: To end the madness associated with U.S./western poorly thought out initiatives and irrationality (i.e., horrible leadership).

So: Based on this "new leadership is needed and I am the man with the stability plan" narrative, Putin suggesting, for example, that:

a. Assad must stay and ISIS must go. And

b. Ukraine must stay within the Russian sphere.

Are there not many, in the Middle East and elsewhere, who would, now following failed/disasterours U.S./western "transformational" initiatives:

1. Agree with Putin re: "a" and "b" immediately above?

2. Forgo further U.S./western (half-baked?) "new order" designs. (And the massive local, regional and international instability associated therewith.) And, instead,

3. Now sign up for Russia's "restore/keep (the old) order" suggestions?

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 8:48am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C---

Two things;

1. Russia is extremely dangerous now for the simple reason--yes they trying to emulate the US BUT never did the US to my knowledge truly threaten to use tactical nuclear weapons at every turn to enforce what it perceived to be critical for the US--this implied nuclear threat complex by Putin makes him extremely dangerous IMHO simply because he believes what he says---he has drunk his own cool aid and that is dangerous as he no longer really understands reality around him--only the reality he has set for himself that he wants to achieve.

2. There is in fact now a full blown Cold War 2 AND Obama and his inept NSC and DoS Kerry simply do not want to even comprehend that it is a Cold War.

Right now there are fully confirmed reports and verified Russian ship movements that indicate there will be 22 Russian and four Chinese naval vessels including for the first time a Chinese aircraft carrier sitting off the Syrian coastline in the Med for a "naval exercise"--AND that is not just some subtle overlooked threat.

Couple that with the Russian overreaction to the news that the US is upgrading their nuclear bombs in Germany which they are in fact allowed to do with the Russian threat to station the SS21 in Kaliningrad and whoa....in his Syrian bases---that my friend that is a straight line to Jerusalem for the SS21. AND that is not a nuclear threat? Check the map--straight as an arrow from their current airbase.

Who wants their legacy to read "hey Mom we started the Cold War again because we made some really stupid decsions."

Read the below--Kerry made another of his foolish remarks not realizing the depth of the remark and it is coming back to haunt him again if the MSM is doing their jobs correctly.

This Reuters PR is a potential problem for DoS Kerry—if these are Russian aircraft flown by Russian pilots then IT fully violates Kerry’s statement—“hey they are there for self defense”—NOT a problem if it means the 5 Russian fighters just supplied to the Syrian AF flown by Syrian pilots.

BUT there was a social media field report that two fighters were flying over IS today speaking Russian to their controllers.

IF Russian aircraft flown by Russian pilots conducting air strikes—then Kerry basically lied to the US public… as that is definitely not "self defense".

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/24/us-mideast-crisis-syria-jets-…

Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:27am EDT

Syrian army uses new Russian jets to strike Islamic State: monitor

BEIRUT
Syrian government forces used newly arrived Russian warplanes to bombard Islamic State fighters in Aleppo province in northern Syria, a monitor said on Thursday, in an attempt to break a siege on a nearby air base.

Air strikes that began during the week were accompanied by ground attacks near the Kweiris air base in the east of Aleppo province, where government troops have long been holed up, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Bill C.

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 8:23am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Putin's desires (and associated strategy), re: the U.S./the West today; these appear to be similar to the desires (and associated strategy) of the U.S./the West, re: the former USSR/the communists, during the Old Cold War.

Thus, Putin wants to:

a. Prevent the U.S. from gaining greater power, influence and control throughout the world (and especially in his back yard and in his sphere of influence); this, by Putin

b. Halting, containing, disrupting, destroying and/or rolling back U.S. desired, initiated and/or supported democracy movements (for example: in Ukraine and Syria).

(Thus, much as the U.S., during the Old Cold War, sought to prevent the former USSR from gaining greater power, influence and control, especially in our back yard and in our sphere of influence; this, by the U.S., back then, working hard to halt, contain, disrupt, destroy and/or roll back Soviet/communist efforts to spread communism throughout the world.)

So:

Q: How to view the upcoming meeting between Obama and Putin?

A: Not in the context of a new Yalta but, rather, in the context of a New Cold War; one in which the roles of the U.S./the West, and Russia et. al, in consideration of the Old Cold War, have essentially been reversed.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 6:58am

There has been repeated talk out of Moscow and from Putin himself over the last year of the need for a "new Yalta" to divide up "spheres of influence" among the superpowers.

SO is this meeting perception wise going to be viewed as a "new Yalta" which in theory it will be viewed as--meaning Russian sphere of influence is now the ME as it's army is firmly entrenched in Syria and the Med, the Crimea and eastern Ukraine will remain under Russian control and the Ukraine will be thrown under the bus as many have stated ---that is the Obama policy right now in exchange for his legacy that he thinks he needs Putin to help him achieve.

By the confusion being constantly caused by the "blame the others" Obama appears as a weak and ineffective President and Putin is doing everything possible in a short period of time to cement his gains until the 2017 timeframe and new President will have to clean up the mess left behind by a former weak President.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.de/...t-un-part.html

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Upcoming Obama-Putin Meeting at UN Part of a New ‘Munich,’ Illarionov Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, September 24 – The apparent agreement of US President Barack Obama to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week in New York to discuss Syrian affairs represents a new Munich in which one side focuses on “peace in our time” and the other pockets recognition of his aggression while planning for more, Andrey Illarionov Says.

In a blog post this morning, following stories about American-Russian military to military talks Putin, the Russian commentator argues that what the world is seeing is “Munich-ization on the march” with eight disastrous consequences for Ukraine and the West more generally (aillarionov.livejournal.com/858406.html).

These are:

1. “The cooperation of Russia with the US on ‘the Syrian question’ in fact breaks the incomplete foreign policy isolation of Russia and removes from [Putin] the status of ‘outcast.’”

2. “All of Russia’s acquisitions in Ukraine are strengthened. Western leaders are entirely occupied with discussions about the need for talks with Assad.” They aren’t interested in talking about Ukraine.”

3. “With the valuable new ally the lifting or at a minimum softening of all sanctions is guaranteed either by the end of this year or at the beginning of next. An ally then, is that clear?”

4. “A new level of mobilization and discipline of Russian elites has been achieved. If someone in [Putin’s] entourage had been thinking that it was necessary to do something different, then to all it is perfectly clear that ‘papa has again done everything.’ Political elites, on the division of which certain hopes had been placed will again rally around the ‘alpha dog.’”

5. “The Kremlin will completely openly and legally introduce its forces into the Middle East.” Not just advisors but “real Russian forces” and apparently “now with the complete agreement and cover of the US.”

6. “The justification of Russian intervention … will not be handled not by Shoigu, Lavrov or even Peskov but by US Secretary of State Kerry: ‘In Syria, Russian soldiers are for the defense of Russian soldiers.’” The world will be struck dumb from laughter.

7. “With the support of Russia, the Shiite block of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will become the most powerful force. A full-blown war will break out against the Sunnis. A major war in the Middle East will become inevitable.”

8. “And what will be the price of oil under conditions of a major war in the Middle East?”

In short, Putin will gain his goals, Ukraine will be sacrificed in the name of something supposedly larger, and, just like at the time of the original Munich, those who think they have secured “peace in our time” by such an exchange will discover, as Churchill put it, that they have chosen “dishonor over war” but will get war nonetheless.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 1:43am

Putin is still blackmailing and attempting to force his political decision tempo onto the US and acting as if everything is a Russian solution and as if the US ie Obama does not exist.

Putin has three geo political goals;

1. discredit and damage NATO
2. discredit and damage the EU
3. totally disconnect the US from Europe

In a modified form the same goals are also for the ME with Russia replacing the US as the geo political hegemon.

Obama is contributing greatly to the success of Putin's goals by the somewhat strange "leading from behind" failing foreign policy.

Foreign policy is often a game of perceptions and right now the perception is that Obama and Kerry have virtually no idea what they are doing.

From Reuters---

Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for unilateral air strikes against Islamic State in Syria if the United States rejects his proposal to join forces, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Russia has increased its military presence inside Syria and its arms supplies to the Syrian army as it steps up support of longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, drawing warnings of further destabilization from Western countries that oppose Assad.

A Russian diplomatic source told Reuters on Wednesday that Moscow sees a growing chance to reach international agreement on fighting terrorism in Syria and end the crisis that has stretched into its fifth year.

Bloomberg reported that Putin's preferred course of action was for the U.S. government and its allies to agree to coordinate their campaign against Islamic State militants with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army. It cited a person close to the Kremlin and an adviser to the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

Bloomberg cited a third person as saying Putin's proposal called for a "parallel track" of joint military action accompanied by a political transition away from Assad, a key U.S. demand. Russia has communicated the proposal to the United States, according to the news service.

But one source told Bloomberg that Putin was frustrated with U.S. reticence to respond and was ready to act alone in Syria if necessary.

Did anyone notice the Russia blackmail attempt just in this press release?

Putin works in the simple "IF" and "THEN" world of foreign policy--not sure where the US is?????

"Blaming others" is rather a dumb way of conducting foreign policy with faced with political blackmail.

Should we say that President Obama (a) understands the following parallels and (b) the clear potential for disaster associated with same?:

During the Old Cold War, when communism was on the march, it could be argued that the United States/the West held the high hand; herein, being able to say that they (the U.S./the West) were working to:

a. Maintain local, regional and international "stability;" this,

b. By opposing such rapid and radical political, economic and social changes as the Soviets/the communists, at that time, sought to bring about throughout the world.

Today, in the New Cold War, with market-democracy now being on the march, the Russians (et. al) appear be the ones holding this same high hand. Herein, being able to say today, much as we did during the Old Cold War, that they are the ones working to:

a. Maintain local, regional and international stability; this,

b. By opposing such rapid and radical political, economic and social changes as the U.S./the West seeks to achieve throughout the world today.

(Such things as the rise of ISIS being portrayed by the Russians, et. al, as [a] local, regional and international instability [b] directly CAUSED by irrational/imprudent U.S./western efforts to [c] "transform" various states and societies more along modern western lines.)

Thus, the "tools" that we used against the Soviet/the communists during the Old Cold War and re: their expansionist efforts; these appear to be the self-same "tools" that the Russians, et. al, in the New Cold War, are using against us today and re: our expansionist designs.

Given how successful we were in using these "tools" to (1) prevent, contain and roll-back the spread of communism and (2) bring about the demise of the Soviet Union,

Should we not be concerned that, using these same tools today, the Russians, et. al, will, likewise, be able to (a) prevent, contain and roll-back our expansionist efforts and (b) bring our nation to its knees?

(This, given the fact that such ideas as "universal values," and a like-minded "international community" built on same; these such ideas appear to have the clear potential to "lure" various and diverse great nations/empires [such as America and the former Soviet Union] to their demise?)

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 4:14pm

Foreign policy is often all about perceptions--when Obama is being perceived by Putin as weak, when his actions in the face of Putin's military move into Syria is being perceived as weak --then others can decide to play the game harder and take additional advantage of that perceived weakness.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015...tollah-demand/

Iran deal open for debate? Tehran presses new ayatollah demand

The Iranian government is pressing the U.S. and others to give even more ground to Tehran in the already-sealed nuclear agreement, posing a new headache as the Obama administration and others try to implement the deal.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this month demanded that sanctions be lifted entirely, not just suspended. A top Khamenei adviser reiterated that demand over the weekend -- ahead of potential informal talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Secretary of State John Kerry plans meet in the coming days in New York with his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. According to Iran's Fars News Agency, Iranian officials also plan to meet with all members of the P5+1 group, which negotiated the deal, in New York on Sept. 28.

These reported plans prompted one group, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), to question whether talks were being "reopened," in order to address Khamenei's concerns.

Asked about the speculation, a State Department official said there is no further negotiation and the U.S. expects the deal to be implemented "in good faith."

"We've long said that we're not going to comment on or react to every statement attributed to the Iranian leadership," the official told FoxNews.com. "Our focus is on implementing the deal, and verifying that Iran completes its key nuclear steps under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. There is no renegotiation, and the nuclear-related sanctions relief that Iran will receive once the IAEA verifies that it has completed its nuclear steps is clearly spelled out in the text of the [agreement]."

But at the least, the ayatollah's demands show the post-deal debate shifting now from Washington back to Tehran, leaving some uncertainty in the air as the U.S. and U.N. prepare to move forward.

In Washington, congressional critics have been unable to muster the votes to even send President Obama a resolution disapproving the deal. But in Tehran, the ayatollah on Sept. 3 renewed concerns about the nature of the deal's sanctions relief.

He said in a statement that sanctions should be lifted entirely, not just suspended -- and said "there will be no deal" unless this is done.

According to MEMRI's translation, he warned that if sanctions are only suspended, Iran, in turn, will only "suspend" nuclear activities cited in the deal. He also called for a parliamentary vote on the deal, though it's unclear whether that will happen.

Iran's Fars News Agency over the weekend quoted ayatollah adviser Ali Akbar Velayati saying Khamenei's views "should be materialized." He added: "It is understood from the Supreme Leader's remarks that balance is necessary in the two sides' measures and in case of imbalance, nothing will be done."

The text of the Iran nuclear agreement actually refers to the "lifting" of sanctions. But the White House has said that sanctions "will snap back into place" if Iran violates its end, indicating they indeed see the sanctions relief as reversible.

MEMRI wrote that the upcoming meeting could be a forum for all parties to "discuss the Iranian demand for further concessions." MEMRI, though, warned that outright lifting sanctions "would constitute a fundamental change" to the deal. "This is because lifting the sanctions, rather than suspending them, will render impossible a snapback [of sanctions] in case of Iranian violations."

The nature of the discussions being held next week is unclear.

On Sept. 20, Kerry said he planned to meet with his Russian and his Iranian counterpart, "regarding Iran and other things." But he indicated the meeting would cover a range of topics, including the Syrian civil war.

While Fars reported that the Iranians will meet with P5+1 representatives in New York on Sept. 28, the State Department has not announced such a meeting.

Earlier this month, after Iran's Supreme Leader spoke out against the process for sanctions relief in the deal, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest put the onus on Iran to follow through with its end before sanctions relief is even implemented.

"We've been crystal-clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanctions relief is offered," he said. "... And only after those steps and several others have been effectively completed, will Iran begin to receive sanctions relief. The good news is all of this is codified in the agreement that was reached between Iran and the rest of the international community."

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 4:12pm

Foreign policy is often all about perceptions--when Obama is being perceived by Putin as weak, when his actions in the face of Putin's military move into Syria is being perceived as weak --then others can decide to play the game harder and take additional advantage of that perceived weakness.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015...tollah-demand/

Iran deal open for debate? Tehran presses new ayatollah demand

The Iranian government is pressing the U.S. and others to give even more ground to Tehran in the already-sealed nuclear agreement, posing a new headache as the Obama administration and others try to implement the deal.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this month demanded that sanctions be lifted entirely, not just suspended. A top Khamenei adviser reiterated that demand over the weekend -- ahead of potential informal talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Secretary of State John Kerry plans meet in the coming days in New York with his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. According to Iran's Fars News Agency, Iranian officials also plan to meet with all members of the P5+1 group, which negotiated the deal, in New York on Sept. 28.

These reported plans prompted one group, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), to question whether talks were being "reopened," in order to address Khamenei's concerns.

Asked about the speculation, a State Department official said there is no further negotiation and the U.S. expects the deal to be implemented "in good faith."

"We've long said that we're not going to comment on or react to every statement attributed to the Iranian leadership," the official told FoxNews.com. "Our focus is on implementing the deal, and verifying that Iran completes its key nuclear steps under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. There is no renegotiation, and the nuclear-related sanctions relief that Iran will receive once the IAEA verifies that it has completed its nuclear steps is clearly spelled out in the text of the [agreement]."

But at the least, the ayatollah's demands show the post-deal debate shifting now from Washington back to Tehran, leaving some uncertainty in the air as the U.S. and U.N. prepare to move forward.

In Washington, congressional critics have been unable to muster the votes to even send President Obama a resolution disapproving the deal. But in Tehran, the ayatollah on Sept. 3 renewed concerns about the nature of the deal's sanctions relief.

He said in a statement that sanctions should be lifted entirely, not just suspended -- and said "there will be no deal" unless this is done.

According to MEMRI's translation, he warned that if sanctions are only suspended, Iran, in turn, will only "suspend" nuclear activities cited in the deal. He also called for a parliamentary vote on the deal, though it's unclear whether that will happen.

Iran's Fars News Agency over the weekend quoted ayatollah adviser Ali Akbar Velayati saying Khamenei's views "should be materialized." He added: "It is understood from the Supreme Leader's remarks that balance is necessary in the two sides' measures and in case of imbalance, nothing will be done."

The text of the Iran nuclear agreement actually refers to the "lifting" of sanctions. But the White House has said that sanctions "will snap back into place" if Iran violates its end, indicating they indeed see the sanctions relief as reversible.

MEMRI wrote that the upcoming meeting could be a forum for all parties to "discuss the Iranian demand for further concessions." MEMRI, though, warned that outright lifting sanctions "would constitute a fundamental change" to the deal. "This is because lifting the sanctions, rather than suspending them, will render impossible a snapback [of sanctions] in case of Iranian violations."

The nature of the discussions being held next week is unclear.

On Sept. 20, Kerry said he planned to meet with his Russian and his Iranian counterpart, "regarding Iran and other things." But he indicated the meeting would cover a range of topics, including the Syrian civil war.

While Fars reported that the Iranians will meet with P5+1 representatives in New York on Sept. 28, the State Department has not announced such a meeting.

Earlier this month, after Iran's Supreme Leader spoke out against the process for sanctions relief in the deal, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest put the onus on Iran to follow through with its end before sanctions relief is even implemented.

"We've been crystal-clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanctions relief is offered," he said. "... And only after those steps and several others have been effectively completed, will Iran begin to receive sanctions relief. The good news is all of this is codified in the agreement that was reached between Iran and the rest of the international community."

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:52pm

John Schindler @20committee

2 years ago @RadioFreeTom & I explained consequences of Obama outsourcing US #Syria policy to Putin. Here we are.

http://observer.com/2015/09/obamas-collapsing-war-on-the-islamic-state/

Nato official: "We had little confidence before in Obama’s ability to defeat ISIS. Now we have none." https://twitter.com/20committee/status/646747930821574657

An extremely interesting question--with the CENTCOM failures--WHY was Matthis replaced as CENTCOM Commander----?

Bill C.

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:56am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Outlaw:

"Despite what Vladimir Putin is saying, the United States still staunchly refuses to believe Russia is engaged in a new Cold War—and that the U.S. is losing ..."

Agree with the "New Cold War" concept, as you and I have addressed often times in the past.

The distinction being, of course, that the U.S./the West, being the expansionist party today, must deal with the challenges associated with such an expansionist role, for example:

a. How to support (with limited means) favorable revolutions,

b. How to stand against resisting state and non-state actors and

c. How deal with the local, regional and international instability that these such expansionist activities and initiatives, quite naturally and quite normally, bring in their wake.

Russia? In today's New Cold War, they are the one's doing prevention, containment and roll-back; especially in their neck-of-the woods areas and in their sphere of influence.

The connection between Syria and Ukraine -- and Russian prevention/containment/roll-back efforts there today -- to be seen, exactly, in this New Cold War role-reversal light?

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 12:36pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Even CENTCOM is totally confused by their missing 75 personnel and 12 technicals they sent over the border this week---AND this after the doctoring of IS intel.

So we have now a MIA Obama and Kerry totally unknowledgeable in Russian intentions and a DoD missing trained personnel.

How much more confusing/worse can it get in Syria-------?

Think I would be blaming others ASAP in order to admit I am not responsible for the mess.

Centcom now denies Abu Zayd defected to AQ, says all weapons accounted for with New Syrian Force: http://www.centcom.mil/en/news/articles/sept.-23-correction-to-the-reco…

Note, Centcom insists ALL Centcom-issued weapons in hands of New Syrian Force. Does not say, "except for ones stolen in August".

There you go: Dutch Jabhat al-Nusra (AQ) militant shows off US-made Mk14 EBR rifle likely taken from Div. 30. #Syria pic.twitter.com/eBAzc0SKVL

US-backed Div 30 has definitely been provided with US-made Mk14 EBR rifles already. See this previous pic. #Syria pic.twitter.com/CUpm8S9UeM

Well, this seems to complicate Centcom's denial: https://twitter.com/charles_lister/status/646641114955517956

So here's what we know now. 1. Div 30 says Abu Zayd was one of theirs but dodgy and they warned USG about him. 2. Abu Zayd says he...

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:40am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

More Russian pressure on a WH that absolutely does not know what the heck is going on in Syria nor with the Russians--and this is not a direct threat to Obama---

http://www.interpretermag.com/putin-in-syria-only-a-slim-window-of-oppo…

'Russia Will Never Negotiate Syria's Fate With Anyone'

14:55 (GMT)

Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports that Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, has declined to comment on a report in The Wall Street Journal on the preparation of two military bases for Russian troops near Latakia, Syria.

"Well reach out to The Wall Street Journal. The President has spoken about everything we are doing in Syria. I have spoken about this in detail, as have our other representatives. You know, read what they write in Germany, in France, in America, the same as in Ukraine, on who is violating the Minsk agreements. This itself doesn't mean that this is a sincere presentation of a position."

Dmitry Peskov, President Putin's press secretary, told reporters today that "Russia will never negotiate over Syria's fate with anyone."

"The Syrian people decide the fate of Syria and are taking appropriate action," said Peskov in response to a request to comment on reports in American media of discussions between Russia and the USA on a possible political transition in Syria, including the possibility of replacing the president of Syria, Bashar Assad, with another leader from the Syrian Alawite community.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, tweeted today that there is only a "slim window of opportunity for the USA and Russia to cooperate in Syria."

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:32am

Has anyone seen the WH fully understand this connection-------

http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...#ixzz3mZlNvOSp

The Dangerous Link Between Syria and Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has used the fighting in both countries to trap the U.S.

By Eerik-Niiles Kross and Molly K. McKew
September 22, 2015

Despite what Vladimir Putin is saying, the United States still staunchly refuses to believe Russia is engaged in a new Cold War—and that the U.S. is losing. But Russia aggressively pushes its own narrative where U.S. leadership is absent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seems to be everywhere in recent weeks, speaking several times with his US counterpart and others in the region, selling Russia as a partner for peace and stability when the West is faced with crisis.

Experts from the left and right alike warn that cooperation with Russia on Syria can have potentially disastrous consequences for the U.S., but too many Americans still don’t understand how closely linked these two headline conflicts are, and American policy has yet to confront the reality that Syria and Ukraine are part of the same mission for Russia—the destruction of the post-WWII architecture of the West. To achieve this goal, Russia has pursued a clear policy of disruption, chaos and destabilization—in Ukraine and in the Middle East—in order to force the West to have to partner with Russia to “resolve” the crises it has created.

Now, poised to launch a direct military campaign in Syria, Russia wants the U.S. to join a Russian-led coalition against the Islamic State and complete the rehabilitation of Bashar al Assad, or else end up in direct conflict with Russia in the Middle East. Indeed, many of the anti-aircraft and other Russian weapons systems being moved to Syria are more suited to shooting at American drones and assets than anything the Islamic State has access to.

This suggested coalition is little more than a well-constructed trap for the White House and for Europe. Russia created the conflict in Ukraine. Their military support for Assad fuels a bloody civil war and a refugee crisis from Syria. Russian efforts have also materially aided in the creation of the Islamic State—the wealthiest, best-armed terrorist network in history.

Understanding how Russia has engineered the false choice between accepting Russia as a dominant force in its “sphere of influence” or the proliferation of conflict is essential to accepting that neither choice is the answer.

Too often policy analysts debate whether the Kremlin is strategic or merely tactical in its approach to foreign policy. But the answer doesn’t matter. They don’t need a master plan when one clear strategic objective drives decision-making: make the U.S. the enemy—and make them look weak. The Kremlin has been opportunistic and decisive in grabbing a position of strength—in the Middle East and in Europe—while U.S. attention has waned and retracted.

When the civil uprising against Assad first began in Syria, the rebellion’s leaders hoped for western support. Support for the rebels was slow to materialize, despite early calls for Assad to leave power, but Russia—eager to protect its military foothold on the Mediterranean and on the southern flank of NATO—was quick to line up against U.S. policy and supply Assad with arms, military advisers, intelligence and political support. After Syria deployed chemical weapons against rebels and civilians in August 2013, Russia brokered a deal with the U.S. to save Assad from outside military intervention.

Russian support for Assad has allowed the civil war to continue for years at such an intense level of bloodshed and destruction. But shipments of armaments were not their only tool for saving their primary regional ally. They are also involved in building an engine of terrorism to open a second front in the Syrian war.

By the time the chemical weapons deal was signed, the nature of the war in Syria had changed. Before the 2014 Sochi Olympics—as Russia issued warnings about potential attacks by North Caucasus extremists and moved military assets into the region for the seizure of Crimea—there were rumors, now confirmed by Russian investigative journalists, that Russia was actively exporting fighters from the North Caucasus to Syria. Elena Milashina, writing in Novaya Gazeta, documented how, beginning in 2011, the FSB established safe routes for militants in the North Caucasus to reach Syria via Turkey. Local FSB officers, sometimes with the help of local intermediaries and community leaders, encouraged and aided jihadis to leave Russia for the fighting in the Middle East, in many cases providing documents that allowed them to travel.

It probably wasn’t a hard sell for the FSB to make to nascent jihadis: Go fight in the desert, for infinite riches and glory, or stay in Russia, where the security services had pretty good cover to kill a lot of them.

A lot of them left. In late 2012, Russian-speaking jihadis began to arrive in Syria. According to regional intelligence sources who have closely tracked their movements and activities, the Russian-speakers negotiated the unification of the Islamic States in Syria and in Iraq, creating the current Islamic State formation.

Suddenly, the war in Syria was “confusing” to American policymakers seeking a way out of the war and an end to Assad’s regime. There were “good rebels” and “bad rebels,” and the U.S. couldn’t decide which side to support. These tactics were similar to the irregular warfare Russia would deploy in Ukraine.

The war at that point also turned away from Assad and Syria, and toward Iraq instead. The western front of ISIL was led by Russian-speakers; the eastern commanders included disenfranchised Soviet/Russian-trained Saddam-era Sunni military officers. From the beginning, their efforts were closely coordinated. There were reports from Kurdish forces of Russian operatives at secret outposts in the desert.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 8:10am

Years ago in the old SF UW days we were taught to inherently listen to and read anything our opponent had to say as a way of "understanding the environment one was going into--from all sides".

We keep forgetting at the US FP level that there are any number of UW players in the Syrian game and since we the US has failed to achieve defining any UW strategic strategy we are simply "not in the game".

Remember it was Obama in a press conference who himself stated "we have no IS strategy"--well a year or so later we truly do not have one.

BUT read what one of our UW opponents has to say about Russia and Syria and then re-ask the question--- does Obama and Kerry really understand just what the heck is ongoing in Syria and for that matter the entire ME since Obama has basically all but pulled out of the region leaving a really major vacuum that everyone is rushing to fill??

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/NewsRepo...ct-with-russia

Published: 22/09/2015 12:22 PM

Pro-Hezbollah daily says party
in Syria pact with Russia

Al-Akhbar claimed that Russian troops will fight alongside Hezbollah in Syria

BEIRUT – A leading pro-Hezbollah daily claimed on Tuesday that the party has joined a new counter-terror alliance with Moscow and that Russia will take part in military operations alongside the Syrian army and Hezbollah.

Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin wrote that secret talks between Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq had resulted in the birth of the new alliance, which he described as “the most important in the region and the world for many years.”

“The agreement to form the alliance includes administrative mechanisms for cooperation on [the issues of] politics and intelligence and [for] military [cooperation] on the battlefield in several parts of the Middle East, primarily in Syria and Iraq,” the commentator said, citing well-informed sources.

“The parties to the alliance are the states of Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq, with Lebanon’s Hezbollah as the fifth party,” he also said, adding that the joint-force would be called the “4+1 alliance” – a play on words referring to the P5+1 world powers that negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran.

The Al-Akhbar article came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow over the latter country’s major military build-up in Syria.

Following their meeting, Netanyahu announced that Russia and Israel had agreed to “a joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings between our forces,” and reiterated that Tel Aviv’s commitment to preventing weapon transfers from Syria to Hezbollah.

Putin, in turn, told Netanyahu that the Syrian regime was in “no position” to open a new front against Israel, which has conducted regular airstrikes in Syria targeting weapon transfers as well as in retaliation to cross-border rocket fire.

Al-Akhbar says Russia coordinating with Hezbollah, Kurdish forces

Despite the reported agreement between Tel Aviv and Moscow, Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief said that Russian forces were coordinating with Hezbollah in Syria.

“[Several] days ago, Russian officers accompanied by specialists… from the Russian forces arriving in Syria toured a number of positions in Hama’s Al-Ghab Plain area and carried out a field survey accompanied by Syrian Army and Hezbollah officers,” Amin claimed.

“Similar tours took place in the [areas] around Idlib and in the mountain range overlooking Latakia.”

“It has become clear that the Russian force is made up of various specializations, from air force [units] to units specialized in sniper operations and artillery officers, as well as survey and observation teams.”

He also made the startling claim that Russia will “play a prominent role on the ground and will participate in combat on the battlefield with their advanced weaponry by leading operations and taking part in artillery shelling, air [raids] and otherwise, alongside the Syrian army and Hezbollah.”

“The Russians have also set up a coordination process with Kurdish forces and parties,” the article said.

“A Russian military delegate paid a secret visit to a number of Kurdish military commanders in Hasakeh and inspected areas of confrontation between the YPG and the armed groups.”

So is everyone confident that Obama and Kerry "have a handle on this"--I for one do not.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 7:27am

AND the Obama FP or lack thereof just keeps on getting bad.......

Another excellent Syria article from @michaeldweiss 'Did a U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebel Commander Defect to al Qaeda?'

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/22/did-a-u-s-trained-syri…

Maybe the WH really should listen to the voices of the Syria resistance regardless of flavor of the month--they all have the same two enemies--Assad and ISIS and belated and somewhat late to the game Russia.

My brother, he didn't betray the US.
OBAMA betrayed Syrian opposition a long long time ago

Many who volunteered to the Div30 program did it just to build trust with the U.S hoping one day the fight will not only be bat ISIS.

Imagine you were an officer in Div30..even tolerating all empty promises u know last batch was sent in w/o any cover, like sitting ducks...

Sub group of FSA division 30 will no longer work with the US & will fight ISIS & Assad

There are strong rumors stating that the supposed US air cover never arrived as promised this group when this convoy of 75 personnel and 12 technical crossed into Syria-----What the heck......????

We the US taxpayers are spending 500M USDs to send Syrians back into to fight exactly WHO.......????

Obama, his NSC and Kerry need to urgently explain their misappropriations of US funds to the US taxpayer AND somehow truly signal they are in the game to remove Assad WHO is basically responsible for the ongoing mass refugee flow--NOT IS.

IT is time for Obama and Kerry to be honest and truthful in exactly what they have been ignoring in Syria since 2011.

What displaces civilians? #Assad razing entire neighborhoods in 2012/13 (pre-ISIS) for one. https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/01/30/razed-ground/syrias-unlawful-neig…

Very Interesting. 56% of #ISIS battles are against Syrian Rebels. 29% against Kurds. 12% against Regime Forces

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 6:52am

Question to DoS Kerry after his press statement and to Obama--who do we blame now.......???????

We now have six major UW strategic players all in and or around Syria--Russia, Iran, IS, Hezbollah, KSA/friends and NOW China............we are not even in the game......AND the seventh sitting on the side lines Israel.

There is an old Merkel saying--if you are in politics as a politician at the leadership level THEN you want power........Obama and Kerry must have missed that German saying.

Military expert Vadim Lukaschewitsch expect #Russia'n ground offensive in #Syria bc 2 dozen SU-24/25 fighter jets

Reports: aircraft carrier from #China passed Suez Canal -probably heading toward #Syria'n coast

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 6:06am

Well it now appears as if the strategy of HOPE and blame others by Obama and Kerry has now basically run out.................

Especially telling as Peskov is Putin's spokeperson..........

Peskov: Russia does not intend to discuss the fate of Syria with anybody. https://twitter.com/rosbaltru/status/646622539893096448

AND just what that US Iraq, Syrian, eastern Ukraine strategy again.......?

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 6:00am

Bill C----

This is the perfect example to depict the total failure of US FP in Syria and non linear warfare in eastern Ukraine.

WHICH of these drones of Syria is not flying under a strategic national level UW strategy??????

Russian, US, and Iranian drones now flying over Idlib. Welcome to the new world of warfare.

Second example of our total failure----Obama has now this week backed off his demand of immediate removal of Assad for now one of well let's let him guide a "transition" for how long is in the stars......ALL the while even with Russia now on the ground barrel bombs just keep on raining down on civilians? So much for Russian influence just as they claim they have no influence over their own mercenaries in eastern Ukraine.

If Mr Al Assad is a friend in the war against ISIL, one wonders what an enemy would look like" http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/bashar-al-assad-is-a-far-greater-thre…

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 6:31am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Russia jets in #Syria appear to b positioned to defend their own base rather than to mount offensive campaign: Kerry http://news.yahoo.com/russian-jets-syria-appear-protect-own-kerry-17375…

What the heck does he mean by this???--- all 28 aircraft are lined up on one runway---so are all 28 going to fly off and just circle the airfield for self protection????---—AND Kerry is a VN vet—he should know better than state this to the press.

Michael Weiss ‏@michaeldweiss ·
One offensive sortie will make the Secretary of State look a fool.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 5:52am

Does anyone see the fallacy in DoS Kerry's statement carried by BBC News today???

Russia's military build-up in Syria appears to be limited to protecting its own forces in the country, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Mr Kerry's comments follow reports that Russia is expanding its military presence in Syria through the development of two additional bases.

Russia's bolstering of its military aid to Syria has concerned US officials.

But Mr Kerry said on Tuesday the US was prepared to work with Russia to end Syria's bitter four-year war.

He urged Russian president Vladimir Putin to play a constructive part in finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict, which has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.

Mr Kerry has been critical of Mr Putin's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which he said on Tuesday was a factor in motivating foreign fighters to travel to Syria to oppose Mr Assad.

"Limited to self protection" means exactly what again--IF INDEED for self protectionthen there is no need for two completely new bases, no need for the three Pantsir-S1s, T90s tanks and 28 fighters and ground attack aircraft.

THAT is IF they are for self protection.

BECAUSE if we are to "buy" Kerry's statement as the administration "truth" THEN what happens when Russian troops go on the offensive against IS?????

THAT is then certainly not "self protection"?????

Iranians media sources have carried the following number of Russian "advisors/trainers" as being in Syria 20K--so why did not Putin far far earlier send in his additional airstrike, and two elite Brigades???

SO is in fact Kerry as the spokesperson for Obama "trying to lie their way out of a total US failure" by simply stating "oh it is just for self defense"...come on just how dumb do they think social media is that will shortly kick in challenging that statement????

Outlaw 09

Sat, 09/26/2015 - 8:18am

In reply to by Robert C. Jones

Robert---I always pay attention to what you write--this might in fact be the direction you were heading with the comment that many in the West especially Obama and company are not getting.

Really well worth listening to the interview.

@joshua_landis on ISIS, Ethnic Cleansing & the”Great Sorting Out“ in Mid East

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-roW5Y7vbw

Bill M.

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:20am

In reply to by Robert C. Jones

Bob,

Strategically inept? Yes, many of our generals fall into category. Are the generals also culpable? Of course they are, but none of that excuses the President from accepting responsibility. Military strategy is part of a larger strategy, so while Obama's spokesperson who said the world is too sophisticated for the military to understand may apply to some officers, we both know that is exponentially true for many of our civilian leaders. It was military leaders who pointed out that we could employ force against ISIL, but to what end? The issues driving this conflict would still remain. I think senior military leaders, some of them, get that strategy is broader than applying military force against an adversary. What alternatives have our diplomats presented for a comprehensive solution? As a nation we don't do strategy well.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 5:08am

In reply to by Robert C. Jones

Robert--you make an interesting point---there has been a massive outburst of IS videos stating that Muslims should not abandon their own country to flee to a non Muslim country.

It is almost as if IS awoke to the inherent problem that one might have indeed a caliphate BUT without a civil society--especially in Syria meaning the Sunni and other minorities are voting with their feet as to where they want to live and who they want "representing them".

If you look at the moderate Salafists they are also close to IS in belief values--just not in violence--if IS is to expand and grow at some point they will be forced to compromise with the rest of the groups.

Many state that Al Nusra is AQ in sleeps' clothing but if one looks at their structure, their combat reputation, their tactical planning abilities and leadership qualities and coupled with the simple fact they float between IS and the more moderate Salafists and yes even FSA groups and are accepted by all sides--we see Ansar al Sunnah all over again--they shared the same type of reputation in Iraq between the various groups while being true Salafists AND Kurds.

There is also a growing trend of IS defectors that needs to be fully understood as to why they are deflecting--AND to no surprise it is over the question of violence towards and he killing of Muslims. IS if one listens to their info war videos is highly concerned about these defections and are trying to stem them by a more moderate tone when they talk about other Sunni groups and minorities.

QJBR/AQI in Iraq faced similar accusations within themselves over the Muslim violence conducted by Zarqawi which cost him the support of Ansar al Sunnah and IAI starting as early as 2005.

This is just how convoluted Syria has gotten:

Russian, US, and Iranian drones now flying over Idlib. Welcome to the new world of warfare.

Robert C. Jones

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 2:12am

The military is fully as culpable as the President. His parameters made doing what they wanted todo, how they wanted to do it impossible. Equally the Generals never came up with a viable approach within the parameters allowed, and to my knowledge never brought the President an option other than the one he chose that equally met his larger concerns as the policy decision maker.

Bottom line is that the only group offering the Sunni Arab people of Syria and Iraq a viable political alternative is ISIS - and as a result their plan is well supported by Sunnis from every corner of the globe (not every Sunni, but by Sunni everywhere). We must out compete, not defeat, ISIS if we hope to end up in a position of influence when the dust and blood settles.

Bill M.

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 12:33am

The probability of UW being successful, like other forms of warfare, is dependent upon a number of variables. Even if all those variables are relatively positive, the outcome of UW will always have a higher degree of uncertainty compared to other forms of warfare. I'm sure military advisors told the president as much. I'm hopeful they told the president that his policies that severely limited the UW option would more than likely result in failure. The bottom line is the President made the decision, and it is his responsibility. Failure to own that responsibility speaks to his character.

Outlaw:

Re: "leadership," let's take a moment and consider this from former President George W. Bush's specific thoughts in a May 17, 2012 Wall Street Journal article entitled: "George W. Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals."

"We do not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. We only get to choose what side we are on."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304192704577406612351805018

Outlaw:

America today (now with limited means) wishes to be on the side of/support favorable revolutions; much as the Soviets/the communists wished to be on the side of/support favorable revolutions back in the Cold War.

Given this "role-reversal" dynamic -- today v. the Cold War -- what then can the United States learn from the Soviets/the communists re: "leadership:"

a. In promoting, pursuing and supporting favorable revolutions generally? And, specifically,

b. In addressing "containment" challenges? (Such as those presented by the Russians v. the U.S. in Syria and Ukraine today.)

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:35pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Bill C--maybe we should replace the entire NSC with social media---so where was the head of the US unnamed admin official??????

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/NewsReports/565949-pro-hezbollah-daily-says…

Published: 22/09/2015 12:22 PM

Pro-Hezbollah daily says party
in Syria pact with Russia

Al-Akhbar claimed that Russian troops will fight alongside Hezbollah in Syria

BEIRUT – A leading pro-Hezbollah daily claimed on Tuesday that the party has joined a new counter-terror alliance with Moscow and that Russia will take part in military operations alongside the Syrian army and Hezbollah.

Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin wrote that secret talks between Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq had resulted in the birth of the new alliance, which he described as “the most important in the region and the world for many years.”

“The agreement to form the alliance includes administrative mechanisms for cooperation on [the issues of] politics and intelligence and [for] military [cooperation] on the battlefield in several parts of the Middle East, primarily in Syria and Iraq,” the commentator said, citing well-informed sources.

“The parties to the alliance are the states of Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq, with Lebanon’s Hezbollah as the fifth party,” he also said, adding that the joint-force would be called the “4+1 alliance” – a play on words referring to the P5+1 world powers that negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran.

The Al-Akhbar article came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow over the latter country’s major military build-up in Syria.

Following their meeting, Netanyahu announced that Russia and Israel had agreed to “a joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings between our forces,” and reiterated that Tel Aviv’s commitment to preventing weapon transfers from Syria to Hezbollah.

Putin, in turn, told Netanyahu that the Syrian regime was in “no position” to open a new front against Israel, which has conducted regular airstrikes in Syria targeting weapon transfers as well as in retaliation to cross-border rocket fire.

Al-Akhbar says Russia coordinating with Hezbollah, Kurdish forces

Despite the reported agreement between Tel Aviv and Moscow, Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief said that Russian forces were coordinating with Hezbollah in Syria.

“[Several] days ago, Russian officers accompanied by specialists… from the Russian forces arriving in Syria toured a number of positions in Hama’s Al-Ghab Plain area and carried out a field survey accompanied by Syrian Army and Hezbollah officers,” Amin claimed.

“Similar tours took place in the [areas] around Idlib and in the mountain range overlooking Latakia.”

“It has become clear that the Russian force is made up of various specializations, from air force [units] to units specialized in sniper operations and artillery officers, as well as survey and observation teams.”

He also made the startling claim that Russia will “play a prominent role on the ground and will participate in combat on the battlefield with their advanced weaponry by leading operations and taking part in artillery shelling, air [raids] and otherwise, alongside the Syrian army and Hezbollah.”

“The Russians have also set up a coordination process with Kurdish forces and parties,” the article said.

“A Russian military delegate paid a secret visit to a number of Kurdish military commanders in Hasakeh and inspected areas of confrontation between the YPG and the armed groups.”
]

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:11pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Come on Bill C--even you have to see exactly how ludicrous this sounds to the world at large--and this is US leadership???

Equally astonishing: Admin officials tell reporters they're relieved by Russian presence, since it reduces pressure for US to do same?

That is like saying--we are waiting for climate change to change itself THEN we will act--what the heck is that for leadership.

AND this is the perfect example of the Obama FP--leading from behind??????

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:04pm

This is not about blame --it simply is embarrassing........and should have never happened---suggest reading the paras 3/4.

U.S. military inspiring no confidence whatsoever, admitting it knows less than it should about #Putin's 'intentions
https://twitter.com/cbsMcCormick/status/646373798690877440

SecDef Ash Carter believes any further #Russia support for #Syria's Assad "fanning the flames" - Pentagon spox Peter Cook

DoD if we are to believe social media had absolutely no plans---

1. They're waiting for you and other tweeps to tell 'em what Putin is up to in #Syria. Welcome to modernity!

2. Allen couldn't make Obama's make-it-up-as-you-go-along #ISIS "strategy" work. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/world/middleeast/obama-seeks-500-mill…

3. Tom Nichols @RadioFreeTom

Russia exercising influence and crashing about where it pleases like no time since the 1970s isn't genius, it's the absence of America.

4. It ain't that Putin is a strategic genius or a "grandmaster." It's that Obama has yet to appreciate, or behave as if, there's a game at all.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:26pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Bill C--so does this Iranian statement from today allow any room for Obama in Syria--certainly not as he sees only two partners capable of resolving the issues.

http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81769666/
Iran FM discusses new proposals with Syrian president: Deputy FM

Moscow, Sept 22, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has discussed new proposals to resolve Syrian crisis with President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remraks during a press conference in Moscow with the Ria Novosti News Agency.

He said the outcomes of his negotiations with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov was 'constructive.'

Amir-Abdollahian arrived in the Russian capital on Monday.

Referring to Iran and Russia as two major partners to settle the Syrian crisis, the Iranian diplomat said that President Assad should be part of any solution to the crisis in the region.

'Moscow and Tehran would do everything possible to help end the crisis in Syria,' Amir-Abdollahian stressed.

The official underlined that Tehran and Moscow intend to use all possibilities and potentials to help Syria come out of the crisis.

He also noted that Russia and Iran would continue dialogue with the Syrian opposition parties.

Damascus has proposed good solutions for resolving the crisis and any proposal should involve decisive action against terrorism, the Deputy foreign minister added.

Zionist regime and its allies' support for the terrorists active in Syria would only complicate the situation in the region, Amir-Abdollahian added.

He warned Zionist regime for supporting Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria.

The official warned Tel-Aviv not to continue manipulation of Syria crisis and stop its support for terrorist groups including ISIL and al-Nusra Front which is a militia group aiming to conquer Syria and establish there an Islamist state. It is the only Al-Qaeda branch in Syria and is operating also in Lebanon.

Amir-Abdollahian further condemned Zionist regime murder of Palestinian women and children as well as continuation of construction of illegal settlements in the occupied lands.

'If the Zionist regimes does not stop desacration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Palestinian, it should expect crushing response,' the official stressed.

He said that Zionist regime's support for terrorist groups in Syria through Golan Heights is quite evident.

Amirabdollahian called Zionist regime's support for terrorist groups in Syria 'a security threat' for the region and the entire world.

The Iranian diplomat arrived in Moscow on Monday morning.

While in the Russian capital, he held talks with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov and also President Vladimir Putin on issues of mutual interest as well as recent regional and international developments.

Ways to tackle terrorism and extremism as well as latest developments in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and consequences of Israeli regime's attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque were among major issues discussed during the meetings.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:15pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Bill C---there is a famous saying--I will believe it when I see this actually occurring---all lip service.

Obama had the opportunity a number of times to side with moderate to a tad radical secular and religious anti Assad groups since 2011 especially the FSA and the groups working with FSA.

We the US laughed at the FSA--that was the official Obama admin response.

They were taken under the wing of Jordan, KSA and Qatar have retrained and gained a level of confidence not seen before--BOOSTED by the TOW which has become the Stinger of 2015 and literally tipped the scales against Assad on the battlefield and the FSA is slowing but steadily winning along with IS who they clash with all the time.

IF you pay close attention the first Russian attacks will be against the FSA not IS.

Anyway they requested MANPADs because the are getting bombs rained upon by the SyAF and barrel bombed daily--the US turned them down.

AND now the US wants to get into the ground game fight--WILL believe it when I truly see it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/with-fight-again…

With fight against the Islamic State in Iraq stalled, U.S. looks to Syria for gains

Rather than subjecting rebels to repeated rounds of screening before and during their training, U.S. officials might restrict vetting to unit leaders already in the fight. “The key thing is getting them some [expletive] bullets,” one U.S. official said.

The change is driven partly by frustration with the stalemated fight in Iraq, where an Iraqi army assault on Ramadi has ground to a halt and where a much-anticipated offensive to reclaim Mosul, originally planned for this year, may come only after President Obama leaves office.

“We have opportunities now [in Syria] that we didn’t think we would have. We have an opportunity to push down on Raqqa,” said another U.S. official, speaking, like others, on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations. “We have an opportunity to take away the entire [Turkish] border from ISIS, and we didn’t think we would have that.” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State.

Instead of trying to create entire formations, U.S. officials are considering preparing a smaller number of soldiers to call in airstrikes by U.S. fighter jets or coordinate ground attacks. Those troops would be inserted into existing units such as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:48pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--sorry do not except the logic--when one is a Nobel Peace Prize winner then one would assume that the individual has empathy of the issues surrounding a civil society--OR least that is what one assumes one gets a Peace Prize for.

Obama has had a number of failures--better yet simply lapses in the ability to think through a set of problems and clearly and concisely define what it is he stands for--better yet what the US stands for.

He had the opportunity to define the US values when men, women and children were gassed in an Assad chemical strike that was initially only covered by social media until the pressure built up and he had to make a decision--then we got his famous red line in the sand and we got a waffling DoS Kerry who totally misspoke at a press conference and the list just keeps growing of blunders, failures in following through and a total inability to think through and define a strategy that even a dog could understand.

Again he has made President Wilson proud and is continuing to do so--or have you heard any thing coherent out of Obama and Kerry since the rather massive sudden Russian escalation over the last five days.

Silence, silence, silence--that is not a national strategic strategy--the US FP has gone from HOPE to silence in the matter of five days.

This has nothing to do with blame game it is all about leadership and his leadership is currently MIA.

Bill C.

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:28am

"Blame-game" aside, I think we have to work through this by keeping our eye on the ball.

The overarching, overriding political objective of the United States -- throughout the world -- is to transform outlying states and societies more along modern western political, economic and social lines.

Thus we must (1) consider the present situation (2) in Syria and elsewhere (3) from this perspective.

Thus, to ask these simple questions:

Re: Syria: What is the best way, presently, to:

a. Overcome our current obsticles? And

b. Achieve, in spite of such obsticles, the overarching, overriding political objective of the United States (as outlined at my second paragraph above)?

Herein, the "blame-game" (whether were talking Bush Jr or Obama here) seems to be a "dodge" -- a distraction -- as it does not seem to address (1) how we might now move forward and (2) achieve what the United States wants to achieve; in Syria, and elsewhere in the non-western/less-western world.

(Note: In making our suggestions now, we must I suggest, based on our failures/difficulties in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, address what the United States et. al would do (as the Russian foreign minister spokeswoman recently pointed out) "right after," for example, the fall of Assad.)

Outlaw 09

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 2:48pm

Even the failure of the Obama Russian Reset 2.0 is being blamed on the Europeans.......

Gordon: Russia reset was Obama plan from campaign but we discussed with the Europeans and they were overwhelmingly supportive #TARussia

Outlaw 09

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 1:56pm

AND we have the strongest President and a strong foreign policy---not....

http://www.interpretermag.com/putin-convinced-that-whatever-he-does-oba…

Putin Convinced That Whatever He Does, Obama Won’t Respond Militarily, Borovoy Says

September 21, 2015

Staunton, September 19 – Vladimir Putin is acting in Syria as he has in Ukraine on the basis of his conviction that no matter what Russia does, Barack Obama will not respond militarily and that as a result, Moscow has every incentive to raise the stakes in order to force negotiations and gain even more concessions from the West, according to Konstantin Borovoy.

Arguing that “a war between the US and Russia has begun” but that Putin believes he can win it without a direct military confrontation with the US, the head of the Western Choice Party says that the Kremlin leader has concluded “there is now no president in the US but instead a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.”

According to Borovoy, Putin has sent troops into Syria just as he has in Ukraine “not for the conduct of war but for its declaration, as a provocation and showing of the flag. Putin needs a casus belli but not a war” as such. And he believes that will work on the basis of his conclusion that the US is weak, something Russian intelligence agencies and lobbyists assure him is true.

The latest indication of what Putin is successfully trying to achieve, the Russian commentator continues, are the talks between the defense ministers of the US and Russia, a “pathetic” effort by the US to avoid having to acknowledge that Russia has entered the Syrian conflict against the US and the West.

“To conclude ‘agreements’ at the level of defense ministers with someone who does not observe internationally signed and ratified agreements shows naivete,” he says, because Putin will violate this “at the first opportunity” and then blame the US for the violations. And he will sacrifice Russian lives to that end as he has in the past.

“Putin’s real goal is not war but the creation of such pre-war tension that he US will be forced to enter into broadscale negotiations. The current [US] president will do everything possible in this situation not to begin military actions” and thus “will agree to talks in any format” and will be ready “in advance” to make concessions to Putin.

Putin’s demands in this situation are obvious, Borovoy says. They are “Crimea is ours, Syria is ours, Iran is ours, end all sanctions, provide financial assistance to Russia and respect the interests of Russia in the world.” And the Kremlin leader wants to be able to make those demands at a meeting with Obama and other world leaders.

In this situation, the West doesn’t have a large number of options, the Russian commentator says. It can face a long period of Russian provocations and apparent pullbacks, but it will not do anything but lose slowly because Putin believes he can act with impunity and so will continue to do so.

That will be a black day for the West, but on the other hand, Borovoy says, it will “justify” Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Meanwhile, Putin will force Russians to tighten their belts, but he will succeed in convincing them that their problems have not been caused by him but by “the military provocateur Obama” and thus they will not only accept the situation but support Putin in his further aggression.

In reality, he continues, Obama has only “a single way out – supplying arms to Ukraine, and not just defensive ones but those that will allow Ukraine to attack. Russia’s armed forces in fact are not prepared for a real military conflict.” At present, however, Putin is certain that Obama won’t do that.

There remains “only one question: what in fact ought the American president to do in this situation?” Borovoy suggests two steps: “giving a military response to Putin in Syria and Ukraine, immediately, rapidly and very effectively,” and “taking up the problems of the C special services, having freed them from the influence of the network of Putin’s agents.”

Unfortunately, the Russian commentator implies, there does not seem to be much chance of either.

Outlaw 09

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 12:51pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Check the date of this article and then compare it to the current lack of an apparent US foreign policy—not good at all-----------

http://www.the-american-interest.com...e-middle-east/

Nature Abhors a Vaccuum

Russia’s Return to the Middle East

2013/12/13

Michael Weiss

U.S. fatigue and distraction in the Middle East has made ample room for Russia to step in as the new patron, power-broker and custodian of the region. Washington should think twice about welcoming this development.

Russia is back. At least that’s what they say—especially the Russians. 2013 marks the year that the Kremlin reasserted its power abroad in ways not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and nowhere has this reassertion been more obvious than in the Middle East. From Syria to Egypt to Iran to Israel, Moscow is now seen to be moving in on America’s turf, usurping the only superpower’s traditional role as safeguard of a region that, whether or not it cares to admit it, has always looked to the United States to solve its problems. But now a new patron has arrived in the neighborhood with the offer of advanced weaponry and a cold disregard for how dictatorial regimes choose to conduct their “internal” affairs. Unlike Washington, this patron has shown a willingness to stand by its friends in extremity and is more than happy to wage diplomatic war with the West if those friends’ survival is ever called into question. Russia’s restoration in the Middle East has been built upon America’s abdication.

Without a doubt, the crowning ceremony was the Kremlin’s deft ownership of international diplomacy on the 18-month crisis in Syria, one that has so far killed more than 120,000 people, including by the repeated use of chemical weapons, and yet has remarkably culminated in the re-legitimization of the person responsible for it, Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian civil war— particularly the White House’s inept and improvisational response to it—has accidentally transformed Putin into a major power-broker for the post-Arab Spring Middle East. (This is no small feat considering that Sunni Muslim antipathy toward Russia is at a record high because of Syria.) It has turned Moscow into the new hub for geopolitical influencing in the region, the world capital where the Egyptian general staff, the Saudi intelligence chief, the Israeli prime minister and even now the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition all feel they must pay call in order to get things done. And while it’s true that Russia hasn’t the GDP, military reach, or reputation to completely hobble U.S. influence in the Middle East, it doesn’t need to do that to pose a threat to U.S. interests. Putin’s objective is to offer himself as a steady alternative to a fickle Obama: a partner in arms deals and Security Council obstruction who won’t run away or downgrade a relationship over such trivia as human rights, mass murder or coups d’état. Putin has apologized for and facilitated the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century under the guise of international law and a respect for state sovereignty. This is an invaluable friend for a dictator to have in his corner.

An old anecdote has it that in the dying days of Communism, a senior Syrian official was found wandering the halls of the Kremlin saying, “We regret the Soviet collapse more than the Russians do.” The Syrian-Russian relationship was always rather complicated, full of mutual suspicion and attempts by Moscow to impose an ideology that Hafez al-Assad didn’t much care for, in exchange for military and intelligence assistance that Syria couldn’t do without. But Damascus isn’t just a resurrected strategic ally following years of desuetude under the Yeltsin government; it is Putin’s last-stand client in the region against what he sees as American hegemony. The Cheka’s old hold on Damascus looms large in Putin’s imagination, as does the precipitous collapse of Moscow Centre’s influence abroad. In interviews, he often recalls how, as a young KGB officer, he was stranded in Dresden when the Wall came down and Germans tried to storm the KGB rezidentura. “Moscow [was] silent” was his ashen-faced pronouncement on that occasion. Putin then famously “joked” upon assuming the presidency in 2000 that the security organs had now seized control of the government. Moscow won’t be silent again. Syria has amplified its voice.

Continued................

Outlaw 09

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 10:11am

I will still stand by my constant mantra here at SWJ---this is the weakest, most unimaginative, non foreign policy focused President in over 50 years and that is sayin a lot.

Equal to this missing in action President is an equally weak NSC and a very poor DoS Kerry who from his recent statements in Sochi and now with Syria seems to be working more for the Russian Foreign Minister Larvov/Putin than for the US public.

When the President is only interested in how his legacy will be viewed in the future and he truly believes the only concept that works is soft power ie talking and HOPE we are in serious trouble as a nation.

Talking and HOPE have never made a successful US foreign policy or for that matter any other nation.

This WH shut down the outgoing JCoS and the ACoS as well as the new incoming JCoS in their comments that Russia is the existential threat to the US---by a similar argument of "the world is far to complicated for the military to understand".

What kind of comment is that???--NOTICE US MSM never picked up on that comment BUT DoD did and shut up immediately AND that includes the SACEUR.

How many remember this President standing in a WH press conference taking questions about his strategy to dealing with IS in Iraq--WHERE he totally startled the journalists by stating "we have no policy BUT we are working on one and I will let you know about it when we get it"

Well we got it and it failed--AND it was the "other's fault is his response". There have been a number of secular Islamist moderate Syrian groups on the ground that where more than willing to work with the US immediately--but were ignored, ignored, ignored.

The FSA and the group around them are fighting well against both Assad and IS via the TOW but are getting the hell bombed out of them every day because the US will not supply MANPADS nor create a NFZ--OUT of fear that they will get into the hands of the wrong types and shot down airliners.

BUT WAIT the only people to shot down airliners with military grade AD missiles as been--drum roll now---- Russia.

Eastern Ukraine is literally awash with Russian advanced MANPADs and none has made it onto the black market.

There was a major Obama red line in the sand due to the use of chemical weapons in Syria --AND they are being used again and the Obama response over his very own red line in the sand--"let the UN investigate it".

AND now to blame others is simply a "cop out".

President Wilson would be proud of this President--isolationism here we come.